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Finland's important, misunderstood campaign to rethink how students learn - Vox
"The largest city in Finland is experimenting with getting rid of school subjects. This would mean doing away with lessons in history, math, and science in favor of teaching broader themes, where teachers work together on lessons in a given topic.

The goal is to help students in Helsinki better understand how their classwork relates to real life, and to give teachers the opportunity to work together to plan lessons. And the change, which for now has really only taken hold in one city, is likely to contribute to the idea of Finland as an education paradise, with plentiful playtime, few standardized tests, no requirement that students learn cursive, and, maybe one day, no formal subjects at all.

Next year, a new framework for Finnish education will direct schools across the country to experiment with this model at least occasionally. Because Finland has a reputation for excellent performance on international tests — although that reputation has slipped somewhat recently — the change will be closely watched. So far, though, Finland isn't throwing out the traditional approach to education entirely. Not yet.

How the new Helsinki approach to education works

Finland began experimenting with topic-based lessons in the 1970s, says Pasi Sahlberg, an expert on Finnish education and a visiting professor of practice at Harvard.

Helsinki has embraced topics instead of subjects recently, requiring schools to experiment at least twice a year with this approach to education. Beginning next year, all schools in Finland will be required to try it at least once.

At some Helsinki schools, students on the academic track are studying the European Union, combining history, geography, economics, and languages; on the vocational track, they're studying "cafeteria services," including math and communication skills, according to the Independent (UK).

This is an idea borrowed from the US: it comes from the theories of education philosopher John Dewey, who wanted to educate the "whole child," and has gone in and out of style in American schools. A vocationally oriented version of this approach has caught on recently for adults at community colleges in Washington state, where some programs instruct students in job skills and academic subjects at the same time.

How Finland is overhauling its schools

Finland's education system is internationally renowned. But the nation is in the middle of a broad overhaul of its framework for education: loose guidelines for schools and districts on what students should learn. The changes are meant to ensure the school system is in step with what the nation will need in the future, and to emphasize students working together and "the joy of learning," according to Finland's national board of education.

The main goal of the new approach is to address a concern Finns have about their education system: that it doesn't do enough to encourage curiosity and make learning relevant in the real world, Sahlberg said.

Compared with the OECD average, students in Finland are more likely to be late for school, more likely to say they give up easily when confronted with a difficult problem, and less likely to say they do more than what is expected of them. (Students in the US are also more likely to say they remain interested in their work once they've started it than Finnish students are, and are more likely to say they exceed expectations.)

"Finland has been working a long time already to try to find ways to engage young people more into their own learning and to make schoolwork more meaningful and interesting," Sahlberg said.

But Finland will still have national expectations for what students learn. In other words, even if some schools eliminate math and language classes for part or even all of the year, students will still be expected to master those subjects."

[See also: https://theconversation.com/finlands-school-reforms-wont-scrap-subjects-altogether-39328
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/03/26/no-finlands-schools-arent-giving-up-traditional-subjects-heres-what-the-reforms-will-really-do/ ]
finland  education  interdisciplinary  washingtonstate  johndewey  us  policy  creativity  subjects  departments  schools  teaching  learning  multidisciplinary  helsinki  pasisahlberg  libbynelson  curriculum  integratedstudies 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Finland schools: Subjects are out and ‘topics’ are in as country reforms its education system - Europe - World - The Independent
[Update: see “Finland's important, misunderstood campaign to rethink how students learn” http://www.vox.com/2015/3/25/8288495/finland-education-subjects
https://theconversation.com/finlands-school-reforms-wont-scrap-subjects-altogether-39328
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/03/26/no-finlands-schools-arent-giving-up-traditional-subjects-heres-what-the-reforms-will-really-do/ ]

"For years, Finland has been the by-word for a successful education system, perched at the top of international league tables for literacy and numeracy.

Only far eastern countries such as Singapore and China outperform the Nordic nation in the influential Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings. Politicians and education experts from around the world – including the UK – have made pilgrimages to Helsinki in the hope of identifying and replicating the secret of its success.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that Finland is about to embark on one of the most radical education reform programmes ever undertaken by a nation state – scrapping traditional “teaching by subject” in favour of “teaching by topic”.

“This is going to be a big change in education in Finland that we’re just beginning,” said Liisa Pohjolainen, who is in charge of youth and adult education in Helsinki – the capital city at the forefront of the reform programme.

Pasi Silander, the city’s development manager, explained: “What we need now is a different kind of education to prepare people for working life.

“Young people use quite advanced computers. In the past the banks had lots of bank clerks totting up figures but now that has totally changed.

“We therefore have to make the changes in education that are necessary for industry and modern society.”

Subject-specific lessons – an hour of history in the morning, an hour of geography in the afternoon – are already being phased out for 16-year-olds in the city’s upper schools. They are being replaced by what the Finns call “phenomenon” teaching – or teaching by topic. For instance, a teenager studying a vocational course might take “cafeteria services” lessons, which would include elements of maths, languages (to help serve foreign customers), writing skills and communication skills.

More academic pupils would be taught cross-subject topics such as the European Union - which would merge elements of economics, history (of the countries involved), languages and geography.

There are other changes too, not least to the traditional format that sees rows of pupils sitting passively in front of their teacher, listening to lessons or waiting to be questioned. Instead there will be a more collaborative approach, with pupils working in smaller groups to solve problems while improving their communication skills.

Marjo Kyllonen, Helsinki’s education manager – who will be presenting her blueprint for change to the council at the end of this month, said: “It is not only Helsinki but the whole of Finland who will be embracing change.

“We really need a rethinking of education and a redesigning of our system, so it prepares our children for the future with the skills that are needed for today and tomorrow.



Case study: Finnish approach

It is an English lesson, but there is a map of continental Europe on the whiteboard. The children must combine weather conditions with the different countries displayed on the board. For instance, today it is sunny in Finland and foggy in Denmark. This means the pupils combine the learning of English with geography.

Welcome to Siltamaki primary school in Helsinki – a school with 240 seven- to 12-year-olds – which has embraced Finland’s new learning style. Its principal, Anne-Mari Jaatinen, explains the school’s philosophy: “We want the pupils to learn in a safe, happy, relaxed and inspired atmosphere.”

We come across children playing chess in a corridor and a game being played whereby children rush around the corridors collecting information about different parts of Africa. Ms Jaatinen describes what is going on as “joyful learning”. She wants more collaboration and communication between pupils to allow them to develop their creative thinking skills."

[See also: http://qz.com/367487/goodbye-math-and-history-finland-wants-to-abandon-teaching-subjects-at-school/ ]
interdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  education  schools  tcsnmy  cv  finland  curriculum  2015  policy  subjects  topics  pasisilander  lcproject  openstudioproject  learning  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  play  playfulness 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Flickr: Discussing Tagging it up ~ some suggestions for tagging your images. in FlickrCentral
"You can find some specifics examples of how people are using tags in the tagography thread.

a bunch of flickr users have made some suggestions for tags in this thread, and i've tried to compile a thorough a list as possible here, from those suggestions ~ feel free to pick and choose from this list as you see fit: …"
names  naming  subjects  genre  medium  folksonomy  tagography  2004  tags  tips  tagging  flickr 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Digital Ethnography: Subjects or Subjectivites?
"As an alternative to the idea that we teach “subjects,” I’ve been playing with the idea that what we really teach are “subjectivities”: ways of approaching, understanding, and interacting with the world. Subjectivities cannot be “taught” – only practiced. They involve an introspective intellectual throw-down in the minds of students. Learning a new subjectivity is often painful because it almost always involves what psychologist Thomas Szasz referred to as “an injury to one’s self-esteem.” You have to unlearn perspectives that may have become central to your sense of self…

So here’s my question to everybody: Within your own particular field, is there a particular “subjectivity,” perspective, or way of seeing and interacting with the world that you are trying to inspire in your students? In your mind, is this perspective more important than the “content” or “subject-matter” of the course?"

[via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/17206962390 ]
content  teaching  waysofseeing  introspection  classideas  tcsnmy  deschooling  unschooling  understanding  self-image  senseofself  self-esteem  inquiry  unlearning  thomasszasz  perspective  perspectives  self-awareness  learning  2011  subjectivities  subjects  michaelwesch 
february 2012 by robertogreco
cloudhead - cross
"Science begins with a subject and an object.
Religion begins with a creator and the created.
The illusion is the same.
There is dogma in any.thing that claims to contain every.thing.

God is a verb
not some omnipotent ruler looking down on all of this.
And if there was a big bang,
you and I aren’t something at the end of the process;
You and I are the big bang …
The original force of the universe.
We are the creator and the created
Inseparable from the creating.

-x—x-x—-x-x-x-x-x—x-x—x—x-

Yet the conflict between science and religion drags on … while …
on the streets, the Beatles are still more popular than Jesus Christ,
quantum physics reads like a zen riddle,
and techno teenagers rely on rhythm and rhyme,
- not reason -
to make sense of living at the speed of light."
science  religion  headmine  bigbang  universe  creation  subjects  objects  god  shiftctrlesc 
june 2011 by robertogreco

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