Teachers in a Pennsylvania school district discussed new techniques they have implemented in order to move away from the redundant, old style of teaching, consisting of lectures and textbook readings. “Teachers were all feeling a little frustrated. We were craving a change,” Moola, a teacher, recalls. For instance, teachers are now blending their classrooms by having students receive a component of their instruction online. The students then rotate through small groups, often collaborating with other students. Later, the student and the teacher meet to analyze the student’s progress. The teachers and students involved in this new form of blended learning/personalized learning process find it to be impactful and rejuvenating.

Education Dive explains how online classrooms do not only benefit the students, but the teachers as well. These online platforms save teachers time on grading because the grading is completed by the platform. “For the use of blended learning platforms to be successful, it is essential that both students and educators are afforded the time and opportunity to train themselves on how to use the platform.” It also states that online platforms help teachers to more easily divide up work for students who are learning at different levels.

Also this week in education news, The New York Times states that the timing of the New York annual standardized tests, which are taken by elementary and middle students, have shrunk from the exam lasting three days per subject to two days. Many critics of this test believe that these state tests take up too much class time, both the test itself and the time it takes to prepare students for the test. This change will take effect for these standardized tests next spring.

In recent news, UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report discovered that countries most in need of education funds are not getting them. In a report analyzing data from every country in the world, it was found that although overall development aid has been rising, funding for education has been decreasing for the past six years. “Aid is not being allocated according to need,” the report reads. “Sub-Saharan Africa, home to over half of the world’s out-of-school children now receives less than half the aid to basic education it obtained in 2002.”  Many countries do not prioritize aiding education because they may not view education as a life-or-death matter. The report urges donors to avoid ‘duplication of efforts’ and donate to countries who need educational aid the most.

 

Daily Nation discusses the benefits of using technology in improving education, specifically in Kenya.  “If there is use of technology, achieving quality performance and making it possible for more children to attend school, then this is something that should be emulated and supported,” stated Sabina Chege, National Assembly’s Education Committee chairperson.  Kenya recently implemented the Digital Literacy Program, which has already delivered over 600,000 tablets to 23,951 public primary schools with plans to deliver a total of 1.2 million devices. “There is no doubt that technology will play a pivotal role in empowering Kenyans over the next decade,” said Mr Kimmelman.

Improving Literacy & Communication Language Magazine finds, “Researchers also observed that bilingual people who learned to read two languages at the same time do not read the same way as monolingual speakers; rather, they follow a different pattern which had not previously been described—a contamination effect takes place between the two reading strategies in speakers of two languages. Therefore, a person learning to read in Spanish and in English will have a greater tendency toward a global strategy, even when reading in Spanish, than a monolingual Spanish speaker. When reading in English, by contrast, they will tend toward a more analytical strategy (reading by parts) than monolingual English speakers, due to ‘contagion’ from Spanish.”

 

The Providence Journal analyzed a new bill that was recently passed that instills a seal of biliteracy. This seal is an official recognition that a graduate has mastered two languages, their native language and English. The seal of biliteracy does not officially take effect until 2021, but several districts in Rhode Island are piloting it this year. “We live in a global society,” said Christine Hoskins, Coventry High School’s world language curriculum coordinator. “It’s important that someone’s native language be respected. We shouldn’t be building walls, we should be building bridges.”

We are celebrating Immigration Heritage Month on our own blog.  The top ten countries for immigrants traveling to America are Mexico, the Philippines, China, El Salvador, Cuba, Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, India, and Korea. I was surprised to discover that in 2015, five of the ten largest immigrant groups traveled from Latin American countries, making up 37.4% of all the people who immigrated to America. The Latino population made up only 3.24% of America’s population during the 1960s. Within 55 years, America’s population now consists of over 17.6% Latinos, and there seems to be no sign of a decrease in Latino immigration anytime soon. 

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