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    Onderwijskrant Vlaanderen
    Vernieuwen: ja, maar in continuïteit!
    06-08-2014
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.Onderwijs. Kritische Finse stemmen over Fins onderwijs

    1. Finse 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 enough".

    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.

    2. Timo Ojanen  :Some truths but also lots of myths and partial truths here. Let's get the facts right 

    My 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 private schools."

    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 completed.

    "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 strained.

    "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 automatically.




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