Center on International Education Benchmarking

1.OECD Report Synthesizes Research on the Science of Learning

A new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) synthesizes research on the science of learning and outlines the implications of that research for policy and practice. Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. National Science Foundation, the report, “Developing Minds in the Digital Age,” focuses on three areas: the role of the environment in learning, including the importance of social-emotional interactions in learning; new technologies to enhance learning; and the training needed to translate findings from the science of learning into policy and practice. Read the report here.


2. New Zealand: More Teachers Entering and Staying in Profession


New data from the Ministry of Education show that more people are training to be teachers, more teachers are entering the workforce and more teachers are staying in the profession. According to data from 2018, nearly 400 more New Zealand students started teacher training compared to 2017, almost a 10 percent increase after years of declines. Additionally, the total number of teachers in the country increased by more than 1000, adding to the 70,000-person teaching workforce. Data also show upwards of 94 percent of seasoned teachers and more than 80 percent of beginning teachers will be in the profession after three years. Despite these positive findings, New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said there was still work to be done to make teaching a more viable, long-term career choice. “An increase in the number of people training to be teachers is welcome, but there’s a long way to go when you consider how far numbers had dropped over the past five years, and the projections for increased student numbers,” Stuart said. Read more in EducationHQ New Zealand.

3. Japan to Hire More Subject Specialist Teachers in Elementary Schools

Under Japan’s current system, homeroom teachers at elementary schools teach most subjects to their classes. However, some subjects, such as music and science, are taught by specialist teachers. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Technology is considering expanding this system in fifth and sixth grade to cover other specialized subjects, including English which will become compulsory at elementary schools in the 2020 academic year. The primary goal is for the proposal to lead to higher quality lessons delivered by subject matter experts. It is also hoped this will help alleviate the workload of homeroom teachers, many of whom are categorized by the government as dangerously overworked. The expansion of subject-based teacher assignments would require an overall review of the way teachers are assigned to schools as well as the teaching credential system, and Education Minister Masahiko Shibayama has asked an advisory panel to deliberate on these issues. Read more at The Mainichi.

Masahiko Shibayama, Japan's Education Minister
Masahiko Shibayama, Japan's Education Minister

4. Alberta: United Conservatives Promise Broad Education Reforms

Jason Kenney, incoming Premier of Alberta
Jason Kenney, incoming Premier of Alberta

Jason Kenney led the United Conservative Party to win elections this week in Alberta, and will be the next Premier of Alberta.  Kenney has promised to roll back many of the reforms Rachel Notley’s New Democratic Party instituted. This includes pausing the current K-12 curriculum review and reinstituting more provincial testing. Kenney ran on a “back to basics” education platform, advocating curriculum focused on math algorithms and phonics. He also promised to expand charter schools and legislate public funding for private schools. For more, see The Edmonton Journal.

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