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Toronto Catholic District School Board

The Finland Phenomenon

Tony Wagner made a 60-minute documentary entitled, "The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World's Most Surprising School System". 



Check it out ... watch all four parts: 


  Part 1        Part 2         Part 3           Part 4



 Finland's Formula for School Success:
The Finnish Model of Education
It is just amazing that all kids are involved in special services and the fact that one classroom can have as many as 3 or 4 teachers involved in a child's learning.  The "Special" teacher works in the classroom and in another classroom - sounds similar to what we'd like to do at St. Albert  Teachers collaborate with one another to work out the issues and concerns about a child ... each and every child is discussed.  The time spent to deal with the students issues/problems are dealt with - this is student "well-being".  The classroom time is reduced, but teachers spend lots of time collaborating, communicating with colleagues, families, community partners, and students.
Rise Above the Mark
Here's one school district in the USA saying what they have done in the past is no longer good enough and they're asking, "Why can't we do it differently?" ... and they are going to do it differently.
NBC Nightly News asks, "Why does Finland have the best education system in the world?" And quite frankly they're asking, "Why does the United States model rank very poorly in the world given how much money, expertise, and effort we put into the system?"
Dan Rather Reports on Finland's surge in the field of education ... from a bottom-dweller in the the 60s, to a resurgence and re-focus in the 70s, to now 40 years of growth, improvement and all the while bucking the world-wide trends of the last few decades - "more standardized testing", "more accountability from teachers", "kids starting school at a younger age", "longer instructional periods", "more homework", "an overall refocussing on the basics" .... In Finland, they went the opposite way - there are no standardized tests that are used to rank schools and/or teacher performance; there are no stringent teacher appraisals; kids start school at the age of 7 years, not 3 years old; school days go from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm and there isn't much homework at all; a focus on the basics means you're doing music, dance, art, drama, singing, home economics and wood-working.
And you know what, those are the true basics of education that I did when I was in school too!  And you'll love this one: teachers are very well respected in society, paid well, encouraged to collaborate with peers, continue professional and personal learning and make the curriculum relevant to themselves and the students - gee, they're treated like the professionals they're asked to be, go figure. On top of that, teachers don't leave the profession after a few years - they stay for the long haul. There are no political squabbles and you know what? - all education is paid for by the state ... yep, even university!  The Finns value education because "the minds of the young is the richest resource" they have!  Check out Dan Rather's reports (and there are more on YouTube) and see why we here in Ontario better start rethinking what's important to us, standardized tests or an education system that doesn't strip mine our future generation!
Finnish Lessons, is now available.



Adaptable Thinking ... preparing for tomorrow. 



Watch a speaking engagement from Vanderbilt University on December 9th, 2011 ... click the link below.