Guía Docente 2020-21


Id.: 32556
Subject type: OPTATIVA
Year: 4 Teaching period: Primer Cuatrimestre
Credits: 6 Total hours: 150
Classroom activities: 56 Individual study: 94
Main teaching language: Inglés Secondary teaching language: Castellano
Lecturer: Email:


This module introduces students to the analysis and evaluation of best practice educational models. Although the title of this subject refers to Anglo-saxon educational systems, other educational systems from countries where English is not the first language will also be included so that students will acquire a global perspective on educational best practice for teaching and learning. Throughout the course students will identify and critically evaluate key factors, both external and internal, which contribute to best practice models: pedagogical approaches and methodologies; teacher support and training; institutional/ governmental support; cultural and historical contexts. Students will learn how to explain relevant differences and similarities between different countries by using a wide range of sources such as policy documents, articles, statistics, videos and themed discussion. They will demonstrate their learning through written and oral presentation formats. They will evaluate key aspects of their own education system by placing it in a wider context and show how educational borrowing and convergence takes place between countries and highlight some of the unintended consequences. They will compare and contrast best practice models from different countries and create a checklist of key factors relating to best practice, which ultimately will inform their own teaching practice. They will learn to question the educational systems around the world on the basis of their own critical reflection. 


General programme competences G01 Capacity to analyse and synthesise information from different sources.
G03 Capacity to organise, plan and self-assess the work undertaken.
G06 Capacity for oral or written interpersonal communication in Spanish to different audiences and using suitable means.
G08 Capacity to absorb social and humanistic concepts within a rounded university education which allows the development of ethical values such as solidarity, interculturality, equality, commitment, respect, diversity, integrity, etc.
G09 Capacity to formulate social transformation proposals, considered ethically, based on democracy and basic rights.
G11 Capacity to establish and fulfil the most suitable quality criteria and to employ work methods and strategies oriented towards continuous improvement.
Specific programme competences E13 Foster group work and individual work and effort.
E15 Know how to tackle multicultural school situations.
E50 Be aware of the difficulties in learning the official languages for pupils from other countries.
E51 Address language learning situations in multilingual situations.
E52 Communicate in a foreign language in the spoken and written form.
E70 Capacity to understand the main ideas of complex texts which cover specific and abstract topics, even if they are technical - as long as they remain within the person's field of specialisation. In addition, capacity to understand the pedagogical bases in the holistic learning of content and foreign language.
E71 Capacity to interact with native speakers with sufficient fluency and ease that the communication occurs with minimal effort on the part of either speaker.
E72 Capacity to work as a Primary School English Teacher using the CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) method.
E73 Capacity to produce clear, detailed texts and design didactic units in line with the pedagogical principles for learning content and foreign languages.
Regulated profession competences P01 Know the curriculum areas of Primary Education, the interdisciplinary relationship between them, evaluation criteria and the body of didactic knowledge for the teaching and learning procedures, respectively.
P02 Define, plan and assess teaching and learning processes, both individually and in collaboration with other teachers and professionals at the school.
P03 Effectively address language learning situations in multicultural and multilingual situations.
P07 Stimulate and value the effort, persistence and personal discipline of the pupils.
P08 Know the organisation of primary schools and the variety of activities of which they are comprised.
P10 Accept that teaching is a matter of getting better and adapting to scientific, pedagogical and social changes over the course of the career.
P12 Take on the educational side of teaching and foment democratic education for an active citizenry.
P16 Acquire the habits and skills to learn alone or with others and foster this among the pupils.
Learning outcomes R01 Know the education system in English-speaking countries.
R02 Identify Good Practices in teaching implemented in the education systems studied.
R03 Assess the most noteworthy of the Good Practices analysed.
R04 Establish connections between the English-speaking education system and its Spanish equivalent.


Students taking this course should have at least a good B2 level to be able to cope with the demands of the subject. 
Students are expected to participate actively in class, ask questions, share opinions and develop a critical thinking mindset.


Subject contents:

