If you teach in a country outside the US...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by swansong1, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,491
    Likes Received:
    1,399

    Apr 20, 2018

    We get many threads from teachers outside the US who laud the good behavior and responsibility of their students/schools, while criticizing our low performing schools/misbehaving students.We know that our public schools in this country are required to take all students.

    We have learned that many of those schools in other countries do not admit students who do not fit their high-performing mold (ex...special needs students). Are they also refusing admission to students whose behavior is not up to par?

    Which system is beneficial to the society in general, excluding those whom the school does not want to teach, or being forced to teach everyone?
     
  2.  
  3. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    1,023
    Likes Received:
    444

    Apr 20, 2018

    I feel like there has to be some kind of balanced option. Students who are a threat to themselves and others need a different environment in which to learn, but those kids are left in schools where they continue to threaten or harm others. Special needs students also have the right to learn, but again -- the general classroom and curriculum may not be the most beneficial option for them. I can't speak to other countries' systems, but it seems that the US has a very all-or-nothing approach to most aspects of life, and that causes a lot of problems in education.
     
  4. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2015
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    139

    Apr 20, 2018

    We need to get it out of our heads that not all kids need the same education. Yes, all kids need an education. But not everyone needs to be sitting in a literature class. I think what Europe gets right is that they send kids on a path that is best suited for their efforts--worker, professional, etc. Just because you want to be a doctor doesn't mean you can be--you can try, but it is not always feasible for everyone. And that's OK! Here in this country we seem to look down on those who want to, or sometimes, have to, pursue trades. We need good tradesman, and good city workers, and good customer service, and good everything. You don't need a college degree to be a plumber. You need a certification, but not a bachelor's degree. If you're going to be plumber, you need to be able to read and write, but you don't need to be able to critically analyze Shakespeare or the idiosyncrasies of language in Emily Dickinson. I'm an English teacher, and I don't sit around discussing Shakespeare or poetry, only in my classroom. We are far from the days of salons where the wealthy gathered to discuss politics and art and to listen to composers and poets share their latest works. Allow students who are not headed to college, or just not right for college have other options--educate them for what they can/want to do--not what they think they should do. A college degree does not mean you are more capable--there are many people out there with degrees who can't do anything--it proves you can do it on paper. Case in point--I passed my PRAXIS history certification test. I've never taught history, I do not have a degree in history. I do like history, I wouldn't mind teaching history, and I am interested in history. If I was hired to teach history today, could I? Yes, but I would have to do a lot of research and reading to really get it right--but I have a piece of paper that says I can. My colleague who teaches next door to me has a English certification--but he cannot teach English--he does not know the content and gets simple things wrong all the time! Many of us are currently reteaching his students things to prepare them for our state tests. But, he has a piece of paper that says he can teach English, and here we are.
    Provide an education that suits the child. Prepare them for life--not a test, not a piece of paper. If they have special needs, teach them, but don't prepare them to be a doctor, unless that is truly realistic. If they are a behavior problem, they need to be in an alternative environment--and maybe if they weren't forced to write research papers and do geometry and conjugate Spanish verbs, maybe they wouldn't be a behavior problem.
     
  5. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,485
    Likes Received:
    1,026

    Apr 20, 2018

    YES YES YES

    Trying to force feed factoring and graphing logarithms down some student's throats when they would be much better served learning about something else that may actually be relevant to them (and which they may actually be able to make a career out of) really is disheartening.

    In my school everyone feels the need to be accelerated too. If you aren't set to take calculus by your senior year, you are considered "behind" in math in my district. (And some kids take it as early as sophomore year!) It is sad because you get kids in calculus who struggle with basic algebra. What is the point?!?!?!?
     
    Been There likes this.
  6. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,286
    Likes Received:
    1,638

    Apr 20, 2018

    I've known people who have taught in other countries, and you better believe it there are still plenty of underperforming or obnoxious and disrepectful students--it's just not the way of the schools to reveal they exist. I understand it's common in China, even expected and rewarded, for teachers to help students cheat in certain circumstances.

    In some ways I think the U.S. could do better at identifying and helping students who are really struggling in schools. I think we have very good models and intentions for that, but it doesn't always play out that way. For example, the other thread where a class of a majority of IEP/504 kids was mainly survival. I personally have felt I have spent far more of the school year than I should have working with violent/disruptive/inattentive students. Is it really a feather in our cap to talk about how we have all sorts in our classrooms and nothing gets done?

    Now, I do believe in the rights of families to choose private schools or homeschooling or what have you But I do generally believe public schools that take all students is preferable for society. I agree that it might be wise to stop glamorizing the college track and demonizing the trade track, and again, work to improve our special education ways.

