1. Does class size really matter? [from Salon.com]
This article does justice to the complexity of all education-related debates, but requires quite careful reading as a result of that too.
Many times, people often like to suggest quick-fix solutions like smaller class sizes, more teacher-attention on individuals, testing more frequently, but education is really a much more complex ball-game than most people who haven’t stood in front of a classroom to teach can ever understand.
It’s an article that focuses on why the US education system is so far behind the Finland education system, but I managed to draw out some interesting points too for comparison with Singapore.
What they have that Singapore doesn’t:
Teaching is the most highly esteemed profession in Finland. Only 1 out of 10 who apply get in.
A high level of professionalism with a motto of “Trust through Professionalism”
Teachers all have Masters degrees on a content course that bring them to a higher level of intellectual preparation.
What Singapore has that Finland has:
A thinking-based curriculum instead of a memorization-based curriculum
Professionalism as working more collaboratively – they give their teachers time in the school day and in the the school week to work with each other, to continuously improve curriculum and lessons.
3. Give 100% (on the dangers of over-emphasizing assessment)
This is the personal blog of Samantha Douglas, a daycare teacher in Canada teaching 5-8 year old kids. This entry warns of the detrimental effects of assigning grades and assessment on kids’ motivation to learn. There are many other interesting entries in the blog on fun activities she gets her students to do and some rather thought-provoking reflections on teaching and assessment. I will definitely read through this blog again.