Posts

Showing posts from October, 2018

Why social and emotional skills matter more than ever

Image
By Javier Suarez-Alvarez
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

A mannequin dressed in a spacesuit is seated in the driver’s seat of an electric sports car. Within minutes, the car escapes Earth’s gravity, crosses the orbit of Mars, and becomes a satellite of the Sun. It may sound like a scene from a sci-fi movie, but this actually happened earlier this year. And although it was little more than a publicity stunt, the event still underscores how fast our world is changing.

The rapid pace at which technology is developing today offers both new opportunities for society to evolve, and new challenges to overcome. As the world becomes more globalised and complex, people are interacting more with different cultures, job mobility and uncertainty are on the rise, and information (or disinformation) is more widely accessible than ever before.

As our world has changed, so too have the skills necessary to navigate it. Classical academic skills such as math, reading, and science are still …

How to create apprenticeships that work

Image
by Anthony Mann
Senior Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

The OECD estimates that over the next ten to twenty years, half of all jobs will either disappear or radically transform as machines continue to automate tasks that were once performed by humans.  Many other new jobs and tasks will be created. Such upheaval in the labour market creates a new challenge for education systems: what knowledge and skills do young people today need for an unpredictable future?

One way to respond to this challenge is through work-based learning: a well-established means of combining classroom learning and skills development in the workplace. Over the last three years, our team at the OECD has worked with countries to closely examine work-based learning and identify the characteristics that make it most effective. In a series of working papers, the team has reported on how to incentivise employers to participate in work-based learning, how to best develop skills in the workplace, and how to m…

How Finnish-inspired teaching methods improved learning in a US classroom

Image
By Janet English
Academic Coach, El Toro High School


When people said Finnish teaching methods couldn’t work in American classes, I wanted to see if I could prove them wrong. So I moved to Finland on a Fulbright grant to learn how teachers there teach problem-solving skills. Then, I returned to the US to adapt these methods to my high school biology classes in southern California. The learning results were so positive and unexpected that I (literally) ran with the final exams to show the principal how well the students had succeeded!

After three years of adapting and adjusting Finnish teaching methods, my students were scoring a 97% proficiency rate in content knowledge, and had improved their problem solving skills – even in large, diverse classes.

So how did I adapt Finnish methods to an American classroom? I combined the Finnish pedagogical approach for optimizing learning with the American approach of increasing competition. The result: high rates of proficiency and increased stude…

Bridging the gender gap: what Norway can learn from other countries

Image
By Francesca Borgonovi and Soumaya Maghnouj
Directorate for Education and Skills

Drop-out rates among boys are high across many OECD countries, but the phenomenon is particularly pronounced in Norway. To a large extent, this is due to Norway’s success in providing opportunities for girls to succeed in school. Considering the progress that Norway has made in closing the gender gap for girls, it should be able to do so for boys, as well. Yet male students continue to underachieve, relative to their female counterparts, and the gap has only widened in recent years.

Our new report, The Gender Gap in Educational Outcomes in Norway, offers some possible explanations for this persistent gap, and outlines potential strategies that Norway and other countries could use to mitigate gender disparities. The report, published today, uses an international comparison analysis to paint a comprehensive portrait of academic gender disparities in Norway and select OECD countries, accounting for gender gap…

Why open admission systems don’t always lead to greater equity in higher education

Image
By Marie-Helene Doumet
Senior Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Many people think that tuition fees are the biggest hurdle for students who want to attend university. But they also face another, less obvious barrier: getting admitted to a higher education programme in the first place.

Some countries use test scores or interviews to limit the number of students entering tertiary programmes; others have opted for an “open access” approach, whereby  all students have the opportunity to attend university regardless of their previous schooling, grades, or skills. At first glance, the open access approach may seem most conducive to promoting equity in higher education – but that’s not always the case.

This month’s Education Indicators in Focus brief takes a closer look at how the various entry requirements of university admission systems impact enrolment. As the figure below makes clear, countries with the highest share of rejected applicants are also those with highly sele…

10 tidbits of teacher trivia for World Teachers' Day

Image
By Amar Toor
Communications and Digital Officer, Directorate for Education and Skills

Today is World Teachers' Day! Established by UNESCO in 1994, World Teachers' Day is an annual initiative dedicated to "appreciating, assessing, and improving the educators of the world". This year's celebration also marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognises education as a key fundamental right, and seeks to guarantee equal access to education for all children. And as this year's theme reminds us, "the right to education means the right to a qualified teacher".

In honor of today's commemoration, we've put together a list of ten teacher-related stats, based on a wide range of our research and reports on education. Check out the full list below, and be sure to take some time today to thank the teachers in your life for their critically important work.



Did you know...? 

The average class in OECD countries has 21 pupi…