What is Phenomenon-Based Learning?
Finland will go through a new education reform that will take over in the academic year 2016-2017. Phenomenon-Based Learning will be complementing Finland’s traditional subjects. The Phenomenon or Topic Based Learning is being planned to be conducted over periods during the year and could be paced in projects – is the old new in Finland’s education. For more than three decades, Finnish schools have had a form of Phenomenon-Based Learning. What will change in 2016-2017 is that it will be obligatory in all basic schools for seven to 16-year-olds.
Phenomenon-Based Learning tackles real-world scenarios holistically from different subject areas’ perspectives. This method will entail a rich learning experience, which is relevant to learners’ lives. The interdisciplinary learning could be conducted in a simple way, by linking similar knowledge areas between different subjects and introducing them at the same slot of the academic year.
This develops awareness of how curricula intersect to form the broader frame of knowledge. A more sophisticated interdisciplinary approach, such as Phenomenon-Based Learning occurs when we go beyond simply linking different subjects to applying, organising centers and essential questions to plan topic teaching. One example could be the questions students have about a topic such as the importance of the European Union. To answer these questions knowledge and skills from economics, history, geography and languages are to be integrated.
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