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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 THREE: Transforming Education by Contextualizing Professional Learning for Teachers: A Case in Science and Mathematics in Australia: Debra L. Panizzon, Mark Ward, & Martin Westwell

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Debra L. Panizzon, Mark Ward, & Martin Westwell

Ascientific and mathematically literate society is considered by many stakeholders in Australia to be a political imperative if we are to ensure our future prosperity. In reality, Australia and many other OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries are facing shortages of engineers, physicists, and mathematicians (Department of Education, Science and Training, 2006; OECD Global Science Forum, 2006; Pearce, Flavell, & Dao-Cheng, 2010). Research in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) area highlights a range of factors influencing students’ choices to continue in senior high school subjects leading on to these careers. A number of key factors include students’ attitudes and intrinsic motivations (Lindahl, 2003; Lyons, 2006), the perceived difficulty of the discourse of these subjects (Bennett, 2003; Osborne & Collins, 2001), the impact of curricula on students’ perceptions of themselves as learners (OECD, 2004; Rennie & Goodrum, 2007), and the traditional pedagogical approaches often used by teachers in these subjects (Goodrum, Druhan, & Abbs, 2011; Sjøberg, 2000). This is an important and complex issue requiring a coordinated approach among teachers, parents, and community members (e.g., industry and other stakeholders) working with our students beginning in primary grades and following through to high school (Panizzon & Westwell, 2009).

To this end, substantial money is being invested in national and state-based projects in Australia to increase the participation rates of students in science and ← 65 | 66 → mathematics in senior high school in order to create a...

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