Australia’s performance in the classroom

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Australia may be rocking the world sporting stage, but there’s concerns about our performance in the classroom. What can we learn from other countries about our education standards?

I have been very fortunate in my life in that I have been given opportunities to work with mathematics students in China, Korea and Vietnam.

This experience shows that learning is a universal process and the fact that the Vietnamese students enjoyed the sessions and were able to take so much from each lesson was heartening.

Incidentally, in China and Vietnam, school runs for six days per week, seven hours per day.

Not much time for sport and other recreational activities.

Australia’s shorter school week and the leisure time available to students, coupled with our first class facilities may be the reason that Australia looms so large on the world sporting stage so often.

It could be that a balance between the two cultures regarding schooling would improve the learning outcomes in both countries.

Australian school standards based on OECD statistics; according to PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) results are in decline.

There is far too much emphasis on ‘accountability’ whereby teachers are drowning in paperwork rather than being able to engage in their passion, which is to teach.

Vietnam, a third world country, with very meagre resources, is ranked 10th out of 72 countries in mathematics while Australia is ranked 27th.
Prior to the introduction of the restrictive ‘outcomes based learning system’ Australia had been ranked fourth in mathematics.

There has been a similar decline in other subjects across the board.
Just recently on the ABC program, ‘The Drum’, Adam Spencer (a mathematician and passionate educator), debated the decline in

Australian educational standards and canvassed possible solutions.
The reasons behind the success of Finland’s education system, ranked sixth in the PISA results, were explored, they are interesting and could be easily applied in Australia, we will look at these next week.

In the meantime, it remains to be seen if Australia can reverse its educational decline before it becomes too late.

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