Education Transformation in South Korea and Finland: Lessons Learned

transformation

Reposted from TED Ideas:

Today, the American culture of choice puts the onus on parents to find the “right” schools for our kids, rather than trusting that all schools are capable of preparing our children for adulthood. Our obsession with talent puts the onus on students to be “smart,” rather than on adults’ ability to teach them. And our antiquated system for funding schools makes property values the arbiter of spending per student, not actual values. In the most successful education cultures in the world, it is the system that is responsible for the success of the student, says Schleicher — not solely the parent, not solely the student, not solely the teacher. The culture creates the system. The hope is that Americans can find the grit and will to change their own culture — one parent, student and teacher at a time.

We are prisoners of the pictures and experiences of education that we had,” says Tony Wagner, expert-in-residence at Harvard’s educational innovation center and author of The Global Achievement Gap. “We want schools for our kids that mirror our own experience, or what we thought we wanted. That severely limits our ability to think creatively of a different kind of education. But there’s no way that tweaking that assembly line will meet the 21st-century world. We need a major overhaul.”

Fifty years ago, both South Korea and Finland had terrible education systems. Finland was at risk of becoming the economic stepchild of Europe. South Korea was ravaged by civil war. Yet over the past half century, both South Korea and Finland have turned their schools around — and now both countries are hailed internationally for their extremely high educational outcomes. What can other countries learn from these two successful, but diametrically opposed, educational models?”

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