Monday, June 24, 2013

Private School Introduces Filmed Lessons to Boost Teaching

English: Raffles Institution ArtSpace (Year 1-...
Raffles Institution ArtSpace (Year 1-4) (Wikipedia)
by Schools Improvement Net:

Banks of cameras and chairs on wheels are being introduced at one of Britain’s top private schools in an effort to replicate the success of educational institutions in Singapore.

This is from the Times …

Richard Cairns, headmaster of the £30,000-a year Brighton College, spent two months visiting five countries that top international education league tables to learn what makes their schools successful.

Among the innovations he has brought back are classrooms in which children sit on wheeled chairs so they can scoot into small groups and where every lesson is filmed.

The footage is designed to help teachers review their performance. In Singapore the best teachers are paid more. “We can do better in England. And to be better we must look beyond what other good schools here are doing and look at what the very best schools in the world are doing,” said Cairns.

At the Raffles Institution in Singapore senior teachers sitting in a control room watch children’s filmed reaction to each lesson to gauge what was taught well and how much each child understood.

The best teachers receive three months’ extra salary, while the worst get nothing. Cairns has discussed linking pay to performance with his staff but to date it has been ruled out.

He was also impressed by the way schools in Singapore encourage 16-year-olds to take a term off to enter competitions and travel abroad to study … England can learn most from schools in Finland and Singapore, according to Cairns.

“In Singapore schools are large, they open early and close late and students also have private tutors,” he said. “By contrast, in Finland the school day ends at 2pm and then the children are out in the snow playing.”

What the schools in the two countries have in common, he said, is that exams are far less frequent than in Britain and teachers are recruited from the brightest graduates.

“In Finland you can only be a teacher if you’re in the top 10% of graduates, and the top 15% in Singapore.”
 Is this the kind of innovation and experimentation that should be welcomed and championed? Do you worry it will result in a greater divide between better resourced public schools and the state sector?

Tell us what you think!
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