Is the North American system of acim book a world model? Can they possibly learn and borrow from other countries and cultures to further improve their way of doing things?
While doing some unrelated research this past week, I came across some very interesting information that piqued my interest in the current state of affairs in North American education. The author of the report, Bill Costello, is a US educational researcher who believes that cultures should borrow the best practices from each other. He wanted to find out if the Taiwanese education system uses practices from which schools in the US could benefit.
I would add here that US schools could easily be expanded to cover most schools in North America. Having gone through the US education system myself and seeing my step-daughters now in the Canadian education system, for the purpose of this article I’ve concluded that the US/Canadian methods are very closely related, if not entirely similar.
Mr. Costello notes that the Taiwanese education system produces students with some of the highest test scores in the world in science and math. He goes on to support his case by citing the various international assessments used to obtain performance rankings in different disciplines of study, such as math, science and reading. The actual assessment results show that the Taiwanese education system produces overall performances significantly higher than the international average.
A Few Simple Changes to Greatly Benefit Our Education System
The most interesting part of Mr. Costello’s report is that he admits there are too many factors involved to correctly pinpoint the reason(s) why the Taiwanese appear to lead the world in educational performance. However, he did make these observations and wonders – as I now do, and hope you will too – if the following six excellent practices just might have something to do with their superior rankings among global education systems. Here is a brief summary of what Mr. Costello observed:
- Nutrition: The Taiwanese serve veggies, rice, soup and meat as opposed to the high fat and sugar content processed food of their North American counterparts. Studies prove that good nutrition improves scholastic achievement.
- Activity Levels Increased: The Taiwanese incorporate more weekly physical education and daily recesses than do North Americans. In fact, the growing trend in North America is to cut required physical activity out altogether, making it an elective. Once again, independent studies show that an increase in regular exercise improves school performance results.
- Uniforms: With peer pressure being a large cause of negative influence in school, uniforms are proven to lower incidents of violence and theft. Children who feel safe and relaxed do far better than those who are constantly stressed and fearful. Uniforms are the norm in Taiwan, while only 15% of North American schools require them.
- Utilization of a more hands-on approach: While the majority of North American schools tend to limit learning from books and other multi-media, the Taiwanese lean more towards hands-on learning, preferring to use compasses and rulers rather than computers and calculators as one example. Hands-on learning leads to more direct application of learned skills, making the lessons that much more real and valuable to students.
- Multi-task learning: The Taiwanese try to show how things are related by teaching two or three disciplines at a time. For example, art meets science as students draw or construct models based on what they learn. Again, this allows students additional ways to apply what they know across multiple disciplines, making each area that much stronger.
- Instill personal responsibility: Taiwanese school systems do not employ janitors. Rather, cleanup is part of the daily regimen taken up by all students where they are assigned to clean the building, take care of trash and keep the school grounds clean and tidy. Academic performance improves as students become more responsible.