The Educational Value of Field Trips

59-global-learning-400x250The school field trip has a long history in American public education. For decades, students have piled into yellow buses to visit a variety of cultural institutions, including art, natural history, and science museums, as well as theaters, zoos, and historical sites. Schools gladly endured the expense and disruption of providing field trips because they saw these experiences as central to their educational mission: schools exist not only to provide economically useful skills in numeracy and literacy, but also to produce civilized young men and women who would appreciate the arts and culture. More-advantaged families may take their children to these cultural institutions outside of school hours, but less-advantaged students are less likely to have these experiences if schools do not provide them. With field trips, public schools viewed themselves as the great equalizer in terms of access to our cultural heritage.

Today, culturally enriching field trips are in decline. Museums across the country report a steep drop in school tours. For example, the Field Museum in Chicago at one time welcomed more than 300,000 students every year. Recently the number is below

World Teachers’ Day – empowering teachers, building sustainable societies


In the busyness of our day-to-day lives we don’t always have time to sit back and put things in perspective. The minutiae of everyday living overwhelms the big picture. But today I’d like us all to take the time to stop and think about that big picture.

Education and good teachers in particular are understood to be the key to creating sustainable societies, fit for the future. Each and every one of us has a role to play in preparing young people for a future in which there are no certainties.

It is important to remember the central role that teachers play in society at a time when negative views about education are presented in the press on a regular basis. Negativity can de-motivate us, so let’s remember today the exceptional work that is going on in schools and colleges across Scotland and beyond. The complexity of teaching is not something that is readily understood by those outwith the profession. The job of a teacher is challenging, without a doubt, but it’s hugely rewarding. The hard work and dedication of the profession to deliver high-quality learning

Welcome To Your 21st Century Global Educational System


We are entering into a new era of education with a global curriculum designed by the United Nations that will be implemented not just in developing countries, but right here in the United States.

Once our daycares are forced to shut their doors because of purposeful and costly over-regulation by state and federal governments, babies will be forced into the 0 -12 educational system and the educational leaders will have accomplished their goal of compulsory education for even the youngest in our society. Once all children are herded into the public school system (because homeschooling will no longer be allowed), this is what our newly transformed educational system will look like. This is something they have been promoting to implement in Michigan schools during the Governor Granholm era and has since continued under the current administration.

You will drop your child off at the door shortly after giving birth. The school will provide your children’s health care, nutritional needs, infant support services, infant mental health (because you will probably screw them up somehow). Of course they will also provide

Global Education: Bringing the World to Your Classroom

I love to travel. In my eight years of teaching, I have seized several (free) opportunities to see the world. Travel has enriched my teaching, allowing me to bring international experiences directly back to my students.

This year I participated in the Teachers for Global Classrooms fellowship, a program of the U.S. State Department.

I joined 64 teachers from around the country in completing an online course on best practices in global education. In February, we attended a global education symposium in Washington, D.C., accompanied by administrators from our schools.

And I just returned from an eye-opening trip to Brazil with 10 other TGC teachers. We spent two weeks observing and co-teaching in schools (both public and private). Other teachers in the program traveled to India, Ghana, Indonesia, Morocco, and Ukraine.

One takeaway from my fellowship experience is a clearer understanding of what teaching global competencies might look like in practice. The Asia Society and the Council of Chief State School Officers have produced a series of global competence matrices (PDF). I started using these matrices this year as a way to evaluate my own curriculum. Recently, I’ve been embedding competencies into my student

GTCS and its message internationally

Tom Hamilton, GTCS Director of Education, Registration and Professional Learning

‘How would you feel about completing the training exercise in the Maldives?’

An interesting question to be asked in an email from a colleague working for the World University Service of Canada.

However, the next sentence gave a little more context and a pause for thought.

‘Dubai has fallen through as the Afghans can’t get visas for there but the Maldives government is prepared to accept them for a working visit.’

So what is GTC Scotland doing in connection to Afghanistan? Well, making a contribution to the development of its Initial Teacher Education (ITE) system, that’s what, through being part of a Canadian government financed scheme entitled the Teacher Certification and Accreditation of Teacher Training Institutions in Afghanistan (TCAP).

Which is why I recently spent four days in Malé, the capital of the Maldives, presenting on the GTC Scotland approach to the accreditation of ITE.

My fellow presenters were one from Canada and two from New Zealand; all very experienced academics who had worked extensively internationally and knew about accreditation systems from various parts of the world. The audience was 14 staff from the

Scotland to host International Teaching Summit

Scotland has been chosen to host an International Summit on the Teaching Profession, an event that brings together education ministers, teacher trade unions and education leaders from across the world to share global best practice in education.

The news was announced at the close of this year’s summit in New Zealand, held on 28 and 29 March. Canada, Germany and Hong Kong have also been selected to host the event, with the summit in Scotland provisionally scheduled for 2018.

A Scottish delegation attended this year’s summit in Wellington, led by Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell. The delegation included Ken Muir, Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, and Larry Flanagan, General Secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS).

Mr Russell, who made a joint presentation with Mr Flanagan to the summit, said:

“The past two days in Wellington have brought together Education Ministers, teacher trade unions and education representatives, from across the globe, and facilitated discussions on how best, our teacher workforces can be supported in delivering education for children and young people.

“The collaborative approach we take in Scotland in delivering education has attracted great

The Benefits of Joining a Management Training Programme

The core principles of management are quite simple. Regardless of what you are managing, the main objective is always the same: to make the best use of the resources available in order to achieve the long-term aims and short term milestones on time. Today, managers perform a variety of different duties in the corporate environment. Staff managers are responsible for keeping tabs on employees and managing different teams. Procurement managers are responsible for making sure that substantial inventory is available at all times, in order to ensure that the company’s production processes aren’t hindered.

Companies generally hire managers in order to lead teams and get work done. Over the past couple of centuries, hundreds of different management theories have been published. However, that doesn’t mean that the concept of management was introduced in the past two hundred years. In fact, scholars have been writing about the importance of management for thousands of years. Back in the days of ancient Greece, many distinguished scholars wrote about the qualities to look for in leaders and managers.

However, the principles of management have changed drastically since then. Today, managers need to be quick and decisive, and must maintain a

Can you imagine a World’s Fair in 100 years’ time? Will we be able to celebrate our planet and our global success in securing an equitable future for all?

In 2016 we’re faced with significant global issues including mass migration and climate change (particularly at the forefront of people’s minds following the recent UN climate agreement in Paris). The United Nations was created by world leaders at the end of the Second World War as a way of systematically and collectively addressing the global issues of the time – international peace and security, and managing the mass relocation of people and homelessness. Today, however, despite the best of efforts, the world and the planet remain at risk.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described climate change as a “quintessentially global issue”. It is clearly a challenge that no country can meet on its own. So how are we going to deal with this global issue? Where does education in the 21st century fit in and how can it positively contribute?

According to Professor Charles Hopkins, who recently visited Scotland and GTC Scotland in his role as UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Teacher Education, the UN remains the best tool we’ve got. When speaking at a University of Edinburgh open lecture, he described the UN as a meeting place, where nations can come together in an effort to

World Teachers’ Day – a time to say thank you

The theme for this year’s World Teachers’ day, ‘Invest in the future, invest in teachers’, aptly recognises the important role teachers, lecturers and other educational professionals play in society, our joint futures and the wider world in which we live.

Teachers have the enormous responsibility of educating a future generation who will go on to hold roles in all corners of Scottish society. And teachers are responsible for educating global citizens, who will play an active and important part in a globalised multicultural society. The critical role of teachers to prepare young people for this challenge in a rapidly changing world cannot be underestimated. It is a demanding and complex job; something that is not always fully appreciated.

Today is about recognising this and thanking teachers all over the world for the work they do in educating and improving the life chances of our children and young people.

World Teachers’ Day is also a time to look beyond education in Scotland and think about what life is like for teachers in other parts of the world. Think of what we have that others do not; for example, what we may consider to be basic necessities

Scots teachers take learning global in Rwanda

It won’t be their usual summer break, and it’ll be a whole new classroom. The teaching will be different and their home life filled with cultural experiences and challenges. However, there will be bags of inspiration, enthusiasm, similarities and a warm welcome when fifteen Scottish teachers leave their classrooms behind on the last day of term and head to Rwanda to live and work for four weeks.

Fifteen teachers from the Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus area are taking part in the Global Learning Partnerships (GLP) programme, a learning opportunity that will greatly improve and support the long-term development of global education within their schools and enhance global citizenship values in young people.

The programme is run by The Wood Foundation (TWF), the philanthropic charity created by Sir Ian Wood and family in 2007. The programme falls under the ‘Developing Young People in Scotland’ category with the main focus on global citizenship. Other areas focused on by TWF in this category are youth philanthropy, childhood poverty, and positive pathways for young people leaving full-time education.

