I have been afforded to chance to visit Chengdu, China this week as part of the Global Youth Ambassador Programme to present on;
‘Teaching and Worldwide Learning Methods: Ensuring that all pupils no matter where they are receive the best possible opportunity to learn’.
A weighty topic you may say, but as the Huxley quote postulates, travel will dispel myths and preconceptions populations may have about other locations. We in UK educational circles are all too quick to laud and acclaim other countries pedagogical approach to learning, (especially those of Scandinavia and areas of Asia), and in some areas, with good reason. PISA results in Science, Maths and Reading from 2013 clearly put areas like South Korea, Finland, Taiwan and Hong Kong at the for front of educational outcomes, but not necessarily at the cutting edge of learning. Wanting to become a lifelong learner, having the desire to wake up day to day and tackle something tough, different and ultimately be open to failure is not bred through outcomes and summative assessment alone. The UK is sometimes accused of being Stuck in the Middle in terms of the analysis from PISA, but what is our vision as a country, high results or happy children? And should we be made to choose? Isn’t a set of results is relevant to that demographic, that cohort of pupils?
A whole host of former education minsters have waxed lyrical over the abilities and curricula of those oversees, without ever really instilling next steps and action plans with which we can clearly see how to implement those strategies in our own establishments, (exception here can be the new Maths Mastery curriculum, although resources for it seem to be scarce). We can learn from each other, isn’t that something we implore our pupils to do through the multitude of peer assessment tasks? We may not be achieving the outcomes of those previously mentioned countries, but surely what we can offer pupils is meta-cognition, the ability to understand the value of learning, no matter what it is in, (the Government Apprentice Initiative is surely a great example of this?).
‘The Global Youth Ambassador Project is a network of schools with the mutual goal of sharing their learning cultures and experiences with each other. It seems the fascination about education and the delivery of learning goes both ways, with delegates from America, China, Canada, New Zealand and Australia interested in sharing teaching and learning methods and attempting to forge links and creating projects that will widen pupils’ global horizons.
I feel extremely privileged to have been afforded this chance to work with my international peers and share with them the fantastic methods of learning we have here in the UK, and that we are not stuck in the middle rather we are challenging ourselves and pupils to create learners that are resilient, resourceful, reflective and open to reciprocity and team work. It will also provide an opportunity to also instil the ideals that a numeric grading system isn’t the pinnacle, facilitating pupils to become global citizens and aware of the world around them is just as, if not more important in the modern world.
Blog posts to follow as the conference takes place, (Wifi permitting!)