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Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individual S

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Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individual S

Postby ms spock » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:58 pm

http://www.sciencealert.com/no-more-phy ... l-subjects

No more physics and maths, Finland to stop teaching individual subjects
The future is all about learning by topic, not subject.
FIONA MACDONALD24 MAR 2015
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Finland, one of the leading educational hotspots in the world, is embarking on one of the most radical overhauls in modern education. By 2020, the country plans to phase out teaching individual subjects such as maths, chemistry and physics, and instead teach students by 'topics' or broad phenomena, so that there's no more question about "what's the point of learning this?"

What does that mean exactly? Basically, instead of having an hour of geography followed by an hour of history, students will now spend, say, two hours learning about the European Union, which covers languages, economics, history and geography. Or students who are taking a vocational course might study 'cafeteria services', which would involve learning maths, languages and communication skills, as Richard Garner reports for The Independent. So although students will still learn all the important scientific theories, they'll be finding out about them in a more applied way, which actually sounds pretty awesome.


"What we need now is a different kind of education to prepare people for working life," Pasi Silander, the Helsinki's development manager, told Garner. "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."

The new system also encourages different types of learning, such as interactive problem solving and collaborating among smaller groups, to help develop career-ready skills. "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," Marjo Kyllonen, Helsinki’s education manager, who is leading the change, told Garner.

"There are schools that are teaching in the old fashioned way which was of benefit in the beginnings of the 1900s - but the needs are not the same and we need something fit for the 21st century," she added.

Individual subjects started being phased out for 16-year-olds in the country's capital of Helsinki two years ago, and 70 percent of the city's high school teachers are now trained in the new approach. Early data shows that students are already benefitting, with The Independent reporting that measurable pupil outcomes have improved since the new system was introduced. And Kyllonen's blueprint, which will be published later this month, will propose that the new system is rolled out across Finland by 2020.

Of course, there is some backlash from teachers who've spent their entire career specialising in certain subjects. But the new blueprint suggests that teachers from different backgrounds work together to come up with the new 'topic' curriculums, and will receive a pay incentive for doing so.

Finland already has one of the best education systems in the world, consistently falling near the top of the prestigious PISA rankings in maths, science and reading, and this change could very well help them stay there.

Source: The Independent
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby nut » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:25 pm

Interesting. My feeble mind is struggling to accept its effecacy.

Hi Ms Spock :)
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby Teleost » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:07 pm

Thanks Spocky.

I see it being a great idea (along with their dropping cursive writing).
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby roughbarked » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:29 pm

Cursive came in the year I reached the stage I was to be taught it but I had already practiced the running writing of the previous age. Thus I never did learn cursive. I think my teacher was being generous allowing me to persist. Maybe it was one less student for her to spend time on.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby moonmaid » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:16 am

Sounds great Spocky

I reckon it would more useful and interesting to get the "whole picture" although the final year would need more specific
maths and science to prepare for uni, how's that going to work out.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby buffy » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:07 am

I don't understand your comment roughbarked. Cursive is any joined up/running writing. So if you joined it up, you were doing cursive.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby roughbarked » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:44 am

Sorry Buffy. I probably should have said, modified cursive.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby Teleost » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:21 am

moonmaid wrote:Sounds great Spocky

I reckon it would more useful and interesting to get the "whole picture" although the final year would need more specific
maths and science to prepare for uni, how's that going to work out.


Well that's the thing Moonmaid. When I came through high school, by year ten science essentially meant Physics and Chemistry which I found meaningless and boring. I really didn't get an opportunity to discover the amazing world of Biology until year 11. It was the same for Geology, Botany and a load of other scientific disciples. If science had remained a general subject and more topic based all the way through high school (as it is in primary school), I would have had a far better grounding across the range of scientific enquiry and been far better prepared for my future study path.

