Finland is often held up internationally as an example of a very strong school system, because Finnish students have scored at or near the top of international exams for years. What makes their school system so successful? Education Week recently had a conversation with Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Finland’s Minister of Education and Culture, about upcoming changes to Finland’s curriculum and what’s currently working for the country’s education system.
Grahn-Laasonen explains that Finland is moving toward a system they currently call “phenomenon-based” teaching and learning, in which schools choose a theme, like climate change, and students learn about it from the perspective of different school subjects, like mathematics. Finland doesn’t believe in standardized testing or school rankings, and will allow teachers to choose the materials they use in their own classrooms.
The Minister attributes Finland’s educational success in part to the country’s investment in teacher education. She also explains that they aren’t trying to get the highest scores or awards; they just want to give their children a high-quality education.
According to Grahn-Laasonen, teachers are respected and trusted in Finnish society. At Elevate Teachers, we’re excited to hear about a country that understands that supporting teachers makes for a higher-quality school system. We hope that other countries learn from Finland’s example.
Do you think America would benefit from a school system like Finland’s? Leave your comments below.