Finland has often topped the international league tables for education and as such its recent reforms make for interesting reading. Particularly given that the world often looks upon it as a shining beacon of learning innovation.
Through an initiative known as Phenomenon Learning, traditional subjects are being scrapped in favour of teaching by topic. So in essence, subjects are contextualised.
For example, if the students are interested in learning about iPhones, they might be shown how mobile phone usage has increased over the years via statistical depictions. Additionally, discussions around business, creativity, technology and communication are all naturally more engaging due to their new context. It’s the topic that holds it all together.
A teacher’s role is changing also with more emphasis being placed upon self-learning and collaboration in small groups. Teachers seem to be heading more towards becoming a mentor - a catalyst for self-initiated problem solving.
Exams have been a rarity for a while. Students sit just the one at the age of 18.
I guess the world will wait to see how Phenomenon Learning affects the league tables before deciding whether to book that trip to Helsinki. Personally, if we judge success as increasing engagement in education, I can’t see how it could fail.