Western influences on the East, Eastern influences on the West: Lessons for the East and West

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Newcastle University

Prof Julian Elliott

Durham University

As we gain increasing access to differing cultures around the word it is hardly surprising that we will seek to learn from one another. This is particularly likely to be the case in those domains where other societies appear to be more successful than our own.

My presentation will open by discussing the eagerness of policymakers in the U.K. (and U.S.) to cherry-pick educational practices of high performing countries in Asia and Eastern Europe. Here, the focus was largely upon pedagogy, in particular, whole class interactive teaching – a common feature of many of these ‘successful’ societies’ educational practices. The presentation will then draw upon developments in Russia over the past two decades to illustrate that more meaningful reasons for educational success concern attitudes and behaviour, not only those of students and teachers, but also of the wider society. In the light of the more recent Russian experience, I will highlight a number of risks to education systems in non-Western societies that are posed by rapid social change underpinned by globalising influences. The presentation will conclude by discussing some of the problems that globalizing influences are presenting to students, parents, teachers and policymakers in the U.K.