An "edutourist" in Finland finds the ideal school, but it isn't a school at all.
Of course, Finnish is a totally transparent, phonetic language where every letter makes 1 one sound. English has 26 letters, 44 sounds and about 250 symbols (letters or groups of letters that make one sound). That's why the Finnish can start teaching reading and writing when kids are older. And they use direct, explicit instruction to teach English in Finnish schools. Imagine that!
Thank you so much for a FANTASTIC article. On the subject of teacher-directed curriculum, you may find my entire web site (on the subject of reading instruction) equally fascinating: http://mychildwillread.org/
When I visited a school in Finland a couple of years ago, the teachers were clear that they liked to teach the curriculum explicitly, or at least they had enjoyed it. They were most concerned about the apparently lax approach to behaviour in Sweden which was creeping in to their schools and wondering how they would handle it..
There was always something fishy about the “Finland miracle”. Everything I read never shared what teachers were doing in the classroom, and then I suspected because it countered the inquiry-based narrative of so many who were enthralled by the surface aspects they saw.
Indeed none of these folks talk about Finland today and would never go near Korea or Singapore. I’ve been in Beijing classrooms, and it’s as old school direct-instruction as you can get.
Fascinating on so many levels. Thank you for this. I was a beneficiary of Hertfordshire's progressive primary education system, begun during WWII, which was largely teacher-centered. Reading about John Newsom, who led the changes, it was clear he put teacher quality and training first.