written by Todd Beach Have you ever read the book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? The author, Robert Fulghum, composed a poem of simple yet essential lessons ...
In reading Finnish Lessons what was most apparent to me is that there is very little which is revolutionary surrounding the profound success of the Finnish education system. The ideas applied surround a shared set of values, which are embraced by the Finnish people. Indeed the ideas are simple and modest, similar to the tenets proposed by All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
The Finns are a modest people who readily accept their responsibility to care for and educate their children. When the Finnish Minister of Education was asked if their goal from the outset was to become the best in the world, she replied, “For us, its enough to be ahead of Sweden.”
But what may be most ironic about the Finnish phenomenon is that many of the pedagogical changes, which teachers adapted and incorporated into their planning and instruction were developed, practiced and researched in the United States. And here we are today looking at the Finns with education envy.
Finnish education reform can be summed up in ten points, according to Pasi Sahlberg, a director at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and author of Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? The first nine are instructive, but it’s number ten that sums it up neatly and harshly.
“All of these factors that are behind the Finnish success seem to be the opposite of what is taking place in the United States and the rest of world where competitive, test-based accountability, standardization, and privatization seem to dominate,” Sahlberg told participants at the Empowerment Through Learning in a Global World conference. “There is hope, but you have to be smart in the way you do things…and in many of the things that you are trying to do here I see very little hope.”
Have you noticed there seems to be a buzz about Finland's education system? In this session, we'll take a look at some of Finland's education policies and reforms that have helped them become one of the best education nations in the world.
For more on Finland, check out these posts: (cont.)
Inside Finland’s renowned education system with school improvement activist Pasi Sahlberg.
INTERVIEW OF PASI SAHLBERG
West: From PRI, Public Radio International in Princeton I’m Cornel West.
I am blessed and delighted to be joined by the one and only Brother Pasi Sahlberg who is Director General of the Center for International Mobility and Cooperation which is part of Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture. Any time we say Finland these days people think of excellence in education, No. 1 in education.
What is it about Finland that somehow allows their precious young people to flower and flourish, and yet here in America so many of our precious young folk are going under...
The Finnish school day is short and interspersed with bursts of running around, shrieking and sledging outdoors. Children start when they're older, the year they turn seven and there is no pressure on them to do anything academic before then...
Educational philosophy in Finland is strikingly different than in the United States, but the students there outperform U.S. learners.
The Finnish school system might sound like a restless American schoolchild's daydream: school hours cut in half, little homework, no standardized tests, 50-minute recess and free lunch. But the Finns' unconventional approach to education has vaulted Finland to the upper echelon of countries in overall academic performance, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Finnish students have ranked at or near the top of the Program for International Student Assessment ever since testing started in 2000. In the most recent assessment in 2009, they ranked sixth in math, second in science and third in reading. By comparison, U.S. students ranked 30th, 23rd and 17th, respectively, of the 65 tested countries/economies...
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