Comparative Analysis of Global Education The United States, China, and Greece

Angela Walbert

CUIN 654

The United states

Population

The United States of America is home to roughly 318.9 million people. Those people identify as:

  • 77.1% Caucasian
  • 17.6% Hispanic
  • 13.3% African American
  • 5.6% Asian
  • 2.6% Multiple Races
  • 1.2% American Indian
  • 0.2% Pacific Islander (Population, 2016)

Teacher Supports, Resources, and Tools

Education is a state-level decision. Because of this, funding and resources vary greatly from state to state. Some federal programs are in place to ensure equal opportunity for all students.

  • Every Student Succeeds Act- signed by President Obama to encourage equal opportunity among students
  • Title I programs are available for schools in low income areas.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Act- requires schools to serve students with disabilities

In Maryland, resources and tools vary by county. In Allegany County, special education inclusion teachers work to ensure each student is in their least restrictive environment. Additional programs such as Fundations, Wilson, Orton-Gillingham, and ERI are used to help students reach their potential.

Language Instruction

  • 37 states and Washington, D.C. implemented dual language programs
  • In some states, seals of biliteracy given to students who can speak more than one language on high school diplomas.
  • Non-native English speaking families are often hesitant to choose dual language programs because of fear of success in English
  • (Dual Language Instruction)

Whole School Models

  • Public Schools
  • Charter Schools
  • Magnet Schools (Specialized in one area)
  • Virtual (online) Schools
  • Language Immersion Schools
  • Montessori Schools
  • Religious Schools

Depending on your location within the United States, one or more of these options will be available. Areas with larger diverse populations will typically have more options available.

Recognizing Districts, Schools, and Educators

  • Teacher of the year recognition- Districts select a TOY candidate, who then competes for state and national Teacher of the Year Award.
  • National Blue Ribbon Schools- recognized for closing achievement gaps

Global Experiences

  • Multiple private companies offering global teacher exchange programs
  • Many states and districts bringing in teachers from other countries
  • Allegany County, MD has several teachers from China to support Chinese Immersion Program

CHina

Population

China is home to roughly 1.357 billion people. Those people identify as:

  • 91.6% Han Chinese 91.6%
  • 1.3% Zhuang 1.3%
  • 7.1% other (includes Hui, Manchu, Uighur, Miao, Yi, Tujia, Tibetan, Mongol, Dong, Buyei, Yao, Bai, Korean, Hani, Li, Kazakh, Dai and other nationalities) (The World Factbook: China, 2017)

Teacher Supports, Resources, and Tools

  • Government mandates that all students must attend school for nine years
  • Some areas have special schools and classes to help students keep up in regular classrooms.
  • Rural areas don't have as many resources, so they special education students are included in the regular classroom.
  • Classroom teachers are often not trained in special education. (Shanghai-China)

Language Instruction

  • Main language spoken is Mandarin
  • Most elementary students are taught English lessons by third grade
  • In regions where most students do natively speak Mandarin, instruction is given in Mandarin and the native language. (Michael)
  • Once students get to junior high, they can choose to learn English, Japanese, or Russian. (Michael)

Whole School Models

  • Public Schools
  • International Schools
  • Boarding Schools
  • After School Tutoring- Most students will attend tutoring sessions to enhance their school day material.

Recognizing Districts, Schools, and Educators

  • Key Schools- Key schools are schools that were known to be top performers. They received priority funding, bright students, and the best teachers. This practice was stopped, but top schools still receive better resources than underperforming ones today.
  • Teachers in China are very respected by the public. Students and parents will not disrespect teachers in any way.

Global Experiences

  • Teach in China program through China Education Assosciation for International Exchange
  • Multiple student exchange programs available if your family is wealthy
  • Students must pass the "gaokao" college entrance exam to attend university.

Greece

Population

Greece is home to roughly 11.03 million people. Those people identify as:

  • 93% Greek
  • 7% other (foreign citizens) (The World Factbook: Greece)

Teacher Supports, Resources, and Tools

  • Diagnostic Assessment and Support Centers provide staff to help special education students in the mainstream classroom.
  • Most special education students are fully included.
  • There may be integration classes on an as-needed basis.
  • Special education students may be vocationally trained according to their SEN (special education needs) (Greece)
  • Students are assessed at a KEDDY center.
  • KEDDY centers provide early intervention, home support, and teacher direction for individual students.
  • Many students attend study classes to prepare for college entrance exams.

Language Instruction

  • Students are taught English as their first foreign language. This starts as soon as they enter primary school at 6 years old.
  • Once they get to secondary school, they continue to learn Greek and English, but they add a second foreign language such as French or German.
  • There are a few schools that cater to ethnic groups and languages. These schools have teachers who are fluent in the students' languages. (D., & E.)

