International
Education
Comparisons - Finland
Dr. Juhani E. Tuovinen
[email protected]
17 October 2012
PISA 2000-2009
1750
1700
Shanghai-China
Hong-Kong China
Finland
Singapore
Total PISA score
PISA
Results
2000-2009
1650
Korea
Japan
Canada
1600
NZ
Chinese Taipei
Netherlands
Australia
1550
Lichenstein
Estonia
UK
Ireland
1500
1450
2000
2003
2006
Year
2009
PISA 2000-2009
1740
1720
1700
1680
Total PISA Score
PISA
Results
20002009
Shanghai-China
1660
Hong-Kong China
Finland
Singapore
1640
Korea
Japan
1620
Canada
NZ
Australia
1600
1580
1560
1540
2000
2003
2006
YEAR
2009
Why Finland?
• One of the consistently highest scoring
PISA countries
• Western culture – likely easier transfer
of educational practices to Western
countries than from Asian cultures
Why Finland? #2
• High performance with average
investment
• High results with minimal instructional
time
• Small class sizes
• Teachers’ salaries close to/below
OECD averages
Education
Structure
Curriculum
• Studies in mother tongues and
the second national language
• Mother tongue and literature
• Second national language
• Foreign languages
• Mathematics
• Environmental and natural
sciences
• Biology and geography
• Physics and chemistry
• Health education
• Religion
• Ethics
• History
• Social studies
• Music
• Visual arts
• Crafts
• Physical education
• Home economics
• Optional subjects
Why is Finland doing so well?
•Single factor vs multiple factor hypothesis?
Single factor: Mr. Jari Koivisto, Finnish National
Board of Education (2007) “If you want expert
teachers who are trusted and respected, make them
do a masters degree before they enter the
classroom.” He also said: “It will help a lot to
improve the learning in the system if all the teachers
have a masters degree.”
Teacher education #1
• 10% - 15% of teacher education course
applicants accepted into University
• Multiple methods of selection:
– Matriculation marks
– profiles from psychological tests
– interviews
– school recommendations
Well prepared teachers #2
• Finnish teacher education system - 5-year
program:
– 3 years basic degree
– 2 years to complete a Masters degree before
being entitled to a permanent teaching position
Well prepared teachers #3
• Finnish teacher education
system - research-based:
– education program is based on
educational research
– required courses include research
component in the Masters degrees
(theses at UG and PG levels)
Well prepared teachers #4
• Finnish teacher education system teachers prepared for broad range
of tasks:
– teachers expected to operate at a broad
level of school management, curriculum
design & interpretation, resource
materials selection, etc
– during teacher preparation period they
undertake studies in these areas
Well prepared teachers #5
• University teacher training schools:
– Universities have their own teacher training
schools, staffed by university staff (solves the
teacher-placement problem for practicums, and
ensures the training received in the schools is
synchronised with the university education)
– They also use schools from the general
education system for further training
Practice Teaching in Finland
Study
Year
5
4
3
2
1
Advanced Practicum (MA level)
Different options for developing expertise,
can be connected with the Master’s Thesis
Mainly in Municipal field schools
Intermediate Practicum (BA level)
Starting with specific subject areas, moving
towards more holistic and pupil-centred
approaches
University teacher training schools
Practicum integrated with theoretical studies
(Niemi, 2012. p. 34)
Single-factor hypothesis?
• Good teacher preparation - is this
enough?
• I suggest: Other factors are also
important
Multiple-factor hypothesis
•
•
•
•
Community
School
Teacher
Student
Community Factors #1
• High community value of education
– Old & young
– Means & end
• Good public libraries
• Consistent support for education*
• Cross-politics support for education
Community Factors #2
• Cultural homogeneity?
• Cooperative and open governance
• Authoritarian, obedient and collectivist
mentality
School Factors #1
• Even school provision throughout the
country based on equity
• Broad general education
• Extra help for learning difficulties
• Focus on academic learning
School Factors #2
•
•
•
•
Well-resourced schools except libraries
Curriculum fit of PISA tests
LUMA program contribution
Curricular and pedagogical environment
Small class sizes
Class Sizes: Finland vs. Rest of OECD
50
45
40
P e r c e n ta g e
35
30
Finland
25
Rest of OECD
20
15
10
5
ts
s
en
nt
ud
de
st
31
0
O
ve
r
-3
26
21
-2
5
st
u
de
st
u
ud
st
20
16
nt
ts
en
ts
en
ud
st
ss
le
or
15
s
0
School Factors #3
• School meals, dental and health care
(well coordinated and meticulous)
Teacher factors
• Excellent teacher selection &
preparation
• Availability of well-qualified teachers
• Special education/learning difficulties
teacher preparation
• High teacher status in community
• Conservative teacher union politics
• Focus on teacher professionalism
Student factors #1
• Acceptance of authority and obedience
at school
• Interest and engagement in reading
• Cultural artifacts & home library
• Reading and technology
• Cultural communication
• Self-concept in reading
Student factors #2
• Gender issues in reading
• Gender equity and differences in
science and mathematics
• Attitude and study factors in
mathematics
• Science success factors
• Learning strategies in reading
Myths #1 - #2
• Finland is a small country
– But what about similar sized countries Norway, Denmark, Ireland and
Luxemburg?
• Finland is culturally homogenous
– Finnish 91% Swedish 5.5 % Sami 0.03 % Russian
0.85 %
– But what about similar countries Denmark, Norway, Hungary and Poland?
Myths #3 - #4
• PISA tests fit the Finns
– Every tested country has to accept the
PISA tests before they are used, i.e. tests
must fit their curricula
• Finland is a cold and remote country
– Finnish children spend less time on
homework than in many other countries
– Climate is similar to other Nordic countries,
USA & Canada
The problems
• Gender gap in reading literacy
• Effectiveness of classroom instruction to
meet the needs of gifted?
• School and social outcomes?
• Girls’ lower interest in mathematics
The problems #2
• Only 95% of comprehensive school
(year 9) students continue to upper
secondary school (years 10+)
• What next for Finnish Education
system? No clear vision for future.
Conclusion
• The excellence of the Finnish system is
based on multiple factors - related to:
community, teacher, school & student
aspects
• A number of concerns in the Finnish
system are openly acknowledged &
actively being addressed
Further Reading
• Niemi, H., Toom, A., & Kallioniemi, A. (2012)
Miracle of Education. Sense.
• Tuovinen, J. E. (2011) Comparison of the
National Curricula of Australia and Finland.
How well does Australia stack up against a
world-leading curriculum? Sydney: ACSA.
• http://www.pasisahlberg.com/
• http://www.minedu.fi/OPM/Koulutus/koulutusj
aerjestelmae/?lang=en
Thank you! Kiitos!
If you wish to join in further
discussion of Finland’s education,
please talk with me.
[email protected]
08 8373 8777
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Secrets of Finnish Success