British Educators Tour Region 8 Schools

November 8, 2003 - Posted at 4:35 p.m. CDT

CRAWFORDSVILLE, AR - The Atlantic Ocean is the only thing separating the United States from Europe, but today (Friday) that difference became a little smaller.

As part of a European teacher education network exchange, school principals from northern England visited a Region 8 school district to see just how we do it.

"In our country you couldn't wear what you're wearing would have to wear a uniform," British educator Tom Noble told students at Crawfordsville Elementary this morning in his clipped British accident.

Noble and Geoff Mitchell are head teachers at two primary schools in England, the equivalent to principals in the U.S. school system.  That's just one of the differences these men observed between the American and British educational systems.  "The children and the staff are much more dressed down than they would be in England...but yet the attitude in the classroom is the same despite that difference," said Noble.

There are 230 students in the entire Crawfordsville School District.  The British say you would never see those numbers in England.  "We have more teachers in our schools.  One interesting difference is that students here actually drive to would never find that in England, because teenagers wouldn't own cars generally," Noble said.

"I've been very impressed with the work they've done with the I.C.T. and the level of work with computers...certainly because I think you have more facility for that here than we have back home in England," said Noble's fellow English educator, Geoff Mitchell.  "I think that what I'll take back...both districts...all of the schools that I've seen put the children at the center of their learning and the center of their focus, and perhaps resources being more tight in one place or another.  The children are striving despite that because of the good teaching I've seen."

Arkansas State University's College of Education is hosting Noble and Mitchell, and is also working to send some of its own student teachers to England for a work study program.