GOAL 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.In early March, we posted a story on Schools that Make a Difference. Stacey Sullivan, a third-grade teacher at Georgia Elementary Middle School, is one of the participants in this global learning exchange offered though CVEDC. This post is the second in a series of three blogs that we are republishing with Stacey’s permission (read part 1). These stories highlight United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for viewing education through a global lens. Goal 4 states: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”  

Finland has emerged as a leader in education.
Finland has emerged as a leader in education.

It seems everywhere I turn lately there is a plethora of information about Finnish education. Below is a sampling of online resources if you are curious about how this small nation has grown to be a leader in education.

Curious about what sets Finnish education apart? Here is a collection of resources.

  • Unicef: Finland is world’s second fairest country for children – A brief explanation about how Finland fared when looking at childhood well-being inequalities.  It seems Scandinavia as a whole is an equitable place to live.  Finland scored third lowest in terms of the number of 15-year-old students falling behind at school.
  • Happy Teaching, Happy Learning: 13 Secrets to Finland’s Success – This article highlights many of the qualities of Finnish education that set them apart.  I had many of the exact same observations during my own school visits in Finland.
  • 3 reasons why Finland is first for education – A culture of deep respect for education, a commitment to meeting every child’s needs, and a rigorous teacher preparation program which produces high-quality educators, these are the qualities highlighted in this article which outlines why this nation is a leader in education.
  • How Finland broke every rule — and created a top school system – This article outlines the many differences in Finnish education including an emphasis on play-based learning, languages and the arts, minimal homework, and recess.
  • Finnish education in a nutshell – This article is published by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Board of Education.  In it, you will read about Finland’s commitment to equity in education, the trust and autonomy that their educational system allows, and the emphasis placed on early childhood education.  In addition, it outlines the various pathways for students in upper secondary and higher education and the rigors of teacher training in Finland.
  • How Finnish schools shine – This particular article examines how less is more in Finnish education, pointing out that students are not subjected to mandatory exams until high-school and that teacher based assessments are not graded but are instead used to monitor progress and provide feedback for student learning. It is also typical for teachers in Finland to stay with one class for many years.  Then, of course, there is the trust.  Trust in communities and teachers to do what is right for children.
  • “The Finnish Way” to Optimize Student Learning – This website recounts the journey of a high school science and broadcast journalism teacher in southern California as she ventures to Finland to study Finnish education for 6 months.  She documents her journey using short stories, teacher interviews, and photographs which allow the reader a unique glimpse of Finnish teaching and learning.
  • What is going on in Finland? – Curriculum Reform 2016 – This article describes the process Finland has been involved in for the last two years as they work to revise the national curriculum.  The new curriculum, which teachers will begin using this fall, includes 7 universal competences which are to be combined with subject-based teaching and learning.  In this reform, there is also an emphasis on collaborative classroom practices giving students more of a say in the planning and execution of their learning experiences.  Third, there is an emphasis on formative assessment which aims to teach students how to analyze their learning process and ultimately take more responsibility for their own learning.

Teacher Stacey Sullivan

Stacey Sullivan teaches third grade at Georgia Elementary Middle School. She blogs at http://sullivangems.blogspot.com/ and you can follow her @sullyteaches.

One thought on “THE FWSU STORY: Global Education in FWSU, Part 2

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