One of the best education systems in the world.
We are unlikely to affect our school, but in the inevitable seat on homework, parents will need the experience of the American teacher, Timothy Walker about the Finnish education system.
Although children in Finland and in the United States today suffer from inactivity, there is one fundamental difference: the small Northern country has recently launched an experiment – we adopted a new state program “Finnish schools on the move”, designed to help children lead active lifestyles throughout the school day.
Once again, it was in the middle of December, just after noon, I went outside during another 15-minute recess. I was wondering, have you changed something in the behavior of students. Maybe children passively undergo change, and has indeed become less?
On the Playground two of my sixth grader over there, Amy and Marianne, dressed in neon-yellow vests, led a popular game, a kind of salokya. Around them were running around about a dozen younger children.
Amy and Marianne were “promoters of change”: this means that they were trained and had once a week to work with their younger friends, mostly first graders and second graders. A few minutes before my arrival the girls gathered these seven-year-olds and eight-year-olds, in order to decide what they will play today.
Maybe, sometimes, you notice that the disciples, despite all your efforts to make the lessons fun, become sleepy after sitting in place for a long time. In such cases, obviously the warm-up. You can break for exercise: 20 jumping “feet together – legs apart” with clapping above the head or 20 seconds of running in place will help children to shake things up.
Do not clutter the space
One of the rules that govern in this country: “the smaller, the better.” This is very evident in the minimalist approach, predominant in local design. Going to visit the Finns, you will probably find a cozy clean space in IKEA style.
If you want to make the owners a compliment, the best way is to praise tunnelma (“atmosphere”) in their home. Over the years of being here I realized that the idea of a cosy home, from the Finnish point of view, is associated with maximum simplicity in the design of the living space. I think the same principle and the basis of preparation classes.
In 2014, scientists from the University Carnegie Mellon decided to find out to what extent the design of the classroom can distract children from the learning process. Kindergartners brought to the laboratory where they were given some introductory lessons on the natural Sciences. The researchers changed the decor of the room, and some lessons of the walls were decorated with visual AIDS, while others remained completely empty. It turned out that in the first case, the kids are “more distracted by visual stimuli, spend more time watching foreign objects and worse I learned the material”.
It is especially important to reduce external stimuli in the rooms where little children learn because the ability to concentrate grows with the years. The study authors noted that the sixth graders are much easier to ignore unimportant stimuli than preschoolers.
If the concentration of carbon dioxide in the class becomes too high, neither of which the study of the question can not, because the brain simply stops working! Optimal for the learning process is the temperature of air from +20 to +23 °C.
Though scientific studies confirm that respite for the brain useful both indoors and outdoors, in Finland, absolutely everyone with whom I spoke on this subject (children and adults) who consistently extolled the benefits of fresh air. This approach, perhaps most clearly illustrates the rule, adopted in many local schools: at temperatures above -15 °C, the primary school students have to go outside. This means that a rainy day is not a reason to sit under the roof during recess. I remember the first year of teaching in Helsinki one day in the autumn I looked out the window and was deeply astonished seeing dozens of children running in the rain on the Playground. How likes to say my Finnish father-in-law: “Nothing will Rustem, we’re not made of sugar”.
Calmness, only calmness
Respect for the calm of the Finns in the blood, it is evident even in their language. By analogy with Christmas world* (joulurauha) to denote the state of tranquility, peace, absence of conflicts and bustle in different situations, this Northern people are, for example, the words saunarauha (“bath world” or “rest in the sauna”) and ruokarauha (“the refectory of the world” or “peace at mealtime”).
I believe that this is one of the main reasons due to which students in this country are good at learning the material and demonstrate brilliant results on tests like PISA. “Successful study should contribute to a friendly working environment and a calm, peaceful attitude,” reads the latest Directive of the National Council of Finnish education.
A few decades ago, scientists from the University of Oregon have established the relationship between the noise level in the house where the child lives and its ability to distinguish two similar words, as well as the ability to read. The experiment showed that the higher was the level of noise in a residential area, the worse its results seemed to be. Later, researchers from the University of Wisconsin found that something similar happens in school: in the presence of background noise, the primary school students barely remember new words.
In Finland, children begin to trust from an early age and hold them accountable, and in the most different questions. The vast majority of my students every day without an adult went back to school and back. I noticed the not so obvious: for example, pre-school children, walking in parks without parents, kids, yourself nakladyvaya meals in the school cafeteria; kids who walked the halls with no teachers. They have entrusted this responsibility not because of their “high status”: adults felt that children may be able to succeed themselves.
In General, Finnish children seem much more independent than American, but, of course, it’s not in genetics. The reason for this phenomenon, according to my observations, is that both at home and in school gives us many opportunities to do a variety of things without care adults, so they gain greater independence, including in the study.
As established scientists, the sense of independence is the most important component of happiness, and for two years in Helsinki I know this from my own experience: my students just blossomed when I trusted them to act at their own discretion.
In the course of recent reforms in Finland have been taken of the educational program in which emphasis is placed on developing the children’s autonomy and independence (in school and beyond). Among other priorities – the joy of learning and the cooperation of the teacher with students.
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