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Broad pedagogical freedom or prescriptive curriculum? The examples of South Korea and Minas Gerais

In South Korea, a country with one of the best ranked education systems in the world, teachers enjoy a lot of pedagogical freedom and the country funds action research undertaken by its own teachers and accounts for this research in their professional development. In the State of Minas Gerais (Brasil), on the other hand, sharp learning improvement in the past few years has been driven by a very prescriptive approach with detailed teaching resources for teachers and little pedagogical freedom. These two countries, despite their opposite approaches, are educational successes. The difference lies in the context: Minas Gerais has much weaker teachers, who need much more support, while teachers in South Korea are autonomous, reflective practitioners (Mc Kinsey, 2010).

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