Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Study Abroad Some More

Well I'm still "studying abroad" in the UK and have been pretty much focused on the news these past few days. It's still just under a week until I return to the US and St. Mike's but the Icelandic volcano is still spewing ash. All flights in and out of Scotland were canceled yesterday but all seems back to normal today. It's interesting how we assume things these days that 50 years ago would be unthinkable. It's so easy to assume one can just hop from one continent to another that when something like this happens one tends to feel quite put out. We shouldn't though; we should continue to marvel at how amazing it really is.

Several discussions with my eldest niece in Scotland at the weekend reminded me of just how different the education systems can be in the the US and the UK. There are even differences between the school systems in England and Scotland. Perhaps the greatest difference between the US and the UK is that many schools in the UK tended to continue and develop the progressive movement of the 60s and 70s. Many schools retain the open plan system where students engage in a variety of educational experiences free of the restraints of the traditional classroom. Students can choose when but not what they learn. In theory, this allows students to optimize their learning so that their learning becomes more efficient and meaningful. Making all students learn the same thing at the same time in the same place all the time has long been questioned as not being the best way to learn. Sir Ken Robinson has questioned this "Industrial model" of education for years.

The good news for the week is that I was granted tenure at St. Mike's which means I will be blogging long into the foreseeable future.

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