Finland Day Three
We visited The University of Eastern Finland today which is also a teacher training college and has a primary school attached. They lead curriculum developments, experimental projects and studies. Great importance is given to continual professional development for all teachers.
The new curriculum for 2016 in Finland is topic/ theme and problem solving based. Finnish teachers have visited the U.K to see best practice as many schools, such as ourselves, teach through the use of topics and themes. The new curriculum focus is on learning skills and developing as a human being and citizen.
Pupil assessment of learning is continuous, as in the U.K. However Finnish teachers are not accountable to an Ofsted style inspection - they are trusted that if a pupil has not achieved the expected standard, that as a professional educator, they have provided the best education for that child.
Finnish boys reading is in decline and this is attributed to the increase in use of I.T devices such as laptops, iPads and mobile phones. More use of libraries and different text types are needed. There must be a balance between using I.T devices and traditional reading and writing tools. Girls writing outcomes are also higher than boys. This is similar to the U,K.
In the Finnish system the aim is that 'no child is left behind'. This means that in international rankings their position is high, as the overall pupil average is high. However Finland doesn't rank as high for their 'more able pupils'.
Finnish children we saw today showed they were independent, resilient and confident. Pupil focus in lessons was not as high as expected. If pupils don't focus or find things difficult and they 'fall behind' in their learning, they must receive extra support to catch-up. The focus on learning for 45 minutes and then having a 15 minute break/play didn't seem to improve pupils focus, especially boys, from our short observations.