Year in review: a look back at our most popular posts of 2018

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


Photo credit: Element5/Unsplash
It's been another productive year here at the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills, and we're gearing up for an even busier 2019. Next year, we'll release new data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) and the annual Education at a Glance publication, in addition to our steady stream of working papers and policy briefs.

We'll cover all the latest news here on Education and Skills Today, with insights from OECD analysts and experts from across the world of education. But before we look too far ahead, here's a look back on some of our most popular posts from 2018.

In our most popular post of the year, OECD Education and Skills Director Andreas Schleicher describes his visit to a truly unique school in Japan:

“At Kosen schools, learning is both cross-curricular and student-centred, and teachers are mainly coaches, mentors, facilitators and evaluators. This is not one of those contrived, one-week projects that have now become quite fashionable in many schools around the world; on the contrary, Kosen students will typically work for several years on developing and realising their big ideas.”

Guest author Janet English writes about what she learned in adapting Finnish teaching methods to her classroom in California:

"[H]ow 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 student motivation to solve problems."

Drawing on recent PISA findings, analyst Alfonso Echazarra notes that although Internet connectivity is increasing across the globe, it appears to have various effects for different student groups: 

"However, this greater connectivity may not necessarily be good news for disadvantaged students. In every school system, students who reported using the Internet more frequently, particularly on school days, scored lower in science than students who reported using the Internet less frequently." 

Reflecting on her own experience as a teacher in Hungary, analyst Nora Révai makes a compelling case for how strong standards can improve teaching:

"When I started teaching English in my native Hungary, I was excited, confident, and maybe a bit nervous, about managing a group of students and helping them grow. My first year went well: I established good relationships, my students were actively engaged in their learning, and they made huge progress. A year later... the experience was entirely different."

Andreas Schleicher, OECD Chief of Staff Gabriela Ramos, OECD Deputy Secretary General Ludger Schuknecht and Stefano Scarpetta, head of the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, argue for a more nuanced view of migrants and the skills they bring to their new homes:

"On television, in newspapers and on social media, migrants are often described in blanket terms: they’re mostly unskilled, they have little chance of integrating in their host country, and they are a burden on the public purse because they rely on benefits more than they contribute to financing them. It’s a broad generalisation, and it often forms the basis of a polarised debate. But the data tell another, more differentiated story."

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