15th January 2016 at 00:00

English schools lead on leadership

US schools should look to England for ways to improve their leadership structure and staff development, a new study says. Jonathan Supovitz, of the University of Pennsylvania, argues that US schools have only “a patchwork of poorly defined roles and responsibilities”, including underused heads of department and informal teacher-leaders who lack the training and authority to influence their peers. Professor Supovitz suggests that US schools could learn from the way that leadership is organised in English schools, as well as the ways that individual leaders are developed and deployed.

Scientific scrutiny of advertising

Science lessons should include instruction in how to evaluate media and advertising messages, according to academics from Germany and Sweden. Nadja Belova from the University of Bremen, and her two colleagues, point out that the topic tends to be covered only in humanities and social sciences. However, advertising often includes scientific and technological components, which analysis of existing research reveals has a strong impact on children’s beliefs and perceptions.

Elevated expectations for infants

Infant teachers have much higher expectations of pupils than they did in the 1990s, according to academics from the University of Virginia. Daphna Bassok, Scott Latham and Anna Rorem compared 2010 data from US kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms (ages 5-7) with data from 1998. In 1998, 31 per cent of teachers believed that children should learn to read in kindergarten. By 2010, this had risen to 80 per cent. The amount of time spent on teaching literacy and numeracy had increased significantly by 2010, while time spent on art and music had decreased, which the researchers attributed to the pressures of accountability.


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