I recently read an article in The Atlantic about teaching in Finland. In the piece, an American teacher in Helsinki questioned the national practice of giving 15 minute breaks each hour—until he saw the difference it made in his classroom.
In Finland, teachers send kids outside—rain or shine—for a 15-minute break after every 45 minutes of teaching. And the children get to decide how they spend their break times. There are no teacher-led activities or expected things to do during recess. Usually, teachers take turns—two at a time—supervising the playground during these 15-minute stints.
To Americans, this approach sounds too soft—too lazy. But as this teacher in Helsinki noted, “My students in the States had always seemed to drag their … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Students in several Asian nations continually outperform their U.S. counterparts on international tests for science, reading, and especially math. Finland is the only Western nation near the top of those rankings year after year.
The Finn’s don’t approach education with the drill-and-kill ferocity employed in Korea and Singapore or with the emphasis on endless testing familiar to U.S. students. In fact, Finland has become an educational star by doing the opposite of what’s happening in many U.S. schools and school districts.
Since the 1970s, Finland has changed its traditional education structure into a model of a modern, publicly financed education system with widespread equity, good quality, large participation, and all of this at reasonable cost.
More than 99 percent of … >>> READ MORE >>> →
People in Finland believe that human interaction is the most important aspect of learning; therefore, face-to-face communications are more important than relying on technical devices. This is an exceptional perspective compared to other countries, especially the U.S., and may be one reason that Finnish schools have a more relaxed atmosphere in their classrooms than is found in many other countries; yet, their schools achieve great results.
In an elementary school I visited, for example, more than half of the students were immigrants from such countries as Somalia, Iraq, Russia, Bangladesh, Estonia, and Ethiopia. Even with such a diverse group, the teachers’ focus is on supporting and guiding students. This is in contrast to the more common approaches of comparing and … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Comparison of Education in Finland vs. Other Educational Approaches
Flexibiliity and diversity
School-based curriculum and development
networking through steering by students
information and support
Focus on broad learning; equal value to
all aspects of individual’s growth in
personality, moral, creativity,
knowledge, and skills
Trust through Professionalism
Culture of trust that values teachers’
and principals’ professionalism in
judging what is best for students and in
reporting on progress in their learning
Standards for schools, teachers, and
students to improve the quality
Literacy and Numeracy
Basic knowledge and skills in
reading, writing, mathematics, and
science are prime targets of
The school performance is closely
tied to “inspection” using narrow
… >>> READ MORE >>> →