Alberta, Canada, scales back discovery maths curriculum | Understanding Finland's standardised testing system | Opinion: Studying abroad benefits children in US, China
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26 March 2014
ECIS SmartBrief
ECIS: the source for international education

Learning and Teaching
Alberta, Canada, scales back discovery maths curriculum
Officials in Alberta, Canada, are directing schools to dial back the discovery maths curriculum and ensure that reciting the times tables and memorising other basic maths facts will be more prominent in the maths curriculum. The move follows criticism from parents and others that students were not being required to recall basic maths facts from memory. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (tiered subscription model) (25 Mar.)
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Understanding Finland's standardised testing system
In contrast to schools in the US, Finland administers just one high-stakes standardised test, writes Pasi Sahlberg, a visiting professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education and former director general at Finland's Ministry of Education. Sahlberg notes in this blog post about Finland's philosophy on testing and shares some insight into the exams. Most educators, students and others in Finland, he writes, are happy with "one examination given at the end of high school rather than more frequent tests and the side-effects" that can accompany more frequent exams. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/The Answer Sheet blog (24 Mar.)
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Professional Development
Strong school leadership goes beyond headteachers in UK
In the United Kingdom, much is being done to train and support headteachers. However, in this commentary, according to former Education Secretary Estelle Morris, "school governors should get training and other forms of backing," too. She suggests requiring school governors to undergo training, resolving the "conflict between providing a local voice and offering strategic leadership", and considering requiring governing bodies to work together. The Guardian (London) (24 Mar.)
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Leadership and Governance
Teachers in Hong Kong could strike over class sizes
A decline in students entering secondary school has led The Professional Teachers Union in Hong Kong to seek smaller Form One class sizes. The union has said a strike is possible if the classes are not reduced. The Education Bureau has pledged to maintain its policy of sustaining schools and teachers. South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) (free registration) (25 Mar.)
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Other News
Malta launches second phase of tablet rollout to schools
Education Minister Evarist Bartolo in Malta recently launched the second phase of the one-tablet-per-child project, which is set to commence in October with students at select schools. Now through September, officials say the electronic tablets will be rolled out to teachers, and the tablets will be placed in the hands of students through the 2015-16 school year. Malta Today (Malta) (25 Mar.)
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Interest Area Spotlight
Secondary school in England to spend extra time on English-language lessons
A City of Leeds secondary school in England -- where more than 75% of students speak English as a second language -- will launch an extra 50-minute lesson each week in English language. The lessons, which also will include students who speak English as a first language, are intended to help improve fundamental English skills and improve students' basic spelling and grammar abilities. The Guardian (London) (24 Mar.)
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Less than a month until the April Leadership Conference in Seville
Register now for the ECIS April Leadership Conference in Seville 24-26 April. The conference will feature dedicated strands for: Business/Finance Managers, Trustees, Advancement Officers and Admissions Personnel, Heads of School, Secondary Principals and Elementary Principals. In addition to the main conference, the SISG masterclass designed to build upon the leadership expertise of school board members, school owners and administrators, will take place Thursday, 24 April.
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Introducing the ECIS IILP
The ECIS International Individual Learning Plan (IILP) is a document that was created to record how we support individual students with learning difficulties at international schools. Many of us have come from systems in North America, the UK or Australia where IEPs are mandated by law and are often many pages long, often filled with legal jargon and technical checklists. The ECIS IILP is a plan that relays important information on how a student learns and sets goals and objectives for students to achieve. Find out more online.
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Editor's Note
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Check out this week's posts on SmartBlog on Education. Want to join our blogger community? View our submission guidelines to learn how. Engage. Innovate. Discuss.
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Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."
-- Winston Churchill,
former British prime minister
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About ECIS
Founded in 1965, ECIS is a global membership organisation that provides professional development opportunities and consultancy services to its members who are comprised of international schools, individuals and educational organisations.
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