leraar Atatus i.o. over verwaarlozing van sterkere/slimme leerlingen
It's kind of an
unspoken rule here in Finland that smart, talented kids are expected to take
control of their own learning very early on. I'm a teacher in training on my
fourth year in university, and while we've been taught quite a lot when it
comes to teaching kids who have trouble learning or behaving, teaching talented
kids has only been mentioned - in passing - once or twice. When asked about the
subject, one of my professors actually said that it's better to have the
teachers to focus their attention on children "who need that attention,
since smart kids are smart and can thus take care of themselves well
I do understand what my professor meant, kind of: if there
are 28 pupils in one class and if twelve of them have trouble learning or
behaving, those twelve will naturally need the teacher's time, help and
attention, even more so than those who are doing "well enough" by
themselves. Still, while smart kids can take care of themselves (to some
degree), it's certainly not fair that they're not being helped to try to
achieve their full potential, that they're not given enough opportunities to
challenge themselves, like the other pupils are.
I've noticed that there are many teachers who are even a bit
annoyed at smart children because they're "too" quick. Those kids
often finish their exercises while some of the other pupils are still trying to
solve their very first problem. Streaming can be challenging to any a teacher, and
while many a pupil is given extra exercises, many others are left to sit idly
at their desk, waiting for the rest of the class to catch up with them. During
my training, I've seen many a teacher scolding smart kids for being
"impatient" and "restless" after those kids have been
sitting at their desk for several long minutes without having anything to do.
It's sad and angering to see such young, brilliant minds
being held back like this. No wonder Finland has the narrowest gap between the
highest and the lowest achieving pupils when the lowest achieving pupils are
helped in any way possible while the highest achieving students are scolded and
frowned upon for being smart.
Ojanen :Some truths but also lots of
myths and partial truths here. Let's get the facts right.
information is based on having both studied (1990s) and worked (2000s) in
Finnish primary and secondary schools.
"Finland does not
give their kids standardized tests." Yes it does, but only once - at
the end of general secondary school (senior high school). The results of these
exams function as final secondary school grades which in turn play a role in
higher education admissions.
"All teachers are
required to have a master's degree."
Yes, if they want to get a "qualified" salary. But
many are working as "unqualified" and just get a lower salary and
less job security.
"Finland has a culture of collaboration between
schools, not competition. Most schools, according to Partanen, perform at the
same level, so there is no status in attending a particular
facility."There is some status to attending particularly famous schools.
Entry to senior high schools (upper secondary) is competitive and mostly based
on junior high school grades.
"Finland has no
Not true. They are not very numerous but there are some.
Some are funded by the government and collect no tuition fees; others are
funded by tuition fees. Schools following Steiner pedagogy are one notable example.
"Finnish schools don't assign homework, because it is
assumed that mastery is attained in the classroom."
Simply not true. They do assign homework and expect it to be
"Finnish schools have sports, but no sports teams.
Competition is not valued."Team sports play a part in P.E. in Finnish
schools; the value given to competition depends on the individual teacher's
attitude. Competitive sports teams are generally formed outside schools.
"The focus is on the individual child. If a child is
falling behind, the highly trained teaching staff recognizes this need and
immediately creates a plan to address the child's individual
needs."Depends on resources. There are individual learning plans, but
things don't happen immediately. Access to extra tuition within the school or
other remedial measures also depend on staff resources, which quite often are
"Likewise, if a child is soaring ahead and bored, the
staff is trained and prepared to appropriately address this as well."True
if the child happens to be lucky and have a supportive teacher, not