Sunday, August 22, 2010

Finland versus Sweden

Finland rocks, at least when it comes to education, and at least as testified by several international surveys such as TIMSS. It confuses the hell out of me how our neighbouring country can score at the very top while Sweden comes in somewhere barely above the median. The fact that Norway and USA score even lower is not a comfort. So much money is spent on educational innovation in the US, and so many inspired and devoted teachers do their utmost to make every lesson a marvell of creativity, that it's exasperatingly frustrating that results are so poor.

This fall, I'm taking a course on mathematics instruction. It's very loosely organized, permitting me to choose my own area of interest and sources. So far, I'm leaning towards investigating these international differences, and hoping that I'll find that at least part of the explanation is differences in teaching methods. That'd be nice. That'd mean we (teachers) have at least some power to influence the results, not just so that our kids score higher than average for our school district or nation, but on an international scale.

Friday, August 13, 2010

So many theories, so little time: Direct Instruction

Action research, systematically investigating different teaching strategies, is an important part of my work - and one I enjoy very much. Usually, I find inspiration for teaching ideas in the different psychological theories of education - be they about cognitive development, motivation, or behavior management.
The problem I face right now, at the beginning of a new term when opportunities seem limitless, is to decide which theories to experiment with this year. This post if the first of several, each of which will focus on one theory or strategy of teaching.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sources of Inspiration

The idea for this blog came one day when I had happened to visit a few particularly interesting or otherwise impressive websites or blogs (and was somewhat bewildered by the variety of ideas I found there). Here are some of them.

This post will be updated continuously and will probably ultimately serve as a collection of sources for more inspiration.