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Aja B.
  • Aja B.
  • New York, NY
  • United States

Online Community Manager, TED


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For non-US TEDizens: Can you tell us about your country's education system?

This week's special on American TV, "TED Talks Education," focuses on problems in US schools.

So here's the place for non-Americans to share: What's an issue in your country's education system that you'd like to see a TED Talk about? Who would you ask to speak? Do you have any success stories to share?


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  • May 10 2013: It's been 40 years since I left England, so I imagine much has changed, but the diiferences that I see that would be worth review in the US system include:
    Separate boy/girl schools - makes high scholl about education, not socializing (OK Scrooge, I get it!)
    Separate classes based, yes, sometimes arbitrarily, on academic performance. The best moved on faster - no, I was not one of them - the slower got more attention. Teaching to the lowest common denominator in a classroom insults almost everyone.
    Schools graded in a similar way. I went to to an academic 'Grammar' school, my brother to what would look here like a trade school. When he retired he was the production engineer for a large manufacturer. There's a good living to be made in jobs and vocations that don't require a lot of academic training. We have put too much emphasis on K-12 (can we say No-Child-Left-Behind?) then college as the Golden Path.
    By the time I was 16 I specialized in languages. I took an hour a day for a couple of 'electives', but spent 80% of my time on French, German, English. So much for the liberal arts concept. I still think that we don't push the brightest of our kids forward fast enough. With the appropriate education and training the rest could have much more satisfying careers in well-paying jobs.
    • May 11 2013: Hi David!

      Although I understand the benefit of about separate boy/girl schools, I can't help but wonder if kids' social development would suffer? Yes, academics are important, but social skills are arguably as important, if not more so.

      Dividing classes based on academic level - I am all for it. As long as educators and parents are aware when kids take lower level classes in order to achieve 'an easy A'...

      I agree with you, that we need to encourage the brightest kids who grasp the material faster, but stimulating the slower ones in areas where they do excel is just as important (as a Mom of two kids who are slower in certain areas than their peers, this is of personal importance to me!)

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