Should we adopt the Finnish education system?

Fides

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You cant simply transfer one system onto another. Major Cultural factors. You can borrow ideas here and there but not the entire system. Ireland is a much more uneven society than Finland for a start. Only idiots and god knows there are plenty on this thread ,would think you can just deal with education problems in the school.
For those genuinely interested-watch this. For the rest of you back to the pub talk..

Testing education: Pisa envy | The Economist
A tad condescending would you agree? I'm sure most of us would agree there is more than one road that can be followed but the idea of the thread is to tease this out. Better than the "let's just ban fee paying schools and that will solve everything". I suppose we can just carry on doing the same thing year after year. We've all been through the system and some have had children through the system - based on the outcomes it could do with some radical change.
 


Fides

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In the finish system, less people go to college, I.e. a less educated work force. Also if children go to school later, i.e 7, that means more parents can't work because they're minding children. Also introducing children to other children at an early age is always positive in terms of social skill development
There seems to be more vocational training. Going to college does not automatically make you more educated, plenty of fairly useless courses out there.
They go to preschool up to 7 and childcare would be the envy of young parents here.
 

asknoquestions

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In the finish system, less people go to college, I.e. a less educated work force. Also if children go to school later, i.e 7, that means more parents can't work because they're minding children. Also introducing children to other children at an early age is always positive in terms of social skill development
Finland has full-day subsidized day care from the age of eight months according to this article
Early education's top model: Finland - The Globe and Mail

"The focus for kindergarten students is to "learn how to learn," Ms. Penttila said. Instead of formal instruction in reading and math, there are lessons on nature, animals and the "circle of life," and a focus on materials-based learning. Fees vary according to income, but the cost of daycare is at most a few hundred dollars a month."
 

wheels

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On a guided tour in Helsinki the guide told us that the Finnish language is phonetically very straightforward so reading and spelling are easily mastered. Therefore the children must be at an advantage. If reading levels are compared in their own language the Finnish children will do better. Many maths problems too require a good level of fluency in reading.

In Finland teachers are highly respected in the community unlike here in Ireland where they have become almost hated. Teachers are not inspected and are not subject to on the spot inspections and whole school evaluations which are published online and cause undue stress.
Happy confident teachers who feel valued and appreciated will obviously do a better job than frightened exhausted stressed ones.
Ireland is following the UK in demanding "accountability" and "value for money" from teachers and imposing increasing demands for paperwork.
It's the wrong way to go.
 

riker1969

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In the finish system, less people go to college, I.e. a less educated work force. Also if children go to school later, i.e 7, that means more parents can't work because they're minding children. Also introducing children to other children at an early age is always positive in terms of social skill development
We send more people to college than Germany -way more but last time I checked they are doing better than us! We seem to be fixated ion sending students to any old college . Many PLC courses (but not all) deserve the PLONKERS LAST CHANCE designation.
 

riker1969

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On a guided tour in Helsinki the guide told us that the Finnish language is phonetically very straightforward so reading and spelling are easily mastered. Therefore the children must be at an advantage. If reading levels are compared in their own language the Finnish children will do better. Many maths problems too require a good level of fluency in reading.

In Finland teachers are highly respected in the community unlike here in Ireland where they have become almost hated. Teachers are not inspected and are not subject to on the spot inspections and whole school evaluations which are published online and cause undue stress.
Happy confident teachers who feel valued and appreciated will obviously do a better job than frightened exhausted stressed ones.
Ireland is following the UK in demanding "accountability" and "value for money" from teachers and imposing increasing demands for paperwork.
It's the wrong way to go.
Finland is also much more of an equal society. Education must become a whole Society problem.stop sending your kids to school with junk food ,little sleep and little homework!
 

EndDiddlyaism

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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.
Where I live, this is still this range of subjects covered at primary level, with the exception of cookery. Of course, there is also a significant amount of RE and a notable absence of science. They also get all the kids to do swimming for three of the years here.
 
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chef35

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That is what I don't understand about politics, when something as much of a no-brainer as this isn't carbon copied into every system that is not performing properly (not that I don't think our system has many good points and does work well).
What are the barriers to this system?
What is different about us that means it wouldn't work here?
I don't know how highly education was valued before the current system was installed in Finland or how much parents took responsibility for their kids working etc... was there a difference?
I think they have the outline of a plan to head in this direction,

http://www.hea.ie/files/AineHylandFinalReport.pdf

According to the report, the idea is to set up teacher training institutes of excellence by reducing the number tt courses available, and making them exclusive to a few colleges. Also the extention of both primary and secondary tt by an extra year, and the reintroduction of interviews to aid the filtering process. Whether or not they plan to increase the points for primary entry is unclear.
 

