Comparative Analysis of Global Education V.K.

United State of America

Effective and Scalable Teacher Supports, Resources, and Tools

  • Title One programs offer additional funding for supplies, programs, and additional training to schools with higher percentages of low income families.
  • Generally teachers must have a bachelor's degree and certification in a specified area for their position. School districts also require extended degrees and training to maintain certification after date of hire.

Language Instruction

  • School lessons are primarily taught in the English language.
  • Additional classes for foreign language may be offered. These classes are generally offered as an elective on a secondary level.

Whole-School Models

  • There are public (governed primarily on an individual state level,) private schools, or parents may choose to instruct their children at home.
  • The average class size varies, but is general 25 students.
  • The average school day is six and a half hours.
  • Federal law requires that students must attend school until ages sixteen or eighteen, depending on the state regulations. Afterwards, students may apply to attend college or vocational training.
  • Pre-Kindergarten is offered to some children through federal funding.
  • Students may apply to receive government or independent funding to assist with education after secondary schooling.
  • Students with disabilities are provided additional support preferably within the general education classroom.
  • Teachers generally teach a different group of children each school year.

Networking and Recognizing Districts, Schools, and educators to drive implementation and innovation

  • Special Education and support staff offer addition assistance for students in and outside of the classroom setting to further ensure progress.
  • Throughout the years their have been multiple incentives for school districts to increase assessment scores.
  • Routine standardized assessments are a valued method by which schools' effectiveness are gaged.

Global Experiences for Students and Educators

  • There has been a significant push for teachers to create an environment in which their students are able to grow as global citizens.
  • Teachers are receiving the knowledge and materials to create opportunities for both them and their students to collaborate globally using technology.

Finland

Effective and Scalable Teacher Supports, Resources, and Tools

  • Teacher's must have a master's degree. This degree, however, is subsidized by the Finish government.
  • Teaching positions are held to a high standard. Those applying must have ranked within the top 10% of their classes. According to the Center on International Education Benchmarking (CIEB), one tenth of the students who apply to teacher programs are admitted.
  • Per day, teachers are allotted on average 2 hours of planning and reflection. While the average school day working with students is 4 hours long.

Language Instruction

  • Students are immediately immersed in Finnish language education upon enrollment in school.
  • The second official language of Finland is Swedish. Swedish instruction begins at 9 years old.
  • English instruction begins at age 11 years old.
  • It is common for instruction on a third language to begin at 13 years old.

Whole-School Models

  • All schools are funded publicly.
  • The average class size is twenty students.
  • Students are heterogeneously grouped.
  • There is an emphasis on physical activity and relaxation: longer recess times and fifteen minute breaks between classes.
  • Both students and teachers are encouraged to practice self reflection and goal setting.
  • Teacher's aids assist, within the general classroom, with learning or behavioral disabilities and immigrants to Finland that may need additional help with language studies.
  • Teachers generally worked with the same group of students for five years.

Networking and Recognizing Districts, Schools, and educators to drive implementation and innovation

  • Assessment of primary age students generally takes place within the classroom as determined by classroom teachers.
  • There are no required, national standardized tests until higher education levels (upper secondary education). Even at this level, they are limited.
  • Finish schools and classes are not competitive or ranked according to academic ability.
  • Educational governing is decentralized. The local school systems themselves are responsible for the majority of their budget, curriculum, programs, and such.

Global Experiences for Students and Educators

  • "...human rights, quality, democracy, natural diversity, preservation of environmental viability, and the endorsement of multiculturalism" are the values held in high esteem as indicated in the National Core Curriculum of Basic Education.
  • Teachers are encouraged to experience other parts of the world. They are given the opportunity to share their pedagogical knowledge and become immersed in programs other than their own. One such program is FinAl, the Finland-Alberta Partnership. This is an exchange program between Finland and Canada. Another program is CIMO’s North-South-South (NSS). This is between Finland and Africa.

