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Re: VS: [xmca] Finland

But what you say Andrew would require that we respect teachers - something that much of this country seems hard pressed to do, consider all the uproar around teachers salaries. Certainly some (much?) stems from strong anti-union sentiment,

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On Jul 16, 2013, at 9:44 AM, Andrew Babson <ababson@umich.edu> wrote:

> I thought I would follow up on this, especially re Peter's post just
> earlier about Bill Gates' influence on education "reform". It also seems
> from Bruce's original post that I may have missed an earlier discussion
> about Finnish society.
> Yesterday in class, we got into *Finnish Lessons, *and according to the
> book it's clear that the Finnish model is very different than what Gates
> and his ilk are building. For one, testing and assessment are put in their
> proper perspective. Because teachers are taught to consider themselves as
> experts and researchers of their own profession, data are welcomed but
> scrutinized and used fittingly. In other words, the data serves them and
> their students, not the other way around--- a very Deweyan approach.
> Teachers are given the autonomy and the professional respect to do this,
> and they are not pitted against each other, which contributes to mutual
> trust. They seem to be comfortable sharing knowledge with and learning from
> their colleagues.
> We can then ask why this approach and that of Gates and the "global
> education reform movement (GERM)", as Sahlberg calls it, diverge so
> drastically. Why not take a hint from Finnish educators and students, who
> have established a long-term record of success?
> Among many reasons for this divergence, it needs to be highlighted that the
> Finnish model is not easily or quickly replicable, let alone measurable. It
> is a cultural artifact, an outgrowth of shared values and practices, chief
> among them cooperation, respect, and trust. To further illustrate: one of
> my students worked directly for Arne Duncan at the DOE for three years, and
> said that although the Finnish model was explored, Duncan et al. determined
> that only classroom-based pedagogical procedures could be replicated here.
> Now, you can guess how skeptical we in this newsgroup might be about that
> approach, considering how much education happens outside of the classroom
> in Finland, and the above point that you can't import, a la carte,
> sociocultural dynamics involved in classroom pedagogy.
> So, the Gates/GERM approach begs us to wonder what if about all of this
> money spent on "reform". What if it had been spent on building and
> implementing a 30 year plan to 1) transform the status of teachers into
> experts who collaborate with other experts, and 2) apply the Vygotskian
> principle of balancing autonomy and support to the entire system? Again,
> it's not like I think we here in the USA don't have it in us to learn from
> the Finns (after all, as Sahlberg points out, they took a lot inspiration
> from US educational research and practice). Not to be simplistic, but I
> still think it mostly goes back, as I mentioned before, to political will.
> Although habits and dispositions (and by extension, "cultures") are hard to
> change, they can be changed with enough motivation and time.
> Andrew
> On Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 8:27 PM, Andrew Babson <ababson@umich.edu> wrote:
>> Hi XMCA'ers, and thanks Bruce for bringing up this topic. I assigned
>> Finnish Lessons for one of my classes, and we just started this past Monday
>> so your post is timely. Once we get into the book, I'll share some further
>> thoughts in this thread. Rauno, I appreciate your historical insights on
>> Finland (and Leif, interesting to know about trends in Sweden).
>> It's galling to realize that the major thing, really, standing in the way
>> of solving so many social problems in democracies is political will---i.e.,
>> not because we don't know what to do, or that we don't have the money to do
>> it, but because advocacy hasn't been organized or passionate enough to make
>> it happen. It's good to see positive examples like Finland's education
>> turnaround, generations in the making.
>> Andrew
>> --------------------------------------------------------
>> Andrew Babson, Ph.D.
>> Lecturer, Graduate School of Education
>> University of Pennsylvania
>> On Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 3:50 AM, Leif Strandberg <
>> leifstrandberg.ab@telia.com> wrote:
>>> Good Luck Finland...
>>> don't do what we have done... a massive support to private schools
>>> ("private" is an euphemism... for s.c. risk capitalism)
>>> and the result is segregation and bad quality
>>> Leif
>>> Sweden
>>> 2 jul 2013 kl. 18.49 skrev Rauno Huttunen:
>>> Hello,
>>>> Pasi Sahlberg is respected educational scientist in Finland. He knows
>>>> what he is talking about.
>>>> In 50th and 60th there was big debate in Finland concerning grand school
>>>> reform. Existing school system was reproducing unequality. Finally party
>>>> called "Maaseudun puolue" (Agrarian Party) agreed to work together with
>>>> social democrats and communists in order to plan and execute of a grand
>>>> school reform which would guarantee every child equal opportunities in
>>>> educational system. Right wing parties gave heavy resistance but school
>>>> reform was executed.
>>>> Actually I am personally perfect example of this new Finnish elementary
>>>> school system. I have working class background and my school success in
>>>> lower grades was poor. In old school system I would have never make it to
>>>> "Lyseo" (high school/gymansium/college) and university. I had only some
>>>> distant relatives who make it to Lyseo and only one who make it to
>>>> university.
>>>> Now we have to fight for our school system and not let private schools
>>>> run over the well working public school system.
>>>> Rauno Huttunen
>>>> ______________________________**__________
>>>> Lähettäjä: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]
>>>> k&#228;ytt&#228;j&#228;n Bruce Robinson [bruce@dolphy.eclipse.co.uk]
>>>> puolesta
>>>> Lähetetty: 2. heinäkuuta 2013 19:16
>>>> Vastaanottaja: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>> Aihe: [xmca] Finland
>>>> Hello xmcaers,
>>>> Following the recent discussion on Finnish culture, you might be
>>>> interested in this interview about the Finnish education system and `why
>>>> it is so successful from today's Guardian. There's some interesting
>>>> speculation about the relationship between relative equality and the
>>>> education system.
>>>> http://www.guardian.co.uk/**education/2013/jul/01/**
>>>> education-michael-gove-**finland-gcse<http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2013/jul/01/education-michael-gove-finland-gcse>
>>>> Bruce R
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