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  • leo fuchigami
  • Veteran

    • 157

    • October 27, 2010, 09:17:20 am
    • Sanggal-dong, Yongin-si
Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« on: September 28, 2011, 10:17:19 pm »
Hey guys,

There's one particular lesson that I've been wanting to make for a LONG time, but never got around to because of my lack of knowledge and expertise on the subject. So I am appealing to the collective knowledge of the community!

I want to make a lesson comparing the pros and cons of the best and most famous education systems in the world and also introduce some of the more innovative cutting edge stuff.

Here's what I have so far:

Best Education Systems In The World
Finland - #2 according to PISA - no standardized tests; heavily project, team and experiential based learning; teachers are given a "looser" curriculum and and high independence; 3-4 languages taught by graduation, multiple teachers per class
Korea - #1 according to PISA - very rigid; heavily standardized test oriented; long hours; highly supplemented by private academies; consistently the best reading/math/science scores in the world (for standardized test); lowest ranking in the world for sociability; narrow distribution student ability (low drop-out rates, etc.); cities/towns created for the purpose of education i.e. jeju english village; best paid teachers in the world (annual income relative to living cost); huge improvement in global rankings over the last decade - sort of a miracle case
USA - best private universities in the world; best private k-12 schools in the world; very wide distribution of student ability (some schools pump out harvard graduates while others have an 80% drop-out rate); highly innovate charter school system, declining public education system (in global rankings)
Britian - I don't know a lot about their education system; but I always figured it reflected the Canadian education system (or rather, the other way around); highly successful studio school model
Canada - #3 according to PISA(public education); a mix of classic standardized test + lecture style classes as well as vocational/experiential classes (co-op classes, trades classes, mandatory volunteer and work hours for graduation, group projects, etc.)
Rich cities in China and India (e.g. Shanghai) - outrank most western countries in test scores

International schools - British/American international schools tend to have students from wealthy expat families so they are able to charge exorbitant tuition and thus have huge budgets. The students are also often naturally multilingual so these schools typically fair very well in global rankings. Due to their large budgets, they're usually very hi-tech oriented.

So here's what I'd like to know. What are the best, worst, innovate and unique aspects of the education systems from your home country or other countries with which you have experience? I only know the Canadian system (Western public school).

Thanks everyone!

Note: PISA is the most comprehensive global ranking survey for reading, math and science. it is conducted every 4 years.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/dec/07/world-education-rankings-maths-science-reading
« Last Edit: December 08, 2011, 02:07:35 pm by leo fuchigami »


Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2011, 08:18:05 am »
I would throw homeschooling into the mix as one of the unique education systems (or lack thereof).  A quick google search found Academic Statistics on Homeschooling (http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp).  The homeschoolers averaged in the 70-80th percentile on nationwide tests.  The research numbers are a decade old and it was published by a Homeschooling Advocacy group.  So, I am sure number fudging could have occured.  And, statistically, homeschoolers can create a self-selection bias by only reporting and/or taking tests when students are above average (i.e. low level students may decided or have decided for them not to take standardized tests).  But, then that claim can also be true of public school systems, too.  See recent news about Atlanta's systemic test cheating.

However, more anectdotal evidence might include the number of homeschooling students who place very well (or win) in the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee (organized in the US, but open to other countries) and National Geography Bees.

An interesting figure is also that homeschool families average $500/year for each student (not counting teachers pay which is of course expensive) whereas public schools (in the U.S. atleast) average about $5000/year (which in a classroom of 25 students comes out to $125,000 per class; enough to pay a good teaching salary with a lot of extra money to spare).

I'm sure there is more data out there.  But, that is what I scrounged up in a few minutes.  At the very least, it would be something very strange compared to what Korean students have known.

FYI, I was homeschooled as a kid (except for 4 classes during highschool).  So, I have no idea about the public school in the US (where I am from).  And, I am currently in my first public middle school, ever (it happens to be in Korea).