1 - Introduction to Comparative Education
    1.1 - What is comparative education?
       1.1.2 - Brief overview of its development
       1.1.3 - What is the purpose of comparative education?
       1.1.4 - Who compares?
       1.1.5 - The challenges of comparing educational systems
2 - How are comparisons made?
    2.1 - Secondary sources in comparative education
       2.1.2 - The statistical use of data in educational comparisons
       2.1.3 - Databases on systems of education
       2.1.4 - The use of international surveys on student achievement
3 - Culture and Education
    3.1 - The meaning of culture, and national culture in particular
       3.1.2 - The relationship between national culture and education
       3.1.3 - The cultural context in which education takes place
4 - Economic, political, social and historical contexts
    4.1 - The economic variables that affect education
       4.1.2 - The political forces that shape education
       4.1.3 - The relationship between society and education
       4.1.4 - The historical context for understanding comparisons
5 - Education and the developing world
    5.1 - What is meant by 'development'?
       5.1.2 - International Development policy
       5.1.3 - Theoretical explanations for 'underdevelopment' and inequality
       5.1.4 - Barriers to education and possible solutions
6 - Analysing and evaluating Anglo-saxon educational practices
    6.1 - Critical and comparative analysis of educational practices in the U.K., the U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand and Canada
       6.1.2 - Internal and external factors contributing to best practice in these countries
7 - Analysing and evaluating European education practices (English not L1)
    7.1 - Critical and comparative analysis of educational practices in Finland, France, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands
       7.1.2 - Internal and external factors contributing to best practice in these countries
8 - Analysing and evaluating East-Asian educational practices
    8.1 - Critical and comparative analysis of educational practices in Japan, China, South Korea and Singapore
       8.1.3 - Internal and external factors contributing to best practice in these countries
9 - Drawing conclusions and creating a checklist for best practice based on research and evidence
10 - Joining the pieces of the puzzle

Subject planning could be modified due unforeseen circumstances (group performance, availability of resources, changes to academic calendar etc.) and should not, therefore, be considered to be definitive.


Teaching and learning methodologies and activities applied:

Learning and teaching methodologies are based on a socio-constructivist approach in which learners construct and co-construct their understanding of the knowledge and concepts acquired. Classes will normally be based on an interactive approach with students and lecturer working through a wide range of class activities. The class format will consist of a blend of interactive lecture, class discussion, and debate. Activities will include Flipped Learning, case study method, problem solving, mini presentations and interactive learning. Students will encourage to critically evaluate and reflect on the issues and topics covered during the course. Therefore, it is essential that students keep up to date with compulsory readings so that they can participate in class discussions as informed and active members.

Students are encouraged to avail of tutorial sessions as during these sessions, students can ask questions, clarify concepts, ask for additional bibliography, etc. Some tutorial time will be devoted to assistance with group work and the ePortfolio. Your lecturer will inform you about tutorial times.
Independent Study
Students are expected to complete all assessment assignments and independent study tasks mentioned in this syllabus.  As regards assessed assignments students are required to upload their completed tasks on the PDU on the due date as penalties may incur if assignments are submitted after the submission date.

Student work load:

Teaching mode Teaching methods Estimated hours
Classroom activities
Master classes 8
Other theory activities 4
Practical exercises 7
Practical work, exercises, problem-solving etc. 6
Debates 5
Coursework presentations 2
Films, videos, documentaries etc. 5
Workshops 2
Other practical activities 5
Assessment activities 8
Extra-curricular activities (visits, conferences, etc.) 4
Individual study
Individual study 20
Group cousework preparation 10
Project work 10
Research work 14
Compulsory reading 14
Recommended reading 6
Portfolio 20
Total hours: 150


Calculation of final mark:

Final exam: 30 %
Oral Defense: 30 %
Portfolio: 40 %
TOTAL 100 %

*Las observaciones específicas sobre el sistema de evaluación serán comunicadas por escrito a los alumnos al inicio de la materia.


Basic bibliography:

MARSHELL, Jennifer. Introduction to Comparative and International Education. London: Sage Publications, 2014
CREHAN, Lucy. Cleverlands. London: Unbound, 2016
SAFFORD, Kimberly and Liz Chamberlin. Learning and Teaching around the world: Comparative and International Studies in Primary education. Oxon: Routledge, 2018
HERNANDO CLAVO, Alfredo. A journey to 21st education. This is how the most innovative schools work. Madrid: Fundación Telefónica, 2015

Recommended bibliography:

HATTIE, John. Visible Learning for Teachers. Oxon: Routledge, 2011
HEWITT, Des and Susan Tarrent. Innovative Teaching and Learning in Primary Schools. London: Sage Publications, 2015
CHRISTODOULOU, Daisy. Seven Myths about Education. London: The Curriculum Centre, 2013

Recommended websites:

School systems around the world
Schooling the word: the myth of progress
Comparing education systems
So you want to compare education systems from different countries? Where to start
Comparison of education systems around the world
Escuelas changemaker: España
Colegio Monserrat: Las 4 transformaciones de la educación
Comparative and International Education: Issues for Teachers
How Finland created one of the best educational systems in the world by doing the opposite of the US
Copy paste or inspiration? Comparing countries in education
How the job of a teacher compares around the world
About the OECD
Strong performers and successful reformers in education
Teaching best practices around the world
Teaching and learning research summaries
What we can learn from the 5 most innovative schools in the world
Innovative trends in learning

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