Thinking multidimensionally about ambitious educational change

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As the demands for civic and economic participation increase, the result of technological, economic and social transformations, and in response to a rapidly changing world and to new challenges, many governments have turned to schools to provide students with opportunities to develop the skills necessary to thrive. This chapter traces the roots of education reforms that seek to develop a breadth of skills, to educate the whole child, reviewing the emergence of the field of comparative education as the first public education systems were created, and examining the role of the international development architecture built after world war II in advancing the global education movement. The chapter then examines the more recent efforts to develop twenty-first century skills. It then introduces the present comparative study of education reforms in Brazil, Finland, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Portugal and Russia, describing the basic tenets of each of those reforms. The chapter then examines how instruction and learning compare in these countries, using data from the latest survey of teacher practices conducted by the OECD (TALIS - The OECD teaching and learning international survey. Accessed 3 Dec 2019). The core argument of the chapter is that education reforms can be framed in five alternative ways, depending on which elements of the process of educational change they highlight: cultural, psychological, professional, institutional and political. Each of these frames is explicated and used to discuss the reforms examined in this book. The analysis shows that in practice, none of the reforms adopts a comprehensive multidimensional approach that draws from these five perspectives. Institutional and political perspectives are more common, and cultural and psychological perspective less so.




Reimers, F. M. (2020). Thinking multidimensionally about ambitious educational change. In Audacious Education Purposes: How Governments Transform the Goals of Education Systems (pp. 1–46). Springer International Publishing.

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