Finland is known for its outstanding educational system. But why is Finnish teaching and school education that good?
We have listed 6 important reasons for you.
1 Teachers are carefully selected
Becoming a teacher in Finland is not that easy. In fact only one in 10 applicants is being accepted for the teacher training programs at Finnish universities. The lucky few then have to invest a lot of hard work and sweat before after five to six years of studying they are finally allowed to teach in front of a class.
And there is no big difference in higher education. Finland is the only country in the world where university teachers have to go through a pedagogical training before being able to teach their first students.
2 Passion tops brightness
Everyone applying for teacher studies has to pass an entrance exam. The best suitable candidates are not just selected based on their scores in those test. Finnish universities know the brightest are not always automatically the best teachers. And so half of the available study places are given to applicants with average academic scores. After all a passion for teacher is not defined by grades.
3 The system is built on trust
Finland does not have centralized tests to monitor learning results. The Finnish National Board of Education (OPH) provides a national curriculum. Within those broad guidelines it gives municipalities, schools and teachers a lot of freedom to plan topics and lessons the way they think is best for their students. Rather than constantly monitoring teachers’ performance the OPH trusts in their skills, experience and motivation.
4 All children are taught together
In difference to other countries children in Finnish schools are not separated based on their grades. Until ninth grade all children are taught together in the same classroom, regardless of their performance. It has been proven that keeping the groups together is beneficial for all students. The result is that the difference between the weakest and strongest students is the smallest worldwide.
5 Cooperation is the key
At Finnish schools children learn to work together. They also learn to organize courses themselves. As part of the new Finnish curriculum discussed broadly worldwide additionally to traditional subject based learning students get the chance to organize interdisciplinary projects together with teachers. Furthermore also the professional cooperation among teachers and between teachers and principles is being encouraged through the new reform.
6 Quality over quantity
Sitting in class for 90 minutes has a strong influence on the ability to concentrate. That is why students in Finnish schools have 15 minute breaks after each lesson. After clearing their heads in between they can much more easily focus on the content of the next lesson. In general school days in Finland are rather short in comparison to many other countries.
And also the needs of teachers are taken into account. To secure the quality of teaching the amount of lessons a teacher gives each day is kept very low. Additionally teachers can use two hours per week for professional development.