Posts Tagged ‘happy learning’

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Happy Teaching, Happy Learning

July 9, 2014

Finland education system

I’ve been excused by my brothers (yes the ones who were dressed up in their evzone costumes in a recent post) that I am in “LaLa” land. When asked what that means the response was that I am out of touch. I’ve been known to make lemonade when handed lemons and the norm for me is looking at the glass half full and not half empty. As parents, my husband and I learned when our sons were very young, that we needed to look at each situation and ask “is this a dance or a wrestle?” and yes, most of the time, it was a dance. Few things in this short life, in my opinion, are worth battling over.

Recently, an article reached out to me that made me ponder what makes some of us approach situations (easy or difficult) so differently. I wonder if our learning environments as children have something to do with it? And, I wonder how our young learners will be impacted over the long haul with the “testing environment” our schools are in at the present time?

I have been curious about the Finish education system and what makes theirs so world-class. The article provided some incite from one writers view. It is called “Happy Teaching, Happy Learning: 13 Secrets to Finland’s Success” written by Sophia Faridi and published June 24, 2014 in Education Week TEACHER. Ms. Faridi had been to Finland with seven teachers from the U.S. to learn more about the Finnish system and the lessons it “might offer”.

Ms. Faridi found 13 factors that she identified to be key.

  1. A heavy emphasis on play.
  2. No high-stakes standardized testing.
  3. Trust.
  4. Schools don’t compete with one another.
  5. Out-of-this-world teacher prep programs.
  6. Personal time is highly valued.
  7. Less is more.
  8. Emphasis on quality of life.
  9. Semi-tracked learning.
  10. National standards are valued.
  11. Grades are not given until 4th grade.
  12. Ethics is taught in primary grades.
  13. Collaboration and collaborative environments are strongly emphasized.

Sophia Faridi said: ” Students in Finland appear happy, engaged, and invested in their work.” If you’d like to read more about her findings please click here.

By the way, no one in my professional world has ever said (to my face anyway) that I am in “LaLa” land. Hmmmm!

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