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Could subjects soon be a thing of the past in Finland? - BBC News

Could subjects soon be a thing of the past in Finland? - BBC News | Finland |
Finland is an education success story, so is it right to move away from old-style lessons?

Via David M
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Education Finland has best education system in the world NBC NightlyNews_09292010

Education Finland has best education system in the world from NBC Nightly News 09292010...

Vrinda Shingdia's insight:

Finland, the home to a population of roughly 5 million people (and of course origin of the cell phone company, nokia) is boasted as having the best education system in the world. Their students are ranked number one in science and math while U.S. kids are ranked 17th in science and 24th in math. Astonishingly, only 2% of their high school students drop out nation wide, while the U.S. lingers around a 25% drop out rate. Finland was a poor nation dependent on agriculture, and decided to better their economy by focusing on technology. One generation later, Finland’s blueprint was to have a tough national curriculum, which has now become the highlight of the country and has drawn attention from educators worldwide.


Though adopting the Finland curriculum seems like the save-all, easy answer to advancing the educational system in the United States, I foresee areas of concern. Being that the demographics of the U.S. is much different, I question the benefits of a national curriculum and its impact on our populated and multicultural country. The U.S. is a salad bowl of varying ethnicities, cultures, religions, and cohorts of people; its population is approximately 317 million. We already struggle understanding which group of peoples morals and values should be implemented in schools and how to lawfully address other cultures and religions. Though the educational system seems to flawlessly work in Finland, would it span across the 50 states as freely, and be as easily accepted in this country of diversity?


In addition, there is a myriad of socio-economic backgrounds of students who are part of the U.S. educational system. Would a national curriculum better accommodate these students? Many educators already complain about standardized testing for the simple fact that each child is different and it is unfair to hold children accountable to the same standards. Standardized test scores fail to capture a complete assesment of students and teachers.  


I personally would love to see a national curriculum exist, but in comparison to Finland, the U.S. total population, land size, and cultural differentiation is so vast, that I question the societal prosperity that a national curriculum would bring to the country.

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Twitter / Fascinatingpics: Education System in Finland. ...

Twitter / Fascinatingpics: Education System in Finland. ... | Finland |
Education System in Finland.

Via RJ Lavallee
Vrinda Shingdia's insight:

I find the fact that no child starts school until they are 7 years old interesting, as well as the illegality of dividing children into sets based on ability. There clearly seems to be an equal, across the board stance within Finnish schools which I can appreciate. Having studied in depth about TAG students and the force applied by parents to have their children receive better and more challenging education for their gifted children, I definitely think that a system  in which designation does not exist may be a “challenge” for Americans to accept.


I have mixed feelings about students calling teachers by their first names. I believe that their is a level of respect that is established and maintained when students address teachers by Mr., Ms., Mrs., or Dr. and their last name. I wonder why there is such a casual attitude regarding names. Is the laid-back attitude solely within schools, or in the workplace as well? I agree completely however, with the view on homework. No more than 30 minutes of homework is ideal by allowing time for school-to-home connection, without stripping away the students of their free / leisure time. That said, I wonder what the hours of school are in Finland. Is it the same 8-3 as the U.S.? Being that the students are not stuck doing homework every night, I also wonder what after school and extracurricular activities are offered, if any. Do students participate in sports, clubs, and organizations, or is the open time allotted for spending time with family and friends?

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Taught by Finland Emerging from the Cave: My Students Illuminate Truths of Finnish Education

Taught by Finland Emerging from the Cave: My Students Illuminate Truths of Finnish Education | Finland |
I'm an American teacher in Finland, excavating Finnish education as I teach in Helsinki, and keeping a blog to share insights.

Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge
Vrinda Shingdia's insight:

At every point in history, every civilization has encountered bloodshed to fight for it’s independence. The same applies to Finland. Although today Finland stands atop the education pyramid while regularly ranking in the top percentile of the world, the journey was not easy. I would love to teach peace to children since they are the future. Education can also teach equal rights and responsibilities to children of all civilizations. Perhaps one day, the fine line of thinking one human being greater than another will cease to exist. This lesson can begin in the classroom. Take Finland as an example - a country once oppressed by Sweden and Russia - now ranks highest in the world in education after gaining its independence. Why should any country therefore undergo oppression? Perhaps teaching children this valuable lesson will have a positive effect on the leaders of the future.


Mila Surage's curator insight, October 1, 2013 2:03 PM

I love this blog because it is from the point of view of an American teacher who teaches in Finlad. What better way to understand the pros and cons of finish education than from someone who has tought both? 

