Student behaviour is improving in classrooms worldwide, according to a recent study that shows students in Japan are the least likely to cause disruptions. Despite growing concern over student misbehaviour, the OECD study shows behaviour actually improved between 2000 and 2009. Seven of the 10 best-behaved countries or regions are in Asia, with two Chinese school systems among the top four.
Edutopia senior producer Grace Rubenstein considers in this blog post how the outcome of the Race to the Top competition will trickle down to students. A look at the winning states and their reform plans provides an overview of the nation's priorities for improving schools -- from easing restrictions on charter schools to adopting merit pay for teachers. But the real impact on students will likely depend on the measurements each state adopts to assess student learning and teacher effectiveness, Rubenstein predicts.
More teachers in and around Nashville, Tenn., are finding innovative ways to teach without traditional textbooks. They are using e-books, designing curricula that can be downloaded to smartphones and incorporating digital videos into lessons. One high-school math teacher, Nicole Burgess, says she uses a site called SchoolTube to share videos of her teaching with others. However, Burgess believes there will always be a place for traditional textbooks in the classroom.
President Barack Obama's planned speech next week is expected to encourage students to get good grades and stay in school. But it has drawn criticism from some parents who say it is "political indoctrination" and that their children should not have to watch the president's message at school. Some Texas schools are letting teachers and administrators decide whether to show the speech, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan says teachers will be given ideas on how "to help engage students and stimulate discussion on the importance of education in their lives."
Despite student gains on state tests in California, a wide achievement gap still exists between white and minority students, National Board Certified Teacher Anthony Cody writes in a blog post. He writes that many put the blame on parents and other factors beyond a school's reach and asks what can be done to close the gap.