I (Clare) attended the BEST lecture by Pasi Sahlberg. http://pasisahlberg.com/ He was inspiring and informative. His talk was based on his bestselling book, Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? http://www.amazon.ca/Finnish-Lessons-Educational-Change-Finland-ebook/dp/B00CDSTBG6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397850067&sr=8-1&keywords=pasi+sahlberg
His talk went far beyond the book. A few highlights from were:
- The Finnish public trust teachers.
- Teachers are respected.
- We cannot take the Finnish model and transplant it to another context but we can learn from HOW the Finnish people reconceptualized and approached education reform. (The main goal was not to improve PISA scores.)
- Global Educational Reform Movement (GERM) which has infected countries like the US, UK, Netherland, NZ, and Australia emphasize competition, standardization, test-based accountability, school choice, and human capital. He showed slides of student performance in these countries illustrating that performance on standardized tests has actually gone DOWN – the draconian measures the governments have imposed on teachers have not improved student performance (and probably not student engagement).
- Finland has a common vision for education that includes great schools for each and every child.
- The success of Finnish education is not simply a result of improved education initiatives but a whole agenda for society.
- In Finland if a teacher is struggling, someone helps him/her.
For a copy of ppt presentation (which was amazing) click here: http://pasisahlberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/OISE-RWB-Jackson-2014.pdf
I have read his text and highly recommend it to others interested in true reform of education. Quick fixes do not work but a sustained, comprehensive approach to education is the way we should be going.