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  • This blog is written by specialists from the Education Division of the Inter-American Development Bank. Its objective is to provide arguments and ideas that will spark debate about how to transform education in Latin America and the Caribbean. This blog is a call to action for the reader. An idea, a project, or a question can make a difference.

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    Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son las del autor y no necesariamente reflejan las opiniones del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, sus directivas, la Asamblea de Gobernadores o sus países miembros.

    The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

    Archive for February, 2012

    Professionalization and Professionalism in School Teaching

    By - 28 Feb 2012

    by: Jorge Mahecha

    I want to address the issue of standards in teaching as a profession from the perspective of two concepts that are superficially similar but very different at their core: professionalization and professionalism. Speaking of professionalization involves doing so from the study sociology has carried out on the characteristics of occupations as social order structures. In teaching, the path of professionalization involves acquiring the characteristics of high-status occupations, which include certifications and accreditations and the existence of professional associations. All these, I believe, together with the use of scientific knowledge which is a subject that I will talk a bit about in this entry, are the pillars of better established professions. In my previous entry, I stated how I believe school teaching incipiently displays one of the first three characteristics. On this occasion, in the spirit of beginning to propose ways of professionalization, I would like to discuss some aspects that are primarily related to professionalization and to professionalism, somehow.

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    Technologies for education: an action framework

    By - 23 Feb 2012

    This week there was a new publication by the Inter-American Development Bank introducing a framework to support the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects that seek to incorporate technologies to achieve educational improvements. The idea is to support those who are faced with the challenge of improving the quality of education from a school, a municipality, a region or a country, and those who believe that the use of technologies can be part of their strategies.

    There is a broad consensus on the need to improve the results of students in the educational systems of Latin America and the Caribbean. After trying multiple reforms and initiatives, the demand for quality and equity remains a pending task in the region. This requires significant changes not only in what is taught, for it to be relevant to the needs of the knowledge society, but also on how it is taught so as to take charge of the educational context that the 21st century society itself has generated.

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    Run to improve your creativity

    By - 14 Feb 2012

    This post looks at the relationship between exercise and executive functioning. Executive functions are what allow you to concentrate, stay focused and think, rather than act on impulse. They are higher order processes which regulate goal-directed behavior. Core executive functions include inhibition (self-control and self-regulation), working memory (ability to temporarily store and manage information to meet mental challenges), and cognitive control and flexibility (ability to restructure knowledge and information based on changing situational demands).

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    Learning in the 21st Century

    By - 8 Feb 2012

    What is the meaning of “learning” in the 21st century? In a time of debate in Latin America over the role of education, it is worth returning to that essential question. If we don’t, we run the risk that governments and social movements are apt to believe that they can create a new educational system merely by approving or rejecting some law, improving a couple of rules, putting a little more money here, a little supervision there.

    Learning in the 21st century means something clearly new. The knowledge society demands new knowledge and skills, and offers new tools and ways to achieve these. That is the main thing that is new. In this century, a body of existing and innovative educational initiatives, although limited and specific, will be creating a new norm in the way we provide education.

    What are the main characteristics of learning in the 21st century? I think there are four new realities that our educational systems must address.

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    Can education be improved by a decree?

    By - 1 Feb 2012

    United States president, Barack Obama, believes so. Or at least he believes that the law is an effective tool for increasing the rate of high school graduations. President Obama has called for compulsory school attendance until students either graduate or turn 18.

    The debate is at the table. Supporters of this proposal indicate that this type of measures increase the number of students who graduate from high school, reduces violence, and above all offers many advantages to young people when it comes to entering the labor market. Naturally, the idea also has detractors. They say that forcing students to attend schools lowers the quality of education, can cause overcrowding and it is also an expensive proposal. The more students the more need to invest in education.

    A recent study, partly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, states that up to 25% of students remain in school mainly because the law requires them to. The study also shows that at states were students can drop out of school by age 16, more students that age decide to leave it compared with students from states where they have to stay in school until the age of 18.

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