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Regarding higher education, the Finnish system is one of the most equitable in the world. The Higher Education Strategy Associates, based in Toronto, Canada, compares standards of equity and equality in higher education in different countries. Its Global Higher Education Ranking Usher; Medow, compares the accessibility of higher education for residents in 17 countries. The study presents data concerning six different indicators of affordability 12 and four of accessibility The big winner on both criteria in was Finland.
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It is difficult not to realize that, in accordance with the prevailing social policy paradigm in that country, it is overwhelmingly understood that the expenses incurred by its educational system constitute an investment of unquestionable relevance for the whole society, and not a weighty cost on the national economy.
In addition, teachers had to be prepared to follow and exploit the newest research findings in their teaching.
This laid the foundation for the idea of seeing teachers as researchers in their own field of work. Teachers were expected to work with an open and critical mind and to contribute to the development of their profession.
Simultaneously, the scientific content and the advances of pedagogical research began to enrich the curriculum of teacher training, which had then assumed an academic nature, in the sense that the teachers adopted, in their work, a critical and analytical perspective, oriented to research, so as to focus their activities not only in the classroom, but also in school planning and evaluation activities and in curriculum development, in which they participate, along with principals and local education authorities, notably as a corollary of the high standard of their professional and intellectual training Sahlberg, Its balance between theoretical and practical learning helps young teachers to understand the various teaching methods as well as the dynamics of the correlation between teaching and learning.
With such high expertise and professional prestige, nothing could be more expected than the motivation that leads teachers to engage in the processes of educational development in their own schools, as well as in national and international projects. Besides that, educators spontaneously continue to enhance their own professional knowledge and skills, considering the support they receive from the state in this dimension a right, not an obligation, as it occurs in prescriptive educational systems based on teacher accountability as justification for neoliberal reforms.
This, in turn, leads to success in the early years of teaching, relative stability of the teacher workforce, success in teaching of which PISA results are only one example , and a continuation of the high status of teaching.
It should be noted that Sahlberg points out that the high professional status of teachers in Finnish society is a cultural phenomenon, but that their theoretical and pedagogical ability in the classroom and their enthusiastic and contagious involvement in the collaborative activities developed in networks of professional communities have their roots in the very model of teacher training, systematically delineated and implemented since the late s, as well as in the ethical and epistemological foundation and in the values that guide the system.
In other words, the political option to invest heavily in the formation of the national faculty was clearly assumed and effectively adopted by that society. WHEN LESS MEANS MORE The discrepancy between the Finnish educational model and its neoliberal counterpart manifests notably in the theoretical and methodological options of the former, which prioritize the consistency and quality of the formative processes, rather than the short term quest for quantitative results through usually discontinuous efforts, clearly uncoordinated among themselves and ineffective from the pedagogical point of view, a modus operandi which is characteristic of the global corporate model of education.
The same rationale applies, similarly, to the burden of homework assignments and standardized learning tests to which students are subjected. Sahlberg points out that nations with the best performances in the PISA tests in all cognitive domains Finland, South Korea and Japan, for example devote fewer hours to formal instruction in the classroom, which means that students in these educational systems attend on average two years of formal pre-tertiary education less than their counterparts in other countries with opposite educational policies.
This difference is further reinforced by the fact that compulsory basic education in Finland starts only at the age of 7, not at 5, as in most of the other countries.
According to Sahlberg , between the 6th and 8th grades of elementary education, Finnish teachers teach approximately hours per year in classrooms, the lowest working hours among OECD countries, while, according to this organization, in the United States the total annual average time of teachers in classroom, in the same series, is 1, hours The quality versus quantity paradox manifests itself in the same way in the issue of assigning homework for students.
Once again, Finland leads a ranking of educational systems in OECD countries, this time with the lowest weekly workload among 38 surveyed nations, 2.
