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| Published in Education News | Written by Wade Tackett

Every Suomi Teacher Says...

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“We either teach the kids adult life, or teach how to pass the exams. We chose the first,” 

Triennially, a reputable Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) runs an international testing of students’ educational level worldwide. According to the most recent examination, Finnish pupils turned out to have the best academic skill among all. Plus, they are the most “reading” kids, and are rated 5th in terms of Math and Science knowledge. 

A peculiar thing, despite their noteworthy achievements and appraise, pupils in Finland spend… the least amount of time actually studying. So, they study less, but achieve results better than even American kids? Yes, absolutely. How is it even possible? There are 7 keys to explaining this phenomenon.

1 – Equality

Of schools. In Finland, all schools are equal. There are no “better” schools or “worse”, there are no “prestigious” ones or “inferior”. All primary and secondary educational establishments have equal financing, equipment and teaching programs.

Of subjects. There are no “majors” or “minors”. All subjects are taught on equal terms, while the educational program is built in a way all subjects are “major”. The only exception might be made for Music, Visual Arts or Sports.

Of parents. Whether parents are rich, from the middle class, or even from the lower, their kids are treated equally and receive an equal quality of education.

Of pupils. In Finland, the gap between “weak” students and “strong” is the smallest in the world. Maybe that’s because gifted pupils are taught in classrooms together with less talented.

2 – Free-of-charge basis

They don’t pay for schooling in Finland. In addition, parents and their children don’t pay for a daily lunch, excursions, group sightseeing tours, and extra curriculum activities. Home-school and school-home bus is free as well. Textbooks, stationeries, calculators and even tablets are chargeless for Finnish pupils.

3 – Individuality

Although all Suomi kids are taught in one class despite their level of talent, teachers still draw up an individual studying plan for every pupil. At the lesson, kids might be doing different exercises depending on their level. A student who copes well with tasks of her current level might be given a task of a more advanced one. If she’s not up to it, it’s not a big deal. Plus, there is no “tutoring” in Finland. School teachers give extra lessons for getting-behind students on a normal basis after classes in small groups or even individually at no cost.

4 – Practicality

In Finnish schools, pupils are taught only those things they will find useful and necessary in life. Pass-through subjects are absent. They might not know how a microwave works, but they know they essentials of a winning resume, how to draw up a portfolio, how to manage taxes and how to run a family budget. A Finnish kid might not know how a submarine works, but she can easily create a web-site and launch it online. (Read also: A Guide to Writing Scientific Essays)

5 – Trust

Teachers in Finland are respected. In fact, it’s one of the most prestigious and well-paid professions. Every teacher is entrusted to follow the state educational program, but is also given the authority to choose methods and practices, and exercises on his own in order to fulfill the educational goals.

6 – Voluntariness

One of the goals of Suomi education is to find out which pupil is a college material and which should be channeled towards a more practical profession. In Finland, they need both Java developers and bus drivers.

Teacher’s aim is to draw student’s attention to studying. If a kid is reluctant and shows no interest, redirecting takes place. It doesn’t happen in a week, but no one will force a child to study, if she has no desire to.

7 – Self-sufficiency

One of the most crucial goals of Finnish education is to nurture self-sufficient young minds ready for the adult life. Teacher in a Suomi school isn’t a “walking encyclopedia”, but a mentor who guides an individual towards a solution, which a pupil must find on her own using textbooks, referential sources and the Internet. Finnish students know how to solve adult and professional problems at an early age, which gives them a competitive advantage over other students, which is evidently seen in OECD’s researches.