I found this interesting about Finnish approach(9 Posts)
Thoughts for the week: Why Finland is best for education in the Times.
Think it's a bit simplistic but agree teaching doesn't have the status it once had and lots of people drift into it after university which probably explains the high turnover (something like 20& leave teaching in the first three years?)
Teaching has become an easy option, I can think of at least half a dozen people in my year at school who, after not getting the grades for English/Geography/Law etc at Exeter/UCL/St Andrews see primary teaching an easy way into the likes of Durham/Edinburgh etc. Before August last year they had no desire whatsoever to teach, but they think they'd rather go to Edinburgh than ManMet or Liverpool John Moores, hence Primary Teaching...
Background to Finlands success in education builds on the following
* Equal opportunities
The Finnish education system offers everybody equal opportunities for education, irrespective of domicile, sex, economic situation or linguistic and cultural background. The school network is regionally extensive, and there are no sex-specific school services. Basic education is completely free of charge (including instruction, school materials, school meals, health care, dental care, commuting, special needs education and remedial teaching).
* Comprehensiveness of education
Basic education encompasses nine years and caters for all those between 7 and 16 years. Schools do not select their students but every student can go to the school of his or her own school district. Students are neither channelled to different schools nor streamed.
* Competent teachers
On all school levels, teachers are highly qualified and committed. Masters degree is a requirement, and teacher education includes teaching practice. Teaching profession is very popular in Finland, and hence universities can select the most motivated and talented applicants. Teachers work independently and enjoy full autonomy in the classroom.
* Student counselling and special needs education
Individual support for the learning and welfare of pupils is well accommodated, and the national core curriculum contains guidelines for the purpose. Special needs education is integrated into regular education as far as possible. Guidance counsellors support upper grade students in their studies and choice of further education.
* Encouraging assessment and evaluation
The student assessment and evaluation of education and learning outcomes are encouraging and supportive by nature. The aim is to produce information that supports both schools and students to develop. National testing, school ranking lists and inspection systems do not exist.
* Significance of education in society
Finnish society strongly favours education and the population is highly educated by international standards. Education is appreciated and there is a broad political consensus on education policy.
* A flexible system based on empowerment
The education system is flexible and the administration based on the principal of Centralised steering local implementation. Steering is conducted through legislation and norms, core curricula, government planning and information steering. Municipalities are responsible for the provision of education and the implementation. Schools and teachers enjoy large autonomy.
Interaction and partnerships are built at all levels of activity. There is co-operation for the development of education between various levels of administration, between schools and between other social actors and schools. Education authorities co-operate with teachers organisations, pedagogical subject associations and school leadership organisations. This provides strong support for the development.
* A student-oriented, active conception of learning
The organisation of schoolwork and education is based on a conception of learning that focuses on students' activity and interaction with the teacher, other students and the learning environment.
I worked for the largest Finnish employer for 6 years in their London office so worked with quite a few Finns. What we found was they can't multitask and they don't have a lot of initiative. They are extremely good at what they do in their own narrow field,but cope with problems
Interestingly bruffin UK universities are saying the same about English students and are questioning if this is due to the NC
Perhaps working to a fixed formula produces people who are good within that framework but with no creative thinking. Maybe other areas shut off to focus on passing the tests.
I'm now thinking that maybe the Finnish way isn't that great.
My software development team is Finnish - I find them excellent at multitasking and dealing with problems. Certainly no problems with initiative.
Although formal school starts at 7, goverment funded and run facilities start at 2, and it seems that all families use it from our conversations.
I agree that education seems to be integral to Finnish culture.
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