Reflections from the Finnish Experience

I have recently watched the following videos about the best education system in the world–FINLAND.

1. Personalised. As I understand it, what they are trying to create are students actually prepared for the workforce. There are no grades. There are no standardised testing. What teachers teach are Big Ideas and inquiries worth investigating that will push students to communicate, collaborate, be creative, and become inventive. They are as bold as wanting to break the subject-centered and move towards more integrated, thematic, and real-life learning. This means that there are no subject areas anymore but  learning domains with specific investigations and inquiries integrating all subjects .  With no exams being prepared and written every month, how are the students able to do well in PISA, the most challenging examinations in the world?

2. Professionals. Teaching in Finland is the most respected and valuable profession. In fact, most applicants are rejected if they cannot explain their reason for teaching. They are asked to go back again the next year. Meanwhile, all teachers must have master’s degree. All teachers undergo coaching, training, observing senior teachers, and collaborating with each others.

3. College, Career, and Citizenship-ready. The curriculum is based upon building students’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions towards work and lifelong learning. Not heavy on tests. Not heavy on standardisation. Individuality and uniqueness are both respected, and honoured.

Whether or not our country is looking at the US for model or not, still the best models are pointed towards Singapore, Shanghai, and of course, Finland. Perhaps, we could learn better from their experiences, which are less rigid but rigorous in thinking skills and investigations. Perhaps, we could follow the system better.