Finland Rules!

It’s great to see that ACER’s fetish with all things FINLAND continues, as illustrated nicely in today’s Education Age article by Caroline Milburn (not online yet)

I agree with the basic premise of the article, that it’s a focus on quality TEACHING, not TESTING that is likely to lead to improved student learning and that ‘nations with the best student performances have focused on developing a highly trained teacher workforce rather than publicising school results’.

The article talks about Professor Brian Caldwell’s co-authoring of a new study Why Not the Best Schools? and the findings that teacher training is the key to improved outcomes for students.

Which is all a bit ironic as the short article mentions Finland four or five times as being the best performing system in international testing at the same time asserting that Finland isn’t into testing. Maybe just international testing? 

Caldwell’s conclusion nicely blends the Finnish with the American rhetoric: ‘We should be insisting that every teacher be very well trained to at least a master’s level and not allow any child to fall behind’.

Finland may well do well in international testing but I retain serious doubts as to how tranferrable the education results of that small northern European country are to Australia. Maybe Caldwell is just into skiiing?

[Finland photo from elanores on Flickr]

One thought on “Finland Rules!

  1. I remember seeing a presentation from Terry Woolley, a former principal and curriculum director here in South Australia where he was analysing these often cited international testing results. He pointed out that he thought that considering our restraints, Australia does extremely well against the countries mentioned ahead of us, including Finland. He talked about several factors that give Finland the edge over us including a very phonetic home language, a monocultural society (nothing like Australia’s refugee intake which has significant impact on our data), almost double the average funding compared to GDP and a comparatively small population. But this certainly isn’t new to any of us who are wondering if our nation is willing to adopt any of the Finnish strategies or structures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *