Big Picture: The Finnish School System

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We have visited six Finnish schools, spanning Kindergarten through the end of high school, and we’ve been fortunate to spend multiple days at most of the schools. We’ve observed Swedish, English, math, science, social studies, robotics, coding, reading, and creative writing lessons, and we’ve talked to dozens of incredible teachers and students.

The schools, just like any country, are not carbon copies of one another. But a few larger themes have emerged, both in educational philosophy and practice, that hold true for all of the schools we visited. Here’s an overview:

Educational Philosophy

  • Egalitarian Structure, with Little to No Hierarchy (or Competition!)
  • Finnish Teachers are Trusted Professionals with Pedagogical Autonomy
  • Students Play an Active Role in their Education

Instructional Practice

  • Individualized Learning Paths
  • Student Collaboration, Choice, and Breaks
  • Grading by Level of Understanding

Over the next two weeks, I will be writing a separate post on most of the topics above. My hope is that the individual posts will offer more insight into the topics that most interest you.

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