Self-Evaluation in the Global Classroom

By John MacBeath; Hidenori Sugimine | Go to book overview

10

Subjects, subjects, subjects

Miki Nishimura, Duane Henry and Colin Bragg

All secondary schools in all countries structure their time around the study of 'subjects'. In fact the curriculum has a familiar look from one country to the next - languages, Mathematics, Science, Social Subjects, Art, Music - timetabled in periods with classes of students - a school structure that would be comfortably recognisable to an octogenarian returning to her old school. The variation from school to school is primarily in the range of subjects studied, length of school periods and balance of subjects within the school day but the underlying similarity does allow for a common set of data as to the preferences and dislikes of school students, male and female. In this chapter data are presented on what students said about their school subjects. One of the most interesting findings is on reasons why some subjects appeal more than others - intrinsic interest, and why subjects are least liked - pressure for extrinsic grades. There are echoes here of Csikzentimihalyi's (1998) study of motivation which showed that the top three reasons for engagement in school subjects were, in order, enjoyment, satisfaction in getting better at learning, and interest.


What students said

In each country students were asked to name their most and least favourite subjects, followed by reasons for their likes and dislikes. The patterns between the sexes are interesting in both similarities and differences from one country to the next. Across the six schools there were some close agreements as to favourite and least favourite subjects. Figure 10.1 shows an aggregate of favourite subjects.

As can be seen, creative subjects together with social science and physical science are most often chosen. Foreign languages follow in fourth place. Native language and Mathematics, generally seen as the two key or 'core' subjects, figure low in the favourites list. However, these overall data conceal some significant differences between one country and the next. Table 10.1 illustrates these differences.

The most striking difference shown in Table 10.1 is Foreign Languages, seen as important and valuable by the European countries and Japan but rated very low by the two English-speaking countries. Bobergsskolan is out of step on

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Self-Evaluation in the Global Classroom
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures ix
  • List of Tables xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - The Learning School 3
  • 1 - The Story Begins 5
  • 2 - What We Did 15
  • 3 - Tools for Schools 27
  • 4 - A Lifetime of Learning (In One Year) 36
  • 5 - The Impact on the Schools 50
  • 6 - Expert Witnesses 65
  • Part II - Insights into the School Experience from the Learning School Students 73
  • 7 - A Place Called School 75
  • 8 - The School Day 84
  • 9 - Layouts for Learning 92
  • 10 - Subjects, Subjects, Subjects 98
  • 11 - Lessons, Lessons, Lessons 110
  • 12 - Who Do You Learn Most From? 117
  • 13 - Who Likes School? 125
  • 14 - Two Classes Compared 137
  • 15 - It All Depends on Your Point of View 149
  • 16 - A Life in the Day of Three Students 161
  • 17 - No Two the Same 175
  • 18 - Talking About Learning 183
  • 19 - Learning Out of School 203
  • 20 - Students and Their Parents 209
  • 21 - Lifelong Learning 219
  • 22 - Postscript 229
  • Bibliography 233
  • Index 235
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