From my personal experience, I have one more anecdote...I studied for 2-3 hours every weekday on my couch or bed and then had the rest of my day free (baseball, basketball, reading, or something).  I'm happy I didn't have to sit at a desk for 7 hours a day.  It was pretty sweet.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 08:20:55 am by polscilogist »


  • leo fuchigami
  • Veteran

    • 157

    • October 27, 2010, 09:17:20 am
    • Sanggal-dong, Yongin-si
Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2011, 11:59:02 am »
I would throw homeschooling into the mix as one of the unique education systems (or lack thereof).  A quick google search found Academic Statistics on Homeschooling (http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp).  The homeschoolers averaged in the 70-80th percentile on nationwide tests.  The research numbers are a decade old and it was published by a Homeschooling Advocacy group.  So, I am sure number fudging could have occured.  And, statistically, homeschoolers can create a self-selection bias by only reporting and/or taking tests when students are above average (i.e. low level students may decided or have decided for them not to take standardized tests).  But, then that claim can also be true of public school systems, too.  See recent news about Atlanta's systemic test cheating.

However, more anectdotal evidence might include the number of homeschooling students who place very well (or win) in the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee (organized in the US, but open to other countries) and National Geography Bees.

An interesting figure is also that homeschool families average $500/year for each student (not counting teachers pay which is of course expensive) whereas public schools (in the U.S. atleast) average about $5000/year (which in a classroom of 25 students comes out to $125,000 per class; enough to pay a good teaching salary with a lot of extra money to spare).

I'm sure there is more data out there.  But, that is what I scrounged up in a few minutes.  At the very least, it would be something very strange compared to what Korean students have known.

FYI, I was homeschooled as a kid (except for 4 classes during highschool).  So, I have no idea about the public school in the US (where I am from).  And, I am currently in my first public middle school, ever (it happens to be in Korea).

From my personal experience, I have one more anecdote...I studied for 2-3 hours every weekday on my couch or bed and then had the rest of my day free (baseball, basketball, reading, or something).  I'm happy I didn't have to sit at a desk for 7 hours a day.  It was pretty sweet.

Many thanks poscilogist! That's definitely another eye-open option. Actually, my two youngest half-brothers have been completely home-schooled by my mother (whom I seldom contact - divorced parents) so I'm not sure why I didn't think of including it earlier. I agree with you regarding the inherent bias for those statistics, but it's also a reflection of the time many of these mother's (and father's) devote into direct, one-on-one education. I have no doubt home schooling, given the right circumstances, can produce absolutely fantastic results, but the time (or money) required to by the parents to home-school just isn't feasible for most low income families where both parents work full time.

Consider it included in my list!


  • lb129
  • Adventurer

    • 70

    • May 24, 2011, 02:45:21 pm
    • ILSAN SOUTH KOREA
Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2011, 08:46:24 am »
I would look more into the British system, it is nothing like Canada.
Children are split into skill levels (from the age of 11) in certain areas (i.e the south east/london) they have grammar schools which you have to pass a test at the age of 10 to get into, they tend to have the best resources/ teachers and high success rates. Then of course you have the private school system which is a separate system all of its own and not as answerable the to government.

"High School" starts at 11-16 and is heavily course work lead with only one test at the very end (for each subject) 16-18 you can choose to stay at school, which is much more academic based or go to college which is much more vocational you learn trades like hair dressing, Plumbing, building. There are also specialist sports schools, math schools and science schools. After 11 the schools tend to be same sex schools ( i only know of one mixed-school in the whole area i lived in)
Inclusion is a huge thing in England and there are very few schools for the disabled. But they are well supported within that system.
Reading levels are very low (esp. in the inner city schools- but then that's the same as america)

I was looking more into it just know and can see from an outsider it is very confusing, there are many different ways to be educated and tests and qualifications.
this is the governments website
http://www.education.gov.uk/


Also some other teaching methods you could look at are
Montessori
I'm sure there are some Montessori school in america but they are very popular in Europe (I worked in one and hated it- but I think that was more to do with the crazy teacher i was working with)
the basic philosophy is to educate the child through self-expression. They are never told they have done something bad, but rather that their decision was not very good. It has a very informal structure and has success with all levels of children.
Another Italian teaching method is Reggio Emilia approach- again this is a self guided curriculum but is primarily for younger children. I would look into it though it is fascinating the whole community are involved with the school.

