It's important to point out that this is a huge generalisation and, of course, there were/are exceptions to the rule. However, I think, overall, the gap is not an educational one - or level of smartness even - but rather one of attitude. As long as that factor remains, the UK hasn't got a hope in hell of climbing the table, never mind becoming number one.
Sharing resources among educators is nothing new in the world of teachers. Veteran teachers may give materials they found useful to the new teachers who are taking over their classes. Teaching methods are always shared and discussed among colleagues; and a large part of that process is happening online in modern times.
Education is a process of providing structured information. It is accessible to every child for free in the developed world, so much so that it's almost taken for granted. The developing worlds are still striving to gain easily attainable education systems like ours, because education is seen as a platform whereby children can greaten themselves.
I have learned a tremendous amount since training to be a coach and being a coach. I have learned a lot about me in the process. I learned so much about myself that I didn't know, or if I did know I was not aware of it. A lot had been stuffed down inside somewhere, and I have managed to excavate and find it.
Experiencing a completely different way of life and culture made me draw comparisons to my own life. Obviously, it highlights issues of materialism and made me really appreciate the significance of family and community. There was only 5,000 people on the island I was working on. They all knew and loved each other and were so welcoming to the volunteers.
Everything about the experience was amazing and so different from life in England. The best parts for me were teaching and spending time with the children as it was very rewarding. Travelling at the weekend was amazing as I was able to see such things as waterfalls, national parks and tame crocodiles.
When I was a child, attending a small Catholic state primary in North Wales, our times tables were something that were drummed in to us. Teachers, and my mum, who was a single parent, knew the value of being good with numbers and being able to do your "sums". And the key to it all is practise. You can't do it without practise. But somehow we think that you can confine maths to five sessions of 45 minutes or so a week (the numeracy lesson) and that's good enough. It isn't.
My point is, if our schools are to remain more than institutions of academia, if we want them to remain the backbone of our communities and a moral compass as well as an educational one, then we need to open up our schools to the support and involvement of local communities and organizations looking to do just that.
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