    But while I have those days where I would just love to kick out the difficult kids, are they really going to improve society by not being at school?

    I would also argue that disrespectful students needs to stop being a school problem.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,491
    Likes Received:
    1,399

    Apr 20, 2018

    At what age do we (the teachers) or the students decide what path they want to take?
     
  8. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    516

    Apr 20, 2018

    In the past, calculus and AP classes didn't exist in high school! If you can think of the worst case scenario, you'll probably find it in our education system.
     
    TrademarkTer likes this.
  9. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,485
    Likes Received:
    1,026

    Apr 20, 2018

    And as sad as it is, I do have to partially blame our guidance counselors. They encourage kids to take the most challenging courseload possible, regardless of ability. I have kids who just scraped by with C-s in algebra 2 being told to take pre-calc and calc.

    I told one of our counselors....sure pre-calc looks better than topics in math (our alternative course, focusing on algebra review and discrete math topics) on a transcript, but not if that student earns a D- in pre-calc because they haven't really mastered the pre-requisite skills. I think the A in the alternative course looks better any day, but they don't get it and keep pushing kids to take courses they shouldn't be in.
     
    YoungTeacherGuy, Backroads and a2z like this.
  10. a2z

    a2z Maven

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    5,739
    Likes Received:
    1,660

    Apr 20, 2018

    In the current educational system, I don't think it is fair or right to cut of an avenue from students at a particular age or grade. We educate students like they are widgets even though we try to claim we don't. Some schools do a bit of a better job of trying to teach where kids are at, but most just teach and pass students along regardless of how behind they are.

    We would be better off tailoring education and working hard to get the basics in place for those who really need it. We could also allow acceleration where necessary. But the biggest disservice is trying to teach a student who doesn't have the skills to understand the higher level information.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,232
    Likes Received:
    1,174

    Apr 20, 2018

    I had no business taking AP Precal. However, my counselor highly recommended it. Somehow, I managed to earn a B both semesters. I refused to take the AP test, though. I knew it was out of my league. I was happy with the B, though, because since it was an AP class--the B actually equaled an A when computing GPA.

    There were two things I cared about my last two years of high schools: earning As and taking AP classes. Anything else was pretty irrelevant.
     
  12. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,491
    Likes Received:
    1,399

    Apr 20, 2018

    I have been teaching long enough to see the pendulum swinging from offering vocational classes to a good cross section of students all the way to making everyone take college prep. It seems that things are moving back to offering trade training, which is a good thing.
     
  13. rpan

    rpan Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    470

    Apr 21, 2018

    Australia has some aspects of both worlds. Public schools have to accept students in a particular zone regardless of grades or behaviour - I think this is quite common throughout the world. I fully understand the logic behind this and wouldn’t have it any other way but sometimes I wonder if this leads students to be arrogant or perhaps unappreciative of their opportunity to receive an education.
    It is compulsory for every student to stay in school at least till year 10. After that, they can quit if they take up an apprenticeship in a trade, be it plumbing or hairdressing or a mechanic etc. I quite like that system because academia is simply not for everyone and forcing a student who is simply not interested in school but interested in something else or doesn’t have the chops to finish high school is wasting their time and ours. There isn’t a stigma or shame attached to quitting to do an apprenticeship which is fantastic, because we (society) hold our tradespeople in high regard and pay them well.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  14. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,330
    Likes Received:
    807

    Apr 21, 2018

    I'm also writing from the perspective of a U.S. teacher. Since I began teaching in the 80's, I've noticed increased blame upon teachers and schools for anything that occurs in the classroom. I've also seen media reports that exaggerated or even falsified school procedures. Increasingly, the media will focus on one school or one classroom, add or subtract pertinent information, then use this as an example of the average classroom. This all began from the myth that the U.S. is underperforming in comparison to most other countries, even though those same countries look to the U.S. for guidance in how we teach and some of those countries do not test the same groupings of students that we test. From this, a political push has developed to hold schools responsible for obtaining unrealistic goals.

    In early childhood, we've moved from being ready to read, to ready or not here we go. In elementary school, we've moved from understanding and application to GIGO, get it in the brain and then get it out on paper. I realize I purposefully twisted a computer term, but I fear the results do match the literal computer interpretation, garbage in, garbage out. Conditioned performance on paper does not always equal understanding and application. Interestingly enough, while students are increasingly being programmed to only perform specific tasks, computers are now being programmed to learn as a human brain would learn, through experience and application--that's quite a reversal, I would think.

