Why Finnish school lessons are useless
2012-12-06 0:00

By Eero Iloniemi | Sp!ked

Finland may be at the top of the world’s education rankings, but that tells us more about Finnish society than its schools.

Finland has once again topped an international education ranking table.

This time, the British education firm Pearson has rated Finland the world leader in education. The country has also traditionally had a strong showing in the OECD’s PISA rankings, so it must be doing something right, right? This success has even spawned a cottage industry dedicated to the so-called Finnish education miracle. One example of this is the book Finnish Lessons: What the World Can Learn From Educational Change in Finland? The book has been a bestseller (well, in the education section of the bookshop, anyway).

In the most recent education table, Britain did not do too badly, coming in at sixth. But what is it about Finland that makes its education system so table-rankingly excellent? It’s certainly not money. Spending on education in Finland is no higher than the OECD average.

Pearson itself explains Finland’s success by factors that are fairly difficult to quantify such as a pro-education culture and the quality of teachers. But other more easily verifiable factors also come into play although most are omitted by many educational experts.

For a start, given that South Korea (alongside Finland) has again finished in the top two, following its first place in the PISA rankings, it’s worth asking what the two countries have in common?

At first glance, not much it would seem. Koreans emphasise testing, discipline, homework and long school days. Finnish kids have one of the shortest school days in the world, are seldom tested, have little homework and address their teachers by their first name from their first day at school.

Yet closer examination shows similarities that are not revealed in the education studies.


Read the full article at: spiked-online.com

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