Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Shanghai have some of the world’s highest ranked education systems – so why are they undergoing drastic reform?

Those who remember Yong Zhao from NZEI’s Annual Meeting a few years, will recall his insightful and inspired take on education reform.

In this report, the Mitchell Professorial Fellow investigates three decades of education changes in East Asia and draws out the lessons that really matter for New Zealand and other nations.

Empathy matters

Researchers at three Finnish universities are studying the impact of the empathy that teachers show to children, finding that empathy may help improve children’s academic achievement more than class size or educational materials.

Aussies knock open plan

In Australian news this week, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that open plan classrooms have caused nothing but trouble for many schools. and the walls are going up again:  They knocked down walls to revolutionise learning and now they are putting them up again.

Charter school horror story

An article in the latest issue of the AEU Victorian Branch magazine (p16), tracks the evolution of US charter schools. Its reports that the latest iteration, digital classrooms, is a horror story. The new ‘Rocketship’ charter school management group employs entry-level teachers and non-teachers at $15 an hour to supervise up to 150 pupils at a time via networked tablets. It also adds insight into developments in New Orleans, where the entire public school system was replaced with charter schools, post Katrina, and which is often hailed by proponents as a success. Apparently not one of the new schools as an ‘A’ rating from education authorities, and most are ‘D’ or ‘F’.