Lempo

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In the finish system, less people go to college, I.e. a less educated work force. Also if children go to school later, i.e 7, that means more parents can't work because they're minding children. Also introducing children to other children at an early age is always positive in terms of social skill development
What Fides said about this is just about right. After the 9-year elementary school students continue either to 3-year vocational school or general education 3-year lycaeum in proportion of 50/50. Those in vocational school will get a profession and can go to work or continue to tertiary education, generally to a polytechnic but university is not out of question either. Them lycaeum graduates are more or less useless punch until they get tertiary education. :p

Somehow I think the problem is too educated workforce rather than too little educated... I know in industry people are cursing the day when the sergeant-level "technician" education was transformed into junior lieutenant -lever engineer education. They could really use those sergeants but what they get is engineers who, because of the polytechnics' marketing towards the youngsters, expect their jobs to be something akin to those of M.Sc.:s of technical field.

And, as other people already told, no one really has to stay home and away from work life because of minding the children.
 

Prester Jim

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A tad condescending would you agree? I'm sure most of us would agree there is more than one road that can be followed but the idea of the thread is to tease this out. Better than the "let's just ban fee paying schools and that will solve everything". I suppose we can just carry on doing the same thing year after year. We've all been through the system and some have had children through the system - based on the outcomes it could do with some radical change.
Exactly, I want to tease out what needs to be changed for us to have the Finnish system whole.
 

Prester Jim

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You cant simply transfer one system onto another. Major Cultural factors. You can borrow ideas here and there but not the entire system. Ireland is a much more uneven society than Finland for a start. Only idiots and god knows there are plenty on this thread ,would think you can just deal with education problems in the school.
For those genuinely interested-watch this. For the rest of you back to the pub talk..

Testing education: Pisa envy | The Economist
The point of this thread is to figure out what can be changed, needs to be changed for Finnish system to work here.
I don't think it is fair to beam onto the thread and insult pretty much everyone participating, I for one am trying to see why people think we don't have the Finnish system here and if we did have the system would we have to change it a bit for it to work.

I agree that much if not most of the problems with our results in Pisa are down to under-motivated kids and many parents who seem to prefer to be friends to their kids rather than parents, if parents would stop relinquishing responsibility for disciplining their own kids and ensuring they study and work at home we would be well on the way.
 
D

Dylan2010

even simple things like the primary syllibus and the crappy Educational Company et al readers and maths books in particular should be looked at. My kids are bored to tears with them. Its like they are trying to get kids to hate reading.
 

Lempo

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Exactly, I want to tease out what needs to be changed for us to have the Finnish system whole.
Would it be filed under T like "trolling" if I mention that the whole emphasis on education in Finland started several centuries ago when the Lutheran ministers insisted on demanding people of their parishes to be able to read (scripture) before they were allowed to get married?
 

Prester Jim

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Would it be filed under T like "trolling" if I mention that the whole emphasis on education in Finland started several centuries ago when the Lutheran ministers insisted on demanding people of their parishes to be able to read (scripture) before they were allowed to get married?
No, good point. There are cultural differences but similarities too; they have a serious issue with drink too.
I may be mis-remembering but I think education was the be all and end all here for many people in the past, now it is all about instant gratification unfortunately for some.
Point is we can change that back if we make the effort.
 

riker1969

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My apologies Prester Jim. To be fair the thread is quite balanced. I do think though our 'leaders' tend to look at the issue as if A) They can just copy from Finland B) It can be done by just concentrating on schools.
The Current JC proposals will be a disaster if implemented. School based final assessment! I have written large chunks of struggling student projects as it stands and benefited by giving grinds to students doing projects. Im being honest but honesty is what we need not blandishments. The reports in from the pilot schools indicate it's a disaster.
 

Fides

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My apologies Prester Jim. To be fair the thread is quite balanced. I do think though our 'leaders' tend to look at the issue as if A) They can just copy from Finland B) It can be done by just concentrating on schools.
The Current JC proposals will be a disaster if implemented. School based final assessment! I have written large chunks of struggling student projects as it stands and benefited by giving grinds to students doing projects. Im being honest but honesty is what we need not blandishments. The reports in from the pilot schools indicate it's a disaster.
The key word I kept coming across as I googled the Finnish system was "trust". Schools are given considerable autonomy, very little testing. I too am suspicious of continuous assessment as I doubt the work would be done by the pupils - I lack "trust" in the system and the people involved in it.

