I (Clare) read a fabulous article, Happy Teaching, Happy Learning: 13 Secrets to Finland’s Success in Education Week. http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2014/06/24/ctq_faridi_finland.html?tkn=XTXDqgQYqARkH8OSadND1VkL5PvV%2BGHkxJFc&intc=es
A teacher, Sophia Faridi, visited schools in Finland where she was so impressed:
Perhaps what struck me most about schools in Finland was the relevant, genuine learning taking place right before my eyes. For example, I had the chance to sit down with a group of high school seniors working on a project examining U.N. extradition trials. Without any teacher present, students were engaged simply because the subject was important to them.
She identified 13 features of this remarkable school system.
1. A heavy emphasis on play.
2. No high-stakes standardized testing.
4. Schools don’t compete with one another.
5. Out-of-this-world teacher prep programs.
6. Personal time is highly valued.
7. Less is more.
8. Emphasis on quality of life.
9. Semi-tracked learning.
10. National standards are valued.
11. Grades are not given until 4th grade.
12. Ethics is taught in the primary grades.
13. Collaboration and collaborative environments are strongly emphasized.
This article would be a great resource for discussing the big and small picture of education. It shows that in a system where teachers are valued, respected, and trusted, high quality education results.