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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Finnish Educators Are Made Of This ... So What?

I was reading Teacher Education in Finland: What are Finnish Teachers Made Of? which was the featured post in CU Daily for November 27, 2013, and I immediately thought of Miles Davis.  Several PhDs contributed to the edutopia post (Merja PaksuniemiSatu Uusiautti, and Kaarina Määttä), which provides a brief but informative historical account of teacher training in Finland, along with current challenges that educators face.  But how does this synopsis relate to educators in the United States (or some other country)?

The authors posit that educators in Finland have a history of being well respected professionals (even though this is not necessarily reflected in their salaries compared to other countries).  Although not as strict as today, teachers still must maintain a proper code of conduct that extends to behaviors outside the school system. Training is demanding and educators are expected to obtain a Master's degree before completing their teacher preparation.  They also claim,
We ... credit the Finnish educational system for supporting the idea that K-12 students have the right to learn, regardless of location, economic or social background, gender, age or abilities.

But what's the relevance of this to the educational system in the US?  I'll assume that the educational system in the US also supports the idea that K-12 students have the right to learn, regardless of location, economic or social background, gender, age, or abilities.  And like their Finland counterparts, US educators also face challenges with multiculturalism and tolerance, do they not?

What's the takeaway from this blog post?  What should educational stakeholders learn from Finland's example?  What impact does culture have in working towards a viable solution? Is it even worth comparing educational systems between different countries, cultures, or societies?