This paper clarifies complexities involved in the process of reforming teaching practices drawing on Cambodian instructional reform. Cambodia has worked on a series of instructional reforms since the 1990s, but it has been documented that traditional “chalk-and-talk” types of teaching practices are still prevalent at the classroom level. My interest in this issue evolved from a simple question: Why is there such a persistent gap between policy and practice?
Research into student-centered reforms in the context of developing countries provides various explanations for the persistence of traditional practices, such as teachers’ misunderstanding or inability to understand policy, limited educational resources, and local cultures that are not easily reconciled with Western-originating pedagogies, for example. Another explanation for the gap between policy and practice is provided by a group of researchers who claim that local actors are not passive policy implementers, but rather are actively engaged in applying, interpreting, and sometimes contesting the policy. They add that we cannot assume that an instructional policy can and must be implemented and disseminated “as is”.
In this paper, therefore, drawing on an ongoing instructional reform called Effective Teaching and Learning (ETL), I aim to understand how teachers interpret and implement national ETL policy and student-centered pedagogies. By examining official ETL documents, I found that this reform tries to bring fundamental changes in (1) how we understand teaching and learning and (2) the roles of teachers. ETL conceptualizes teaching and learning as an active, dynamic, and uncertain process rather than as a process in which teachers transmit knowledge directly into students’ heads. It also emphasizes creative and critical thinking as a result of such teaching and learning. Related to this new idea of teaching and learning, teachers are expected to play more active roles in current education reforms and to become life-long learners who learn and develop throughout their career. This shift can be understood as an effort to re-characterize the teaching profession from one comprising “experts” holding specialized knowledge and skills to one where “professionals” continue to learn and maintain high moral standards.
However, ETL involves contradictions in itself. First, based on the idea of teachers as professionals, ETL defines monthly teacher meetings as forums where participants learn in a bottom-up and cooperative manner. However, there is very limited room for teachers to design their own professional learning because a top-down teacher management system is maintained. Another contradiction lies between student-centered pedagogies and how they are reified as scripted tasks. In ETL documents, student-centered pedagogies are represented as 26 tasks, which are applicable regardless of subject area and grade level. As these tasks are quite simple and scripted, teachers can implement these tasks without really considering students’ learning needs or their learning styles. In short, this reform tries to make teaching and learning more bottom-up and relevant to the needs of learners through highly top-down implementation processes. Given these contradictions and conflicts within reform, it is no wonder teachers interpret and practice this reform differently from its original intentions.
By interviewing local stakeholders and observing monthly teacher meetings in Kratie province, it became clear that teachers reacted to the contradictions and made sense of ETL in ways that do not challenge their familiar practices. More specifically, I could categorize teachers’ responses into three patterns. The first pattern I could observe is that teachers saw ETL as techniques that are independent from student-centered philosophy. Teachers pointed (View PDF for the rest of the abstract)
The purpose of this paper is to clarify the current situation and issues regarding China’s admission regulation, “Learning in Regular Class” in public elementary and secondary schools for resident foreign students in order to reveal the extent to which this regulation has become institutionalized.
In order to promote economic development, China began to urge foreigners’ long-term residence from the 1980s, with the adoption of China’s reform and opening-up policy. Accordingly, the number of resident foreign students in public primary and secondary schools has been increasing rapidly in recent years.
However, resident foreign students in public are out of the range China’s compulsory education system according to the “Compulsory Education Law of the People's Republic of China”. Under these circumstances, “Provisional Regulations for the Foreign Students’ Admission Management of Primary and Secondary Schools”, which is the only state-level regulation for foreign student admission to Chinese elementary and secondary schools till now, was promulgated by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China in 1999.
As for fundamental admission rules for resident foreigner students, regulations prescribe that “separate classes for foreign students is generally forbidden, except in case of need for supplementary Chinese lessons”. In other words, local public elementary and secondary schools have to enroll resident foreign students into regular classes and “make them learn with Chinese students in the same class”. This fundamental admission regulation was called the “Learning in Regular Class” rule. In short, local schools have to accept resident foreign students in the light of the “Learning in Regular Class” rule, which stipulates acceptance form among resident foreign students only.
