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Re: [xmca] Finland

I wanted to mention how helpful this conversation has been for critically
assessing *Finnish Lessons*. Antti, I really appreciate the additional
references, Jaana, your further insights and Andy for the guardian article
and questions.... Andrew

On Sun, Jul 21, 2013 at 5:17 PM, Antti Rajala <ajrajala@gmail.com> wrote:

> I reply below to Jaana's question and to Andy's first question.
> Jaana, regarding the first explanation - The Finnish language and
> population - Miettinen reiterates the same critiques that Sahlberg has
> mentioned: namely the homogenic population and easy spelling of Finnish
> language (plus subtitles in television). Miettinen, however, downplays
> these as weak explanations since both features are present in other
> countries that have not been successful in PISA.
> Regarding the second explanation - The political history of Finland -
> Miettinen briefly describes the creation of Finnish language and nation
> state and argues that schooling has played an important role in the
> creation
> of the Finnish cultural identity and cultural foundations of the the
> nation. Miettinen mantains that the connection between strong education and
> culture, and the survival of a small and linguistically solitary nation has
> been a recurrent theme in policy discourse. Yet, he downplays also this
> explanation since similar nation building has taken place also in other
> countries in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
> Miettinen elaborates most the fifth and sixth explanations, and their
> interconnection, along the lines of my earlier summary of his argument.
> Andy, you asked:
> "Do you agree with Rauno Huttenen's points about Finland's education system
> being the outcome of the struggle of social movements? (Note Luc
> Boltanski's study of the outcome of the Paris 1968 movements, where he
> showed that such outcomes can be perverse!)"
> My knowledge of the history of Finnish education system relies on accounts,
> such as that of Rauno's and Reijo's. I checked what Reijo writes about this
> history in his book, and he gives the same story. The political initiative
> came from the leftist parties (from Social Democrats to Communists) and was
> supported by the Agrarian party. The latter raised the issues of regional
> equality and the maintenance of the vitality of sparsely populated agrarian
> regions. Conservatives who had a minority position in the parliament
> managed to get a streaming system included in the new comprehensive school.
> The outcomes of the reform were indeed not known in advance. Miettinen
> describes the reform of comprehensive school as an extensive social
> experiment, as experiences from similar reforms were not fully available at
> the time. Eventually, the streaming system developed into a crisis, since
> many students faced an educational deadend; 30 % of the students in the 9th
> grade had selected combinations of streams that did not allow access either
> to upper secondary schools or to vocational college. This crisis was
> resolved through introduction of part-time special education system and
> student care, which was supported by inter-agency of various organizations
> at multiple levels, like I summarized Miettinen's argument in my earlier
> post.
> Antti
> On Sun, Jul 21, 2013 at 10:40 AM, Jaana Pirkkalainen <
> jaana.pirkkalainen@kolumbus.fi> wrote:
> > 21.7.2013 6:46, Andy Blunden kirjoitti:
> >
> >  (1) that Finnish education suffers from "encapsulation" like schools
> >> elsewhere? (2) is not important - they're only kids after all, and is
> >> overcome in late adolesence, (3) is reflected in the nature of Finnish
> >> society in some way?
> >>
> >
> > Hi,
> >
> > as I have not read Miettinen's book, would like some more information
> > about the way he analyzed or described the 1^st and the 2^nd and their
> > relation to overall development of the educational system in Finland.
> > Language and population for example? What does that mean? Small
> population
> > with homogenous culture? Anything else? And how does he articulate the
> > political history in the context of education?
> >
> > As Antti writes there are more resent trends that threaten equality of
> > education and other sectors of welfare state. But it is not only media or
> > middle class parents who are interested in ranking schools by
> performance,
> > it is also a political debate which divides political field. Education
> > system has some what to do with pedagogy, but it has everything to with
> > politics.
> >
> > And it is not just the immigrants, but the resources of declining
> counties
> > in eastern and nothern Finland, segregation on residental areas in bigger
> > towns (e.g. Helsinki ,Vantaa, Tampere..), growing unemployment , and so
> on
> > and so forth.
> >
> > One very interesting question is, how much this branding of Finnish
> > educational system is related with government's efforts to make on new
> > export of it?
> >
> > ….
> >
> > Andy asks whether ”(1) ...Finnish education suffers from "encapsulation"
> > like schools elsewhere? (2) is not important - they're only kids after
> all,
> > and is overcome in late adolesence, (3) is reflected in the nature of
> > Finnish society in some way?”
> >
> > My answere is 1) yes, 2) yes, and 3) yes.
> >
> > - Jaana
> >
> >
> >
> >