America's blueprint for mass education has been followed across the globe - yet international student assessments show that achievement varies sharply, with the US and much of Europe typically scoring average at best. Not surprisingly, this state of affairs has sparked anxieties about an educational crisis. Adding even more fuel to the fire: many cite a growing disconnect between what schools teach and the needs of a rapidly changing market.
The problem, if there is one, is highly complex, and in these 24 thought-provoking lectures led by an associate professor of comparative and international education, you'll take a meaningful look at education around the world to understand why.
You'll go beyond prescriptions for quick fixes to engage in a detailed comparison of teaching methods and student achievement, from the focus on STEM instruction and the intent of morals education to the role of preschool and the importance of creativity. You'll discover why Finland and South Korea rank as the two best educational systems despite having diametrically opposed approaches and consider the unique challenges facing schools from America to South Africa.
You'll use internationally comparative data to identify strengths and weaknesses and to see how this information is used - and sometimes misused - to enact policies. The data and systems are not studied in a vacuum, however. Instead you'll explore how cultural, religious, socioeconomic, and historical contexts may influence these methods and whether one nation's best practice could backfire in another.
Along the way you'll contemplate questions about the goals of education and the ways teachers may help students reach them, from whether standardized testing is the best way to measure what a person is capable of to whether teachers should have a role beyond presenting academic content.
©2015 The Great Courses (P)2015 The Teaching Company, LLC