Friday, August 25, 2017

Quotes from Lucy Crehan's Cleverlands

Hi - I'm reading "Cleverlands: The Secrets Behind the Success of the World’s Education Superpowers" by Lucy Crehan and wanted to share this quote with you.  Nuanced writing. Difficult to summarise but I will quote any way. From chapter on Japan

"I said earlier that I think this belief alone makes a difference to student outcomes, over and above the particular policies of comprehensive education or mixed-ability classes, and here is why: teacher expectations make a difference. Research suggests that if teachers believe that students have great potential, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the students are more likely to succeed as expected. This is called the Pygmalion effect, after the mythical King of Cyprus who fell in love with a woman he had carved out of stone, and whose dreams came true when the goddess Aphrodite took pity on him and turned the statue into a real woman. The psychologist Robert Rosenthal was the first to use this term in an educational context in 1968, to describe the results of an experiment he carried out with school principal Lenore Jacobson. 80 Rosenthal and Jacobson gave the children at Jacobson’s school an IQ test at the beginning of the school year. They told teachers that this was a measure of student potential and ‘blooming’, suggesting that it could tell which students would perform well that year –in fact it could do no such thing. Teachers were told that certain students in their classes had come in the top 20 per cent of this test, whereas actually they were randomly selected from the class list. At the end of the year, the children took IQ tests again to estimate any change, and the students the teachers had expected to do well based on the invented test results had actually improved their IQ scores, relative to the other children. The only explanatory factor was the teachers’ expectations of them. 81 On a less positive note, the same thing happens in reverse (the Gollum effect), and when teachers have low expectations of children, it effects their scores in the expected direction too."
From an earlier chapter on Finland:
"Despite these challenges, though, Finland is still amongst the top-scoring countries in the world, and on average in 2012, still the highest scoring non-Asian country. Their approach in the early years of starting formal schooling at seven after providing high-quality preschool means that nearly all children can meet the demands of the school curriculum from its outset, and progress through it together. Their decision to delay selection into different schools or classes until the age of 16 is consistent with their remarkably equitable outcomes. And the existence in Finnish schools of all of the conditions for intrinsic motivation for teachers –autonomy, mastery, relatedness and purpose –puts them in the enviable position of being able to choose from the best, which in turn, allows them to grant teachers as much autonomy as they do. Curiously, there are some similarities here between Finland’s approaches and that of one of its Asian competitors, despite the enormous cultural differences. Come with me to Japan."

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