Since closing its large juvenile training schools 20 years ago, Missouri has become a model for the nation in juvenile corrections. The small scale and therapeutic, family-oriented atmosphere distinguish Missouri’s juvenile facilities from the training schools common throughout most of America.
On the face of it, Sweden’s attitude to teaching nursery children is incredibly relaxed and informal. Could the absence of testing, inspection and excessive paperwork, combined with a strong emphasis on play and relaxation, be the very secret of their success?
Watch a fascinating video report on the British Teachers TV website: Early Years Education in Sweden
Over 40 billion dollars a year is spent in Canada getting our children from Kindergarten to Grade 12,[i], yet over 40% of our youth fail to meet expected performance levels for basic subjects[ii] and almost one quarter of our children fail to graduate with their peers.[iii]. Students are disengaging grade by grade[iv], a trend illustrated by their increasing dislike for school[v], declining academic achievement[vi] and rising rates of teenage depression[vii] and suicide[viii]. Contrary to Canada’s most fundamental democratic tenets, minority and low-income children are the hardest hit[ix]. Public opinion polls show confidence in the education system is at an all-time low[x], home schooling is growing exponentially and the number of children attending private schools has doubled in the past 25 years[xi]. An ever increasing number of factors point to a deeply flawed system that is failing our youth and our society. We see this failure reflected daily on our streets, in our malls and in the news. Learn more about signs of trouble.
Rather than thinking of the brain as a computer, cognitive scientists now utilize a far more flexible, biological analogy, where the brain is seen as a unique, ever-changing organism that grows and reshapes itself in response to use. In this article, John Abbott and Terence Ryan discuss how emerging brain research that supports constructivist learning collides head-on with many of our institutional arrangements for learning.
The article first appeared in the November 1999 issue of Educational Leadership.
What Did You Do in School Today?: Transforming Canadian Classrooms Through Social, Academic and Intellectual Engagement
Through What did you do in school today?: Transforming Classrooms through Social, Academic and Intellectual Engagement, the Canadian Education Association, in partnership with the Canadian Council on Learning and school districts across Canada, are bringing life to the idea of student engagement in the classroom, and exploring its powerful relationship with adolescent learning, student achievement, and effective teaching.
A first look at the initiative’s results are presented in the initiative’s first national report – What did you do in school today?: Transforming Classrooms through Social, Academic and Intellectual Engagement, written by J. Douglas Willms, Sharon Friesen and Penny Milton, along with two supporting documents,Exploring the Concept of Student Engagement and its Implications for Teaching and Learning in Canada by Jodene Dunleavy and Penny Milton, and Teaching Effectiveness: A Framework and Rubric, by Sharon Friesen.
The basic function of education in all societies and at all times is to prepare the younger generation for the kind of adult life which that society values, and wishes to perpetuate.
By misunderstanding teenagers’ instinctive need to do things for themselves, isn’t society in danger of creating a system of schooling that so goes against the natural grain of the adolescent brain, that formal education ends up trivializing the very young people it claims to be supporting? By failing to keep up with appropriate research in the biological and social sciences, current educational systems continue to treat adolescence as a problem rather than an opportunity.
A leading expert in motivation and personality psychology, Carol Dweck has discovered in more than twenty years of research that our mindset is not a minor personality quirk: it creates our whole mental world. It explains how we become optimistic or pessimistic. It shapes our goals, our attitude toward work and relationships, and how we raise our kids, ultimately predicting whether or not we will fulfill our potential. Dweck has found that everyone has one of two basic mindsets.
If we want our youth to turn into adults that are fulfilled, literate and connected to their families, culture, and global communities—what do we need to do? If we want life-long learners, ingenious thinkers and creative problem solvers, how do we nurture those qualities? If we want kids that are passionately engaged in life and society, where do we start? And if we want a society that spends less on jails, social services, crime prevention and health care, what needs to change?
Our vision is to synthesize research and promising practices related to how humans learn and develop, in order to entirely rethink the model of education in this country.