However, some school-age resident foreign students have been refused entrance to local public elementary and secondary schools in China for their lack of Chinese-language proficiency under provisions of the admission rule of “Learning in Regular Class”. Furthermore, “foreign students divisions” appeared in some elementary and secondary schools in Shanghai, which is another form of admission for resident foreign students. In sum, it is necessary to institutionalize the “Learning in Regular Class” regulation. As the first step towards this end, clarification of the current situation and issues of this rule is required.
First of all, this paper reveals the background for the enactment of “Learning in Regular Class” in China. Most resident foreign students are the children of ethnic Chinese people, and experience no language barrier. The regulation is intended to promote educational internationalization in elementary and secondary schools, and is closely associated to economic development goals. It is shown that “Learning in Regular Class” is recently being influenced by international trends toward “inclusive education”.
Second, it is clarified that as with state-level regulations, “Learning in Regular Class” in Shanghai emphasizes “learning with Chinese students together in same class” in compliance with stat-elevel regulations. It furthermore expresses a concern for “teachers’ ability to use Chinese as a foreign language of instruction”, “teaching without special measures for foreign students”, “service to resident foreign students whose parents are working in Shanghai”. These objectives were stated in regulations published by the Shanghai government in 2000, 2006 and 2007. For overseas students only, the establishment of separate classes in appointed local schools is permitted by the Shanghai government.
Third, through an investigation into the implementation of the “Learning in Regular Class” regulation in five public schools in Shanghai, it is shown that (View PDF for the rest of the abstract)
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar have traditionally been single-source economies reliant upon the export of natural resource. As the proportion of revenues from natural resource exportation began to decline, however, the states sought out alternative means of sustaining their economies, increasing their effort to integrate into the global knowledge economy and re-orienting their economic development strategies (Kumar, 2006).
During this transition, higher education has played a critical role in cultivating human capital and fostering the innovation that stimulates economic development and sustainability (The Middle East Institute, 2010). For example, the “Arab Human Development Report: Building a Knowledge Society”, a publication by the United Nations Development Programme, observes that higher education would be the best way for the Arab world, including the UAE and Qatar, to develop a pool of skilled knowledge workers in order to sustain long-term economic growth in the global knowledge economy (UNDP, 2009). However, this report also indicated that most higher education institutions in the region were failing to produce enough qualified graduates with skills that serve the needs of the emerging knowledge economy. Since public higher education institutions cannot accommodate the increasing numbers of secondary graduates, the private sector is fulfilling the demand (Bertelsen, 2009).
Given the above, a significant trend in the UAE and Qatar is to invite foreign universities to establish International Branch Campuses (IBCs). The number of IBCs worldwide has increased most in the last decade, from 24 in 2002, to 82 in 2006, to 162 in 2009, and to 200 in 2011, with 37 more slated to open by the end of 2014 (Becker, 2009; Lawton & Katsomitros, 2012). Of the providers, institutions from the top five source countries, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, France and India established 159 of 200 IBCs (Lawton & Katsomitros, 2012). There were 67 host countries in 2011 and the UAE, Singapore, China, and Qatar are the top four hosting countries. The UAE hosts 37 of 200 branch campuses and acts as the biggest host country in the world. Qatar is the fourth biggest host country in the world, hosting 10 campuses. The most significant differences between these two Gulf states and these two Asian countries is that the demand for IBCs in the Gulf states is mainly from national populations, while demand in the two Asian countries is mainly from international students. This difference is caused by the unique economic, political, social and cultural contexts of the two Gulf states.
The present paper examines commonalities and differences in IBC policy development in the UAE and Qatar, and explores factors influencing commonalities and differences by looking at their economic, political, cultural and social contexts. The first section provides a definition of IBCs in cross-border higher education. The second section examines rationales of UAE and Qatar policy development with respect to recruitment and targeting students of IBCs in the two states, by examining their local contexts. The third section identifies three major questions regarding the sustainability of IBCs in the two states.
While the relationship between school composition (i.e., school’s socioeconomic status) and student achievement has been investigated, these studies (e.g., Willms, 2010) focus to explain the association by addressing how school composition relates to school characteristics (e.g. classroom learning environments). To offer an additional explanation of how school composition is associated with the achievement gap, this study examines whether school composition differentiates students’ behavior, which could impact their academic achievement. For this purpose, the study compares two educational systems, the United States and Japan, since these two systems contrast with one another in terms of the degree of socioeconomic inequality between schools at the level of compulsory education; comparing these two different systems could help clarify the relationship between school-level socioeconomic disparities and students’ behavior. Given that there are large socioeconomic disparities between schools in the United States (e.g., Kozol, 2005), it could be hypothesized that there are socioeconomic compositional effect on students’ behavior, while a relatively weaker effect might be observed in Japan. Additionally, as attending private junior high schools increases the likelihood of gaining admission to competitive universities (Kariya, 2011), there would be a school-type effect on students’ behavior; those attending private schools are likely to be more engaged in schoolwork. This study therefore assesses how the different degrees of inequality between schools are related to students’ behavior in the two compulsory education systems, and if there is any difference between public and non-public sectors in terms of shaping students’ behavior in Japan.
