Tag Archives: Interview

Lead the Change interview with Dr. Juana M. Sanhco-Gil

Dr.Juana M. Sancho-Gil

Dr. Juana M. Sancho-Gil

Dr. Juana M. Sancho-Gil is Full Professor of Educational Technologies at the University of Barcelona. Dr. Sancho-Gil has a longstanding and steady experience in promoting research policy at institutional level, advising research programs and projects, and assessing and managing research projects. At the moment she is coordinating the European project DIYLab-Do It Yourself in Education: Expanding Digital Competence to Foster Student Agency and Collaborative Learning. Dr. Sancho-Gil won the national educational research award, first in 1987 and again in 2003.

In this interview, which is part of the Lead the Change Series of the American Educational Research Association Educational Change Special Interest Group, Leithwood shares thoughts on the field of educational change, and provides details of her current work in Spain:

In the context of Spain, where a ruling party has approved and is implementing a regressive educational law, I take part in what is called the Foro de Sevilla. In 2012, the Spanish Minister of Education promoted a new educational law (Ley orgánica de mejora de la calidad educative–LOMCE). Because it was a majority government, the proposal was developed in an authoritarian manner and was highly confronted by diverse political parties, and civic and public entities. A group of university professors, teachers, union members, and representatives of parent associations, concerned about the clear educational and democratic recoil of the proposed law, met in Seville and wrote a manifesto. Since then, we have been discussing the different challenges to be met by education, involving more and more groups in the discussion and engaging in the development of proposals.

This Lead the Change interview appears as part of a series that features experts from around the globe, highlights promising research and practice, and offers expert insight on small- and large-scale educational change. Recently Lead the Change has also published interviews with Diane Ravitch, and the contributors to Leading Educational Change: Global Issues, Challenges, and Lessons on Whole-System Reform (Teachers College Press, 2013) edited by Helen Janc Malone, have participated in a series of blogs from Education Week.

The Global Intensification of Supplementary Education

The following post was originally published by the Asia Pacific Memo on February 18, 2014.

Memo #271

Featuring Julian Dierkes

Recently, Ee-Seul Yoon of the Faculty of Education at UBC in coordination with the Asia Pacific Memo sat down with Dr. Julian Dierkes, Associate Professor and Keidanren Chair in Japanese Research at UBC’s Institute for Asian Research, to pose a few questions about Professor Dierkes’ recently co-edited volume, Out of the Shadows: The Global Intensification Of Supplementary Education, which was published in December 2013.

In our discussion, Dr. Dierkes presents an overview of the changing status and burgeoning popularity of supplementary education (that is, informal education received outside the traditional classroom) and what ramifications this is having on students, teachers, parents, education policy, and the political process—in Canada, Japan, Asia and even more globally. Finally, he touches upon how supplementary education itself is evolving as well as the present status of academic interest in the phenomenon of informal education.

Julian Dierkes is an Associate Professor and the Keidanren Chair in Japanese Research at the Institute for Asian Research at the University of British Columbia, where his research interests are in the area of comparative political sociology and the sociology of education.


Janice Aurini, Scott Davies, and Julian Dierkes, Out of the Shadows: The Global Intensification Of Supplementary Education (Emerald, 2013)

Jukupedia, “Shadowing Education,” February 2014

Julian Dierkes, “Is South Korea’s Hyper-Education System the Future?,” Asia Pacific Memo #2

Husaina Kenayathulla, “Private Tutoring in Malaysia: Regulating for Quality,” Asia Pacific Memo #126

Education Reform in Japan

Dr. Christopher Bjork’s most recent publication, Japanese education in an era of globalization, which he co-edited with Gary DeCoker, was published in May of 2013 by Teachers College Press. The following post is based on a conversation in which he discussed educational reform in Japan.

As Dr. Bjork explained, education reforms in Japan in the 1990s aimed to “relax” strict educational standards and policies that many viewed as contributing to anti-social student behaviors, such as bullying and violence. In an attempt to relieve students of stress caused by high stakes testing, long hours spent in school, and rote learning, Japan implemented progressive, student-centered policies that privileged creative thinking and collaboration.  These changes were designed augment student interest in learning.

Teachers tended agreed with the goals of the relaxed education (yutori kyoiku) reforms, but often had difficulty implementing the initiatives in their classrooms.  Secondary instructors, in particular, were reluctant to diverge from practices that had proven effective in the past.  Dr. Bjork attributes this resistance to the cogent influence of entrance examinations, which act as gatekeepers and determine students’ future level of education attainment. Concerns about student performance on these exams made teachers reluctant to adopt strategies that they saw as unrelated to the content of the exam, and parents less willing to rely on the school system to sufficiently prepare their children for the challenges that lay ahead. As a result, many parents looked to private tutoring programs to fill what they saw as a gap in the children’s education.

Today, despite the country’s superior performance on the 2012 PISA test, the conservative government of Japan has a new agenda for overhauling the education system, which includes improving English fluency among teachers and students, teaching morals, and revamping the college entrance exam. A flurry of reports over the past few months also show that there is much debate over the government’s plan to revise curricula to state Japan’s territorial claims over disputed islands in teaching guidelines.  Although some vestiges of the relaxed education policies remain in place, their impact fell far short of the Ministry of Education’s initial projections.  The goal of alleviating pressure in the schools proved more ambitious than had been anticipated.

Interview with Vicky Colbert

VIcky Colbert

VIcky Colbert

Vicky Colbert is the co-founder of Escuela Nueva in Colombia, a school with a pedagogical model known worldwide for its effectiveness in improving the quality and relevance of basic education. In this featured interview, originally published in the AERA Educational Change Special Interest Group newsletter, Colbert describes the origins, widespread adoption, and recent developments of the model.

To read the full interview, click here: Lead the Change Issue 29 Colbert