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Contrary to this view, there is no mentoring or reinforcement in Finland other than those offered at the school itself, which the pupil attends when this becomes necessary Sahlberg, The results of PISA have indicated the success of the Finnish option: There is considerable cross-country variation in the degree to which students feel anxiety when dealing with mathematics, with students in France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, and Turkey reporting feeling most concerned and students in Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden least concerned [ For example, more than half of the students in France and Japan report that they get very tense when they have to do mathematics homework, but only 7 per cent of students in Finland and the Netherlands report this.
Another feature of the Finnish educational system discrepant from the global corporate education model is the nearly complete absence of standardized performance tests outside schools. Its students only face tests of this type at the end of elementary school, at the age of 18 or 19, with a view to entering universities.
Indeed, school evaluation in the Finnish model is based on principles diametrically opposed to those prevailing in its neoliberal counterpart.
Finland does not have a system of standardised testing or test-based accountability. It does not have systems of competitive choice between schools or order its schools in public performance rankings. There is an emphasis on evaluation for improvement, especially through school self-evaluation which is incorporated into national evaluations. Again, the results of PISA seem to indicate the perspicacy of the Nordic nation as far as the evaluation policy of its educational system is concerned.
By analyzing the results of the , , , and rounds of that OECD survey, Sahlberg identifies a downward trend in average mathematical 17 performance in the series in question, notably among students from the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Japan, and some states in Canada and Australia, precisely those countries that have opted for educational evaluation policies heavily focused on accountability through intensive use of high stake external tests.
Moving in the opposite direction, the successful Finnish school system, during the same period investigated, has emphasized investment in teacher improvement, participative development of curricula, leadership and collaborative networks between schools, processes in which the guiding element of the whole philosophy of the system, which permeates all dimensions involved, is mutual trust among all participants.
Although this correlation pointed out by Sahlberg , per se, does not necessarily prove the failure of educational reform policies focused on high-stake external tests, it clearly shows that the resort to the use of a physical, logistic and personnel structure involved in the design and operationalization of these standardized tests as appropriate instruments to carry out the evaluation of the education system is not a necessary condition for improving the quality of education, as the Finnish model, moving in the opposite direction, has demonstrated this.
According to the researcher: Testing itself is not a bad thing and I am not an antiassessment person. Problems arise when they become higher in stakes and include sanctions to teachers or schools as a consequence of poor performance. There are alarming reports from many parts of the world where high-stakes tests have been employed as part of accountability policies in education [ This evidence suggests that teachers tend to redesign their teaching according to these tests, give higher priority to those subjects that are tested, and adjust teaching methods to drilling and memorizing information rather than understanding knowledge.
Since there are no standardized high-stakes tests in Finland prior to the matriculation examination at the end of upper-secondary education, the teacher can focus on teaching and learning without the disturbance of frequent tests to be passed Sahlberg, , p. In fact, what emerges from the rationale of the evaluative strategy incorporated into the educational system of that country is that, by prioritizing creativity and respecting and accompanying the learning pace of each learner, enables their cognitive development to have as parameter their own features and abilities, and not uniform patterns externally determined by statistical indicators.
As the OECD itself acknowledges , p.
Teacher candidates are selected in part based on their ability to convey their belief in the core mission of public education in Finland, which is deeply moral and humanistic as well as civic and economic.
The preparation they receive is designed to build a powerful sense of individual responsibility for the learning and well-being of all the students in their care. The following section addresses the current configuration of the Finnish educational system.
Basic education: to be accomplished at the basic common school comprehensive schools , from the age of 7, with compulsory attendance for nine years.
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Secondary education: corresponds to the second level of secondary education of the aforementioned classification, with non-compulsory attending and split in two paths: the general education, chosen by those who pursue the academic career or areas related to the humanities, or the vocational and training education, indicated for those who intend to work as technicians in companies and private organizations in general.
