“Cleverlands: The Secrets Behind the Success of the World’s Education Superpowers.”
Here are some interesting takeaways from the book/article: Dismissing the success of top performers as a result of culture alone is a “grave mistake”
In top-performing countries, children do not start school until they are at least six or seven years old. Aside from Singapore, all the places she visits wait until children are in their mid-teens before diverting some to less academic tracks.
Teachers are given time to practise and they receive feedback from peers.
Pupils are expected to learn both facts and skills.
She shows that schools can delay selection without harming brighter pupils. This is for two reasons. First, intelligence is not fixed: slow starters can catch up, at least a bit. Second, expectations matter: in delaying selection, top-performing countries suggest to all pupils that they can achieve high standards.”
For me this is the most important and poignant takeaway:
Studies show that academic work can wait, she explains, because otherwise it can go over the heads of kids while hindering social skills and a love of learning.
As the Economist article says: “Too much writing about education is polemical and ill-informed. “Cleverlands” is neither. Ms Crehan is refreshingly fair-minded, acknowledges the limits of research and does not idolise highly stressful school systems.”