Exploring Education

Finally! An education day! I was super excited today after seeing all the differences within the nursing profession here to see how the education system was structured and implemented. We heard from Liz today about the age settings and structures of the schooling systems as well as the types of schools and standardized testing. They have a similar issue as we do in the states, which is test taking skills being taught over content knowledge. This is due to the weight that is held over educators for the students doing well on the exams. The types of schools are similar to those that we have in the states, they just obviously go by different names. They also implement formula funding or funding based on population. One thing that I found interesting is the fact that they don’t do anything like the pledge of allegiance in their schools. It is eye-opening to see how nationalistic it really is that other countries don’t do this while Americans are teaching students to recite the pledge before they can even read books. I also got some insight from Vina into early EAL (English as an additional language) students. (Side Note: the fact that the UK calls it English as an additional language and the US calls it English language learners is telling where the priorities lie). Earlier education students are more easily fostered to maintain their mother tongue while also learning English. Alternatively, older students are pushed to focus on learning English as quickly as possible as exams are in English. The acceptance of an EAL student’s mother tongue could also be heavily influenced by the linguistic diversity of a group. In Early Childhood Education, there is also an important focus on implementing the needs of the students as adequately as possible. We talked about some of the policies of the education system that have been adapted and changed. They also have changes in implementation of policy based on how democratic or conservative the governing party is. One thing that I believe that we, both the US and the UK struggle in is coming to terms with our theory versus practice. We both have policies that sound amazing on paper, but within implementation they are not doing enough for students, families, and educators alike. Another important topic we discussed today was special education. In the states, it seems that we have a much easier time getting speedy intervention to students. In the UK, however, it takes extensive time and proof to actually diagnose and get treatment for students who are special needs and/or disabled. I found it interesting that people in the UK can/have denied the adjustments for their children when it has been offered. It felt to me like the sheer amount of testing and time would prove to parents that a disability is present and needs to be accounted for. Diagnosis in the US can happen so fast that parents’ first reaction is to deny the fact that there is anything wrong. There are also plenty of special needs or disabled individuals in the US who simply can’t get help or support at all. It is unfortunate and unjust that in both systems these individuals are still fighting for accurate accommodation and equitable opportunities. As an educator in the US, a lot of the responsibility lies on you to implement the requirements and notify the correct people for these students. There really isn’t an overwhelming support system like there seems to be here in the UK. We gained some insight into the types of support systems by Jo, who told us about TAS teams and how they focus on restorative approaches. I really liked it when I learned about restorative approaches in the US and I feel that schools need to be using these much more often. In the US we have what’s called the School-to-Prison Pipeline, which essentially means that the treatment of students in schools has been pushing students into the criminal system. This is done through Zero-Tolerance policies, Suspensions, and Expulsions. Restorative practices are something I wish were implemented more in schools as the statistics show that these practices illicit better outcomes than the list I gave above. The entirety of today directly deals with my field because I’m learning how the systems here function to see why we are so similar yet so different in our respective systems and the results of them. I would like to know more about secondary schools, how their students function, what their expectations are, and many more topics. 

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