January 13, 2017
Finland School Systems
Finland is known to have the best education system in the world. Drake University offered a J-Term to Finland to visit 10 different schools. As a non-education major, who needed a Critical Thinking AOI, I was thrown into the education world. Frustrated with attempting to understand what I was witnessing, I realized I needed to change my mentality in order to take something away from this educational expereince.
Successful teams are made by combining and utilizing different member’s personality traits. As a journalism major I realized I was going to take away something different than the majority of my class. This led to a revamp of personal goal setting. Along with trying to understand the education system I was now going to create personal relations with the Finnish.
When first visiting the schools, what really threw me for a curve was that the pupils do not wear shoes. Of course I was narrow minded at the time, but that was really the only difference I could compare. We went on a tour with four 6th graders. This was my first actual interaction with the Finnish. I attempted several times to converse with them, but they were too shy or knew little English
When visiting the upper secondary school later that day I was intimidated beyond belief. These kids looked older then we were. There was a huge maturity jump from the students we had just seen to the students in the upper school. I found this true with every upper school we visited later on the trip.
United States VS. Finland
There were times when I wish I had the two or three years of an education major’s knowledge. When visiting the schools I relied on my personal experience of schooling.
When talking to the students and teachers I found that obviously the two rely on each other. The students want teachers to be passionate on every subject they teach. The teachers wanted the students to be eager to learn. The two must operate in unison for full affect.
As compared to the United States, the teachers in Finland assign a lot of independent work. A typical class would have the teacher instruct the pupils for about 10-15 minutes on a subject. The pupils would then have the rest of the class period to complete the assignment.
In other classes the student would go right to work with little to no instructions. This makes me curious to see what the first few days of school operate. The students are much more behaved and obedient that their work is more productive.
From my school experience, my teachers would lecture until five minutes before the next class. This would mean that I had to complete my homework outside of class time.
Homework for me could be several hours a night. Students constantly told me they rarely had homework. It would either take 30 to 60 minutes to complete each night. Finnish students also did not have homework on the weekends. The weekends was a time where I had the most homework since the teachers that I had more time.
After an hour of class the students then have a 15 minute break. The only break I received in school was the extra time when we completed our lunch.
The Finnish teachers also do not discipline their pupils. There was one class I walked into where I student was jumping on his desk and shouting. The teacher did NOTHING. Teachers do not discipline their pupils. If a student were to do that in America that would have been an immediate appointment with the principle. Yes, the Finnish are well behaved, but everyone slips up. When the pupils acted out, the teacher continued with his or her work with no attention drawn.
Teachers in Finland are the 2nd most respected occupation underneath doctors. They receive about $50,000 and only work half the year. I was informed that the teachers have little work to take home. They basically are done when the students are out of school for day. In the United States, teachers spend long hours going over time to prepare lessons. Many teachers also work in the summer to make more money.
This was a very educational trip and I have more respect for this field than before. To me the Finnish success is still somewhat a mystery. The American education system should model their system to have the smartest kids in the world.