The data upon which the present study is based is from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 implemented by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). It includes a nationally representative sample of each educational system: 7377 eighth grade students in 239 schools in the United States and 4312 counterparts in 146 schools in Japan. The study creates a dependent variable which identifies who spends more than four hours watching television and videos in a normal school day, as this non-academic behavior should negatively relate to students’ engagement in schoolwork and academic performance by taking time away from academic activities. To test if this behavior is under the influence of school-level factors, four multilevel logistic regression models were constructed and analyzed for each compulsory education system, respectively.
The results of the multilevel analyses indicate (1) School SES (socioeconomic status) influences if eighth grade students spend a substantial amount of time watching television/videos in the United States, (2) higher SES students in higher SES schools are less likely to demonstrate the non-academic behavior in the U.S., and (3) eighth grade students who attend private or national junior high schools are less likely to watch television and videos for long hours in Japan, implying the existence of a distinctive academic orientation in these privately or nationally run schools. These comparative findings suggest how socioeconomic disparities between schools and school types lead to the achievement gap at the level of compulsory education.
Germany is one of the few European countries to have maintained the traditional half-day school system. After the so-called PISA shock at the end of 2001, the German half-day school system was criticized and an all-day school policy was introduced. However, even after the introduction of the all-day school policy, only voluntary all-day schools increased rapidly. The half-day school system remains dominant in Germany.
This study first considers the discussions that resulted from the PISA shock from two viewpoints to show why the half-day school system has been criticized in Germany. The first viewpoint is the balance between family and work, and the second pertains to how the gap in students’ educational outcomes can be closed. At the time of the PISA shock, the decline in the birth rate in Germany was the subject of serious discussion for the first time since World War II, and would go on to become a hotly debated topic in the 2002 parliamentary elections. Additionally, the low employment rate for women was recognized as a problem in the family policy area. It has increasingly been argued by the ministry of family that under the half-day school system, these problems cannot be solved. Further, according to PISA data, Germany shows one of the strongest relationships in OECD countries between students’ educational outcomes and their social and economic backgrounds. These issues have had a major impact on the discussion around keeping the half-day school system in Germany.
In this paper, I show that these issues have led to the emergence of two patterns in all-day school policies across German federal states, one focusing on the introduction of voluntary all-day school and the other focusing on the introduction of compulsory all-day school. The majority patterns across all federal states are focusing on the introduction of voluntary all-day school, especially in the case of Berlin and the minority pattern across all federal states is focusing on the introduction of compulsory all-day school, only in the case of Bremen.
Today the introduction of the compulsory type is beginning to attract more enthusiastic attention, even though little research or evidence on this approach exists. To understand the relationship between compulsory all-day schools and gaps in students’ educational outcomes, I emphasize in Section 1 that we first need to clarify what has and has not changed as a result of the introduction of compulsory all-day school.
Before focusing on my case studies, I describe, in Section 2, the historical background of all-day school and show that they have historically been associated with the philosophy of “equality of educational opportunities” in Germany. I emphasized that the voluntary all-day school in elementary education in the context of the balance between family and work is the new characteristic given to allday schools after PISA shock.
In the next section, I describe the research method of the study and present the background and characteristics of two compulsory all-day schools in Bremen. School B is located in the center of Bremen, and parents there are greatly interested in their children’s education. Immigrant children account for about 20% of all students. School H, in contrast, is located in the suburbs of Bremen, and the majority of the parents there are people who have been unemployed for a long time. Immigrant children account for about 90% of all students. Compulsory all-day school was introduced to these very different schools at around the same time in 2004 and the principals of both schools emphasize from the beginning that all-day school should be compulsory. Despite the differences between these schools, this point was common in two schools. Therefore, I have conducted fieldwork in both schools and attempted to collect data about what has and has (View PDF for the rest of the abstract)