Wednesday, March 05, 2008

More on Those Finnish Kids and Their Teachers

Not surprisingly, the "Finnish kids beating everybody else in test scores" is all over the internet and featured in "Time" magazine. Just Google something like "Finish Kids the Smartest."

So what makes Finnish teachers different?

Finland (and other high scoring countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands, Hong King, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan) pour resources into teacher training, set high standards for teaching, and respect teaching as a profession. And reward teachers by paying them salaries similar to competing occupations.

What a concept!

In Finland the best high school students are recruited for graduate-level teacher-preparation traing, paid by the government. Teachers learn to create a curriculum based on research, inquiry, and critical thinking. They study how to teach to different abilities and learning styles.

Every new teacher gets an experienced teacher as mentor. Every teacher receives 100 hours of professional devleopment and a whopping 20 hours a week to collaborate and learn from each other.

In short, teachers are given the time and resources to become the best teachers they can be.

So it's not that Finnish students are smarter. It's not that Finnish teachers are smarter. Finland as a country and a culture simply supports great teaching at all levels. Spends money for great teaching and requires, by U.S. standards, extraordinary standards. It's paid off.

In addition, although nobody but this blogger seems to have noted the connection, Finland also has world class music education programs for everyone.

As educators and folks from the U.S. Department of Education travel to Finland to discover the secrets behind high scores in science and math, U.S. music educators extoll the virtues of Finland's music education program.

And music educators know that learning music increases learning in all other areas--math, reading, science. Stay tuned as we'll jump into the music equals learning equation in future blog posts. I'll even show you some of the research

In the meantime, please don't let your school board dump the music program. Won't help anybody's test score!


P.S. Not sure why you should sign up for the next Brain Gym Basics Telechat starting March 11? Want more information? Listen to the audio and learn some Brain Gym you can use yourself--and with kids too.

1 comment:

Jim King said...

They also start school at age 7 and the first year is all play, so they actually do not start academics until 8. Research shows this is also important.