“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
~ Mark Twain
3 Reasons why teachers in Finland are more successful than those in many countries, including the USA and UK.
1. They are trusted to do whatever it takes to help students learn.
2. They are valued for their professional expertise, knowledge and skills (on a par with doctors and lawyers).
3. Schools are publicly funded, run by educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians.
Spot The Differences!
Let’s start with the UK. The Education news headlines have had me spitting bumblebees this week, with talk of poor white schoolchildren, who have been falling behind every other group, needing longer school days, and the head of Ofsted’s thoughts on fining ‘bad parents’ i.e. those who do not read to their children at night or make them do homework. My passion for education remains although I now concentrate on writing, and the Finnish Educational system seems to be a model closest to my own ideal.
So, Finnish teachers do not have to contend with an increasingly interfering government, directed by politicians for political purposes (rather than expert educators). They are expected to have reached a high level of education and training for which they are valued, rather than replaced by low-paid assistants to save cash, and supported to deliver a curriculum suited to the needs of their students. Expectations to me are key factors in attainment, and the subject for another post. In Finland it seems that expectations are equally high for both teachers and students, an area I would appeal to our Education policy makers and educators to pay very careful attention to, before any more risible tough-talk about slapping on more of the same for underachievers or taking money from the poorest of their parents. (Oh, that’ll teach ’em..right?!!)
Gives new meaning to ‘taking the Michael’.
Having said that, I’m with Mark Twain on this one. Whilst we all want to provide the best foundation for our children in life, top schools and highest academic results do not necessarily equal success in life, however you define it. That seems to me, more often than not, to occur ‘outside the box’.