The GLP experience enriches practitioners while interweaving the effects of globalisation with Learning for Sustainability, providing children in Scotland

International showcase for Scottish education

Education Secretary leads delegation to New Zealand in partnership with Trade Unions
Scotland will lead a UK delegation to the International Summit on the Teaching Profession, organised by the OECD and Education International, being held in Wellington, New Zealand on March 28 and 29.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell and Larry Flanagan of The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) will make a joint address to the annual summit which brings together education ministers, national teacher trade union leaders from 13 states including the USA, Germany, Japan, Denmark and Sweden.

Ken Muir, Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) will also be part of the delegation which will represent the UK and highlight Scotland’s key educational strengths while identifying best practices worldwide that will strengthen the teaching profession and raise student achievement.

Mr Russell said:

“The key priorities of the Summit align with our own priorities for Scottish education: breaking the link between poverty and attainment, investing in teacher excellence and a curriculum focussed on pupils’ experiences to help them achieve success.

“Scotland’s teachers are amongst the best in the world. This is an opportunity to promote

Campaign to launch the World’s Largest Lesson

The World’s Largest Lesson is an initiative to teach children in over 100 countries about the new Sustainable Development Goals that will be adopted by the UN General Assembly later this month.

As part of the campaign to tell everyone about the Global Goals, the World’s Largest Lesson will engage children and young people in the global effort to build a more sustainable future for every citizen.

“The World’s Largest Lesson will do more than teach children about the global goals. It will engage them in the effort to achieve those goals – educating them about the challenges that are shaping their futures and encouraging them to drive change in their own communities,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Young people can help achieve the global goals by holding their leaders accountable for the promises they are making – and by holding themselves accountable for building a better future for everyone.”

The World’s Largest Lesson will be held in classrooms on every continent during the week of 28 September. A potential 500 million girls and boys between the ages of 8 and 14 will have the chance to learn about the Global Goals, which range

Building characters of the future

How appropriate it is for Mr Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education, to enshrine the memory and legacy of Robert Owen in the history of Scottish education.

His vision for The Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change is that it ‘will be devoted to our understanding of how to improve the life chances of our young people’, and provide a window into the world, in which others will learn with and from Scotland and further the cause of educational equity – a hallmark of Owen’s legacy.

The centre will promote successful practices and be a lighthouse for educators across the globe. It will further advance the cause of equity of outcomes and solidify Scotland’s place in the global community. What an honour it was for me to receive the Robert Owen Award and I was grateful for this bold recognition.

As I read about Owen’s beliefs, philosophies and achievements, I see many parallels between these and our modus operandi as educators today. For example:

1. Robert Owen believed in the importance of education

Robert Putnam (1993) once concluded that communities which succeeded socially and economically did not become civil because they were rich,

Resources to support active global citizenship

Scotdec Global Learning Centre works with schools and educators to promote active and participatory global citizenship education.

Scotdec has created a number of practical, classroom resources which support active Global Citizenship in many curriculum areas.

Global Youth Work

A Global Citizenship resource for youth work and activities suitable for school use. Using six everyday commodities as a starting point to explore global interdependencies: water, tobacco, chocolate, textiles, mobile phones and sustainable food.

Our Forest, Our Future

An online resource to help teachers and pupils explore the interdependence of people and forests and the vital role forests play in sustaining our environment.

Failte Malawi

A Global Citizenship resource for primary schools. The activities in this resource pack encourage pupils to explore the links and commonalities that are shared between Scotland and Malawi.

A’ Adam’s Bairns?

Exploring equality and diversity in Scotland past and present. This online resource explores slavery and the slave trade in the context of Scotland’s history and the issues which challenge us in Scotland today.


In the 1980s era of big mainframe computers and telephone landlines, if you owned a personal computer or a “car phone,” you were either affluent or worked for a major corporation. It would have been hard at that time to imagine personal computers in eight out of 10 American households and cell phones in almost every pocket worldwide.By the end of their K-12 careers, global-ready students are able to develop and apply critical cultural frameworks in their investigations and learning about global society, geography, environment, economy and politics.

For students in K-12 public schools, access to global education is today’s equivalent to having a personal computer or mobile phone in the 1980s— it’s for the privileged few. The bad news about global education in 2014 is that unless you are on a college or university campus, in a well-funded school district with an International Baccalaureate (IB) program, or attending a private school committed to global themes, you’re highly unlikely to find it.

Few graduates of our schools reflect real preparedness for the global reality of work and life in our times. Despite the multinational nature of commerce, the increasingly international character of our communities and schools,

A taste of the Big Apple

New York school Daniel Hale Williams shows how a strong vision and shared long-term goals can have a transformational effect.