Whole School Models

  • Public schools run by the Ministry of Education
  • Private schools
  • International Schools

Recognizing Districts, Schools, and Educators

  • Teaching is a respected profession in Greece.
  • Teaching is a popular profession because of the job security, salary range, and general unrest of the country's financial state. Incentives are not needed to attract more people to the profession.
  • Education is designed at a national level. The curriculum is the same across all public schools. Textbooks are printed by a central agency. Because of this commonality, no school or district incentives are given. (Stylianidou, Bagakis, & Stamovlasis)

Global Experiences

  • Many independent teacher exchange programs
  • Student foreign exchange programs such as LEADGreece
  • College entrance exams must be passed to attend university.

Reflection

In the first five years of my teaching career, I have taught at multiple types of schools. I started at an affluent school with great parent support. Then, I moved to an inner city school with practically no home support and high poverty. I am currently teaching in a small, rural school with high poverty rates, but the parental support is strong. Throughout these three experiences, I have seen first-hand what differences like these make in student attitude and success.

Through my research, I have drawn the conclusion that special education students are included in mainstream classrooms whenever possible. This seems to be a global trend. A difference that I noticed, however, is that in China and Greece, those special education students are only mainstreamed to a point. Then they are given vocational training depending on their skill sets. This is a great option to teach them valuable skills and make them contributing members of society.

It is also very apparent that other countries are very far ahead of us in the language department. Children are learning foreign languages in elementary school in other countries. In the United States, students don't begin foreign language instruction until junior or senior high school. This helps students from other countries be successful in schools that are not taught in their native language. Dual language schools in the USA are hard to find unless you are in a very heavily populated area.

Another trend I found interesting was that in both China and Greece, the education system was run by a central agency called a "ministry." In the United States, curriculum, resources, and support are governed at a state level; this means those things vary greatly from state to state. Other countries seem to have a much clearer idea of what their students should be able to do when they graduate secondary school and take college entrance exams. Common Core Standards were a step in the direction of getting all states on the same page, but it didn't go over very well. Hopefully, we can unite as a country in the future so all students have the same opportunities, regardless of the state they live in.

In my research, I found that technology is a huge focus of education. Since education is such a priority in China, students and teachers tend to have the materials and technology they need to create 21st century learners. Greece is making efforts to increase their technology use as well, passing laws that mandate the use of internet and technology tools in schools. In the United States, I feel that budget constraints are holding us back from being fully integrated with technology. Some districts are 1:1 with technological devices. Unfortunately, my district is more along the lines of 6:1; we simply don't have the funds to purchase and maintain that many devices.

This class has opened my eyes to a new aspect of teaching. I have had to adjust my way of thinking and planning lessons to better suit the diverse learners of my class. It has challenged me to change what I have been taught to think about poverty. It has also allowed me to search for and find technological tools that will help me reach my students in a more complete way. I'm excited to use what I have learned so far to improve my instruction!

References

Population estimates, July 1, 2016, (V2016). (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045216/00

Dual Language Instruction: An Overview (Part I). (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from http://www.colorincolorado.org/blog/dual-language-instruction-overview-part-i

The World Factbook: CHINA. (2017, January 12). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ch.html

Shanghai-China: Education for All. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from http://ncee.org/what-we-do/center-on-international-education-benchmarking/top-performing-countries/shanghai-china/shanghai-china-education-for-all/

Michael, R. (n.d.). Education in China. Retrieved March 26, 2017, from http://wenr.wes.org/2016/03/education-in-china-2

The World Factbook: GREECE. (2017, January 12). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gr.html

Greece - Special needs education within the education system. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from https://www.european-agency.org/country-information/greece/national-overview/special-needs-education-within-the-education-system

Special Needs Education in Greece - Greece. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from https://www.angloinfo.com/how-to/greece/family/schooling-education/special-needs-education

D., & E. (n.d.). Greece - Educational System-overview. Retrieved March 26, 2017, from http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/543/Greece-EDUCATIONAL-SYSTEM-OVERVIEW.html

Stylianidou, F., Bagakis, G., & Stamovlasis, D. (February 2004). ATTRACTING, DEVELOPING AND RETAINING EFFECTIVE TEACHERS OECD ACTIVITY COUNTRY BACKGROUND REPORT FOR GREECE . Country Background Report for Greece. Retrieved March 26, 2017, from https://www.oecd.org/edu/school/greece.pdf

Credits:

Created with images by Andrew Choy - "White House" • neiljs - "Tiananmen Square, Beijing - 北京" • PublicDomainPictures - "orthodox greece church" • kevin dooley - "Reflection" • Vivanista1 - "library"

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