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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2003): Education - Overseas

EDUCATION OF SIX YEAR OLDS IN ENGLAND, DENMARK AND FINLAND: AN INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE STUDY

Ofsted

London: 2003 (HMI 1660)

Study aims to prompt debate over early schooling. Looks at teaching and learning, the curriculum, what is expected of six-year-olds, especially in literacy and numeracy, and the professional autonomy of teachers in England, Denmark, and Finland. Inspectors found that in Finland and Denmark the curriculum was less centrally defined than in England, giving teachers more freedom to adapt it to their pupils' needs. Much more is expected of English six-year-olds in reading, writing and mathematics, but less in oral work. In contrast, the curriculum for six-year-olds in Finland and Denmark centres on the children's social, physical and moral development. Teachers in those countries also experience fewer discipline problems and have to meet no national testing or performance targets.

A HEART TO LEARN AND CARE? TEACHERS' RESPONSES TOWARD SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN IN MAINSTREAM SCHOOLS IN HONG KONG

V. Pearson and others

Disability and Society, vol. 18, 2003, p.489-508

Article examines problems associated with introducing integrated education into Hong Kong's mainstream schooling system. Data were gathered through a questionnaire survey combined with individual and group interviews. Results showed that pupils with a learning difficulty and/or behavioural problems pose more challenges to teachers than those with a physical disability. Teachers with both types of special needs children in a class face more problems in maintaining discipline, have a greater workload and struggle to manage the disparate academic standards among students. Teachers in schools with extra funding, staff trained in special needs education, additional counselling resources and specialist support were more accepting of inclusion policies.

INTEGRATION OF STUDENTS WITH SEVERE AND PROFOUND LEARNING DISABILITIES INTO THE COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL SYSTEM: TEACHERS' PERCEPTIONS OF THE EDUCATION REFORM IN FINLAND

M. Jahnukainen and A. Korhonen

International Journal of Disability Development and Education, vol.50, 2003, p.169-180

Until August 1997 students with severe intellectual disabilities were educated by social welfare services outside the mainstream education system. Study investigated how teachers viewed the transfer of responsibility for organising the education of this group to the mainstream education system one year after the reform. Results showed that students with severe learning disabilities were seldom integrated into the mainstream classroom. Few teachers thought this was the best place for them; about 80% thought they were best placed in special classes located in mainstream schools.

MULTICULTURAL POLICY AS SOCIAL ACTIVISM: REDEFINING WHO "COUNTS" IN MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION

L. Johnson

Race, Ethnicity and Education, vol.6, 2003, p.107-121

Presents an historical study of multicultural policy in New York schools from the 1930s to the 1990s. Uses policy documents and archival materials to document the social and political context of multicultural policy making and the influence of teachers, community advocates and parents on policy development. Covers the intercultural education movement of the 1930s and 1940s, the community control movement of the 1960s and the Children of the Rainbow curriculum controversy of the 1990s.

THE NEOLIBERAL EDUCATIONAL AGENDA AND THE LEGITIMATION CRISIS: OLD AND NEW STATE STRATEGIES

X. Bonal

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.24, 2003, p.159-175

In the context of globalisation and hegemonic neoliberalism, the state's ability to legitimate the economic system and its own policies cannot be assumed as a positive automatic effect. The emergence of a new order implies a shift in the strategies used by the nation state to legitimate its policy-making. However nation states do not react to their legitimation problems using the same strategies. Institutional and national factors play a crucial role in determining state legitimation strategies in education and other policy fields.

THE QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK IN NEW ZEALAND: REPRODUCING EXISTING INEQUALITIES OR DISRUPTING THE POSITIONAL CONFLICT FOR CREDENTIALS

R. Strathdee

Journal of Education and Work, vol.16, June 2003, p.147-164

In New Zealand, the Labour-Alliance Coalition government has argued that globalisation and the introduction of new technology underpin a need to lift standards of educational achievement, especially for Maori students. To effect this, the government announced that the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) would be the major qualification offered to secondary school students from 2002. This is designed to raise standards, create a lifelong learning culture, increase the status of vocational subjects and convey useful information to employers. It is intended to create flexible learning pathways by opening the training market to employers who will be able to deliver vocational training linked to the new awards. While it will be compulsory for all students in state-funded schools in New Zealand to study towards the NCEA, the academically inclined will be able to gain additional qualifications through another new award, New Zealand Scholarship.

SCHOOLING THE MOBILE GENERATION: THE FUTURE OF SCHOOLS IN THE MOBILE-NETWORKED SOCIETY

N. Selwyn

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.24, 2003, p.131-144

Presents a detailed consideration of the impact of mobile technologies such as phones and palm-top computers on schools and schooling by comparing the "fixed" nature of schools and the apparently empowering nature of "mobile" technologies, which can provide access to information via the world wide web anytime, anywhere.

STAFF DEVELOPMENT AND COMMITMENT FOR A SUCCESSFUL INCLUSION POLICY

R.H. Hofman

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.7, 2003, p.145-157

Starting in 1992 the Dutch government introduced a new inclusion policy to integrate pupils with special educational needs into mainstream schools through the development of local networks. Article reports research on the effectiveness of different kinds of network in reducing referral of pupils to special needs schools.

TACKLING SCHOOL LEAVING AT ITS SOURCE: A CASE FOR REFORM IN THE MIDDLE YEARS OF SCHOOLING

J. Smyth, P. McInerney and R. Hattam

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 24, 2003, p.177-193

Paper engages with one of the most pervasive educational issues confronting Australia and other Western countries: the declining numbers of students completing secondary education. Argues that in order to tackle this problem it is necessary for schools to: enhance the teacher-student relationship; develop collaborative approaches to teaching; negotiate significant aspects of curriculum with students; and integrate the personal and social concerns of students into the curriculum. Presents a case study of how Investigator High School in Australia attempted to reform itself along these lines.

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