I could write this all day but I have to go to class. boo. Also look into the nordic countries cant remember if its sweden or norway but they have excellent education systems which are very different again.


  • leo fuchigami
  • Veteran

    • 157

    • October 27, 2010, 09:17:20 am
    • Sanggal-dong, Yongin-si
Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2011, 11:19:19 am »
I would look more into the British system, it is nothing like Canada.
Children are split into skill levels (from the age of 11) in certain areas (i.e the south east/london) they have grammar schools which you have to pass a test at the age of 10 to get into, they tend to have the best resources/ teachers and high success rates. Then of course you have the private school system which is a separate system all of its own and not as answerable the to government.

"High School" starts at 11-16 and is heavily course work lead with only one test at the very end (for each subject) 16-18 you can choose to stay at school, which is much more academic based or go to college which is much more vocational you learn trades like hair dressing, Plumbing, building. There are also specialist sports schools, math schools and science schools. After 11 the schools tend to be same sex schools ( i only know of one mixed-school in the whole area i lived in)
Inclusion is a huge thing in England and there are very few schools for the disabled. But they are well supported within that system.
Reading levels are very low (esp. in the inner city schools- but then that's the same as america)

I was looking more into it just know and can see from an outsider it is very confusing, there are many different ways to be educated and tests and qualifications.
this is the governments website
http://www.education.gov.uk/


Also some other teaching methods you could look at are
Montessori
I'm sure there are some Montessori school in america but they are very popular in Europe (I worked in one and hated it- but I think that was more to do with the crazy teacher i was working with)
the basic philosophy is to educate the child through self-expression. They are never told they have done something bad, but rather that their decision was not very good. It has a very informal structure and has success with all levels of children.
Another Italian teaching method is Reggio Emilia approach- again this is a self guided curriculum but is primarily for younger children. I would look into it though it is fascinating the whole community are involved with the school.

I could write this all day but I have to go to class. boo. Also look into the nordic countries cant remember if its sweden or norway but they have excellent education systems which are very different again.

Fantastic! This is exactly what I needed.

So "colleges" are vocational/trade schools and specialist schools that are an alternative to academic high schools? In Canada, 'college" only refers to post-secondary schools where you can obtain a certificate or license, but not a bachelors. That designation is only for universities. We also have technical and vocational classes and I believe we also have such specialized schools but for the most part (at least in the West) high schools are of the comprehensive sort that encompass both middle and high school ages (ages 13-18).

I had not idea that gender segregation is nationally institutionalized over there. That's fascinating.

Canada and the US both have some Montessoris, though I'm not terribly familiar with their inner workings.

Finland is the Nordic country that tends to get all the media coverage. I plan on using Finland as the representative country for the Nordic education system, Britain for the British (ex-)colony nations (bar Canada), Canada because it's my home nation, the US for private education and Korea for Asian style systems.

Thanks again for your input!


Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2011, 12:34:07 pm »
This is a very small contribution, but you may look into France's system as well.

Students often go home for lunch (they have an hour), they get wednesday afternoon off, but they have saturday morning school. Also, the school day is longer (I think it goes until 4:30?) and extra-curricular activities are much less common than in the US. You may want to compare "after-school activities" between countries and cultures as well.

As for testing in France, students must pass Le Bac (Le Baccalaureat) to get into college. How it is used and the different specifications and types of tests is rather complex and confusing and I'm afraid I don't have a good enough grasp on it to tell you more. But you can always use it as a jumping off point for your own research!