    Much, much, much of the differences in learning and behavior among students, although again being blamed on the teachers, is the result of modern lifestyle. Research points to nutrition (currently, especially a lack of tryptophan), lack of physical exercise and creative outdoor play, excessive screen manipulation of brains (especially if it results in the increase in size of the lower brain and shrinkage of the upper brain), lack of communication (especially from birth to age 3), and excessive dopamine indulgence resulting in improper brain functioning. The worst modern problem I've seen is the dissection between children and their parents. When I listen to children converse with each other and when I conference with parents, I often sense there are two different worlds abiding in the same household, and sometimes most of the day they are not even in the same household. Although I do not believe the solution is governmental control of families or children, I also do not believe that teachers are capable of replacing the parents! (But then again, that's been sneaking into schools, too. I remember when we were first instructed to supply fluoride pills to certain students. Are the parents too stupid to visit a drug store and pick up their own supply of pills?) Teachers cannot replace the parents and teachers cannot reverse modern society.
     
  15. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    348

    Apr 21, 2018

    In the UK teachers are constantly beaten about our poor Pisa scores. Yet we know that, like you, our schools have to take everyone (apart from the 7% who go private). Whereas in some of the countries higher up the table they select their students or select the regions where the testing will take place (China do this). Then they conveniently forget that when we were in the top 5 countries very few countries actually took part, now many more do. Also the testing itself is very biased.

    My experience of US schools is confined to Chicago. There I saw some of the best teaching ever and also one or two classes where I felt like pushing the teacher out of the door and taking over the class!

    The UK and USA also seem to be hell bent of copying the very worst of each other's systems. We copied Charter schools from you and they are a disaster, you copied our National Curriculum (I think you call it common core). This has also been a disaster for us because instead of using it to improve the education of the kids it has been used to quantify schools and force them into competition rather than co-operation.
     
    Obadiah and Backroads like this.
  16. rpan

    rpan Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    470

    Apr 21, 2018

    We have the Australian Curriculum where public schools in most states teach the same curriculum. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, there’s some sort of continuity for transient students who move from state to state or need to enrol in distance education because they are in remote locations and there’s a national standard for what students need to know. However, teachers are free to interpret the curriculum and have pedagogical freedom as long as we teach to the curriculum and help students meet the required outcomes.
    Like the UK, Australia isn’t as high up the world rankings as it used to be but I’m not sure if it’s because we too have to take every student in our zone of enrolment. There are countries who are high up the ranking like Singapore that also have to take everyone in their zone of enrolment and teach a national curriculum.
    I think it’s the attitude that students have towards education that is the major difference. Students in any country and any system who take their education seriously and value their learning will do well no matter where they are and what they do.
     
    blazer likes this.
  17. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,286
    Likes Received:
    1,638

    Apr 21, 2018

    I honestly don't know how to answer this. I wanted to say "oh, junior high" but is that fair?

    I don't like the idea of teachers forcing tracks, nor do I like the idea of third graders or whatever picking tracks.

    Honestly, I think the best middle ground would be to teach your essential reading, writing, 'rithmetic in elementary school along with what ought to be some good research schools, and then jr. high and high school should have a nice strong blend of academic and trade courses. Either way, theoretically the student would get the desired experience.
     
  18. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,286
    Likes Received:
    1,638

    Apr 21, 2018

    Regarding China, my understanding is that they have been trying for decades to copy western education systems (not all of them, but they actually do see a lot they admire that they want) but have the entire freakin' Chinese culture against it.
     
  19. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    516

    Apr 22, 2018

    I've not heard this perspective before - sounds interesting. Can you elaborate?
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
  20. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    348

    Apr 22, 2018

    I had no problem with the National Curriculum when it was introduced in the early 90s. As you say it should give a standardised experience to the kids and make transitions between schools easier. However in the UK as soon as it and the Standardised tests (SATS) were introduced it was used to put schools into league tables. Then the league position was used to identify 'bad' schools without taking the context of the schools into consideration. 30 years on and we have a system where kids as young as 6 are hothoused and coached for these tests to improve the league position of the school. This has skewed the curriculum so that in some years of school the kids only intensive do English and Maths (The SATS subjects).
     
    Backroads likes this.
  21. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    348

    Apr 22, 2018

    Colleagues who have visited Chinese schools tell me that for many it is classes of 200 with standard lessons, the same for all with no differentiation. Chanting from the front and rote learning. Perhaps the lucky (rich) few get a better education.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  22. rpan

    rpan Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    470

    Apr 22, 2018

    We have national standardised tests too, every 2 years, to track the progress and growth of a student as they advance in their schooling. Schools are also put into league tables so there is a lot of pressure on the schools and students to perform well in these tests. It gives students a lot of stress which I don’t necessarily agree with. I like the idea of being able to track a student’s progress in literacy and numeracy from year 3 onwards but the league tables bother me some. Schools with similar SES and circumstances such as enrolment numbers, percentage of indigenous students etc. are compared with each other but I think it’s more complicated than that. Schools are living and breathing and are more than the sum of their “numbers”. Things like school culture, staff morale are important but those aren’t necessarily looked at.
     
