April 29, 2018
Every child has a brain - let him use it!" This phrase was repeated over and over by each teacher I met throughout the country. At first I was like, yes and....? that is an interesting statement considering we all know the makeup of the human body. But once we began speaking, I understood why each teacher said that.
So often we educators (and parents), forget that children have brains. We forget that each child has the ability to think for himself. "Put that number there. Write this here..." so often we are telling the students what to do instead of sitting back and letting them try to work it out on their own. One main educational philosophy across the system in Finland is student- inquiry; students are encouraged to try things on their own. While watching the teachers and students interact in a variety of classes, I thought to myself each time - this teacher is acting more like a facilitator. The teachers set the stage for learning then watched as the students engaged on their own. Even in the youngest of grades students were encouraged to work out whatever they were doing on their own.
April 27, 2018
Coming back to America was hard. The first thing I noticed when I got home was how many people honk their horns. I know that may sound silly and you're wondering why I would even mention that but I am going to sum up Finland (which includes their education system) in what I call "the honking phenomenon."
April 22, 2018
I came to Finland to learn..... to learn what makes their education system run so well. Why do Finnish students excel in literacy? Why are they so happy? It's hard to imagine a world where the happiness of people, especially children, is put first. No matter how much research I did, nothing could compare to seeing the magic in person. In the world I just experienced, children and their well-being is #1.
If the children are happy, everything else falls into place. I'm sure you're wondering "how." How are the children happy and well-educated? How do the teachers work so hard to achieve this? The answer is not simple but I will try to explain using one word, trust.
Parents trust the teachers.
Teachers trust the parents.
Students trust the teachers.
Teachers trust each other.
However, most importantly, teachers trust the students. They trust that students will make the best decisions for themselves. This happens the moment a Finnish child enters the system. The child is empowered to believe in himself, to take his studies seriously, to respect education and take risks. In what the Fins call pre-primary (ages 1-6), play is most important. It's the universal language amongst kids. Once children know how to interact with each other on a social level, they begin to trust. Once the trust is there, everything else falls into place. I look forward to sharing so much more when I return. Until then, remember to trust.
April 18, 2018
What's Mrs. Orshan up to today? Take a look at her video check-in from Finland!
From Mrs. Orshan:
Simple yet intentional...
April 17, 2018
Here I am at my first briefing of the workshop! The top 3 things I learned tonight:
1. Have trust in the system - it may not perfect but we're in it together!
2. Have fun! Fins have fun in school because everyone is laid back. No stress = no gray hairs!
3. Work life balance - these Fins have it down to a science. More on that when I return.
Tomorrow I will visit my first kindergarten classroom where the children are typically only in their class for 4 hours. The main idea of kindergarten - play! Can't wait to watch the "adult-guided activities" as it's called here.
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