A note on Montessori: there are even some in Korea! At least, I know there's a montessori kindie in Seoul because my Korean friend worked there. It was so frustrating for her to do evaluations without making even the tiniest hint of a criticism, haha!


  • leo fuchigami
  • Veteran

    • 157

    • October 27, 2010, 09:17:20 am
    • Sanggal-dong, Yongin-si
Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2011, 10:40:29 am »
This is a very small contribution, but you may look into France's system as well.

Students often go home for lunch (they have an hour), they get wednesday afternoon off, but they have saturday morning school. Also, the school day is longer (I think it goes until 4:30?) and extra-curricular activities are much less common than in the US. You may want to compare "after-school activities" between countries and cultures as well.

As for testing in France, students must pass Le Bac (Le Baccalaureat) to get into college. How it is used and the different specifications and types of tests is rather complex and confusing and I'm afraid I don't have a good enough grasp on it to tell you more. But you can always use it as a jumping off point for your own research!

A note on Montessori: there are even some in Korea! At least, I know there's a montessori kindie in Seoul because my Korean friend worked there. It was so frustrating for her to do evaluations without making even the tiniest hint of a criticism, haha!

Interesting. I always thought France would be more on the liberal side of the spectrum with regard to education. It almost seems like they're behind the British and Scandinavian models. 


  • minamteacher
  • Expert Waygook

    • 728

    • October 05, 2010, 07:55:14 am
    • Incheon
    more
Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2011, 07:36:50 am »
How about the French Canadian system? I have heard it is quite different than the rest of Canada.


Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2011, 08:18:25 am »
This isn't information about educational systems, but http://www.timeforkids.com/around-the-world lists numerous countries, and each country has a small article called Day in the Life which is an account of one single school day in the life of a child in that country, written by the child.  It's pretty interesting and I used it for a 1st grade middle school project last semester which the students loved.  I had them describe the student' typical day, and then compare and contrast it to Korean school life.

Also, I've heard a lot about homeschooling in Korea so while it is not very common (to say the least) it is not an entirely foreign phenomenon.  In fact, in my first middle school, one of my favorite students was pulled out mid year to be home schooled.

I am quite interested in this lesson, as I have also thought about doing something similar.  The project was a similar attempt, one which I will do again next year.


  • leo fuchigami
  • Veteran

    • 157

    • October 27, 2010, 09:17:20 am
    • Sanggal-dong, Yongin-si
Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2011, 11:14:57 pm »
Update
I've started to do some intensive research on this topic and I've decided to cover the following topics:

1. Finnish public education system comprehensively
2. Pros and Cons of the Korean education system
3. Global Ranking of public education systems around the world
4. Global Ranking of universities around the world
5. Alternative education (Montessori, distance education, democratic education, etc.)

My deadline is to finish this by Friday. I will run it through a few of my classes, refine it, and then post it in this thread. =)


Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2011, 02:45:15 pm »
You mind this article helpful, and if not helpful at least relevant!

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,2094427,00.html


  • Yu_Bumsuk
  • The Legend

    • 2341

    • March 03, 2011, 02:10:36 pm
    • Hicksville, ROK
Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2011, 03:06:37 pm »
This is a very small contribution, but you may look into France's system as well.

Students often go home for lunch (they have an hour), they get wednesday afternoon off, but they have saturday morning school. Also, the school day is longer (I think it goes until 4:30?) and extra-curricular activities are much less common than in the US. You may want to compare "after-school activities" between countries and cultures as well.

As for testing in France, students must pass Le Bac (Le Baccalaureat) to get into college. How it is used and the different specifications and types of tests is rather complex and confusing and I'm afraid I don't have a good enough grasp on it to tell you more. But you can always use it as a jumping off point for your own research!