China

Effective and Scalable Teacher Supports, Resources, and Tools

  • There are public and private schools.
  • Resources and teacher expectations vary greatly from some rural to city regions.
  • Teachers are highly revered.
  • It is not uncommon for teachers to be offered large additional sums of payment by families for tutoring outside of school hours. This is not encouraged by their school system.

Language Instruction

  • English language instruction usually beings in third grade.
  • There is a strong emphasis on students learning English primarily to assist with taking tests. The focus is frequently not using English for conversational skills.
  • The majority of schools only offer English as an option for foreign language class.

Whole-School Models

  • There is a strong focus on memorization and logic skills (this focus is beginning to lessen over the years). Over half of the time in primary school is focused on math instruction.
  • The average class size is thirty to fifty students.
  • The average school day for secondary school students, is nine and a half hours, including lunch time. This does not include evening courses.
  • Teachers often work the same students for at least three years.
  • There is no one-on-one support in the general classroom.
  • Students have the right to at least nine years of education. They may also have up to three years of kindergarten. Kindergarten and primary school, may be public or privately operated.
  • It is not uncommon for parents to donate large sums of money for their child to attend more prestigious and rigorous school districts other than their own.

Networking and Recognizing Districts, Schools, and educators to drive implementation and innovation

  • Standardized assessments and exams are held in high regard. They are used to evaluate both student and teacher ability and progress. Scores may influence teacher salary.
  • Secondary school often gauge their effectiveness by the number of students that enroll in university (that have limited openings) afterwards.
  • There is a nine hour assessment (Gaokao) ,following secondary school. This exam determines what type of university or after school training program that the students will be placed.

Global Experiences for Students and Educators

  • There is a significant amount of material available online encouraging foreign citizens to apply for English teaching positions in China.
  • Recently there have also been a large number of Chinese students going to the United States to continue their education. This seems to be for the international experience and to benefit from the less stringent testing expectations in comparison to China.

Reflection

The education systems in the United States, Finland, and China have both overlapping trends and stark differences. It is difficult for me to determine which system is overall the most effective, for the primary reason that these three countries have such different populations (in number and diversity).

  • The observations among these countries that struck me as most interesting were:
  • USA and China’s focus on standardized testing was far greater than that of Finland’s. China’s focus was, however, far greater than the USA’s.
  • Although there were differences, USA and Finland’s school schedules were more closely aligned with each other than with China’s.

• Finland has a far less rigid approach to formal education than the USA and China.

Everywhere I read, there were articles praising Finland’s education system. It is important to note that their country has a significantly smaller population than the USA and China. The population of Finland is also predominantly “native” citizens. These aspects make it difficult to compare their successes to the more heavily and diversely populated, USA and China. However, I found their education system the most intriguing. I feel that perhaps our country could benefit, physically and mentally, from the lengthier breaks they provide their students and teachers in-between classes and during recess. Additionally, the concept of being provided an average of two hours a day to prepare for teaching is completely foreign but very appealing.

Side note for Dr. Jamelyn Tobery-Nystrom:

This project led me on an interesting journey. When I first began, I found the assignment requirements overwhelming. After a long and frustrating struggle, I decided that I had to narrow my focus because I wasn’t making any progress. I made the choice to simply explore three country’s education systems in general (no parameters). As I explored each country I noted any reoccurring themes within each one and among all three. I let those notes guide my research. After doing this, I then went back and attempted to organize some of my notes under the five areas of focus in the directions. I am not sure if what I’ve presented meets your expectations, however, I can assure you that I learned a great deal. I am going to continue to read beyond this assignment. Additionally, I spent time reflecting on my own practices and how I may become more globally aware and involved within my field.

Resources

Credits:

Created with images by skeeze - "world earth planet" • Beverly & Pack - "Public Domain, American Flag, Old Glory, Red White Blue, Stars & Stripes, The Star Spangled Banner" • Free Grunge Textures - www.freestock.ca - "Finland Grunge Flag" • Free Grunge Textures - www.freestock.ca - "China Grunge Flag"

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