Sunday, October 15, 2017

Finish Lessons...Singapore Lessons

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October 15, 2017

A few weeks ago Diane Ravitch posted a very short piece on Pasi Sahlberg, a well-known Finnish educator. He is the author of "Finnish Lessons."

Here is the link to Ravatch's post where you will find a link to seminar he participated in at Columbia University. Ravitch extracted four big ideas from this long seminar--more than an hour which is a lot of time for most of us. Here are the four ideas.

--All children should have ample time for unstructured play.

--Small Data, the kind that teacher collect daily through their observations has more value to teaching/learning than Big Data captured by yearly standardized tests.

--Equitable funding, i.e., sending money/resources where it is most needed.

--There are many urban legends about Finland, one is that they recruit the very best and brightest into teaching.  Instead, teacher candidacy is about a strong commitment to being a teacher in addition to being bright. "There is no Teach for Finland."

To give you an idea of Sahlberg's thinking, here is a link to a shorter talk Sahlberg made several years ago on the germ/virus affecting school systems. It is followed by a provocative talk by a Finish student who also spent some of her time in Hong Kong as a student which she described as the best of two educational worlds.

She asks what the Finish education system can learn from Hong Kong/Asia and she makes some strong recommendations. You may skip ahead to the talk by Hannankina Tanninnen.

The presentation is very thoughtful, one that makes me think about schools and schools systems in general, as well as the contrasts between Finland and Hong Kong and, of course the U. S.

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