  23. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    348

    Apr 22, 2018

    Then add onto that an inspection regime (We call ours OFSTED) who turn up at the school, look at the data and then trash the school placing even more pressure on the staff and kids. No wonder we are having a teacher recruitment crisis in the UK. At the top end older teachers are either fleeing or being fired as they are too expensive and at the lower end youngsters are not signing up to teacher training and 60% of those that do leave within 5 years! A few years back they actually tried using contextually derived data and guess what, those 'outstanding' schools suddenly plummeted down the league whilst those in struggling areas with challenging kids correspondingly jumped up the tables. Cue much wailing from the middle classes and they returned to using raw data for comparisons! You can't possibly have Hell High above Leafy Suburb Grammar in the league!
     
  24. rpan

    rpan Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    470

    Apr 22, 2018

    League tables are bad enough as it is, but having a league table that is meaningless because it’s not comparing apples with apples, what’s the point?
     
  25. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    516

    Apr 22, 2018

    Reminds me of the time I had 40 middle school students with some having to sit on the floor - principal didn't seem to care. Around 12 different languages were spoken by the English-language-learners. Don't recall doing much differentiation and I must admit to doing most of my teaching at the chalkboard! However, it would be wrong for anyone to characterize all American classrooms to be like mine was. For my first teaching assignment, I had to wait for the room to be fumigated for rats (found a dead one in a desk drawer!) and at the end of my career, I had 40 students on my special ed. caseload, double the the district average. Again, it would be inappropriate to draw any conclusions from my experiences.

    Having worked in a profession in which few veins of gold exist, I was always on the lookout for even the smallest nuggets in the most unlikely of places. This required making a conscious effort to put aside my personal biases, preconceived notions and opinions in search of useful teaching practices that I could use with my own students. The endless inevitable debate over different schools, districts and educational systems is often just an academic exercise (and often not even that), with highly-opinionated individuals making sweeping generalizations to discredit and dismiss different instructional approaches that they disagree with. Unfortunately, such a narrow, unintellectual perspective leaves little room for improvement at all levels which has contributed to us having to wallow in our own "hot mess".

    Every educational system has its pros and cons, with usually more of the latter. I believe it would be significantly more productive if we all made an effort to look for the positive aspects of a system, instead of falling into the widespread habit of focusing on the negatives. Of course, successful mining for nuggets requires an in-depth knowledge of what to look for and that is not always easy to acquire without sufficient motivation. Would you rather be an educational gold miner or just another naysayer? If you'd like to join me, I've got plenty of extra shovels. "There's gold in them thar hills!!!"
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
    Obadiah and Backroads like this.
  26. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    348

    Apr 22, 2018

    The point is
    a) To get rid of expensive teachers
    b) To fail schools so that they can be forced to become Academies (Charters) to make vast profits for companies and individuals that donate into the Government party funds.
    c) Once acadamies then replace qualified teachers with unqualified and cheaper staff which increases B.
     
  27. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,286
    Likes Received:
    1,638

    Apr 22, 2018

    Sure. For eons, the Chinese education system has been a very structured thing with the purpose of getting people (and their parents due to the culture) into higher social positions. That doesn't necessarily fit the Chinese current life just because China has indeed changed, but the intense schooling that no longer necessarily goes so far is still apart of the mentality. China does recognize they have a lot of stress, a lot of inequality problems, etc, because of the system. Suicides, cheating, violence, family break-downs... they do admire some of the more relaxed systems of Western education and in many Chinese schools you are seeing more of this. I read a couple of books on the subject--The best one is "Little Soldiers" where the author was interviewing education government officials about how when they to make what seems like a good idea from western systems, it's actually the families and students that tend to flip out, which makes it so hard. It's not that they hate all of their education system, but they would like to change parts of it.
     
  28. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,286
    Likes Received:
    1,638

    Apr 22, 2018

    Yeah, this is what I understand, too.

    There are people that do want to change it up to reach more students!
     
  29. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,330
    Likes Received:
    807

    Apr 22, 2018

    I agree. Very interesting book!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Backroads,
  2. dr.gator
Total: 469 (members: 2, guests: 446, robots: 21)
test