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Overseas Study Program to Asia report

The Overseas Study Program to Asia was a series of eight in-country professional learning programs to countries in Asia established as a partnership between the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) International Education Division (IED) and the Asia Education Foundation (AEF).

The overarching objective of the Overseas Study Program was to build school leader and teacher capacity in leading change to embed international education and Asia literacy across curriculum programs in their schools. This was to be achieved through the policy contexts of the Victorian government, supported by system, region and school leadership. It was to result in enhanced school leadership and learning and teaching practices, and improved outcomes for students.

Major outcomes

The effect of the Overseas Study Program on schools and their communities was significant, and often profound and transformational. Originally intended to build teacher capacity and establish sister school partnerships, the Overseas Study Program achieved well beyond its original aims.

The value leveraged from the overseas professional learning experiences and the sister school partnerships that were established resulted in whole school change, innovation and improvement.

The Overseas Study Program led to the introduction or significant expansion of Asian languages programs; improvements to the provision and quality of languages programs; and built demand for, a rationale for and improved the status of language learning.

The confidence and capacity of participant teachers and their colleagues to implement Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia cross-curriculum priority increased as a result of the Overseas Study Program. This expressed itself in classroom practice and curriculum and program planning, within the context of AusVELS. Teachers connected their students with students in sister schools for language learning and learning across the curriculum.

Lessons learnt from high performing schools and systems in China (Shanghai) and Singapore benefited teachers through improvements in performance and development approaches and benefited students through improvements to teaching methods.

Sister school partnerships with schools in Asia and first hand experiences of an Asian country were key drivers of change in schools. Subsequently, schools provided international experiences of Asia to other teachers, and to students and parents.

The Overseas Study Program was responsible for connecting Australian school communities and those in Asia and in the process had far reaching effects on the views and attitudes of parents about the value of language learning and the importance of Asia to students' learning and futures.

Programs and features

The programs took place between 2011 and 2013.

The Singapore School Leaders Study Program was statewide; the other study programs were delivered for the following DEECD regions:

  • Eastern Metropolitan Region (EMR), China Study Program: February – March 2011
  • Eastern Metropolitan Region (EMR), Return to China Study Program: November 2011
  • Gippsland – Eastern Metropolitan Region, Rural Combined China Study Program: April 2012
  • Hume Indonesia Study Program: September 2012
  • Gippsland Return to China Study Program: October – November 2012
  • Singapore School Leaders Study Program: September 2012
  • Southern Metropolitan Region China Study Program: October – November 2012
  • North Eastern Victoria Region Rural Return to China Study Program: March 2013.

Features of the region-based programs included:

  • schools selected by regions for their readiness to embark on a program of change
  • school teams of a principal and two teachers willing to lead change
  • two visits to a country in Asia each with a cultural program and time spent with a sister school to establish and build relationships (approximately 24 days in total)
  • focus on developing Asia literacy, Asian languages learning, and learning from high performing education systems
  • sister school relationships had a central role in-country and shape the ongoing work of schools.

Features of the Singapore School Leaders Program included:

  • statewide program and selection process
  • single school leader participant
  • focus on learning from Singapore as a high performing school system to support education reform in 21st century learning
  • a master class and activities conducted in partnership between Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership, IED and AEF.

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