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What Finland can teach America about education

What Finland can teach America about education | Finland |
Fareed speaks with journalist Amanda Ripley, author of 'The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way,' about what other countries can teach the U.S. about education. Watch the video for the full interview.
Vrinda Shingdia's insight:

I am definitely feeling inspired to purchase the book,“The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way.” After listening to Amanda Ripley’s experience I feel inclined to consider pursuing an opportunity to study abroad and experience a foreign educational system. What a riveting experience that would be! Referring to Finland specifically, Amanda defined the country’s education system as a utopia model in which teachers are valued and there is focus on quality of work over quantity. Finland is represented as being unusual to the norm, scoring remarkably high on tests, amidst less homework and no standardized testing.

Learning from Finland’s example, the way to execute real change to the United States education system is to change the perception of teachers in society. As mentioned in the interview, in the 1960s Finland shutdown teacher training colleges and reopened them back up in the top 8 most elite universities in the land as part of the broader reform of education. The cascading consequence was the pursuit of strong educated teachers with higher order thinking skills. I do not believe we need to shut down our entire system, but there does need to be a revolution in the way we perceive education and the role of teachers. We need to have the “signaling effect” that sends a message that the United States is serious about education. I am not exactly sure when the value and credibility of teachers dropped in this country, but I do know it’s time we bring it back to fruition. My favorite quote from Amanda was “Teaching is not only hard in rhetoric but in reality.” People should respect this vigorous profession. Changing the mindset of Americans will evoke more seriousness out of students as they “buy into the promise of education,” thus reawakening a credible, recognizable, and respectable profession.

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Teacher Education in Finland

Teacher Education in Finland | Finland |

Finland is generally recognized as one of the world’s highest performing nations. Over the past decade, Finnish students have been high performers on the international PISA exams.



In Finnish schools, students never take a standardized test. How is their progress assessed? By their teachers.



Finnish educators say that the key totheir success is the high quality of their teachers. Not just a star here and there, but the profession as a whole has high standards for entry and for preparation. There are no shortcuts o becoming a teacher in Finland. Teachers are highly respected, just as much as other professions.


Via Gust MEES
Vrinda Shingdia's insight:

I applaud the approach on education taken by Finland. Staying clear of a content-driven, test-based system is clearly  the way to go based on their success rate! Relying on standardized testing to measure students’ success only demoralizes the ability of the students (especially those who are not good test-takers), and even the teachers since they too are judged and evaluated based on how their students perform. Testing tolerance simply strips children of their confidence and teachers of their ability to creatively teach, and as a result disables children from achieving their maximum potential.


The respect that Finnish teachers have is also drastically different to that of the U.S. where the notorious phrase is, “those can’t do, teach.” The enforcement of educators having a Masters degree and undergoing extensive training for entry and preparation seems to be the reason why that level of respect is upheld. The fact that only one of ten teachers is accepted to teacher colleges is a clear indication of the rigour and competitiveness of the program. This type of structure ensures that only the best of the best become teachers of the future leaders of the nation.

harold cruz correa's curator insight, September 16, 2013 12:52 PM

Interesante artículo, debe hechara para mi saco, como decimos aquí.

Gloria Inostroza's curator insight, September 24, 2013 10:23 PM

Tener en cuenta... 

AnnC's curator insight, September 30, 2013 7:20 PM

We need to create a culture that respects the teaching profession as much as any other as will create our future leaders.

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The Global Search for Education: Got Tech? - Finland

The Global Search for Education: Got Tech? - Finland | Finland |
The Global Search for Education: Got Tech? - Finland - The Huffington Post

Via Sinikka Laakio-Whybrow
Vrinda Shingdia's insight:

The utilization of technology in the classroom has become a hot topic in educational discussions and debates. For many advocates of technology use, Pasi Sahlberg’s quote holds true: “Learning means to understand by making meaningful connections between what is to be learned and what already exists in students' minds. This includes the use of technology.” In his response to how technology will impact Finnish teachers and classrooms in 5-10 years, I hope most for a combo of scenario two and three. Coupling personalized digital learning as the most common form of study, (i.e. learning could take place from any location), with the notion that schools will be elevated to places of social learning where developmental skills can be nurtured, seems ideal to me! This combination would transition our classroom-based society into a community-based society in which technology fosters creativity and re-stimulates the drive for learning which I feel has been lost. In addition, the transition of the classroom would result in cultivation of a place intended to develop cooperative learning and problem solving, which are vital skills to learn before entering the workforce.


As Pasi mentioned that over time there will be more and more technology used in the classrooms of Finland, I believe the same will be occurring in the classroom of the United States. To my surprise, I am looking forward to the outcome. I was never, and am still not fully on board the technology train, but thinking about how exciting it could be to engage in virtual learning with Finnish, Chinese, Indian, British, Canadian, Korean classmates, you name it, definitely skews my traditional train of thought. Communication would be at our fingertips and I admit, the ease of exchange and flow of information is quite enticing. Guiding students is my number 1 priority, and if technology will help them learn and succeed, than that is all the convincing I need.  

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