Should we adopt the Finnish education system?

Fides

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A deep question. But is your admiration of the Finnish education system at all influenced by their economic success? Their remarkable innovation and success with Nokia might be a one-hit wonder. If they can repeat it and make a comeback now that Samsung and Apple and HTC and Google and lots of others are taking over the show... until then I'll reserve opinion.
Note that if their education is so wonderful, and all these bright new Finns have come through their bright shiny education, they should walk it, no?
It is a reasonable question and one I alluded to in the OP. Given the "better" education what has this done for Finnish society. It shouldn't just be measured in economic outcomes but also social outcomes - crime etc. But even if that is not demonstrably that much better than some of the better performing countries if it doesn't make them worse the education system sounds far more fulfilling.

As I said before I did pay for my children's education but it was still mainly about rote learning and exams and competitiveness.
 


Fides

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About seventeen years' worth. :D

I don't know your system well enough to compare it. If it can be said to be downside teaching is an esteemed profession and subsequently very sought after so the Masters program, which teacher has to go through only accepts one in eight applicants resulting in theory into top class teaching professionals which probably is a key element in the perceived goodness of Finnish education. So that would had to be emulated somehow to go the Finnish way. If you have to pay for tertiary education (unlike in Finland) you probably will want to invest into better-rewarding profession, economically and otherwise.

The awe usually shown in the articles is mad sometimes, granted, and facts can be off in some smaller details, but I can't really think what bad they have left out from them. Of course, in the comments it will be readily pointed out that Finland is a very homogenous society, economically and ethnically, which may help a plenty.
Thanks for that.
 

Lempo

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One important point about the Finnish system that has been overlooked is its motivating force. According to Finnish educationalists, its excellence is only a by-product of the prime motivation,I.e. social equality. Those posting on the thread about private schools might do well to look at the Finnish attitude to private schools.
And when talking about excellence, it should be pointed out it's more about "excellence" in general average outcome. State-owned universities in their limitations don't bring up especially excellent individuals like top universities of the world.
 

Fides

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Not sure if this proves anything but about a third of my staff, including myself, have a Master's or above.
I suppose in Finland that would be 100%.
Also looking at Lempo's comments and also those I've read on the web there is serious demand to get into teaching. Do the top 10% of all graduates go into teaching here?
 

Mossy Heneberry

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But in all honesty, this is impossible to argue with. Those in power, i.e. fervent capitalists, oppose successful schemes such as this due to ideology rather than practicality. To them, education is a privilege, not a right.
If the Finnish system saves on money why do you think capitalists would be against it? A good education system is essential for a healthy economy and a healthy economy is something that capitalists would welcome, so why do you think capitalists think education should only be for the priviledged?
 
S

simeongrimes

Opposing education reform would be the teachers unions, the churches and the Irish language lobby. As no government will take on all three we are doomed to mediocrity for at least another generation.

From my experience as a parent the primary schools are good enough but it is in secondary school the damage is done. The number of free classes is a scandal. Imaging having an Accounting teacher in Leaving Cert who always misses the Friday afternoon double class if Munster are playing in Thomand park that evening.

Reform in Ireland will never happen because the corrupt people are in the majority.
 

Fides

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If the Finnish system saves on money why do you think capitalists would be against it? A good education system is essential for a healthy economy and a healthy economy is something that capitalists would welcome, so why do you think capitalists think education should only be for the priviledged?
The system may not get the best out of the potentially top pupils. There is an equality of outcomes but bringing up the poorer performing pupils may be at the expense of the top 1%. As someone has pointed out while the Finnish economy is a strong one it doesn't produce the Apple's or Google's or Samsung's.
 

pedagogus

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I suppose in Finland that would be 100%.
Also looking at Lempo's comments and also those I've read on the web there is serious demand to get into teaching. Do the top 10% of all graduates go into teaching here?
No. Law and medicine and then Primary teaching. Secondary are a mixed bag. It remains to be seen what the effects of the new pay scales are but anecdotally I'm told that new grads, especially males, are turning away from the profession.
 

Rural

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Opposing education reform would be the teachers unions, the churches and the Irish language lobby. As no government will take on all three we are doomed to mediocrity for at least another generation.

From my experience as a parent the primary schools are good enough but it is in secondary school the damage is done. The number of free classes is a scandal. Imaging having an Accounting teacher in Leaving Cert who always misses the Friday afternoon double class if Munster are playing in Thomand park that evening.

Reform in Ireland will never happen because the corrupt people are in the majority.
When I was a child the Primary system was excellent, we did the usual, reading, spelling, tables, maths, Irish, English comprehension. But, we also did singing, art, cookery, knitting, sewing, geography, history, project work (working in small teams, valuable stuff), in 6th class we were also doing French.

This was a state school and we were all so prepared to go to Secondary school afterwards.

The teachers then had the same amount of hours as they do now, but, my lads got the basics, anything else they learned here at home. They did cookery with me here too and they now have a great grasp on it, I didn't teach them much sewing (they weren't interested) but they can sew a button on a shirt. Their Secondary education was excellent and that was in the local Tech.
 

