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Transforming Education

Global Perspectives, Experiences and Implications

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Edited By Robert A. DeVillar, Binbin Jiang and Jim Cummins

This research-based volume presents a substantive, panoramic view of ways in which Australia and countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America engage in educational programs and practices to transform the learning processes and outcomes of their students. It reveals and analyzes national and global trajectories in key areas of educational development, and enhances readers’ understanding of the nature and complexity of educational transformation in a global context. The book’s comprehensive analysis of factors associated with transforming education within globally representative geographical, cultural, and political contexts contributes to critical scholarship; its discussion of individual country findings and cross-country patterns has significant implications for educational practitioners and leaders. The volume has direct practical relevance for educational practitioners and leaders, policymakers, and researchers, as nations remain in dire need of effective ways and means to transform their respective educational systems to (1) more ably realize educational equity, (2) make learning relevant to an increasingly diverse overall student populace, (3) ensure individual and general prosperity, and (4) promote substantive global collaboration in developing the new economy.
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CHAPTER ONE: The Role of Research on Literacy, Poverty, and Diversity in Transforming Schools: A Critical Analysis of PISA Cross-National Findings: Jim Cummins

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Jim Cummins

New Times, New Challenges

In analyzing challenges and opportunities for transforming education in the 21st century, the chapters in this volume focus on three broad areas—teacher education, diversity, and leadership—where the need for change is most acute. The context for these educational challenges and opportunities is the rapid social and economic transformation of our global community brought about by technological advances during the past 50 years. These ongoing and still-evolving phenomena, often referred to as globalization, have enabled virtually instant communication in multiple modalities across all corners of the world. Globalization evokes strong positive or negative reactions depending upon whether it is being praised by the business community for opening up world markets to more extensive trade and lowering labor costs, or condemned by those who associate the term with dramatically widening gaps between rich and poor nations and between affluent and impoverished people.

Education is increasingly enmeshed in these dynamic global realities. Economic competition between nations is simultaneously constructed as educational competition because economic innovation is dependent on the knowledge and skills nurtured by educational systems. Immigration policies are also entangled with global economies. Many countries, such as Australia, Canada, and others, are attempting to “import” both the high-level knowledge and skills their educational systems may not be generating in sufficient quantity and, at the other end ← 17 | 18 → of the spectrum, the low-paid labor required to carry out jobs that native populations are unwilling to do (e.g., agricultural...

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