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Following three teenagers who chose to spend one school year living in Finland, South Korea, and Poland, a literary journalist recounts how attitudes, parenting, and rigorous teaching have revolutionized these countries' education results.
How do other countries create “smarter” kids? What is it like to be a child in the world’s new education superpowers? The Smartest Kids in the World “gets well beneath the glossy surfaces of these foreign cultures and manages to make our own culture look newly strange....The question is whether the startling perspective provided by this masterly book can also generate the will to make changes” (The New York Times Book Review). In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they’ve never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy. Inspired to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embed­ded in these countries for one year. Kim, fifteen, raises $10,000 so she can move from Oklahoma to Finland; Eric, eighteen, trades his high-achieving Minnesota suburb for a booming city in South Korea; and Tom, seventeen, leaves a historic Pennsylvania village for Poland. Through these young informants, Ripley meets battle-scarred reformers, sleep-deprived zombie students, and a teacher who earns $4 million a year. Their stories, along with groundbreaking research into learning in other cultures, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these countries had many “smart” kids a few decades ago. Things had changed. Teaching had become more rigorous; parents had focused on things that mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education.
Following three teenagers who chose to spend one school year living in Finland, South Korea, and Poland, a literary journalist recounts how attitudes, parenting, and rigorous teaching have revolutionized these countries' education results.
Have you ever wondered how you would react to a disaster? Do you think you would be paralysed with fear, like the diplomat who froze, drink still in hand, as terrorists invaded the Dominican Republic's embassy in Colombia in 1980? Or might you find yourself pretending it hadn't happened, like the 9/11 survivor whose first instinct on feeling the shockwaves of the plane crashing into her building was to stay put? Or then again might you suddenly find hidden strengths in yourself, like Joe Stiley, who not only escaped from a dreadful plane wreck, but also managed to survive thirty minutes in the freezing Potomac river waiting for rescue vehicles to arrive? InThe Unthinkable,award-winning journalist Amanda Ripley talks to risk analysts, psychologists and survivors of some of the most harrowing catastrophes in history in order to piece together how people react in a crisis and why they behave the way they do. She demonstrates that responses ranging from paralysed shock through to frenzied action can be clearly categorised and explained, as can the stages through which most people go when suddenly faced with a disaster - initial denial, cautious deliberation, final decision. She compellingly shows how the rational and irrational parts of our brains interact when put under pressure, and she also reveals the physical effects of sudden stress. And finally she demonstrates that while our reactions are often instinctive and inbuilt, we can also be taught how to master or control them. We all have a 'disaster personality' that reveals itself at moments of crisis. InThe Unthinkableyou can become acquainted with yours. Who knows? One day, understanding how it works may save your life.
The first edition of Finnish Lessons won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Education in 2013. It was featured inThe New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, The Guardian, CNN, Education Week, The Huffington Post, and Dan Rather Reports and has been translated into 16 languages. Now, with Finnish Lessons 2.0, Pasi Sahlberg has thoroughly updated his groundbreaking account of how Finland built a world-class education system during the past four decades. In this international bestseller, Sahlberg traces the evolution of Finnish education policies and highlights how they differ from the United States and much of the rest of the world. Featuring substantial additions throughout the text, Finnish Lessons 2.0 demonstrates how systematically focusing on teacher and leader professionalism, building trust between the society and its schools, and investing in educational equity rather than competition, choice, and other market-based reforms make Finnish schools an international model of success. This second edition details the complexity of meaningful change by examining Finland’s educational performance in light of the most recent international assessment data and domestic changes. This second edition details the complexity of meaningful change by illustrating Finland’s educational performance in light of the most recent international assessment data, including PISA 2012, TIMSS 2011, PIAAC 2013, and TALIS 2013. In the midst of continuous local reforms and global changes, Finnish Lessons 2.0 encourages educators, students, and policymakers to look beyond their own borders as they seek successful solutions for their education systems, districts, and schools. “Reminds us that a nation can consciously build an admirable school system if it pays close attention to the needs of children; if it selects and prepares its educators well; and if it builds educational communities that are not only physically attractive but conducive to the joys of teaching and learning.” —From the Foreword by Diane Ravitch, author of Reign of Error “Solidifies Sahlberg’s reputation as the most thoughtful international educational researcher of our generation.” —David Berliner, Regents' Professor Emeritus, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University “Whether or not you have read Finnish Lessons, you should read and ponder this new edition right away.” —Howard Gardner, author of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed
Asians and Asian-Americans make up 4% of the U.S. population...and 20% of the Ivy League. Now find out how they do it. The numbers speak for themselves: 18% of Harvard's population; 25% of Columbia's; 42% of Berkeley's; 24% of Stanford's; 25% of Cornell's... What are Asian parents doing to start their kids on the road to academic excellence at an early age? What can all parents do to help their children ace tests, strive to achieve, and reach educational goals? In this book, two sisters-a doctor and a lawyer whose parents came from South Korea to the U.S. with two hundred dollars in their pockets-reveal the practices that lead Asian-Americans to academic, professional, and personal success.
A concise comparative introduction to education in each major geographical region of the world and the major issues in international education today.

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