Zainab Iqbal

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?

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2 thoughts on “Zainab Iqbal

  1. I think that if we have one unified school system across the nation we would have a more educated country. Instead of having one state have more rigor than other why not have them both be the same, teach the same material therefore schooling would be equal for everyone and there is a better chance everyone could be on the same starting ground.

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  2. I’m glad you shared this information about the Finnish school system. Usually I hear critiques of the American school system and everything wrong with it but I never hear actual ways to improve it. The United States is a world superpower but we underperform on International tests for math, science, and reading comprehension. The structure of our school system is so stressful and high-stakes, that students don’t want to go to school and feel it is an obligation, rather than a privilege. Having a more stress-free environment will help students focus better. Homework is busy work, and focusing more on in-class instruction should help students learn better instead of inundating them with problem after problem. An example of this is my cousin in 2nd grade who has over 3 hours of homework every night. She had to quit gymnastics on weekdays because she can’t finish all of her homework. Even pertaining to me, I have so much work for school that I have no time for any outside interests. This causes stress and just a lower level of productivity.

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