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Sun Nov 10, 2013, 10:33 AM

Finnish approach to education

WOW!!!

CLICK HERE: http://pasisahlberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Chicago-HF-2013.pdf

9 replies, 897 views

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 10:37 AM

1. And every time Finland (or Sweden or Denmark) is presented to contrast...

as I have done in the past, someone always points out how homogenous these societies are compared to the US. I'm not convinced yet that that should even be considered. Yes, the US is diverse so that makes the challenges perhaps greater, but why not? Right? Why not...

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Response to CurtEastPoint (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 02:39 PM

4. not to mention Finnish and Swedish are way further apart than English or Spanish

plus they have Tavastians and Karelians, and I don't think they call them "Finnish"...

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Response to CurtEastPoint (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 05:26 PM

8. It's because we've tried very simple solutions.

And the overwhelming number of solutions have tended to be politically correct. What did university professors and politicians think the right solutions should be like?

The result has been a lot of motivated thinking. We have "significant increases" in learning as measured by ... test scores. Or by "engagement" (without test scores). We've thrown money at problems. We've tracked kids, and then find that detracking is better on "measures of learning", many of which don't involve academics. We've detracked kids, and found that things didn't improve much. So we focus on closing the achievement gap by having nice rubrics and well-defined goals so that the test and standards and lessons are aligned, except that by making everything explicit we fail to teach high-achieving kids how to use their brains. So we have pre-AP classes for them.

My district has pre-AP 8th grade English. They won't get to AP English until 12th grade. Yeah, there's pre-AP 11th grade English. By the time kids have been in pre-AP 8th, 9th, and 10th grade English it's hard seeing how level 11th-grade English and 11th-grade pre-AP English are really the same class. While we're detracked we're quite tracked.

The Finnish solution is presented as simple. It has to be. Because the first criterion is whether it it suits what people want to say. If you think X is the reason, you find a reason for Finland's educational system to support your cause. Money. Touchy-feeling. Class size. Teacher qualifications. Parental involvement. GINI coefficient. Cultural imperatives. Alignment of standards with teaching. Empowering teachers. Views of education. Use of technology. Differentiating instruction. Having high standards. Having no high-stakes testing ... well, okay, not having much. Distinct graduation pathways. Student behavior. Social safety net. Alignment of Finland's standards and testing with the international tests used to rank Finland. Selection of students for inclusion in the comparison samples.

In the PDF linked to, some of these are *the* solution. The rest are ignored as contenders. Why? Because they fail to meet the requirements for being contenders--they aren't already believed to be important by the person making up the slide presentation.

Which is the largest problem with education.

The crass term for this is "cherry-picking your data."

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 12:09 PM

2. Finnish schools have many immigrant children

They teach many young immigrants by language immersion and small class sizes. This is easily replicable by any state in the US if we could get the corporate, class and racist influences out of education policy.

The excuse of too many diverse people is inherently racist and classist at its core. This is just a clever way of saying those children of color and those low class white kids are too stupid to teach.

The Finns spend less on education per student, but pay their teachers better. They also have a very small teacher to student ratio while spending less than the US.

This is the education model we should follow in the US. It will save money and educate children better. It will not make money for Michele Rhee and David Brennan, so politically it will take educating the public on how bad we are getting ripped off by the corporate hacks.

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Response to greatlaurel (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 01:27 PM

3. " It will not make money for Michele Rhee and David Brennan...."

Bingo! The commodification of public education for private profit continues apace in the U.S. THAT is the primary driver of "education reform" in this country.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 02:41 PM

5. Thanks!

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Response to greatlaurel (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 05:33 PM

9. I can't believe how many democrats argue against even attempting this model.

Too many people like the status quo. Too many don't want to rock the boat or make it harder for their candidate to win an election.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 02:58 PM

6. Found a good article on Finnish schools

A quote from the article "The people in the government agencies running them, from national officials to local authorities, are educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians. Every school has the same national goals and draws from the same pool of university-trained educators." Here is the link for the article http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools-Successful.html?c=y&page=1

I wish everyone would take the time to study the Finnish schools. The way they are run is so practical, intelligent and child oriented. It makes me want to weep for all our children here in the US.

The Finns are quite interesting. I married into a family of Finnish-Americans and they are, as a group, the nicest, most honest and incredibly determined bunch of people you could ever be around. The culture cultivates a very can-do outlook. Sisu is the Finnish word for it. We progressives need to adopt sisu for our motto here in the US. My spouse and children have sisu to the core. There may be a genetic component, but we can all become more sisu.

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Response to greatlaurel (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 03:25 PM

7. Interesting! "Sisu" has its own Wiki entry!

It explains it quite well. Finland has had to have sisu to withstand the wars, Russia, etc.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisu

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