Why do Finland’s schools get the best results?

Last year more than 100 foreign delegations and governments visited Helsinki, hoping to learn the secret of their schools’ success. Great story about it on BBC World News America here. Be sure to check it out!

A few of my thoughts on the news piece and why I think their schools are so successful…

I noticed that the schools in Finland go to a deliberate effort to build a culture of community. Whatever diversity was present in the schools, they embraced it fully with their commitment to keeping students of all levels, skills and backgrounds together. The relaxed atmosphere, the long-term relationships with other students and teachers… brilliant. They have clued onto the important fact.. that learning isn’t just a personal phenomenon… it is a communal phenomenon as well. We progress fastest in ‘learning communities’ where everyone is supporting everyone else. Just look at how indigenous people’s educate their young people.. it’s a community job. By the time they hit puberty they’re usually fully functioning adults.

They really value their teachers, and in return, the teachers do a freaking awesome job. Finnish society in general really values education.. evidence by mums/dads making the effort to stay home teaching their kids till they turn 7!

I noticed they made a deliberate effort to create a system that worked for Finns… and they admitted it wouldn’t necessarily work well elsewhere. What’s to stop us, an even smaller country, trying to create systems that work for NZ? Or, break it down even smaller. Schumacher was right.. small is beautiful. Let districts/communities/municipalities create systems that work for them. I loved the fact that schools went to the effort of creating their own particular culture (this is a common practice in youth work as well) where people could feel un-pressured, supported and understood. Nice one Finland!

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~ by humblemonkey on September 2, 2010.

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