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Education in Finland

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How education is successful in Finland and how we can learn from their success.

Published in: Education
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Education in Finland

  1. 1. Successful Learning EarlyEDUCATION IN FINLAND
  2. 2.  I want to provide a service to the students I teach, offering them a multitude of learning opportunities in my classroom. That stems from believing that they can succeed, despite our society’s current emphasis on data collection and testing.  I believe that Finland is succeeding in providing quality education to its children without the pressure of testing.  I want to instill some of those values in my classroom and inspire others to do the same.  I want to be a champion to my students, by doing my part to follow in the footsteps of educational leaders. MY RATIONALE
  3. 3. Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) is Finland’s approach to schools and learning. ECEC focuses on strong educational foundation early on through interventions. Heavy focus on quality of experience children receive. PROGRAM IN PRACTICE
  4. 4. PROGRAM IN PRACTICE
  5. 5.  Finland scorns almost all standardized testing before the age of 16.  ECEC discourages homework, which is seen as a violation of children’s right to be children  Children start school at the age of 7  “The first six years are not about academic success. Its all about finding your passion.” Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish educator.  Finland is going against the tide of “global educational reform movement,” which is based on core subjects, competition, standardization, test-based accountability, and control PROGRAM IN PRACTICE
  6. 6. PROGRAM IN PRACTICE
  7. 7.  In the 1970s, Finland’s educational system was very similar to that of the U.S.  Mediocre and inequitable  Top-down testing  Extensive tracking  Highly variable teachers  Government Reboot/Economic Recovery Plan  ALL teachers must have a government paid-for Master’s Degree  96% of all teachers are unionized  Highly desirable and respected field, along with doctors and lawyers Anderson, “From Finland, an Intriguing School-Reform Model” New York Times HISTORY OF REFORM
  8. 8.  In 2000, the first results of the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) were published.  The assessment is a standardized test given to 15 year-olds in more than 40 “global venues”.  Finnish youth were revealed to be the best young readers in the world.  In 2003, the Finnish youth led the pack in math.  In 2006, Finland was in first science, out of 57 countries.  The world began to take notice of their educational reform methods, especially the US, whose scores barely changed in more than ten years. Hancock. “Educating Americans for the 21 st Century.” 2011. Smithsonian.com HISTORY OF REFORM
  9. 9. SNAPSHOT OF PISA AND THE US
  10. 10.  ECEC has identified five policy levers that can encourage quality education among young students:  Policy Lever 1: Setting out quality goals and regulations.  Policy Lever 2: Designing and implementing curriculum and standards.  Policy Lever 3: Improving qualifications, training and working conditions.  Policy Lever 4: Engaging families and communities.  Policy Lever 5: Advancing data collection, research and monitoring. CURRENT PRACTICES
  11. 11.  Finland has determined Policy Lever 3 their current policy focus: improving qualifications, training and working conditions.  All of Finland’s 62,000 teachers will have a Master’s degree.  Well educated staff are better able to create more effective work environments and increase efficiency.  Improved understanding of child development  Improved problem solving and leadership skills.  Strong lesson plans through collaboration.  Continued professional development opportunities throughout their career. “Quality Matters in Early Childhood Education and Care: Finland” OECD.com CURRENT PRACTICES
  12. 12.  Early education is about finding one’s passion, not about academic data collection.  High regard for students’ well-being  Students are not tracked or ability grouped  Rejected the practice of holding back under-acheivers  School after 16 becomes vocational training.  Education is about preparing kids for life, “to serve as an equalizing instrument for society.”  Children should be children and play  Finnish kids get 75 minutes of recess a day  Mandated arts and crafts during the school day CULTURAL VALUES
  13. 13. Indicator on child outcomes Value for Finland Minimum Value Maximum Value Fertility Rate 1.86 Korea (1.15) Israel (2.96) Enrollment in formal care for the under 3s 28.6 Czech Republic (2.2) Denmark (65,7) Enrollment rate at age 3 46.1 Netherlands (0.05) France (100) Enrollment rate at age 5 62.6 Turkey (50.9) Australia, France, Ireland (100) PISA Reading score 536 Mexico (425) Korea (539) PISA Math score 541 Mexico (418) Korea (546) PISA Science score 554 Mexico (415) Finland (554) COMMUNITY INFLUENCES
  14. 14.  High qualification requirements for ECEC teaching staff.  Professional development is mandatory for ECEC staff. The costs for PD are split between government, employer and individual.  Teacher to student ratio is the lowest documented in the OCED, Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development, listed countries; currently 34.  1:4 for zero to 3 year-olds  1:7 for older children  1:4 in family day care “Quality Matters in Early Childhood Education and Care: Finland” STRENGTHS OF THE PROGRAM
  15. 15.  Finland is working against the norm by creating and educational system that does not follow the global model of standardized testing and data collection.  One cannot argue that their success is based on their size and relative homogeneity: Norway, Finland’s neighbor has similar statistics and rates near the US on PISAs scoring rubric.  Trying to replicate Finland’s education system here will not work, due to the complex nature of education in general.  The idea is to understand that children are more than just data in a system but parts of the whole society.  Understanding standardized testing has continuously failed to improve the US’s test scores. GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES
  16. 16. GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES AND BUDGETS
  17. 17.  The US should put more emphasis on child centered learning.  Understanding children’s developmental needs.  Focus on arts and crafts and hands-on learning.  Removal of most standardized testing practices (i.e. “teaching to the test”)  Understanding that our traditional methods have failed to improve our education system.  There should be more emphasis on societal success rather than academia and university enrollment after high school.  We, the US, can turn around our educational system and create a successful environment that the world will take notice of. TAKEAWAYS
  18. 18. Abrams, S. “The Children Must Play.” January 28, 2011. newrepublic.com Anderson, J. “From Finland, an Intriguing School-Reform Model.” New York Times. December 12, 2011. Hancock, L. “Why are Finland’s Schools so Successful?” September 2011. smithsonian.com. Taguma, M. “Quality Matters in Early Childhood Educationa and Care: Finland. 2012. oecd.com. WORKS CITED

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