My husband has been telling me about the Finnish education system. He heard about it on Twitter. And this morning I followed a tweet back to the blog of the Head of Poughkeepsie Day School in New York. Scrolling through the posts, I came upon this video.
Every once in awhile a system of education is touted for one reason or another. I began my teaching in the 1980s at St Ann’s School in Brooklyn, New York, and have long since touted it for
- its use of anecdotal reports (there are no grades, and that seems to go over just fine with colleges)
- informality between teachers and students (teacher choice if they would like to be called by their first name, and most make that choice, as did I) which seemed to spur collegial learning among teachers and students
- lack of autocratic rules (such as hall passes, late passes, detentions, dress codes – as a teacher I wore jeans!) which seemed to introduce the institution as a place of learning rather than a place of rules and punishments
- spontaneity of ideas which manifested itself in a celebration of the arts and sciences, where if you (“you” being a teacher or a student) had an idea, you were encouraged to “go for it”, meaning we were not beholden to the schedule or the syllabus
There are a number of schools that I’ve discovered because someone either at the school or a visitor to the school has touted publicly. Each of these sounds like places that celebrate learning. Or maybe they sound interesting to me because they are different; they break out of the mold of my childhood public school education – a public school education that has not changed all that much in 50 years.
- High Tech High
- Science Leadership Academy
- Big Picture
- The Energy Lab at Hawai’i Preparatory Academy (added 7/31)
So are there any Finnish readers out there? Any teachers or students from any of the schools listed above? If so, please share your thoughts about your schools. What are the highlights for you? What would you improve upon? Any suggestions for other schools to add to my list above?