Instead, when I finally picked up my act and went to uni, I had an ingrained dislike of chemistry and a very rocky relationship with physics, both of which are still core subjects for first year biological sciences students. If it weren't for my own efforts in the years between leaving high school and starting uni, I really would have been behind the 8 ball in regards to my major disciplines of Zoology and Ecology. I am still completely hopeless when it comes to Botany.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby buffy » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:31 am

I did no biology at all at High School. I was the classic Pure and Applied Maths, Physics, Chemistry, English and German HSC student in 1977. We had to do 5 subjects, but because German seemed to come naturally to me, I did it as my 6th subject anyway. I didn't find first year biology at Uni hard at all. I did choose pretty specifically to stay with animals and not plants. We did three terms at Uni then, so I did Vertebrates, Invertebrates and Genetics. And loved them all.

Many years later I enrolled in a correspondence Horticulture course because I wanted to learn about plant naming. I wasn't interested in getting a piece of paper, so I could just do what I wanted. The people running the course knew not to concentrate on me because I had told them at the beginning. I loved that too.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby roughbarked » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:58 am

Teleost wrote:
moonmaid wrote:Sounds great Spocky

I reckon it would more useful and interesting to get the "whole picture" although the final year would need more specific
maths and science to prepare for uni, how's that going to work out.


Well that's the thing Moonmaid. When I came through high school, by year ten science essentially meant Physics and Chemistry which I found meaningless and boring. I really didn't get an opportunity to discover the amazing world of Biology until year 11. It was the same for Geology, Botany and a load of other scientific disciples. If science had remained a general subject and more topic based all the way through high school (as it is in primary school), I would have had a far better grounding across the range of scientific enquiry and been far better prepared for my future study path.

Instead, when I finally picked up my act and went to uni, I had an ingrained dislike of chemistry and a very rocky relationship with physics, both of which are still core subjects for first year biological sciences students. If it weren't for my own efforts in the years between leaving high school and starting uni, I really would have been behind the 8 ball in regards to my major disciplines of Zoology and Ecology. I am still completely hopeless when it comes to Botany.

Unfortunately my circumstances at the time had me as being a very confused youth. Not that I'm any less confused now. I know a lot more, that's about it.

If I had been actually shown that I couldn't be much good at any science without staying with advanced maths, then perhaps I'd have realised that I needed to keep up with that. There may have been lots of things I should have kept up with including economics because science needs that too. I never did get to uni because again my circumstances weren't favourable but at least part of these circumstances led to my children being well educated.

I've partially self-educated myself (lacking the disciplines) in several aspects of science as a whole but as it stands all of that is very incomplete. It is regrettable that I didn't go to Duntroon when made the offer as I'm sure I'd have learned the discipline there.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby Helix » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:34 pm

Since Australia is behind Finland in the PISA rankings, it might be worth us taking a look at this. We're also behind Estonia in science, maths and reading (and internet access).
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby Helix » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:52 pm

Also cursive -- even casual cursive -- is quicker to write than block letters. I suppose if filling out forms is the only writing you're expected to do, then writing in block letters is fine.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby Teleost » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:04 pm

I haven't used cursive since grade 6. To me it was just another way of making my life more difficult. I owned a typewriter from from the age of 8 until computers came in. I can type far faster than I can write legibly with a pen no matter what script I use. My kids have had access to computers since they were born. While it's still important to be able to get stuff down on paper, I honestly do not believe that learning cursive is the best use of my children's time at school.

I see my experiences happening again with my own kids and it makes me damn angry that a teacher is more concerned with pretty handwriting than the substance of their writing.

I know some people love handwriting, but for me and thousands of other kids it made us feel like we were bloody useless because no matter how many hours we put in, it still looked awful and our teaches told us so. After many years in the workplace, I don't care if you have nice handwriting or not, as long as I can read it. If you want to spend your time making nice writing, do calligraphy in art classes. If you only want to communicate, pretty writing is unimportant.

I love the voice notes on my iPhone. It's the best thing ever. I still take field notes on paper though. I hate it, but it doesn't get flat batteries and pencils still work in the wet.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby moonmaid » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:48 am

OK Teleost

I only went to year 10 then off to Sydney Nursing in the tough old days of cruel satanical Matrons. We lived in a rural area and staying on at school wasn't an option as parents told us to get a job, it was a struggle for them financially to and education had never been of any consequence in the family. I think Science was a general mix in year ten then. I was always first in maths and science, bugger, wish I had done something with it. That's why I've been the opposite to my parents attitudes with education with my son; my mother still sticks her bib in with negative comments, I wish she'd STFU.

