Education News Around The World are posts dedicated to bringing you some of the latest news in education from around the world. Each week you’ll be able to read a summary of the news articles and read the ones that interest you in full.
This week’s news post brings some interesting reads on a variety of topics. They range from gendered toys, to unicycles in elementary schools to an analysis of the PISA results.
1. Gendered Toys Could Deter Girls from Career in Engineering, Report Says
(Source: The Guardian. By Sally Weale. December 2016)
As a mother of a young daughter, this subject is one that is constantly lurking. Trying to push back the pink tide isn’t always easy. This article by Sally Weale, looks at some of the research by the Institute for Engineering and Technology (IET), with some interesting as well as disturbing results.
What’s the story?
Research from IET highlighted that toys with a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), focus were three times as likely to be targeted at boys than girls.
IET also carried out an analysis of leading search engines and retailer’s websites. Of the STEM toys shown, 31% were listed for boys, compared to just 11% for girls. Moreover, a search for, ‘boys’ toys’ and ‘girls’ toys’, showed that nine out of ten toys listed for girls were pink.
J. Day from, Let toys be toys, highlighted that although many retailers have made progress over the past few years, there is still a lot of work to be done.
In the UK women make up just 9% of engineers despite the fact that girls show an enthusiasm for ICT and computing in primary schools.
The top gender-neutral STEM toys for Christmas suggested by IET are:
1. Meccano Micronoid
2. K’nex Ferris Wheel Building Set
3. Science Mad Chemistry Lab
4. Lego Super heroes
5. Kano Computer Kit Bundle
2. Tools to Help Japanese School Children Find Balance: Unicycles
(Source: The New York Times. By Motoko Rich. November 2016)
An interesting read on how Japan’s elementary school children ride unicycles during break times. It’s a thought provoking concept, and the fact that the children do not wear helmets or knee pads and teach themselves or each other how to ride, is certainly food for thought…
What’s the story?
Most of the elementary schools in Japan provide unicycles for the children to use during break times. As part of its recommendation for physical development, the Ministry of Education recommends that schools should have a supply of unicycles, bamboo stilts, hula hoops and other equipment that promotes balance and core strength.
Despite the fact that the children do not wear helmets or knee pads, a nurse in one school commented that in the three years she had worked there, only one or two injuries had been caused by riding a unicycle.
An American teacher , M. Tribeault, who teaches at a middle school affiliated with Toyama University, in Japan, commented that he has seen, kids being challenged and encouraged to do things, in a way that he had never seen in America.
To see the children in action, click on the Youtube link below:
3. UK Schools Fail to Climb international League Table
(Source: The Guardian. By Adams/Weale/Bengtsson and Carrell. December 2016)
This month came the results from the, Programme for International Student Assessment, also known as PISA. Highly respected globally, it compares how the 70 countries that take part, compare educationally. The test is administered to over 50,000 fifteen year-olds and compares results in reading, maths and science.
What’s the Story?
The results this year showed that in the UK, the average in all three areas has fallen in the last three years. In Australia, the average ranking in all three subjects has also fallen over the last six years. In America, the average ranking for maths fell in 2015.
The article shows the ranking of all the countries that take part. With regard to reading, Singapore came out on top, with Canada as second and Finland as fourth. Not doing so well, the UK was 21st and America 24th. Doing better that these was Australia in 15th place.
Two other articles that may interest you on the topic are:
1. PISA results: Australian Students’ Science, Maths and Reading in Long Term Decline
2. Why Americans Should Not Panic About International Test Results
Did you enjoy these articles? Would you like to see more articles in these posts? Is there an area that you are particularly interested in reading about? If so, please leave a comment with your feedback in the comments section below.