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Monday, July 17, 2017

Evaluating Your Teaching/Learning System: What's Important?

Continued reading of Empowered Educators leads me to think more deeply about the teaching/learning system I work in and contribute to? How can I work more effectively within that system and in what ways can I promote greater success and support too?

I read about criteria that successful systems employ and translated those into questions and notes using many direct quotes from the book that could be used to assess system strength?

Do you embrace and employ "21st Century Skills"?
  • Higher order thinking
  • Complex problem solving
  • Competent performance 
  • Enhance equity and opportunity 
  • Successfully teach diverse populations
While successful systems have adopted curriculum frameworks and standards, it was interesting to see how they were named:

Australia's Seven Capabilities
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Information and communication technology capability
  • Critical and creative Thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical understanding
  • Intercultural understanding
Australia has growing respect for the teaching profession while in Canada teaching is a well-respected profession. Canada does not have a national curriculum. Finland has strong social supports that enables all children to come to school ready to learn, and it is a country that has been called "a model of a modern, publicly financed education system with widespread equity, good quality, large participation--all of this at reasonable cost."Equity is a core principle in Finland. Finland has a lean national curriculum which gives equal value to all subjects with a strong emphasis on inquiry, metacognitive skills, open-ended tasks and developing students' capacities to guide and assess their own learning. Teachers in Finland are highly regarded and encouraged to be creative and innovative in their work. Finnish teachers learn how to create challenging curriculum and how to develop and use engaging performance assessments. They use an evolving practice of continual reflection, evaluation and problem solving, a process used at all levels of education in Finland.

Shanghai's 2020 plan focuses on allowing students to focus on real-world problems, less focus on test preparation, and engaging students in more creative, self-regulated activities. Singapore aims to develop internationally minded, culturally competent citizens with a high degree of literacy and technical experience with a focus on 'Teach Less, Learn More" to reduce quantity in favor of quality critical/creative thinking, global awareness, civic literacy, cross-cultural skills, problem solving, project work and self assessment. Teachers are well compensated and respected in Singapore.

In general these successful school systems have central purpose, promote local innovation, focus on equity, prioritize 21st Century competencies and value teaching