In addition to building on successful initiatives in Scotland, the Scottish Attainment Challenge is learning from models in other parts of the world that have achieved success in closing the attainment gap in education. During her recent visit to New York, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited Brooklyn Elementary School P. S. 307 Daniel Hale Williams, which has been recognised for its remarkable transition from “chaos and confusion” to a situation where disadvantaged pupils are gaining success both in and out of the classroom. Teaching Scotland spoke exclusively to Principal Roberta Davenport, who is attributed with turning the school around, to learn some of the secrets to the school’s achievement.

The seeds of success

Roberta recalled that when she began in post 12 years ago, “the focus in the school was not on teaching and learning, but more on behaviour”. And so she started from scratch, by building a vision for the school. “We began by pulling together members of the school community to talk about what kind of school we wanted and that led

21st century realities

As you know, the teaching and learning dynamic has evolved significantly over the course of the past several decades, from the historic one-room schoolhouse with desks in rows to virtual classrooms, digital resources and schools as a window to our world. One constant: great teaching and great teachers.

It’s why the Ontario College of Teachers places great value in teacher preparation programmes. An historic change was marked this past September on how aspiring teachers prepare for the realities of today’s classrooms.

These aspiring teachers, who are enrolled in the enhanced teacher education programme, which came into effect on 1 September, 2015, have an exciting future as they begin their programme of four academic semesters with a minimum of 80 days of supervised practice teaching. Both the duration of the programme and the practicum have been doubled.

The increased duration has enabled Ontario universities offering teacher education programmes to facilitate the development of Ontario’s new teachers in three broad areas: curriculum, pedagogical and instructional strategies, and the teaching context such as classroom, social, diversity and legal perspectives. Many of these content areas were included in the former programmes, but they have been enriched in the expanded

Scots teachers take learning global in Rwanda


It won’t be their usual summer break, and it’ll be a whole new classroom. The teaching will be different and their home life filled with cultural experiences and challenges. However, there will be bags of inspiration, enthusiasm, similarities and a warm welcome when fifteen Scottish teachers leave their classrooms behind on the last day of term and head to Rwanda to live and work for four weeks.

Fifteen teachers from the Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus area are taking part in the Global Learning Partnerships (GLP) programme, a learning opportunity that will greatly improve and support the long-term development of global education within their schools and enhance global citizenship values in young people.

The programme is run by The Wood Foundation (TWF), the philanthropic charity created by Sir Ian Wood and family in 2007. The programme falls under the ‘Developing Young People in Scotland’ category with the main focus on global citizenship. Other areas focused on by TWF in this category are youth philanthropy, childhood poverty, and positive pathways for young people leaving full-time education.


Food for thought as pupils take on the Rice Challenge

Fairtrade project is a hit at Gourock Primary and Lenzie Academy

During a visit to Malawi in 2008, JTS Chair John Riches discovered that a farmer must sell 90kg of rice to fund one year of secondary education. In Malawi, secondary education is not free and only one in three children attend high school. And so the 90kg Rice Challenge began.

The Challenge suits a range of subjects and has proved popular, with more than 700 school groups taking part. Supporting fairtrade initiatives promotes responsible citizenship and is a key element of CfE.

JTS empowers and educates producers and consumers through the fair purchasing and sale of food products from the developing world. They facilitate the import and distribution of fairtrade products to the UK.

It’s becoming ever more important that we do our bit to ensure producers receive a fair price for their produce, and JTS seeks to provide sustainable incomes for small holder farmers. One way is through our 90kg Rice Challenge.

Gourock Primary School even has its own Global Citizen group to co-ordinate sales.

A school spokesman said: “This has been a huge success and we have sold three

ICET World Assembly – Moving forward in curriculum, pedagogy and leadership

I recently attended this conference to present papers from the GTCS in partnership with Glasgow University and SCEL. The presentations focused on the recent research Gillian Hamilton and I had been involved in with our colleagues in Glasgow on sustaining teacher professional learning and models of leadership and learning in Scotland. We are also hoping that these papers will be published in the near future.

ICET’s main focus is to promote high quality education for all learners and to improve the learning experiences and outcomes for all learners across the world by providing opportunities for those involved in their education to share knowledge, practice, resources, expertise and to build strategic partnerships. The conference was an opportunity to do exactly that by bringing educators from all over the world to Ontario for three days to focus on high quality teaching and learning. Organising a conference of this size and magnitude is not easy and there had been considerable difficulties with visas for colleagues from Nigeria which had resulted in headaches for the organisers and non attendance for some of the Nigerian educators. However colleagues from Pakistan, Portugal, Jamaica, America, Canada, Uganda, England and Australia were among the delegates