Category: Teaching

How Scandinavian teaching at a primary school differs from British methods

“Parents receive a more holistic progress report about their child’s development, this may seem somewhat strange to UK parents”

Earlier this year, the Department for Education announced plans to change the way that children across England are tested by using a statutory reception baseline assessment.

The Government hopes to introduce this by autumn 2020, but as we have seen, the decision to test children on communication, language, literacy, and maths when entering primary school, has been controversial debate around how early children should be academically tested.

Many parents and teachers argue that children should not be academically tested at four years old, as it puts too much pressure on them at such an early age, whereas others believe that introducing testing at an early age is vital.

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Developing Effective International Strategies

“Strategy is about more so much more than glittering generalities or the constraining rigidity of fixed plans”

With the sector facing unprecedented challenges – and with internationalisation at the heart of many of these challenges – now is a critical time to think deeply about what constitutes an effective internationalisation strategy.

A recent review of some 52 university strategies undertaken by Goal Atlas found that nearly two-thirds of these ended in 2021.  When I spoke at the annual conference of the British Universities’ International Liaison Association (BUILA) in July, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my session on developing effective international strategies in uncertain times was the largest attended session of the conference.

Clearly, there is both a need and an appetite for strategy. But what makes a strategy a good strategy?

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Upskilling and technology tools to help educators

“Upskilling isn’t just about staying relevant, studies show that it can also boost motivation and self-confidence”

A report by the World Economic Forum on “The Future Of Jobs” says that by 2020, more than a third of the desired skillsets for most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today.

As technology continues to evolve, so do many sectors of the global economy. And with this reality, comes a growing trend for the need to “upskill” in the workforce.

Simply put, upskilling is defined as the process of learning or teaching new skills, and in today’s digitalised world, it is becoming a necessity to stay relevant. Whether its a vocational worker employed by a manufacturing facility or a financial analyst who relies on software to run numbers for their clients, every job will require some form of new learning in the future.

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The path to sustainability for the Liberian Education Advancement Programme

“The Ministry of Education previously stated its intermediate-term goal to double the government’s education investment by 2020”

In 2016, Liberia – one of the poorest countries in the world – embarked upon the world’s most innovative public-private partnerships in education. Its government was determined to improve learning outcomes for children.

Now three years in, it’s time to revisit whether the dramatic learning gains for students in the Partnership Schools for Liberia’s (PSL) first year have been sustained. If so, it would be a strong indication that the Liberian Ministry of Education is on the right track with its reform program “Getting to Best.”

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Are students ready for the future of work?

“There is perhaps too much emphasis on exam grades and not enough on the students’ actual learning journey”

With a myriad of factors influencing the future of work such as automation, globalisation, mobility, and flexibility, the future of work holds endless possibilities for change and opportunities for growth.

As many admin centric and unskilled tasks are now being automated, it’s important to understand what self-management and unique human skills will be valued in the future. The role of education has traditionally been to prepare students for their future workplaces, but as the pace of change accelerates, are curriculums keeping up with the evolving requirements of the future of work?

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Key challenges when teaching in countries with limited opportunity

“The bureaucracy could be paralysing, resources were minimal, and teachers received little support from the system”

As an international educator, I’m sure you don’t need to be told how culture, environment and infrastructure often shape the education systems of the countries that we work in. The external forces that affect a countries education structure are vast, varying from historical biases through to physical geography and the accessibility of resources.

My time in Guyana, South America highlighted this point. There were countless issues that Guyana’s schools faced. The bureaucracy could be paralysing, resources were minimal, and teachers received little support from the system despite organising extracurricular events and buying equipment using their own salaries.

However, the greatest challenge was the innate lack of opportunity within the country’s education system. This limited opportunity was a driver of many problems I faced during my time as a teacher and this quick post cover a few of the most common that you may encounter yourself.

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How to stay healthy while teaching abroad

“Staff are a school’s biggest asset, and their wellbeing directly affects the students in their care”

Working overseas is soaring in popularity for teachers, with an estimated 15,000 leaving the UK each year to join international schools. It’s easy to see why it’s so appealing – new places, sights, food, culture, people and a different pace of life all add up to an experience that can be both transformative and enriching.

There is so much to think about when you embark on an adventure of this kind that even the hardiest of travellers might not consider the nuts and bolts of what it will actually be like when you get there after the excitement has died down. Ask anyone who has lived abroad and they’ll tell you it’s the funny little things that can catch you out and make you feel like an outsider, like not knowing where to buy a trivial item such as cotton wool. Knowing to ask for fruit and vegetables by weight rather than quantity, on the other hand, can really help you feel as if you belong.

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Learning and Long-Term Memory

“If we want to be effective in education, we need to help students build up the content of their long-term memories”

By some quirk of fate or coincidence, 1956 was the year that saw both the founding of TASIS by Mrs Fleming and the publication of one of the most significant articles ever in the field of education.

Written by American psychologist George Miller, it was titled “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two.” It helped to establish the powerful truth that short-term (or working) memory is limited both in duration and capacity. This is important because if short-term memory is necessarily constrained, then to be effective, education has to focus on something else.

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To stay globally competitive, the US needs to build internationalists beginning in K-12

“While encouraging study abroad is the right thing to do, preparing the next generation of global citizens must come earlier”

In a world with internet, video conferencing, and 95% of consumers living outside of the United States, fostering international competencies and connections at an early age is more important than ever for our future livelihoods.

Given that globalization will only increase, we must consider whether we are sufficiently preparing our young people to be successful in the workforce of today and tomorrow.

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What we learned from conducting a virtual exchange

“Virtual exchange is a valuable tool for preparing young people for the workforce of tomorrow”

Virtual exchange has been gaining traction as a mode of international education. By connecting students online across borders, virtual exchange is a “third space” of international education, blurring the lines between traditional incoming and outgoing student mobility programming.

Even so, virtual exchange complements rather than replaces traditional programs. As Mohamed Abdel-Kader, the Executive Director of the Stevens Initiative at the Aspen Institute recently noted, there is a large unmet need for U.S. college students to have international experiences.

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