A note on Montessori: there are even some in Korea! At least, I know there's a montessori kindie in Seoul because my Korean friend worked there. It was so frustrating for her to do evaluations without making even the tiniest hint of a criticism, haha!

Montessori isn't a franchise or a branded name. I've heard that any place can call itself a Montessori school. In Korea that could mean as much as calling an academy 'English only'.


  • daveb
  • Super Waygook

    • 284

    • March 07, 2011, 10:08:52 am
Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2011, 11:17:16 am »
Hey Leo!

I'm interested to see this lesson - is it ready?  ;D

Dave


  • Janas006
  • Waygookin

    • 11

    • September 03, 2010, 02:34:36 pm
    • Daejeon, South Korea
Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2011, 11:07:58 am »
Hey Leo!

I'm interested to see this lesson - is it ready?  ;D

Dave

Second!  I'm going to be telling my 3rd grade middle schoolers about US High Schools next week and would love to take a look at this.


  • Theodosian
  • Waygookin

    • 11

    • August 29, 2011, 08:57:38 pm
    • Gwangju, South Korea
Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2011, 12:49:50 pm »
Regarding alternative education, I spent 13 years in Catholic parochial school in the US (K-8 at one school, 9-12 at a high school). It is difficult to verify these numbers from my searches online regarding statistics, but at the time of my finishing at my high school, the school itself had a 98% University attendance rate and nearly that regarding finishing with a minimum of a Bachelor's. First, however, I'll discuss the grade school aspect.

Before going into class specifics, the three aspects I find most unique are as follows: the discipline, student involvement, and Catholic Mass. The discipline was strict but generally not harsh or unjust. There were some cases where individuals were treated unfairly due to past bad behavior but on most occasions it was that someone had broken a rule and for that they would be punished. Corporal punishment occurred very rarely by the time I'd started school, maybe one instance every few years being confirmed and generally being administered by the principle. The majority of punishments involved removing a students' liberties - a popular punishment was to have a student copy text from a book during recess, in many cases in a seat that faced the window to the play area. One inventive teacher would staple a small piece of lace around the edge of a male student's shirt if he was found to have his shirt untucked twice in a day.

Regarding the level of student involvement, students would often lead discussions for classes where this was reasonable as early as grade 2. This occurred most often in reading and history courses but could also translate into a student leading a math class for a few minutes when that student held a solid grasp on the topic while others were a bit behind. If a student had a particular gift or talent, it was fostered so long as it was seen as a talent by the school. There were still occasions where individuals were stifled, especially those who were poor students or whose talents were perceived as disruptive, such as a young man who, though a gifted artist, had a tendency to draw on desks when not afforded a piece of paper.

Finally, starting in grade 1, we had a full Catholic Mass 2-3 times every week. Our school was attached to a church and thus we were raised in the shadow of a Gothic cathedral that could easily seat around 1000 people. It definitely changes things for a kid in a way I can't explain. Teachers can command great authority and respect from children so long as they give good reason. The teachers at this school had the authority to instill the fear of God punishing us eternally for misbehaving. This part is easily a major negative but was really only used until around grade 3 or 4. The Masses were mostly just boring after a while. Eventually, most students in that circumstance lose the religious aspect of it entirely and get good enough to study for tests while not missing a beat in the Mass, including the singing.

Spending 9 years at one school makes it nearly feel like a home by the time one leaves it. Every teacher knows every student in the school by the time they reach around 6th grade, and in most cases younger. The classes fluctuated between 20 and 26 students to a class and there were 2 classes per grade. In most cases, a student spent the entirety of the day with one teacher in one classroom from k-2. These teachers generally covered the basics. Our courses were Arithmetic, Art, Physical Science, Reading - mostly short stories geared towards younger audiences with the occasional novel, Spelling & Grammar, P.E., Music - mostly singing, Religion, Social Studies - history. These classes were had every day except Art, Music, and P.E which were generally had every other day and also with teachers specific to that subject. Science and Grammar classes were specific to a teacher but always one of the two teachers for the classes at that particular grade level, thus when there was a class change, it was the equivalent of going next door for an hour.