Usually carried out in three years, it precedes higher education, to which access is obtained, for universities, upon passing the entrance examinations and, for universities of applied sciences UAS , by means of proof of professional experience and satisfactory academic performance. The Finnish educational policy, whose majority of assumptions and paradigms are opposite to those found in the correspondent systems of those countries, is closely intertwined with the other social policies carried out by that State These achievements provide the basis for a desirable and beneficial assimilation of the positive aspects of the Finnish experience by other nations with a view to improving their educational systems.
It is important, notwithstanding, to harmonize satisfactorily two issues that are often dealt with in a dichotomous way, concealing the complexity of the reproducibility of the educational practices adopted by the Nordic country in other national formations.
The strength of the national consensus around this mission is reflected, among other manifestations, in the solid permanence and consolidation of its free public education system since the early s, regardless of the ideological profile of the political parties that were in charge throughout this period, as well as in the strong resistance to the pressures of the global capitalist macrostructure, with a view to subsuming the education system of that country to the mechanisms of reproduction and accumulation of capital concentrated in the immense transnational monopolistic financial conglomerates Just as the efforts to mechanically transport to other countries and try to reproduce only certain aspects that have proved effective in the Finnish model are obviously innocuous, the accurate analysis of this model shows that the construction of the educational system itself takes place in the broad scope of the formulation and development of the welfare state set up in the nation since the dawn of the s.
From this perspective, education is integrated into the entire framework of public policies in that State, which supports and makes it an indispensable basis for social cohesion and the socioeconomic development of that nation.
Attempting to reproduce an educational system with the values, foundations, principles and objectives found in the Finnish model in a foreign society characterized by high levels of social inequality and misery, absence of a minimally democratic political system and high levels of income concentration and economic power will prove to be a fruitless and frustrating experience.
On the other hand, the relative peculiarity of some features of the Finnish society, State and educational system should not serve as a pretext for disregarding its model as an educational paradigm to be sought by other nations, naturally through a process of mutual learning, collaboration and interaction among participants in the systems in comparison, aiming at the necessary adaptations to their respective social, cultural, political and economic contexts.
One of the claims of those who share such a misunderstanding has been that the small territorial extension and the small population of Finland are absent in many other countries, which would make its system unviable as a pattern to be considered in the educational policy formulations of other nations.
The argument falls apart when one learns the fact that, for example, 30 of the 50 states of the United States have a population similar in size to that of this Nordic country, it being known that these political and administrative instances have, in the United States, for example, considerable administrative, pedagogical and financial autonomy to formulate their educational policies.
Therefore, no structural factor would, per se, prevent them from considering the alternatives adopted by the successful model of that northern European country. Another similarly mistaken idea points to the supposed ethnic and cultural homogeneity that allegedly exists in Finland, which does not occur in large countries trying to reformulate their educational systems.
This trait has gradually lost relevance and intensity in that society in recent decades, with the upsurge of migratory processes coming mainly from other European countries. Her Daily Shoot concept was born when she was teaching upper primary students. The Daily Shoot page on her class blog which collates all the social media posts is well worth a look!
Living in Australia where Google Voice is not yet available, I was unaware of this awesome tool! I like to use Google Voice to communicate with families. I can text or call without giving out my number. Much more accessible to some families than email.
I was fascinated when I read a blog post by Meredith Akers about it. There are other sending options too like text, photos, videos and location sharing. Meredith explains how she sends voice messages of appreciation and praise to staff, students, and parents. So, I thought if it was going to be a year, it would be this year," she said.
Monica Nelson. I don't win things very often, so I'm very happy that this is the one thing I've gotten to win in my life," she said. Page Elementary School in Fort Myers was our fifth stop. That's where we surprised Mr. I know, not what I expected.
But thank you to everyone who came out today and thank you for this," he said. Christian Lin Zimmerman.Is ability grouping equitable? Yes, we would. Short Solar System movie Lucy told her sister not to take her clothes without asking. Yes, they will. The teachers will be honored April 8th at Harborside Event Center.
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