Finland has the esteem of world education policymakers and experts as it remains to have one of the world’s top ranking international test scores. It again draws attention as it embraces new radical changes to the way it teaches students.
Based on Finland's new National Curriculum Framework, focus will be shifted to broad topics instead of narrow subjects in an attempt to intertwine topics together. For example, “instead of teaching geography and foreign language classes separately, teachers will ask to name countries on a map in a foreign language. Instead of separate lessons on history and economics, they’ll take about the European Union,” according to The Washington Post.
“We are often asked, ‘Why improve the system that has been ranked as top quality?’ The answer is, ‘Because the world is changing around the school,” said Irmeli Halinen, board head of curriculum development of the Finnish National Board of Education.
“We have to think and rethink everything connected to school. We also have to understand that competencies needed in society and working life have changed and are changing rapidly,” added Halinen. To better understand Finland's thinking, Professor Larry Cuban of Stanford University gave this explanation to The Washington Post. “When you teach subjects separate from one another -- you teach science, you teach math, you teach reading -- that means that there's a divorce between these contents, when in real life, they're not.
“When you're cultivating a garden, you've got to know a lot about botany, insects, fertilizer, math, and a whole bunch of other things,” said Cuban.
Other changes in the education system include students being more involved in planning lessons and an emphasis on student collaboration. “Instead of a traditional classroom, where kids sit in rows of desks in front of a teacher, students in the near future will work in clusters to promote communication skills,” according to The Huffington Post.
“Finnish schools will begin reorganizing their classrooms during the 2016 – 2017 school year based on the country’s new National Curriculum Framework,” it added.
Sources: March 28, 2015. "Finland's Schools Are Overhauling The Way They Do Things. Here's How". huffingtonpost.com March 24, 2015. "Finland’s radical new plan to change school means an end to subjects". washingtonpost.com