Mossy Heneberry

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The system may not get the best out of the potentially top pupils. There is an equality of outcomes but bringing up the poorer performing pupils may be at the expense of the top 1%. As someone has pointed out while the Finnish economy is a strong one it doesn't produce the Apple's or Google's or Samsung's.
I wasn't really on about what you're saying just why does the OP believe capitalism to be the problem of our education system.

Anyways why would the poor performing students improvement handicap the top '1%'?
 

asknoquestions

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Opposing education reform would be the teachers unions, the churches and the Irish language lobby. As no government will take on all three we are doomed to mediocrity for at least another generation.
The Finnish system has a Swedish language lobby. Swedish is a compulsory language for Finns and many of them resent it, much the same way Irish students resent the Irish language, albeit with a different sackful of historical baggage.
 

Fides

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I wasn't really on about what you're saying just why does the OP believe capitalism to be the problem of our education system.

Anyways why would the poor performing students improvement handicap the top '1%'?
The OP doesn't mention capitalism at all - someone posting did. I'm a capitalist myself but I do believe education is one of the most important foundations to maintain the system.

On the second point there is no streaming in Finnish schools and what seems to be very little in the way of competitive exams and measuring pupils against each other. I can see the positives in that but it also means the best students may not be pushed in the same way as they are pushed here.

I was in the A form in school but some subjects I did were not streamed. One was accounting where basically the 4 of us from the A stream chatted a great deal at the back as we had got the point well before most of our class mates. We were not pushed to do better.
 

asknoquestions

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When I was a child the Primary system was excellent, we did the usual, reading, spelling, tables, maths, Irish, English comprehension. But, we also did singing, art, cookery, knitting, sewing, geography, history, project work (working in small teams, valuable stuff), in 6th class we were also doing French.
I'd suspect the teacher was excellent, not the system.
 

ONENNAN

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It is worth noting that a masters in the Finnish education system is equivalent to a standard degree here so don't put too much store in that statistic.
 

Amnesiac

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Not sure if this proves anything but about a third of my staff, including myself, have a Master's or above.
I'm looking into the requirements set out on the PGDE website. I'm impressed. They are very selective. It would be interesting to see hard numbers on the qualifications of the existing stock of teachers if anyone can find them. I met quite a few chancers on my way through the system. I find it hard to believe that they studied at master's level or beyond. That said, the younger teachers generally had a very solid command of the subject material and were excellent communicators. Older teachers were split between those who cared strongly about the school and students, and those that were disinterested and coasting to retirement. I would hope that things are getting better, but there still seems to be room for useless teachers to hide.

Are new graduate teachers more likely to have a master's degree? When you say "beyond", do any of your staff have a PhD?
 

pedagogus

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I wasn't really on about what you're saying just why does the OP believe capitalism to be the problem of our education system.

Anyways why would the poor performing students improvement handicap the top '1%'?
In itself, it doesn't. Sometimes, though, you have to put so much effort into bringing up weaker pupils that the brighter pupils are relatively neglected. This is a dilemma in all classes, including in private schools, unless streaming is the norm. Where you stand on that subject can depend on how bright your children are. It is an old chestnut without a one size fits all solution. Some days I'm delighted with my efforts in a mixed-ability L.C. class, other days frustrated on behalf of the potential high achievers.
 

stopdoingstuff

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If we accept the opening assumption that education reform is desirable and necessary, then I would not recommend that the entire Irish education system decides to switch en masse to the Finnish way or any other model that is in fashion. The first thing to do is to make it very easy for people to set up their own schools that have specific approaches to education and/or to allow state owned schools the autonomy to try whatever they want. This is a lower risk approach but with a much higher pay off- the mistakes only hurt a few schools but the successes can be imitated to whatever degree we want.
 

pedagogus

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I'm looking into the requirements set out on the PGDE website. I'm impressed. They are very selective. It would be interesting to see hard numbers on the qualifications of the existing stock of teachers if anyone can find them. I met quite a few chancers on my way through the system. I find it hard to believe that they studied at master's level or beyond. That said, the younger teachers generally had a very solid command of the subject material and were excellent communicators. Older teachers were split between those who cared strongly about the school and students, and those that were disinterested and coasting to retirement. I would hope that things are getting better, but there still seems to be room for useless teachers to hide.

Are new graduate teachers more likely to have a master's degree? When you say "beyond", do any of your staff have a PhD?
Two of the science teachers have Phd's in chemistry and physics,respectively. As regards "coasting to retirement" that can go with the territory in a career that lasts forty years.
 

asknoquestions

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I'm looking into the requirements set out on the PGDE website. I'm impressed. They are very selective. It would be interesting to see hard numbers on the qualifications of the existing stock of teachers if anyone can find them. I met quite a few chancers on my way through the system. I find it hard to believe that they studied at master's level or beyond. That said, the younger teachers generally had a very solid command of the subject material and were excellent communicators. Older teachers were split between those who cared strongly about the school and students, and those that were disinterested and coasting to retirement. I would hope that things are getting better, but there still seems to be room for useless teachers to hide.

Are new graduate teachers more likely to have a master's degree? When you say "beyond", do any of your staff have a PhD?
New graduate teachers are more likely to have a master's than those from 20 or 30 years ago - for one thing there are a lot more people with masters degrees now. For another, teaching is relatively better paid than it was then.
 


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