Grades 3-6 were quite similar with more potential for extra curricular activities such as band, choir, altar service, sports, etc. Soccer was the most popular of the sports. The courses quickly became more accelerated and the students, after grade 3, were separated into advanced, intermediate, and beginner (which was coined 'remedial') levels. The beginner courses were handled by a teacher versed in special education and generally only had 2-8 students to a class. The remaining students were split by skill level into the other classes but not exactly. The way it actually worked out was that the top half of performers in the given classes were put into the advanced and the rest in intermediate. In most cases, if a student was in advanced math, they were also in advanced reading, etc., which caused issues for some students that had greater strengths in certain subjects. The other issue was that with the advanced classes, it was populated with the best students while also having average students. By no fault of the students, some of them were out of their scope in certain classes and seen as underachievers when really they were high-intermediate students. This would cause issues for some throughout a lot of their time at the school though often the teachers would attempt to tutor the students having issues and have advanced students assist in the tutoring.

Grades 7-8 were similar in structure to the previous but more focused. At this level, 4 teachers focused on the base education of the 2 grades. One teacher handled art, another reading, vocabulary and history, a third dealt with the sciences, and a fourth covered mathematics, speaking and writing. Due to this, the education as a whole was better able to handle the nuances of individual learning styles. Though one teacher focused primarily on mathematics, 2 or 3 other teachers were able to handle a lower level, giving the potential of more classes being covered at one time with a greater range of skill levels. In a switch from before, though there were still a small number of students in beginner courses, there were also highly advanced courses for the top performers in the classes taking some of the burden off the intermediate and high intermediate students to perform beyond their skill set. The religious aspect also took a greater priority in 8th grade as that was traditionally when Catholic students receive the sacrament of Confirmation signifying their acceptance into the Church as adults. The amount of time and effort that went into that was generally 2-4 hours of class time a week for around 2 months.

Didn't realize how long I'd been writing for. :) If you want to know about Catholic high school, whole other can of worms. Sorry about the length, hope this helps.
Remember me for my madness for within is my soul.


  • leo fuchigami
  • Veteran

    • 157

    • October 27, 2010, 09:17:20 am
    • Sanggal-dong, Yongin-si
Re: Need Help! - Different Education Systems Around The World?
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2011, 01:48:00 pm »
Regarding alternative education, I spent 13 years in Catholic parochial school in the US (K-8 at one school, 9-12 at a high school). It is difficult to verify these numbers from my searches online regarding statistics, but at the time of my finishing at my high school, the school itself had a 98% University attendance rate and nearly that regarding finishing with a minimum of a Bachelor's. First, however, I'll discuss the grade school aspect.

Before going into class specifics, the three aspects I find most unique are as follows: the discipline, student involvement, and Catholic Mass. The discipline was strict but generally not harsh or unjust. There were some cases where individuals were treated unfairly due to past bad behavior but on most occasions it was that someone had broken a rule and for that they would be punished. Corporal punishment occurred very rarely by the time I'd started school, maybe one instance every few years being confirmed and generally being administered by the principle. The majority of punishments involved removing a students' liberties - a popular punishment was to have a student copy text from a book during recess, in many cases in a seat that faced the window to the play area. One inventive teacher would staple a small piece of lace around the edge of a male student's shirt if he was found to have his shirt untucked twice in a day.

Regarding the level of student involvement, students would often lead discussions for classes where this was reasonable as early as grade 2. This occurred most often in reading and history courses but could also translate into a student leading a math class for a few minutes when that student held a solid grasp on the topic while others were a bit behind. If a student had a particular gift or talent, it was fostered so long as it was seen as a talent by the school. There were still occasions where individuals were stifled, especially those who were poor students or whose talents were perceived as disruptive, such as a young man who, though a gifted artist, had a tendency to draw on desks when not afforded a piece of paper.

Finally, starting in grade 1, we had a full Catholic Mass 2-3 times every week. Our school was attached to a church and thus we were raised in the shadow of a Gothic cathedral that could easily seat around 1000 people. It definitely changes things for a kid in a way I can't explain. Teachers can command great authority and respect from children so long as they give good reason. The teachers at this school had the authority to instill the fear of God punishing us eternally for misbehaving. This part is easily a major negative but was really only used until around grade 3 or 4. The Masses were mostly just boring after a while. Eventually, most students in that circumstance lose the religious aspect of it entirely and get good enough to study for tests while not missing a beat in the Mass, including the singing.

Spending 9 years at one school makes it nearly feel like a home by the time one leaves it. Every teacher knows every student in the school by the time they reach around 6th grade, and in most cases younger. The classes fluctuated between 20 and 26 students to a class and there were 2 classes per grade. In most cases, a student spent the entirety of the day with one teacher in one classroom from k-2. These teachers generally covered the basics. Our courses were Arithmetic, Art, Physical Science, Reading - mostly short stories geared towards younger audiences with the occasional novel, Spelling & Grammar, P.E., Music - mostly singing, Religion, Social Studies - history. These classes were had every day except Art, Music, and P.E which were generally had every other day and also with teachers specific to that subject. Science and Grammar classes were specific to a teacher but always one of the two teachers for the classes at that particular grade level, thus when there was a class change, it was the equivalent of going next door for an hour.

Grades 3-6 were quite similar with more potential for extra curricular activities such as band, choir, altar service, sports, etc. Soccer was the most popular of the sports. The courses quickly became more accelerated and the students, after grade 3, were separated into advanced, intermediate, and beginner (which was coined 'remedial') levels. The beginner courses were handled by a teacher versed in special education and generally only had 2-8 students to a class. The remaining students were split by skill level into the other classes but not exactly. The way it actually worked out was that the top half of performers in the given classes were put into the advanced and the rest in intermediate. In most cases, if a student was in advanced math, they were also in advanced reading, etc., which caused issues for some students that had greater strengths in certain subjects. The other issue was that with the advanced classes, it was populated with the best students while also having average students. By no fault of the students, some of them were out of their scope in certain classes and seen as underachievers when really they were high-intermediate students. This would cause issues for some throughout a lot of their time at the school though often the teachers would attempt to tutor the students having issues and have advanced students assist in the tutoring.

Grades 7-8 were similar in structure to the previous but more focused. At this level, 4 teachers focused on the base education of the 2 grades. One teacher handled art, another reading, vocabulary and history, a third dealt with the sciences, and a fourth covered mathematics, speaking and writing. Due to this, the education as a whole was better able to handle the nuances of individual learning styles. Though one teacher focused primarily on mathematics, 2 or 3 other teachers were able to handle a lower level, giving the potential of more classes being covered at one time with a greater range of skill levels. In a switch from before, though there were still a small number of students in beginner courses, there were also highly advanced courses for the top performers in the classes taking some of the burden off the intermediate and high intermediate students to perform beyond their skill set. The religious aspect also took a greater priority in 8th grade as that was traditionally when Catholic students receive the sacrament of Confirmation signifying their acceptance into the Church as adults. The amount of time and effort that went into that was generally 2-4 hours of class time a week for around 2 months.

Didn't realize how long I'd been writing for. :) If you want to know about Catholic high school, whole other can of worms. Sorry about the length, hope this helps.

Wow. Thank you for spending the time to describe your experience in so much detail. I've forgotten almost everything about elementary and most of what high school was like, so my summary would have been far more brief!

The Education lesson was actually completed a while ago, but I forgot to link to it in this thread. I ended up going with a very different approach, but it may still end up being of some use.

http://waygook.org/index.php/topic,24686.0.html