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A lot to learn from each other

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Education systems have a lot to learn from each other. There are systems in other countries that are achieving great success, and if we can tap into that knowledge base, we'll be able to implement those solutions on our home turf. UClass.org connects teachers around the world, enabling them to share assignments and engage their students in a global community of classrooms.

This is just the start of sharing education solutions that work. UClass helps teachers with their workflow and creates opportunities for cross-cultural interactions. When we engage in these interactions, we learn from one another and enact change.

Thanks for your great post. I hope that we'll take advantage of the low-hanging fruit out there for us to improve upon what we're doing by looking to what's already working.

rLab at Burr and Burton Academy

I'll read those reports,

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I'll read those reports, Lori. Thanks for sending them on. NZ definitely values teachers. It's very collaborative and supportive environments all around from what I saw. The shared time built into the schedule to collaborate seemed paramount to their success. Many schools sport 'prep periods' for teachers but those time slots are often isolated from working with peers.

rLab at Burr and Burton Academy

Math and science were hot

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Math and science were hot topics of discussion when I was there, Jenny. Practical math (and applying math into project work) and statistics were more prominent than traditional Alg I, II and Geometry classes. Some were debating if they should teach higher level math(emetics) to all children or keep encouraging students to choose their path. Many school leaders seemed worried that decisions would be mandated Nationally. I often think of Yong Zhao's statement on Race to the Top... "of what?" It'll be interesting to see where NZ lands on math and science revisions over the coming year.

rLab at Burr and Burton Academy

The blocks of time I

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The blocks of time I mentioned were also a general layout. There were activities mixed into that block structure. One school also had 'activity Friday.' The first two blocks were for classes and the second half of the day students signed up for different things with adults. The students got to see their teachers doing other things... photography, music, poetry, traditional Maori dances, etc. The connection between students and teachers was very fun to watch. Another highlight was their mentor program for new teachers. New teachers taught half time and were assigned a master teacher for the other half of the day to build knowledge together. The new teachers also got to observe many others teach. In yr two, the teacher was released for one class period to work with a mentor. Very successful model I think. I spoke with four teachers in yr 1 or 2 and they thought the mentoring program was a great way to learn to teach.

rLab at Burr and Burton Academy

That's exactly what I found

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That's exactly what I found aotearoa for the school year calendar.

Kiwi teaching grade 8 science in Doha, Qatar

The NZ school year starts at

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The NZ school year starts at the end of January or beginning of February and ends in December. They typically have a 10 week term then a 2 week break. They do this 4 times and then have about 6 weeks for their summer break. Having taught in international schools running a US type schedule for a number of years, I have often thought that the 3 month summer break is educationally unsound because too many skills are forgotten over the summer break. My colleagues don't necessarily disagree with me but they like the long break so they can return to the USA.

MS Humanities teacher

School Year Length

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This does sound like a satisfying and fulfilling way to spend the school day (though it does indeed seem impossible to create high-caliber math and science students at that pace). But how long is the school year? Our American schedule is jam-packed for a number of reasons, but chief among them at my school is our three-month long summer break -- not to mention the two-week spring and two-week winter breaks.

WeAreTeachers Community staff person

And look at Finland, S. Korea....

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Wow, great info ... and WeAreTeachers created these two fascinating reports on Finland and S. Korea - two very different systems. Common denominator? Both cultures value teachers. Check out these quick reads here: http://bit.ly/12gu5e5

ExPat teacher in NZ

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I am an American living in NZ. Through graduate work through the University of Auckland and observations, I started to see something different goes on here than in Texas. Number one, our kids wear shoes. I am heading back to the states in a few weeks and have been subbing in an upper class Auckland Primary school that starts at year zero and continues to grade 6.
The structure is very different. WHat you listed was true. In addition their is a bigger emphasis in the whole child than academics. I have taught (or tried to) teach the native customs, taught art, became the librarian for the class, and then took the kids on a public bus (with no emergency information on the teachers) to play hokey for an hour. Is is a weekly thing. The teachers must teach sports too. That is in addition to PE. The school I am at also pulls students out all day everyday to tend to the library (I mean really scanning books etc), traditional dance, musical instruments (In addition to the music class), and the teachers even teach the kids to swim! I thought I was a pretty good teacher. I know academics, the rest.... ummmm not as well. The teacher I am working with at the moment thought I would love teaching art. I would prefer to teach math, anything.
It is crazy how little time is spent on academics, yet they are rated better in literacy- but the AMerican blow them away with science and technology! As there is only one internet from LA to here, you can imagine how slow it is. It is even worse in the rain! Actually I hope this posts with the storm outside!

Parent/Homeschool Teacher/Farmer

Excellent study, certainly

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Excellent study, certainly agree that the change of pace would be a more meaningful way to teach academics and shape character. No one benefits from cramming more into the day. I feel it has long-term negative side effects. For so many reasons. Good luck with this exploration.

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