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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Scottish Culture and Views on Education

After reading through a lot of other people’s posts there seems to be a big difference between U.S. schools and people’s placement schools.  While I did notice differences at my school in Scotland the contrast was not so drastic.  This is probably because the cultures in the respective countries are somewhat closer.  Despite the many similarities in U.S. and Scottish schools, the education system in Scotland is distinct and unique. 
At the University of Glasgow I took a course focused on the history and development of the Scottish education system.  It was really interesting to learn about public schooling in Scotland, as it is one of the oldest public systems in the world.  The system values comprehensive education and low government control of curriculum.  There are still standards that schools are expected to meet, but individual schools have much great autonomy than other schools in the U.K.   These ideals were definitely evident in my placement school.  There was a lot of room for creativity in lessons and teachers were encouraged to teach students about nontraditional subjects.  For example one class I worked in was doing an entire lesson on Hollywood.  The students learned about the entertainment industry and made there own movies in groups.  
Overall, I think the style of education in Scottish public schools reflects the country’s culture and a respect for the history of education in the country.  I would say that education is almost universally valued in the United States.  However, in Scotland, that promotion of education is taken to a higher level.  All public university are free to attend, the government will subsidize the cost of living for many students at university.  Students receive a full four years of higher education paid for by the government.  Clearly the culture shows a high appreciation for learning. 

1 comment:

  1. The Scottish Education system sounds really cool. And like you mentioned, schools in England are not at all like that. Britain has a strict National Curriculum in which teachers are told what to teach and even how to teach. This restricts teachers from teaching nontraditional lessons where students can learn more and about lots of different things. I am actually surprised at how much my students know about America. But this is only from what they see on television. My school encourages students to get involved in lots of activities and I think that helps the students be more well-rounded and not stuck to the national curriculum.


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