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View Diary: Finnish Lessons (35 comments)

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  •   I get hand me down issues of Smithsonian Magazine (4+ / 0-)

    September 2011 issue Why Are Finland's Schools Successful?

    The money shot.

    There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students’ senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions. Finland’s schools are publicly funded. The people in the government agencies running them, from national officials to local authorities, are educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians. Every school has the same national goals and draws from the same pool of university-trained educators. The result is that a Finnish child has a good shot at getting the same quality education no matter whether he or she lives in a rural village or a university town.

    "Nonviolent in the face of police brutality." Scott Olsen's email signature

    by BOHICA on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 04:56:21 AM PST

    •  test at end of high school for college admission (4+ / 0-)

      and can be retaken several times.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 05:02:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As a product of both systems... my two cents (4+ / 0-)

        There is a problem for students coming out of high school to University, because they are not just competing against their graduating peers, but those retaking the test.

        I made it on my second year...

        I went to High School in US in very good schools, but these didn't prepare me to take the entrance exam. So I had to study math and physics on my own to make it.

        Having had my own and watched my children in both school systems. I wouldn't put down US schools. My experience is that in US teachers are very dedicated and involved in their pupils education. One big difference is that the teachers in Finland have masters degrees and are quite well educated, though in US in high school many of my teachers had Phd. degrees.

        One big difference is that in US reading and writing seems to take huge amount of work even though children start learning it year or two earlier than in Finland. This takes away from subjects that are require a lot of repetition to learn, especially math, so in the beginning of High School students in US are year or two behind Finns.

        US schools that I've run across have very good overall variety of education. Emphasis on reports, presentations and debate are something I think Finnish schools should really learn from US. US is also ahead of Finns in soft subjects like music and other arts. World needs more engineers that can sing and dance... ;)

    •  Just remember, that Finnish final is (7+ / 0-)

      Very difficult.  Finnish kids are expected to know everything they were taught and that expectation has been drilled into them since grade one.  Finnish kids don't bother asking "do I hafta learn this?" or "will this be on the test?" because the answer is always YES.

      Furthermore, while the Finns don't waste a lot of time on standardized testing, the tests they do take are quite difficult.  I had a Finnish exchange student in my home who asked what he liked best about his American high school.  Without blinking an eye he said, "Multiple choice tests."  He was 18 and had never taken one before.

      So while there are many superficial differences between Finland's high performance schools and our laughable competition, the biggest difference is that Finnish kids live in a culture where folks are actually expected to know something when they finish their educations and this makes all the difference.

    •  I saw that Smithsonian article as well. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken

      It alerted me to the 'Finnish Way'. I talked about it with many people who have kids.....but no one was very interested. Americans don't readily consider that other countries may offer solutions to some of our problems.

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