Phenomenal Finland

| June 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

Finland has long flummoxed those who seek to understand why or how its education system is such a success.

Now, in the small Nordic nation, traditional ‘subjects’ will disappear from syllabi, to be replaced with ‘topics’. Says Liisa Pohjolainen, who is in charge of youth and adult education in the capital city of Helsinki, history and geography, for example, are out and ‘phenomenon teaching’ is in. “We have to make the changes in education that are necessary for industry and modern society.” Phenomenon teaching is geared towards arming Finnish children with relevant competencies. Explains Pohjolainen, “For instance, a teenager studying a vocational course might take ‘cafeteria services’ lessons, which would include elements of maths, languages (to help serve foreign customers), writing skills and communication skills. “More academic pupils would be taught cross-subject topics such as the European Union – which would merge elements of economics, history (of the countries involved), languages and geography.” Perhaps the biggest change will be experienced by Finnish teachers, many of whom are used to teaching a specialised subject. Those who cooperate with the new system can expect a bigger pay check every month. Whilst news of Finland’s shifting education approach has just made global headlines, the country has been steadily introducing it over the last two years.

Category: Winter 2015

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