Two out of every three schoolchildren in Finland are being let down by an outdated system and uninspiring teaching.
That is one of the claims made in a provocative new book by primary-school teacher Maarit Korhonen, which challenges the widely-held belief that the Finnish education system is among the best in the world.
In Herää, koulu! (“Wake up, school”), Korhonen argues that Finland’s consistently high performance in international PISA rankings, a test of problem-solving skills among 15-year-olds, has led to complacency among Finland’s educational establishment, and has blinded teachers and decision-makers to the reality of teaching today.
“What we are studying, it’s so old fashioned,” Korhonen says. “We have the same chapters in the science book that I used to have in the '60s. Same subjects in the same order. Nobody changes anything, but something has to change.”
After 30 years in the classroom, Korhonen’s central argument is that education is “throwing away” the roughly two-thirds of schoolchildren who are not academically minded, or who do not learn from sitting down and reading a book, or who do not perform well in exams.
As a result, she claims, thousands of pupils are led to believe that they are not good at learning, putting them at risk of becoming marginalised and encountering serious problems later in life.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Is Education In Finland All That and a Bag of Chips?
Finland's is often held up as an exemplar of an exceptional school system because its students do so well on international tests. One author says, not so fast: