To meet the challenges and opportunities of globalization in the Information Age, educational leaders around the world are intensifying their efforts to transform schools into learning communities. These efforts are predicated on the belief that strengthening a country’s educational system is essential to the collective and individual well-being of its citizens. However, schools are highly complex organizations, and they have proven resistant to deep structural and cultural change. Transforming school systems into collaborative professional learning communities continues to be difficult. With reference to Generation YES (Youth and Educators Succeeding), a research-validated program in the United States, this chapter argues that school leaders and educational policy makers can benefit from students’ expertise with web-based technologies and harness their idealism, enthusiasm, and energy to transform schools into collaborative professional learning communities. GenYES has enabled students to provide technical support and leadership for technology integration and teacher professional development in thousands of schools in the United States. A key assumption of this chapter is that, regardless of national context, student involvement is the “sleeping giant” of educational reform.
A Progress Report on Thailand’s Quest for Educational Quality
Wirot Sanrattana, Forrest W. Parkay and Mei Wu
Wu Mei, Forrest W. Parkay and Paul E. Pitre
This study examines the academic performance and “engagement” of ethnic minority students at a leading university in southwest China. Results indicate that ethnic minority students have significantly lower grades, lower class ranking, and have failed more courses than majority Han students. Results also show that the level of student–faculty interaction (SFI) for ethnic minority students is significantly lower than for Han students. Study results also indicate that average scores in coursework and student ranking among their cohorts are significantly, but weakly, correlated with SFI. The study concludes that SFI may have little influence on students’ academic achievement itself, but would help students integrate into the college community, enabling a sense of belonging, which is a major factor in supporting academic success among ethnic minority students.