I was going by what my son has recently done in in years 11 & 12: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Ext 1 Maths, Ext 1 English. He seemed to like them all, except Biology not so much (which he included in First year uni anyway).

Now in his 2nd year, his major is quantum physics (was a throw up between Physics and Chemistry, thought he was going to go more for astrophysics).

Anyway, there were pre-requisites for all 4 first year subjects he did at uni. The uni's may have to adapt to fit, i.e. students won't have as high a level of knowledge?
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby ms spock » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:56 pm

nut wrote:Interesting. My feeble mind is struggling to accept its effecacy.

Hi Ms Spock :)


Hi nut ;)

I have been reading a lot about Finnish education. It is really interesting.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby justjj » Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:01 am

https://theconversation.com/finlands-sc ... ther-39328
"
...

Finland’s National Curriculum Framework is a loose common standard that steers curriculum planning at the level of the municipalities and their schools. It leaves educators freedom to find the best ways to offer good teaching and learning to all children. Therefore, practices vary from school to school and are often customised to local needs and situations.
Phenomenon-based learning

The next big reform taking place in Finland is the introduction of a new National Curriculum Framework (NCF), due to come into effect in August 2016.

It is a binding document that sets the overall goals of schooling, describes the principles of teaching and learning, and provides the guidelines for special education, well-being, support services and student assessment in schools. The concept of “phenomenon-based” teaching – a move away from “subjects” and towards inter-disciplinary topics – will have a central place in the new NCF.

Integration of subjects and a holistic approach to teaching and learning are not new in Finland. Since the 1980s, Finnish schools have experimented with this approach and it has been part of the culture of teaching in many Finnish schools since then. This new reform will bring more changes to Finnish middle-school subject teachers who have traditionally worked more on their own subjects than together with their peers in school.

..."
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby justjj » Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:04 am

https://theconversation.com/only-one-in ... oecd-36461

Only one in ten education reforms analysed for their impact: OECD
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby roughbarked » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:08 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q1nblA ... e=youtu.be

This is my three year old grandaughter.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby Helix » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:05 am

Thanks for the link about the Finn NCF, jj. That integrated approach sounds interesting. I take it that the Finns treat education, teachers and students seriously. It'd be nice if we did that.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby roughbarked » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:16 am

Helix wrote:Thanks for the link about the Finn NCF, jj. That integrated approach sounds interesting. I take it that the Finns treat education, teachers and students seriously. It'd be nice if we did that.


That it would.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby ms spock » Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:50 am

justjj wrote:https://theconversation.com/finlands-school-reforms-wont-scrap-subjects-altogether-39328
"
...

Finland’s National Curriculum Framework is a loose common standard that steers curriculum planning at the level of the municipalities and their schools. It leaves educators freedom to find the best ways to offer good teaching and learning to all children. Therefore, practices vary from school to school and are often customised to local needs and situations.
Phenomenon-based learning

The next big reform taking place in Finland is the introduction of a new National Curriculum Framework (NCF), due to come into effect in August 2016.

It is a binding document that sets the overall goals of schooling, describes the principles of teaching and learning, and provides the guidelines for special education, well-being, support services and student assessment in schools. The concept of “phenomenon-based” teaching – a move away from “subjects” and towards inter-disciplinary topics – will have a central place in the new NCF.

Integration of subjects and a holistic approach to teaching and learning are not new in Finland. Since the 1980s, Finnish schools have experimented with this approach and it has been part of the culture of teaching in many Finnish schools since then. This new reform will bring more changes to Finnish middle-school subject teachers who have traditionally worked more on their own subjects than together with their peers in school.

..."


It is really interesting jj.
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Re: Finnish Education: No More Science and Maths as Individu

Postby justjj » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:36 am

It is, spocky.
Professor Philip Gammage worked in SA for 6 months per year for years; he was very familiar with Finland's way of education / educating and many of us had long conversations about Finland's way of doing things.

The nearest Oz comes to it is in the very best of our early education sector* and at phd level ... sounds silly, but I'd stand by it.


* and I don't mean the "let the kiddies play" stuff.

cheers to all ... beyond busy here.
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