But we already DO this at the Laboratory School: Learning from Leaders

Building on Clive’s post from yesterday I (yiola) want to extend the discussion on inquiry- based pedagogy and its many high-level thinking practices. Question posing, experiential learning, researching, sharing, collaborating, exploring, imagining, experimenting — these are but some of the qualities you will find in inquiry-based classrooms. Problem-based and play-based (some use the terms interchangeably) do too.  And, these are the practices that I see being used daily at the Laboratory School here in downtown Toronto. It is good practice. Students are empowered, responsible, creative thinkers. They are also happy when they learn. It is good to read then that the Finnish system is moving away from the subject oriented traditions of schooling into a more “topic” based or what we call “inquiry time” approach to learning.  It is what we’ve been doing at the laboratory school for a very long time.

Here is an article the speaks to Finland’s transition:


What I find interesting is that the countries out outperform the groundbreaking work of the Nordic country are countries I presume have a very different pedagogy. China — a country whose system is very subject driven, standardized,  and competitive in nature. Yes?

I find it interesting to contrast the 2 systems and to consider what the long-term projections will be for the students who exit out of each system.

I see students from our Laboratory school entering high school as creative, capable, high-level thinking individuals. Data shows that in the long term, the Laboratory school graduates go into creative and high performing fields in the arts, academia, public service and corporate sectors.

The article shares:

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.

This is the work of the Laboratory School and more.  I look forward to hearing more about Finland’s transitions, the upcoming PISA rankings and to sharing in greater detail just how the Laboratory School here in Toronto is very much a leader in Inquiry-based teaching and learning.

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