My teaching at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) in academic year 2015/16 consists of three courses. Two of them are semester-long, full (four credit) courses and third is a yearlong, new course. Here are brief introductions of each of them.
International Lessons from Successful Education Systems (A-317). This course will take a closer critical look at what constitutes high performance and the transferability of successful practices between educational contexts, exploring questions such as: What should a successful education system look like? How are high-performing education systems successful? What are the principles of good international policy analysis and advice? How do international development organizations produce and use the lessons from high-performing education systems, e.g., Finland? Students will: explore, compare, and contrast the characteristics of high performing education systems; learn to think deeply and critically about international education benchmarking and student assessments, to analyze the opportunities and limitations of transporting policy ideas between systems, and to understand the main principles of policy borrowing and lending to develop education systems around the world; and develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are needed in policy analysis and advisory using the lessons from high performing school systems. Core part of this course is a case study that engages students to take a closer look at one education system, its policies, reforms and visions (Sweden, Ireland, New South Wales, Alberta, Chile).
The Teaching Profession Around the World (AT-103). In recent years international organizations have shown an increased interest in questions related to teachers, teacher education, and teacher policy. Most influential of these institutions are Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP). International research on successful school systems has frequently concluded that teacher policies and especially how teachers are educated are the key factors explaining overall high educational performance. This course explores the characteristics of teaching profession and compares and contrasts the differences between teachers and teacher education systems around the world, including the current high performing education systems, such as Finland, Canada, Singapore, and Japan. This course also helps students to understand teaching profession from international perspectives by taking a closer look at what we know about attracting, preparing, and empowering teachers around the world. Furthermore, students will learn to think independently, to distinguish facts from myths in international discourse on teaching profession, and to write effectively about the central issues related to teaching profession in the global context. Core part of this course is a case study that engages students to take a closer look at teacher policies in one education system and how teachers’ work could be improved (in Sweden, Ireland, New South Wales, Alberta, Chile).
Hard Questions on Global Educational Change (A-319). Education is one of the most discussed and contentious social issues around the world. It divides people across a spectrum of opinions from those favoring a radical reversal of traditional practice to those clamoring for return to educational basics. In many countries education is at the heart of political debates often according to ideological principles and priorities. The rancorous debate embodies fundamental questions facing society including: What is the purpose of education? How much do teachers influence the quality of education systems? Will technology be the saving grace for the future of education? Do we need tougher accountability in order to improve public school systems? What are the roles of standardized testing, charter schools, private education, and online learning? Should OECD’s PISA test stand or should it fall? Identifying, debating and troubleshooting these global educational questions are the essence of this course. To achieve these lofty goals – this course will invite educational leaders from around the world to come and debate these questions. Debates will then extend into our class community within a safe and respectful forum. This learning community supports authentic conversation and dialogue on the most difficult questions facing todays’ world of education policy. Students’ will gain access to prominent thought leaders and an opportunity to develop and debate their own perspectives on major educational challenges. Importantly, the course will also facilitate opportunities to learn how to leverage social media and other tools for sharing ideas. In the end, this course is built on an assumption that we need to better understand these complex problems before we are able to create sustainable solutions to them.
I teach these courses with HGSE doctoral students Bryan Mascio (A-317 and AT-103) and Vanessa Rodriguez (A-319). All courses will have wide social media coverage and external participation is most welcome.