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AIBU to think the Finnish school system can't be this good....

(177 Posts)
2boyz1girl Fri 10-Nov-17 21:27:48

brightside.me/inspiration-family-and-kids/14-reasons-why-youll-want-to-enroll-your-kid-in-a-finnish-school-368710/?utm_source=fb_rc193afb4d368&utm_campaign=13ff3e1dc863&utm_medium=cpm
And it's just the media jumping on the bandwagon.....

HadronCollider Fri 10-Nov-17 21:39:38

I think some of those things as regards the way subjects are taught are done in uk schools already.

Not taking it all at face value, but I do think the Finnish system sounds more progressive than the UK system overall. I am constantly amazed at how little the structure of our schools here have changed. I also think there is still a rather authoritarian /subordinate attitude towards children and they are more restricted in things like clothes they can wear, places they must sit etc.

And definately teachers aren't paid nearly enough or respected enough

BatteredBreadedOrSouthernFried Fri 10-Nov-17 21:47:04

Well I don’t know if schooling in Finland is wonderful but I know the Uk is massively failing children left right and centre. UK schooling is in an appalling state and it’s only going to get worse. So yeah, they could probably look to Finland for some pointers. But they never will.

natwebb79 Fri 10-Nov-17 21:49:39

I teach and my Finnish colleague assures me the reports about the system there are true. She's stuck over here for various ŕeasons but misses Finland.

2boyz1girl Fri 10-Nov-17 21:49:56

I like the focus on nature & the way teachers are valued & paid. However other parts I'm slightly dubious about...

KC225 Fri 10-Nov-17 21:50:33

Not sure about Finland but I moved from London to rural Sweden and our local primary is awful. It's the only one in the area and it's now run out of space so my kids (and their entire class) have had to go to the senior school a year early. As the school year runs from January to December, some of the kids are still 9.

Everytime, I go back home I hear that the Swedish school system is so good, they don't start school till they are 7 etc. I just want to scream. No its isn't.

GoingIn Fri 10-Nov-17 21:59:04

I would think most of this is vastly exaggarated. I'm sure there's a grain of truth but then just generalised to say this is what happens at every school in every class. The good thing seems to be the level of investment by government (though I'm sure there are regional differences) and constant aim to improve learning results while still keeping it student focused.

I have a friend who lives in Finland and is working in education and he says the annoying thing is the constant BS being spouted about the Finnish system, like how kids don't have homework or exams, or that they will remove all subjects.

2boyz1girl Fri 10-Nov-17 21:59:16

That's why I'm dubious KC225, I think the media are just jumping on the bandwagon not just about the Finnish system but about the Scandinavian lifestyle & education as a whole.
I have friends from Finland's neighbours Russia & they claim the more disciplined Russian system (& children's attitude towards education is far superior. Who knows!!!

HadronCollider Fri 10-Nov-17 22:02:37

Really KC225? I hear so many people raving about Swedish schools though. One of DS teachers says she's going back there as soon as poss and thinks our system with all its testing and lack of creative freedom pretty much harms kids. She said she wasn't taught to read until she was 8.

GoingIn Fri 10-Nov-17 22:04:49

Btw, in one of the schools in my friend's city, the primary school was oversubscribed so some of the kids had to go to junior school building. But the junior school building had to be shut down due to mould and only half of the building is now open for kids so half of the school had to move to various places which were not designed for teaching such as offices and port-a-cabin blocks. Apparently this situation has been going on for a couple of years and nothing has been done about it. So it's not all roses and rainbows there either although I will admit that the general level of education, results and satisfaction is higher than here in UK.

BatteredBreadedOrSouthernFried Fri 10-Nov-17 22:07:00

they claim the more disciplined Russian system (& children's attitude towards education is far superior.

They probably have to.

EvilRinguBitch Fri 10-Nov-17 22:07:28

It does help that they’re being taught to read and write Finnish rather than English which is a sod of a language congealed from the remnants of seventeen others. My cat could read and write Finnish (if you could teach her to speak it first).

I felt that the Swedish educational system wasn’t good for individual thinking at the top end.

WonderTweek Fri 10-Nov-17 22:08:34

Ah yay! I can probably answer this as I went to school in Finland (born and raised there) and I reckon most of it is true (I'm basing this on my experience obvs). I think the way they wrote it makes it sound a bit sensationalist, e.g. you wouldn't actually go to school in your pyjamas, but after a quick skim it all sounds familiar to me. I might be too old for this phenomenon based learning though as that doesn't ring a bell, but we did all the traditional subjects instead. The education system is really good but obviously taxes are high to keep it all up.

bangingmyheadoffabrickwall Fri 10-Nov-17 22:10:40

But the Finnish system won't work in this country. The major block in implementing it is our culture. Finnish culture is hugely different to our own; attitudes towards work, self-fulfillment and child development etc. WE as a country would have to change how we think, behave and live for us to adopt their system.

I agree though that the education in this country is massively and embarrassingly flawed. The government dictate what we teach in each year group, supposedly on the advice of 'experts'. But they also totally and utterly disregard a lot of research and expert opinion about HOW children learn, child development and child-wellbeing and health.

