Finnish Educators at the Fulbright Center

Fulbright Center Finland

Non-Profit Organization · 1,413 Likes

· 6 hrs ·

How are students’ skills assessed? How is special education organized? Are students ready to choose between general and vocational education at the age of 16?

Fulbright teacher alumni mentored newly arrived American grantees on Finnish classroom practices, teachers’ and counselors’ role in the school system, as well as differences between vocational and general education. Participants included a guidance counsellor, vocational school pedagogical specialist, teachers of history and English as well as a teacher trainee, offering the grantees a broad perspective of Finnish education.

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This was a great day of meetings, many of them about the structure of the Finnish education system, including higher ed. This discussion with four secondary educators was really terrific. Perhaps my favorite part of this discussion came from my friend and fellow-Fulbrighter Erin Dowding who asked the Finnish teachers on the panel what they considered their greatest challenges. Here, taken from my messy notes, is what they said:
  • How to prepare kids for a rapidly changing world. Should they focus on skills? Knowledge? How can teachers remain “professional”–well-trained and well-prepared, when things change so quickly?;
  • How can teachers help students with persistence and patience, not to loose faith; how to help them maintain a positive attitude with what they are studying even when results don’t come quickly?;
  • Because of the economy and the budget, they have less money “to do more”: adding in digital devices, new teaching methods, a new wave of immigrants. “We can’t do everything so we have to choose.” 



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