Here's What a Skills-Based Curriculum Means In Finland

Somehow or other, Finland's schools have skyrocketed into the educational stratosphere in recent years, though it shouldn't have happened if you buy the usual U.S. view of how young people should be educated.The schools don't teach reading formally until the kids turn seven.Elementary schools give their students hours of recess. The teachers decide how they're going to teach their students with minimal guidance from above. And they don't give any standardized tests until high school students have almost graduated. Oh, and there are no private schools, with a few exceptions. Yet Finland tops all other European countries in its scores on international tests. The scores compare favorably with the highest scoring Asian countries as well.

Maybe it's something in the water (orFinlandia vodka?). It can't be simply a matter of demographics, since neighboring countries don't score nearly as well (Fun fact. Since Finland's neighbor Sweden went to a school choice model like the one loved by U.S. conservatives,complete with private school vouchers,its scores on the international tests have fallen). Finland mustknow something about education we don't. It could have something to do with teachers having such respect and status in society that Finland has a glut of applicants to its teacher education programs. Only the top ten percent are accepted. Maybe it'sthe three years of full time teacher education and training before teachers get classrooms of their own, which isnot only tuition free, it comes with a stipend for living expenses,The generous non-classroom time teachers have to work with their colleagues could be part of the Finnish secret as well - informed tucsonweekly.

But for all its success, Finland isn't resting on its laurels. It introduced a new national curriculum last year which is "skills-based." Take a moment to think what "skills" might refer to. Reading skills maybe? Math skills? Research skills? Time's up. Here's a sample of what "skills" mean in Finland's schools.

There are seven skills the curriculum is based on, including cultural competence, multiliteracy, entrepreneurship, and "thinking and learning to learn." Instead of being expected to cover certain content, teachers are expected to weave those skills into their lessons. It's not "content versus skills, but content with skills," [Petteri Elo, a Finnish teacher and educational consultant]said.

The only skill on that list you might hear emphasized in U.S. schools is "thinking and learning to learn," though these days that's had to take a back seat to learning how to answer questions on multiple choice, standardized tests.

The world is full of educational models other than ours. We certainly haven't seen impressive results from our national insistence that No Child [Be] Left Behind. Adopting the Finnish model probably doesn't make sense here, but the rigid standardization which comes from teaching to the test doesn't make much sense either. Maybe if we try to figure out how to recruit our best college graduates into teaching, then give them a demanding teacher education curriculum, followed by giving each of themthe freedom to create their own curriculum best suited to their skills and the needs of their students . . . that might be a good place to start.

Read more news on our site.

CurriculumMeans Finland
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

The coach of a sports club in Hyvinkää, southern Finland has been remanded into police custody on suspicion of sexual abuse of minors he was coaching, the Itä-Uusimaa police department said on Thursday. Officials said that they are investigating the case as suspected child abuse but did not disclose the ages of the alleged victims. The suspect in the case, a 50-year-old man, was remanded into custody on Wednesday. The suspected sexual abuse is believed to...
Finns increasingly forego do-it-yourself construction of prefab elements in favour of completely completed homes. Turnkey homes (where homes are fully finished and owners can immediately occupy them) have become more popular than traditional house packages, says the Finnish Association for Manufacturers of Prefabricated Houses. “About 7,500 detached homes are built in Finland every year, and about 70 percent of them are prefabricated houses of some kind,”...
THE FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE in the Helsinki neighbourhood of Arabianranta was visibly subdued on Tuesday, as residents mourned the death of a local child who is believed to have been murdered. While little information has been released to the public, it is known that the victim was murdered near their home on the night of Christmas Eve (December 24). The police apprehended a suspect at the scene of the crime, who has been confirmed as a 36-year old male. Whethe...
One of Finland’s most famous seafaring vessels, the titanic icebreaker Otso, was deployed on its first mission of the winter season last night, keeping sea routes open for the 22nd year in a row. Late in the evening of Christmas Day, Otso, the crowning glory of Arctia Oy’s extensive fleet, departed from Helsinki’s Katajanokka Harbour, heading north to the Bay of Bothnia. The 7000-ton Polar icebreaker has been tasked with keeping waterways open between Oulu...
Eight Finnish political parties have published their a statement on future climate policy goals in Finland. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) in November invited all nine parliamentary parties to join a task force established to find an agreement on new, more ambitious climate goals for Finland. The one-month project was led by Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing. The Finns Party abandoned the task force last w...
A 25-year-old man suspected of the sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 15 in Oulu, northwestern Finland, who was arrested in Germany last Tuesday is now reported to be at large. According to law enforcement officials in Oulu, the suspect was released by German police before he could be transferred to Finnish custody due to "a breakdown in communication between authorities". Oulu District Court ordered the suspect to be reprimanded into custody in absen...
Finland’s high earners saw their real income grow more in 2017 than their peers in middle and low income groups, according to new data released by Statistics Finland on Tuesday. Incomes among the country’s highest income decile rose by 4.4 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, while the year-on-year increase was 1.3 percent for middle income earners. Incomes for the four lowest income deciles meanwhile grew by 1.2 percent over the one-year period. However amon...
A man wanted in connection with a suspected arson attempt on a home in Helsinki’s Käpylä district was remanded into police custody on Sunday. The Helsinki district court has remanded a man suspected of attempted arson and attempted murder into police custody, ending a short-lived manhunt, police said on Sunday. The 25 year-old is suspected of using a Molotov cocktail to cause a fire at a flat in Käpylä, Helsinki last Monday. The apartment was completely de...
Helsinki Central Library Oodi will opened its doors to the public on 5 December at 8am, a day before Finland’s 101st birthday. Designed by ALA Architects, this library of a new era is an ode to Finnish culture, equality and freedom of expression. Oodi offers everyone an open, public urban space at Kansalaistori Square, right opposite Parliament House. Central Library Oodi is an active and functional meeting point with 2.5 million expected annual visitors....