The Grattan Institute’s Ben Jensen has completed a fascinating report – for an ex-teacher! – on what works best and how it is implemented in the education systems of Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea. ‘Catching up: learning from the best school systems in East Asia’.
These systems have five steps:
1) They provide high quality initial teacher education. In Singapore, students are paid civil servants during their initial teacher education. In Korea, government evaluations have bite and can close down ineffective teacher education courses.
2) They provide mentoring that continually improves learning and teaching. In Shanghai, all teachers have mentors, and new teachers have several mentors who observe and give feedback on their classes.
3) They view teachers as researchers. In Shanghai teachers belong to research groups that continuously develop and evaluate innovative teaching. They cannot rise to advanced teacher status without having a published paper peer reviewed.
4) They use classroom observation. Teachers regularly observe each other’s classes, providing instant feedback to improve each student’s learning.
5) They promote effective teachers and give them more responsibility for learning and teaching. Master Teachers are responsible for improving teaching throughout the system.
In facing up to disadvantage the report notes four Australian schools, in particular, who are following similar collaborative paths:
The Report states the OECD’s 2008 finding that there is large gap between policy objectives and results in the classroom in many education systems. In particular:
Good to recognise great teaching