Wednesday, September 21, 2016

what we could learn from the Finns...

Richard Bazeley sent a link to this article on Finnish education: No grammar schools, lots of play: the secrets of Europe’s top education system.

Those who read here regularly will remember the relationship between Uno Cygnaeus, the inventor of Educational Sloyd, and Friedrich Frobel, inventor of Kindergarten, and the founding of the Finnish Folk Schools, that were first created as a gift from the Russian Czar. In the Finnish schools of today, children begin reading and math at age 7 and thereby surpass American readers in both subjects in 25% less time, without homework, and with a huge amount of time devoted to creative play, while they are also learning English.

When I visited at the University of Helsinki, I inquired whether there was a proven link between their continued use of Educational Sloyd and the success of the Finnish model of education. I was told there was none that had been proven by research. My query had not gone deep enough. The link is there at a much more philosophical level that still defies the imagination of all those who struggle to understand the success of Finland's education. How can a country that ignores standardized testing consistently beat those countries like the US that have slavishly submerged learning to a regimen of regularly administered standardized tests?

It is all right there in a single word, play. Children love learning. They may not necessarily like being  taught. And play, whether structured or unstructured, captures the child's attention at a deeper level than drill baby drill.

My book on making Froebel's gifts is down to that last thing that I hope to add, acknowledgments. So I plan to quickly compose those before classes this afternoon.

On the subject of education, it is time to simply rise up against educational policy makers and confidently take matters into our own hands.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the hope of learning likewise.

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