I’m a teacher in Italian quarantine, and e-learning is no substitute for the real thing | Lizzie Winter | Opinion

The past week has seen drastic changes all over the world, in particular, Italy. This began last week with a lockdown in northern Italy, the closure of schools and universities across the country, and now a complete lockdown across the whole nation. My life as a primary school teacher here in Tuscany has changed radically. I have been working at a private international school for two years, and what once involved me walking to school, interacting with colleagues and teaching…

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Pino Chirico obituary | Education

My father, Pino Chirico, who has died aged 81, taught Italian to generations of students in the east of England, and had a lifelong commitment to a united, peaceful, inclusive Europe. He was born in Reggio Calabria, southern Italy, the son of Domenico Chirico, a station master, and Isabella (nee Pirozzo). He was profoundly affected by his early memories of war, having spent the summer of 1943 sleeping in his grandparents’ olive groves near Rosarno, a small town 30 miles…

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Dutch schoolchildren make video appeal amid teacher shortage | World news

Parents of children at a primary school in the Netherlands have responded to a national teacher shortage by making a short video of their offspring asking for candidates to come forward and help make their dreams come true. In the film the children talk about their plans to be a caretaker, pilot, plumber, acrobat or director when they get older. “But that is not possible without a good teacher,” the parents write on the website of Wereldboom school in Amsterdam.…

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Will Finland introduce a four-day week? Is it the secret of happiness? | Money

Finland’s new prime minister, 34-year-old Sanna Marin, once floated the idea of a four-day week. It sounds quite glorious, doesn’t it? However, critics of reduced working hours, such as the Tory MEP Daniel Hannan, think the idea is bonkers. He believes we could all work four-day weeks, but we just don’t want to. Is he right? The evidence says not. Reducing the length of the working week boosts productivity. When, in August, Microsoft Japan tested a four-day week, productivity work…

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No grammar schools, lots of play: the secrets of Europe’s top education system | Education

It’s a warm September afternoon in the Kallio district of Helsinki. Out in the Franzenia daycare centre playground, groups of four- and five-year-olds roam contentedly. “Would you like an ice-cream?” asks one, having set up her elaborate “stall” on the edge of the sandpit. Kindergarten staff move among the children, chatting, observing and making written notes. There is nothing outwardly distinctive about the centre, though with 200 children, it is the city’s largest. It is a tall, somewhat dour former…

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‘Victor Hugo becomes a sex god in my mind’ – how to get better at French | Education

I used to think I was pretty great at French: I could handle a subjunctive and disdained the myriad mangled pronunciations of “millefeuille” on Masterchef. I lived in French-speaking Brussels for 12 years and have a French husband who still tolerates me misgendering the dishwasher after 24 years. My inflated sense of my abilities was bolstered over the years by compliments from surprised French people. Admittedly, the bar is pitifully low for Brits speaking a foreign language: like Samuel Johnson’s…

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Visa extension to boost numbers of overseas students in UK after Brexit | Education

International students will be given visa extensions of up to a year to look for work in the UK as part of a package of government measures to boost numbers of overseas students after Brexit. The move represents a break with current policy, where students are allowed to stay for just four months after graduation. Announcing the strategy, the Department for Education (DfE) said: “There is no limit on the number of international students that can study in the UK,…

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Lib Dems warn of Brexit brain drain as EU academics quit | Education

Brexit is contributing to a serious brain drain in UK universities, say the Liberal Democrats, after it emerged that almost 11,000 EU academics had left since the 2016 referendum. The figures, based on freedom of information responses from universities, show 10,918 left in the three years starting with the 2016-17 financial year. In 2018-19, 4,014 quit, 31% more than in 2015-16, and 40% more than in 2014-15. The figures are almost certain to be underestimates of the real total, because…

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Doctors call for tighter control of traditional Chinese medicine | Education

Europe’s leading doctors are to call for tighter regulation of traditional Chinese medicine, anxious that recent recognition by the World Health Organization will encourage the use of unproven therapies that can sometimes be harmful. The Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) and the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council will issue a joint statement on Thursday urging the WHO to clarify how traditional Chinese medicine and other complementary therapies should be used. Earlier this year, the WHO decided to add…

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Populism has no place in education – so stop bashing Germans and private schools | Laura McInerney | Education

We live in complicated times. Prorogations. Constitutional crises. It is not surprising, therefore, that the government wants to talk to the public about simple things that “make sense”. Unfortunately, the education policies of the two main(ish) political parties may be feeding the anxious political climate. Take the battle cry of the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, who has set a target that vocational education in Britain will “overtake Germany” in the next decade. It is not clear what he means, but…

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Top of the class: Labour seeks to emulate Finland’s school system | Education

It’s early afternoon in Lintulaakson school in Espoo, near Helsinki. The younger children are having a snack before starting their after-school activities. Upstairs a group of 12-year-olds are in a craft class, cutting patterns and making clothes on sewing machines. Outside, children play in an enormous outdoor space, equipped with a climbing frames, football pitches and basketball courts. “Hey, Petteri,” one boy yells casually at the principal, Petteri Kuusimäki. “Next year can we start school a bit later, at 10am?”…

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UK-led cancer and climate trials at risk as British researchers become liability | Education

British researchers say they are being shut out of bids for major European research partnerships, or asked to keep a low profile, because of fears that the threat of a no-deal Brexit could contaminate chances of success. An analysis by University College London of the latest EU research funding data shows that UCL and eight other Russell Group universities were running around 50 big European research collaborations a year in 2016, but only 20 in 2018. Researchers say that taking…

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Much shorter working weeks needed to tackle climate crisis – study | Environment

People across Europe will need to work drastically fewer hours to avoid disastrous climate heating unless there is a radical decarbonising of the economy, according to a study. The research, from thinktank Autonomy, shows workers in the UK would need to move to nine-hour weeks to keep the country on track to avoid more than 2C of heating at current carbon intensity levels. Similar reductions were found to be necessary in Sweden and Germany. The findings are based on OECD…

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‘It was a no-brainer’: but does a degree from abroad really make a difference? | Education

Adam Hussain was about to go to university in 2013 when tuition fees in the UK nearly trebled to £9,000. With additional loans for living costs, he realised he would incur debts of £40,000. So when he saw a television report about an exodus of UK students to the Netherlands, Hussain decided to attend an open day at Maastricht University, where annual fees were €2,000 (then about £1,700). That year more than 1,000 British freshers started university in the Netherlands.…

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Michael Gove’s legacy and his No 10 destiny | Brief letters | Education

Last week we witnessed one of the saddest responses from a primary school child (aged seven) that we’ve ever heard. The class was involved in a philosophy for children session when they were asked: “What is a feeling?” A hand shot up and immediately came the answer: “It’s an abstract noun!” All around nodded in agreement. Gove’s legacy?David NattrassKings Meaburn, Cumbria • Visitors to Mulhouse (Letters, 27 May) should not miss the Musée du Papier Peint (Wallpaper History Museum) in…

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Teacher suspended after her pupils criticise Italian far-right law | World news

An Italian teacher has been suspended over a video made by her students that compared a security law drafted by Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, to Mussolini’s racial laws, provoking a storm of protest against her suspension across the country. Rosa Maria Dell’Aria was last week suspended for 15 days on half pay after an investigation by the education ministry’s provincial authority in Palermo found she had not “supervised” her students’ work. “I am embittered,” she told the Guardian.…

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