Since we’re all blogging about our papers, I thought I’d do the same. I also wrote my paper on the No Child Left Behind Act, but for the sake of this post, I’m going to focus on only one portion, which I found really interesting, and what to know your opinion- and this is taken straight out of my paper.
A seventh grade math teacher in the US received a Fulbright Scholarship to study school systems in Finland. What Kelly J found was that “less is more” (Filling My Map 2015). In the US, we are always striving to get “more”; more money, bigger houses, more cereal, and so on. What Kelly J found in Finland, was that most people lived in houses they needed, women wore less makeup, and “[they] buy a few expensive items of high quality that will last for decades rather than months” (Filling My Map 2015).
In the USA, the education system is always trying out different methods and approaches to work. In fact, “we can’t even stick to ONE philosophy of education long enough to see if it actually works” (Filling My Map 2015). The USA believes that “more is more”; more exams, more homework’s, more content, more classes, and more tutoring. And it doesn’t even work.
Finland’s education system believes in less formal schooling. Children begin school at the age of 7. This is because Finns believe that kids learn best through playing and exploring, rather than being stuck inside a classroom. Their first year is followed by 9 years of school and after that, everything is optional. When students hit the age of 16, they can choose between three tracks: Upper Secondary School, which prepares students for a test to get into university (which is a mixture of high school and college); Vocational Education, which is a three-year program devoted to a career choice; and entering the workforce, but only less than 5% choose this path.
Finns also believe in less time in school, which means more rest. Schools typically begin after 9:00 am, so students and teachers can get the quality sleep they deserve. Elementary school students also have the same teacher for three- six years. Which means, the same teacher tracks their progress, knows their learning techniques, and can better assist them in class. Some people may argue, what if there is a “bad” teacher? Well, obtaining a Primary Education Degree in Finland is actually the most competitive degree to get. The education department only accepts 10% of applicants and turns down the thousands of others. Since there isn’t really much standardized testing, teachers feel less pressure to get through the curriculum. They also have time to teach children crafts such as knitting, cleaning, cooking, and woodworking. Plus, Finns believe in less homework and more participation. According to Kelly J, students mostly get the work done in class (Filling My Map 2015).
Finland does not have the No Child Left Behind program. Yet, it somehow manages to come first in math, and second in science. I mean, I think we could implement this system in the USA- obviously modified to fit the large population. What do you guys think?