I’ve often wondered why we don’t look at other countries more. If other places have such better education than ours, then why don’t we find out what they’re doing? According to PISA results (Program for International Student Assessment) in 2009 – as referenced in the video, the US is 17th in the world in reading, 30th in math, and 23rd in science. Singapore is 5th in reading, 2nd in math, and 4th in science. So, what’s so special about Singapore? This short video gives quite an enlightening introduction to the world of education on an island on the other side of the globe.
Overall Perception of Teachers
Singapore’s National Insitute of Education is an entire university devoted to preparing educators. Granted, the country is an island, but the gentleman interviewed shares that in a place where “a square foot of land is equated to gold and diamonds”, 16 hectares (40 acres) is devoted to the teaching university. He calls teacher education “the heart” of the education system in Singapore. As further proof of the importance placed on education, 20% of government spending goes toward education, and only the very top performing students are chosen to teach designated subjects in particular teaching positions.
The video shares that businesses are closely involved in the classrooms, wanting to ensure that the students are adequately prepared for the working world and that any type of career is available to them. Businesses integrate into the classrooms, even helping shape the curriculum. And it’s evident that technology is an important piece in all levels of education. For example, what appears to be a group of elementary students were using Excel weekly as part of their classroom projects.
Practice and Accountability
The video closes with some other key aspects of the Singapore educational system:
– The focus is on collaborative environments in every aspect of education.
– Visualization is emphasized, as opposed to memorization.
–The students enjoy the learning process.
– There is an absence of talk and fixation on testing and test-based accountability.
– The school system is based on collaboration and trust.
Though this was a quick video, it seems like a great place to start looking for answers, if our country is truly concerned about the future of our education system.