OECD Japan Seminar
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

 

The 6th OECD/Japan Seminar on "Schools for Tomorrow "met in Hiroshima 5th to 7th November 1997 and was set up to clarify the purpose and context of schooling in the 21st Century.

 

Report of the OEDCD "Schools for Tomorrow" Seminar

 

1. OVERVIEW

The Global Classroom offers innovatory example by extending learning and teaching across curricular and national boundaries. It concentrates on a vision for the future nurtured between and within partner schools and communities. It also seeks to be innovatory through research undertaken in and between schools based on student perceptions of significant educational issues. An exemplar research project undertaken in 1996 / 1997 by Nara Women's University measured student perceptions of the relevance of post compulsory education in Japan and Scotland.

Simultaneous teaching and learning is undertaken between schools in several courses based on sharing curricula. The model offers further innovation by encouraging extended student and staff exchanges between the partner school communities. This brings a significant innovatory and international dimension to the project.

 

2. BACKGROUND

The Global Classroom evolved in the course of the past decade. It began with Anderson High School in Lerwick Shetland islands establishing links throughout the world. These links came about as a result of a combination of factors. The key factor was a whole-school decision taken in the midst of Shetland's oil development era in the 1980's when the school had students from quite a number of different countries to establish a network of international school links. Each school partnership arose from specific and particular circumstances

The Global Classroom is currently a partnership of six schools reflecting six varied communities .They are as follows :

 

Anderson High School
Lerwick Shetland Islands UK

The school is a state comprehensive school run by the Education Department of the local government, Shetland Islands Council . It offers a full range of courses to students from throughout the Shetland Islands. It has a student population of 840 aged 12 - 18 years and 75 staff. Due to the island communities it serves it also has residential accommodation for senior students from communities a considerable distance from Lerwick.

Bobergsskolan
Ange Sweden

This is a state senior High School run by the local commune of Ange. It offers both academic and vocational courses to students aged 16 - 19 years from throughout the area served by the local commune. It has a student population of 450 and a staff of 35.

Graf Friedrich Gymnasium
Diepholtz Germany

This is a state senior High School (Gymnasium) run by the local government of Diepholtz. It offers academic courses to students aged 16- 19 from the town and neighbouring district of Diepholtz. It has a student population of 900 and a staff of 60.

Gymnasium Zlin
Zlin Czech Republic

This is also a senior High School (Gymnasium) run by the local government of the town of Zlin . It offers a wide variety of academic courses to students aged 16 - 19. It has a student population of 1,000 and 80 staff.

Harold Cressy High School
Cape Town South Africa

This is a state secondary school run by the Education Department of the Western Cape. Formerly it offered secondary education to students of families resident in the central Cape Town area of District Six. The classification of this district by the former government of South Africa as "white" resulted in the school population,formerly classified "coloured" being dispersed throughout the Cape area. The school offers students aged 12 - 18 a full choice of secondary education courses. It has a student population of 850 and 35 staff.

Nara Women's University High School
Nara Japan

This school is run by the Japanese Ministry of Education. It is run in partnership with Nara Women's University - the Principal of the High School being also Professor of the University Education department. It offers a full and varied range of courses to High School students aged 13 - 18. It has a school population of 720 and a staff of 40.

 

3. MAIN CHARACTERISTICS.

The Global Classroom,as the name implies promotes education beyond and outwith national or normal curricular boundaries. It aims to enable students and staff opportunities to research and prepare information on issues of significant importance to the coming Millennium and beyond. It offers continuous international learning, teaching and research of these issues throughout the respective school years in partner communities. In doing so it makes extensive use of Information technology both for the research and sharing of information. The Global Classroom offers senior students of schools in six countries worldwide a model of international partnership that extends learning and teaching from classrooms of partner schools to a global forum. The model is based on senior students in each school using Information Technology to share visions,ideas,information and materials on themes significant to the coming Millennium. These are agreed to by students , teachers and partnership communities and reflects a cross section of their respective societies united in one Global Classroom. The current partners are - Anderson High School , Lerwick Shetland Islands U K.,Bobergsskolan ,Ange,Sweden Graf Friedruch Schule , Diepholz,Germany Gymnasium Zlin, Zlin,Czech Republic,Harold Cressy High School, Cape Town, South Africa, Nara Women's University High School,Nara, Japan.

This model of international education expects all participants in each of the partner schools to contribute information,ideas and material researched as part of course curricular study,extra curricular study and private research on the agreed themes. The outcomes of work are sent to the Global Classroom host school which subsequently shares the submissions with all partner schools. This is done at three agreed times of the year. The submissions are carefully considered in each school and are followed by inter school discussion , debate and where possible video conferencing. The annual Global Classroom gathering is the focus for reaching agreement on the various themes.

