Why Does Finland Have the Best Schools?
Finland always comes top, or near the top, of the PISA tests, which compare the educational success of different countries. The Australian newspaper, The Age, has published an article by William Doyle about Finnish schools and his seven-year-old son’s experience in one of them. You can read the whole article at http://www.theage.com.au/national/this-is-why-finland-has-the-best-schools-20160324-gnqv9l.html#ixzz48nsa3w1t , but in case you do not have the time to read it all, here are some of the answers he found to his question:
- Children have no formal academic training until they are seven.
- When lessons start, there is a fifteen-minute break for free play every hour.
- Children are never required to stand in lines or sit up straight.
- Teachers are the ultimate authority on education, not bureaucrats.
- There are hardly any standardised tests.
- The classroom is a place of safety, collaboration, warmth and respect for children as cherished individuals.
Finland has another advantage not mentioned by Doyle: Finnish spelling is phonetic, unlike Inglish, with its craisilly inkoncistant awthogrefy. This problem may be impossible to solve, unless we all learn Finnish, but Finland offers us a more humane example of success than Hong Kong or China.