Learning from others

While the Minister of Education in New Brunswick tinkers with the school system and abolishes Early French Immersion, [more info here] the Finns are quietly ensuring a high quality education system for all. Via Sara Bennett, is this post on lessons to be learned from the Finnish school system. The highlights, in my opinion:

School doesn’t start until age 7, but a government funded preschool program concentrates on self-reflection and social behaviour:

It is interesting to note that one of the most notable attributes of Finnish children is their level of personal responsibility. The early focus on self-reflection is seen as a key component for developing that level of responsibility towards learning.

The Finns realize that 50% of students are above average while 50% are below average in academic proficiency, so there is a vocational and university track in high school, and neither is stigmatized. Separation does not happen until the 9th year, and there is little grading in earlier years. Attendance at universities and polytechnics is free.

I’ve listened to the French immersion debate and have been involved from several perspectives, but I’m coming to realize that EFI is not the issue. Is our government spending time and money on the symptoms of our sick industrial school system in order to divert us from the root causes of dysfunction? If enough parents and educators spend their precious discretionary time on the French immersion red herring, perhaps no one will notice that millions of dollars are being wasted elsewhere.

3 Responses to “Learning from others”

  1. Gilbert

    Its funny how those who could not get something as simple as a first year immersion program to work now think they can make a delayed fifth year one work.

    The grass is always greener in the neighbours yard. Still don’t think you can cut the neighbours grass if you can’t even cut your own. Even a cow can understand that.

    I see this common mistake in management over and over again… If you can’t get something to work just propose something else, justify it with studies and then screw up again.

    And technically what we are seeing here are organizational extensions to the Peter Principle.
    This time is not the individual that has reached its level of incompetence. It is the organization. Would take me a long time to explain but I think some of you might understand.

    So I like your post. EFI is not the issue. It is time that we look at the root causes why things are not working. And something tells me that the solutions are outside of government walls.


  2. Harold

    It all reminds me of the issues I discussed in my Three Conflicting Pillars series of posts, and that no one, other than Kieran Egan, raises as a national debate. It’s like a conspiracy of silence:


    The problem is schooling, and we have to examine its roots and see what we, as a society, need to change. However, this requires research, knowledge and “informed debate”, not the drivel we hear from politicians and much of the electorate (just read the comments on the CBC website for examples of this drivel).

  3. Gilbert

    If learning is only partially happening inside of the schools lets move the learning to outside the schools.

    This, as individuals, we can do. With the far reaching technologies we have today it shouldn’t require too many people to achieve critical mass.

    At this point in time my proposition may sound as something out of the Jetsons. Within a decade it will seem very feasible.



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