A Global Classroom home-page has been prepared by students and staff of both Bobergsskolan(Sweden) and Nara Women's University High School(Japan). The annual symposium for students and staff participants provides an international forum to debate,discuss and record the decisions taken regarding the themes and issues central to the project. The issues prepared during 1996 - 1997 and addressed at the symposium held in Shetland in June 1997 were - education,employment,environment and various social and personal issues. During 1997 - 1998 the issues will be - democracy, local community development, environment and again various social and personal issues.The symposium will be held in Ange in Sweden in June 1998.

 

4. EVALUATION

Following The Global Classroom event in Shetland in June 1997 detailed evaluation of the work was undertaken. This highlighted very positive outcomes in terms of student and staff motivation and recorded favourable impacts on schools and communities ethos. The evaluation also indicated that The Global Classroom raised the quality of learning and teaching in and amongst partner schools.

In research and preparation of information,ideas and materials for presentation at The Global Classroom meeting student and staff motivation was high. An example of this in Anderson High School (Shetland,U K) was the involvement of many of the senior school student population along with staff from all departments in the preparation,research and presentation of the education theme. In addition the presence of a Student Co ordinator nominated by each participating school to be in Shetland for a period of six weeks prior to the symposium to prepare information about Shetland in the language of her/his school and to assist with the administrative preparations heightened international awareness and prepared the school and community for the major forthcoming international event.

In Harold Cressy High School(Cape Town,South Africa) the preparation of a video presenting the school and community visions of education and employment in Cape Town and South Africa enabled the school to bring together divergent views and impressions and gave focus to potentially divisive,negative issues.

The opportunities to share curricular materials between schools has led to the teaching of similar courses .Evaluation highlighted examples including History and Modern Studies courses in Anderson High School(UK) and Harold Cressy High School(South Africa) and aspects of social education between Nara Women's University High(Japan) and Bobergsskolan(Sweden) and Anderson High School(UK). This gives a direct international dimension to the curricula of the schools involved. The evaluation also highlighted the valuable role played by the Extended Student Exchange Programmes established between partner schools. These depend on reciprocal education and hosting arrangements between the partner schools and efforts within all schools to assist with travel costs. There is a suggested limit of one student from each partner school attending another partner school .The programme offers stays of from two months to a school year.

In recognition of the importance of this in promoting and raising international awareness and understanding a student from Bobergsskolan was given the opportunity to undertake the role of Global Classroom Student Ambassador for the year 1997 - 1998. He will visit each partner school for up to two months and will be hosted by the families of students of each school. He will promote The Global Classroom to be held in Ange in June 1998 in each school community. He is also playing a very important role in the planning and preparations for The Global Classroom 1998.

A further significant factor in evaluating The Global Classroom is the significant number of students for whom participation in The Global Classroom gives focus to their Higher Education studies. Two Anderson High School students have spent a year attending Graf Friedrich Schule and have gone on to study German. Two are currently attending Harold Cressy High School and in return two Harold Cressy students will sit a full course of final national exams at Anderson High School. A student from Harold Cressy High will attend Bobergsskolan in Ange,Sweden with a view to studying Swedish in South Africa. Participation in the project has also resulted in three Anderson High School students going on to study Japanese in Higher Education.

 

5. RELEVANCE

School exchanges are not unusual as such and are encouraged by many governments.The Global Classroom,however, offers an example of extending traditional partnerships to place them at the core of learning and teaching and make them central to the life and ethos of participating schools and communities. An agreed set of aims and objectives and an organisational structure to administer the project are essential. Reaching agreement on the aims,objectives and organisational structure of The Global Classroom took time and depended on mutual trust,compromise and extensive consultation. It is certainly possible for schools keen to promote international eductaion to establish structures to promote similar or varied models of The Global Classroom

 

6. CONTEXT

The Global Classroom is set in the context of international education. It aims to provide a forum for the visions of students,staff and communities within the partnership. It aims to share learning,teaching and research beyond national and curricular boundaries. It provides an international dimension and context to address and share issues of common global concern and provides an annual forum to share information,reasearch,ideas and visions of life beyond the narrowly national .

 

7. CONTACT

The Global Classroom has a Co ordinator in each of the participating schools.
This Report was prepared by the Co ordinator in Anderson High School(UK).

Stewart L Hay Assistant Headteacher

Anderson High School
Lover's Loan
LERWICK
Shetland Islands
ZE1 OJH
UK

Telephone Contact Int 44 1595 69 23 06
Fax Contact Int 44 1595 69 56 88

e Mail Contact stewart_hay@scet.org.uk