I tend to read three to four books at a time, so it's taken me a little longer than usual to get through 'Finnish Lesson' by Pasi Sahlberg. The books isn't finished, and I have some chapters/pages bookmarked to go back and read again.....the books is full of amazing examples and details about Finnish education and their school system. I write/read with some hesitation about the Finnish system, not wanting our Department of Education to find a 'fix' for what ails our schools, and paying money to send our officials across the Atlantic to study and replicate what the Fins are doing. With that being said, the Finnish system in my opinion is pretty organic and much different than ours, so I have little doubt that we'll be changing ours anytime soon.
Some thoughts and excerpts as I read.....
- The Finnish system has not been infected by market-based competition and high-stakes testing policies.
- The Finns have been able to reach broad consensus on most major issues concerning future directions for Finland as a nation...with Education always in the conversation.
- Schools have the opportunity to craft optimal learning environments and establish instructional content that will best help students to reach the general goals of schooling.
- An essential element of the Finnish comprehensive school is systematic attention to those students who have special education needs. (From what I can decipher, this is somewhat like our push to implement RTI on a larger scale)