The Mowl raises a good point about parental involvement. We were far more involved in our children's primary education and the school welcomed parental input. I couldn't say the same about secondary where parents seem to be discouraged and the annual teacher meeting was more like speed dating. I stopped going as they were a waste of time.

If we don't start somewhere though we will continue to drop down the tables.
 

ManOfReason

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[h=2]Should we adopt the Finnish education system?[/h]
Nice idea, but I think our kids would find it bloody hard to learn Finnish, although it couldn't be much worse than Irish.

:) ....I'll get my coat
 

greengoose2

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Some of the stuff posted here is so dreadfully patronising! We put ourselves out as the smartest, best educated people on the planet. How do some of the lesser nations manage to cope? Mention another country's educational system and you get the plethora of defensive excuses from the chip on the shoulder brigade! Damn it but we can't even hold a conversation in our 'native' language and come up with the most bizarre excuses as to why we wasted over ten years and still can't string the simplest sentence together!

It must be all about science and technology for which Ireland is a forerunner.
 

alloverbartheshouting

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Perhaps a crucial missing factor regarding any potential for the application of the apparently successful Finnish educational model in Irish schooling would be the notion of parental input and assumption of responsibility. In Ireland we seem to think that the school teacher ought to take absolute responsibility for all of our childrens educational achievements or failures, whereas here in Finland it's expected that parents will actively participate in their childrens progress.

Progress being the key word. The Finnish model doesn't keep the student under constant pressure to pass quarterly examinations based mainly on nothing more than their memory capacity. Progress is noted over much longer periods - years rather than months - causing far less stress on the student. Nor are the students separated at an early age by apparent intelligence or aptitude.

In Ireland, we take our kids to school, we leave them at the door, and we then seem to think it's someone else's responsibilty. If the child continually struggles and fails, we blame the teacher and school. If the child succeeds and achieves good grades, we pat ourselves on the back and assume on our fantastically intelligent type gene.

Add to this the notion of vocation and dedication as factors in training for Finnish teaching, as opposed to the Irish teaching view, which appears to be one of a civil service job for life, and some serious holes begin to appear. Finnish school teachers are highly regarded as respectable professionals, they carry a great responsibilty and are duly accorded as such. In Ireland our views on our teachers, lay or christian, are rather more dim.

There are other contributary social factors too, not least of all a very strong sense of social cohesion and personal responsibility, one which possibly stems from the resulting sense of personal discipline many acquire after their obligatory year of national service training - or conscription, as we Irish might call it - at seventeen/eighteen years of age. Barbaric as it may seem to Irish people, the positive results of every young mans service year in training is apparent in their respectful attitude towards their society.

Being at present in a position of choice, I absolutely wouldn't for moment consider bringing any future child of my own back to Ireland for their schooling and upbringing.

The occasional visit perhaps, but permanently and for an Irish education? No.
You've made some good points, Mowl. However, I have to ask - in the point I bolded above, are you saying that these are what you perceive to be teachers' views or the views of people in general?
 

alloverbartheshouting

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Is differentiation not encouraged now in primary schools. Not the same as streaming in secondary , I know, but the principle being to challenge more able students?
You're correct, SayItAintSo. Differentiation is meant to be at the heart of every lesson. For example, I am currently working on the theme of 'My Body' with Junior Infants. In our Science lesson on Wednesday we will be examining a model skeleton and I hope that all of the children be be able to identify the skull, the spine, the ribs and the pelvis afterwards (they are only four and five years old, remember...!). However, I also hope that some will be extended to understand that the skull is not one single bone and that the spine is made up of approximately 24 vertebrae. Furthermore, there are three children who I hope to able to read many of the associated words afterwords (well, recognise anyway, through basic phonetical structure). This is to ensure that those who can be challenged more are getting the full benefit of the lesson.

This is different from streaming, in that all children will be taught the same basic information, but some will be extended according to their abilities. The rest of the class won't be sitting there being talked at, but engaged in other related activities.

However, there is still a certain amount of streaming in primary school. In the many group activities that take place in the course of the school day, sometimes the children are grouped in varying ability to promote 'scaffolding', whereby a child with higher proficiency in a specific area helps his or her peers. The benefit of this is that the child who needs help with, say, penmanship, can be great at logic-based activities, so Gardner's theories of multiple intelligences are demonstrated by the children themselves.

However, when it comes to some activities, especially in literacy and numeracy, ability grouping is the only way to ensure that each child learns the skills, concepts and knowledge suitable to his or her standard. Otherwise, more able children are not extended and children who are struggling get lost.
 


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