The government are only concerned about 'winning' and being at the top of world league tables; boasting that at the age of 7 children can write complex and correctly punctuated sentences, read, spell, comprehend written texts etc. When in reality, a lot of children can't and those who can, do so at the expense of other developmental needs and we produce a high proportion of children with mental health issues, lack confidence, anxiety ... oh, I could go on!

2boyz1girl Fri 10-Nov-17 22:16:09

In alot of European counteries including Scandinavia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Poland, Russia etc kids don't learn to read & write formally until they are 7 & these kids turn out to be excellent linguists & the countries do very well in the Pisa tests so I think starting our kids 3 years earlier is wrong...

thecatfromjapan Fri 10-Nov-17 22:19:16

Results-wise, Finland is at the top of the PISA charts (or was). It's certainly a lot higher than the UK. For what it's worth ... So, 2boyz, that's why there is lots of interest in the Finnish system. People are quite interested in working out what it is they do that produces such good results. It's not some sort of higgle-led fad. smile

thecatfromjapan Fri 10-Nov-17 22:19:47

Ah! You know that already!

Capricorn76 Fri 10-Nov-17 22:20:29

I know two Swedes who say the claims about Scandinavia being some kind of utopia (including schools) are wildly exaggerated. A lot of it depends on where you live etc.

They say the schools really vary and we tend to believe their best schools are representative of all of their schools. I guess it would be like believing Eton and Westminster are typical British schools. There's a lot of variation.

I also know of a family who pulled their child out of a school in Singapore saying the quality was poor compared to their DS's school in the UK and that's another country we're constantly told is better than us in relation to education.

CloudPerson Fri 10-Nov-17 22:24:25

I know someone who went to Finland to study their teaching methods, and came back enthralled with what she'd seen.
She did address the cultural differences, but on the whole thinks that embracing phenomenon based learning would benefit children everywhere.
IIRC there were some downsides, but nothing like the car crash that is UK education at the moment.

cathyclown Fri 10-Nov-17 22:27:33

Homework should be banned now. I don't get the advantage of that AT ALL.

And there is a healthy attitude to learning in the Nordic countries that doesn't involve uniform uniformity and homework either.

It really is a bit Anal in UK what with the penalties for taking kids out of school in term time and that. But I do live in a country (not Nordic) where no on bats an eyelid if you take your kids on hols out of term.

But then again it is not dictated by the LA rather by the National Education Department, and they would not worry about out of term holidays as long as the median results are upheld.

2boyz1girl Fri 10-Nov-17 22:29:21

But is Finland a more monolingual country too which would obviously make teachers jobs alot easier as all kids are on a level footing language-wise compared to the UK which is much more culturally diverse I would imagine....

Capricorn76 Fri 10-Nov-17 22:29:36

From what I understand, although they don't formally learn to read until 7, they are still taught it to some degree informally through play in early years education as most mothers work so the kids are in some form of professional childcare setting. It's not like when they are 6 they can't read and then bang they are suddenly shown the alphabet for the first time aged 7.

I also believe school can be quite intense after 7 so it's swings and roundabouts.

I think Scandinavian schooling is less competitive though so the kids are less stressed.

Capricorn76 Fri 10-Nov-17 22:29:54

From what I understand, although they don't formally learn to read until 7, they are still taught it to some degree informally through play in early years education as most mothers work so the kids are in some form of professional childcare setting. It's not like when they are 6 they can't read and then bang they are suddenly shown the alphabet for the first time aged 7.

I also believe school can be quite intense after 7 so it's swings and roundabouts.

I think Scandinavian schooling is less competitive though so the kids are less stressed.

mackemmaddy Fri 10-Nov-17 22:31:29

A few years ago Michael Gove heralded the Finnish education system as the best in the world. At the same time, I was involved in an international project of several European schools and was fortunate enough to visit Finland twice and see their school in practice. In comparison with where I work, they have a lot of things right. The teachers have a lot of flexibility and can create lessons around circumstances- eg. Using the frozen pond for ice hockey and tuning in to the interests of a child. There was provision for woodwork from a very young age, to the same degree as we might only see in secondary school. There is no statutory testing until the children are around 16. The teachers are highly qualified- equivalent to a masters level- but pay does not compare to the English system. The pressure on teachers does not compare with teachers in England- no inspection, testing etc. This makes for a more relaxed education system. However, I found it difficult to see this system working in England. For one, like most of Europe, they start school at 6/7-years old; this would not suit many parents in our country. Days are often shorter, there is not as much demand in reporting to parents, there is no system of inspection on which to judge schools. As a teacher, the Finnish system seems to be inclusive, fair and productive. But we cannot expect that it will fully work in our society.
Looks like we’re stuck with what we’ve got for now!

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 10-Nov-17 22:31:35

bangingmyheadoffabrickwall

You missed out the attitude towards education and the teachers. Both education and educators are respected. With fewer hours in front of children and more time to plan and prepare the lessons

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