More on the Finnish Education Model
We’re still enraptured here at LearningDiversity.org by the Finnish school model, which emphasizes early interventions and individualized support as key components for academic success. Take a look at this video, which succinctly summarizes the core concepts:
According to Stanford Professor of Education, Linda Darling-Hammond,”A recent analysis of the Finnish system summarized its core principles as follows:
Resources for those who need them most.
High standards and supports for special needs.
Evaluation of education.
Balancing decentralization and centralization. (Laukkanen, 2008, p. 319)
The process of change has been almost the reverse of policies in the United States. Over the past 40 years, Finland has shifted from a highly centralized system emphasizing external testing to a more localized system in which highly trained teachers design curriculum around the very lean national standards. This new system is implemented through equitable funding and extensive preparation for all teachers. The logic of the system is that investments in the capacity of local teachers and schools to meet the needs of all students, coupled with thoughtful guidance about goals, can unleash the benefits of local creativity in the cause of common, equitable outcomes.”
Finland’s education model, which focuses on less homework, fewer years in school, more art, more recess, and more autonomy (for both teachers and students), seems in direct opposition to more traditional East Asian models, which center on rote memorization and long hours of schooling.
In 2011, Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, Director General of the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation in Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture, outlined the basic principles in his book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?
All of the factors that are behind the Finnish success seem to be the opposite of what is taking place in the United States and much of the rest of the world, where competition, test-based accountability, standardization, and privatization seem to dominate.
Instead of competition, Finland decided on cooperation and mutual help as a matter of policy. Students are rarely tested. Instead, they teach each other in class. Each student gets personal attention until he is on par with the other students. This attitude extends to the teachers and schools as well:
One of the ways that teachers improve is by learning from other teachers. Schools improve when they learn from other schools. Isolation is the enemy of all improvement.
For further reading:
What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success