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Showing posts from March, 2016

Learning by heart may not be best for your mind

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by Alfonso Echazarra
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills 
Some of the greatest geniuses had remarkable memories. Mozart, according to legend, sat and listened to Allegri’s “Miserere”, then transcribed the piece of music, entirely from memory, later in the day. Kim Peek, the savant who was the inspiration for the blockbuster film, Rain Man, memorised as many as 12 000 books. But unlike Mozart, who composed more than 600 works during his brief life, Peek was unable to distinguish between the relevant and the irrelevant, or discover hidden meanings and metaphors in the texts he had committed to memory.
What do these stories have to do with learning mathematics? Or, put another way: in light of these stories, how would you encourage students to learn mathematics? By understanding what mathematics concepts, procedures and formulae mean and applying them to a lot of different maths problems set in a lot of different contexts? Or by learning them by heart and applying them …

Is international academic migration stimulating scientific research and innovation?

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by Dirk Van Damme
Head of the Innovation and Measuring Division, Directorate for Education and Skills



Higher education and academic research are among the most rapidly globalising systems. Today, around 5 million students study and do research in a country other than their own, attracted by the quality of overseas universities and willing to complement their education portfolio with international experience. Employers generally value the impact international education has on the skills and mind-set of graduates, and see international experience as indispensable for future global leaders.

But in an age when governments are increasingly concerned about rising levels of migration and are making their migration policies more stringent, international student mobility is also being scrutinised. Some countries impose stricter visa requirements or limitations on the time for international students to stay in the country. Others make it more difficult for graduates to stay and work in the country…

We can do better on education reform

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by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills


A generation ago, teachers could expect that what they taught would equip their students with the skills needed for the rest of their lives. Today, teachers need to prepare students for more change than ever before, for jobs that have not yet been created, to use technologies that have not yet been invented, and to solve social problems that we just can’t imagine. And many of the world’s social and economic difficulties end up on the doorsteps of schools too.
So expectations for teachers are high. We expect them to have a deep understanding of what they teach; to be passionate, compassionate and thoughtful; to make learning central and encourage students’ engagement and responsibility; to respond effectively to students of different needs, backgrounds and mother tongues, and to promote tolerance and social cohesion; to provide continual assessments of students and feedback; and to ensure that students feel valued and …