Table of contents
About this book
This superbly researched study offers a chalk-face perspective on the secret of Finland’s educational success. Providing an intimate and revealing portrait of the Nordic nation’s schools and its teacher training system, it sets out to explain why Finland’s students consistently rank top, with low variance and moderate inputs, among OECD countries across the range of criteria, from reading to mathematics. Alongside the detailed analysis culled from many hours of interviews with teachers and principals and dozens of visits to school throughout the country, the author maps the educational landscape of Finland: the sector’s history, culture and development, its guiding principles, methodologies, and learning environments.
The result is a cogent assessment of how and why Finland is universally regarded as a high-grade educational exemplar. The volume provides the hundreds of researchers, teaching professionals, and policy makers who visit Finland in search of inspiration with essential background material on the country’s magic educational ingredients, which include a highly motivated cohort of well-trained teachers, a recognition of the vital importance of early years education and nurture, functional and inviting learning environments, and a rejection of pedagogical dogma in favour of developing methodologies that produce results at the same time as fostering students’ confidence and collegiality. At the same age, Finland’s schoolchildren have roughly one less year of formal schooling than most of their international counterparts, do not consider themselves to be overworked, and rank alongside hot-housed Singaporean or South Korean youngsters in international assessments of achievement. They are the educational equivalent of world-beating sports stars who make success appear effortless. This volume lifts the lid on the hard work and careful planning that underpin their achievements.
“The author has reached something very essential in understanding and illustrating the pedagogical values and practices of the Finnish schools and teachers, and how they reflect the values of the whole society. Teachers’ thoughtful interpretations about “what is best and why for their students”, and what is teacher’s responsibility for students in particular but also for their parents and the society illustrates successfully the relationship between schools and rest of the society in Finland.”
Professor Jouni Välijärvi, from Jyväskylä University, Finland