TER #027 – Dr. Pasi Sahlberg – 13 July 2014


A Good school for every

Special Features: Corinne interviews Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish Education Expert, about Finland’s success, the proliferation of GERM, and Australia’s educational future. Cameron interviews Peggy Sheehy and Marianne Malmstrom about virtual worlds in education ahead of the SLANSW Gamification conference.

Regular Features: Off Campus, Dan questions the idea of Innovation in education; AITSL’s Teacher Feature, Teachers discuss student engagement in the classroom; Education in the News, Cameron and Corinne discuss education minister Christopher Pyne’s interventionist policies; Mystery Educator competition.

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Time Codes:

00:00 – Credits and Intro

01:19 – 1 year of TER – looking back, looking forward

9:14 – Off Campus, with Dan Haesler

17:03 – Education in the News

40:19 – AITSL’s Teacher Feature

43:15 – Virtual Worlds in Education, interview with Peggy Sheehy and Marianne Malmstrom

58:53 – Main Feature, Interview with Dr. Pasi Sahlberg

01:35:54 – Announcements

01:34:20 – Mystery Educator Competition

01:40:17 – Quote and Sign off

2 thoughts on “TER #027 – Dr. Pasi Sahlberg – 13 July 2014

  1. The voice of the Finnish Teachers versus the voice of Pasi Sahlberg
    Oxford- Prof. Jennifer Chung : ANINVESTIGATION OF REASONS FOR FINLAND’S SUCCESS IN PISA (University of Oxford 2008).
    “Many of the teachers mentioned the converse of the great strength of Finnish education as the great weakness. Jukka S. (BM) believes that school does not provide enough challenges
    for intelligent students: “I think myonly concern is that we give lots of support to those pupils who areunderachievers, and we don’t give that much to the brightest pupils. I find it a problem, since I think, forthe future of a whole nation, thosepupils who are really the stars should be supported, given some morechallenges, given some more difficulty in their exercises and so on. To not just spend their time here but to make some effort andhave the idea to become something, no matter what field you are choosing, youmust not only be talented like they are, but work hard. That is needed. “
    Pia (EL) feels thatthe schools do not motivate very intelligent students to work. She thinks the schools should provide more challenges for the academicallytalented students. In fact, she thinksthe current school system in Finland does not provide well for its
    students. Mixed-ability classrooms, shefeels, are worse than the previous selective system: “ I think this school is for nobody. That is my private opinion. Actually I think so, because when you haveall these people at mixed levels in your class, then you have to concentrate onthe ones who need the most help, of course. Those who are really good, they get lazy. “
    Pia believes these students become bored and lazy, and floatthrough school with no study skills.
    Jonny (EM) describes how comprehensive education places the academically
    gifted at a disadvantage: “We have lost a great possibility when we don’t have
    the segregated levels of math and natural sciences… That should be once again
    taken back and started with. The goodtalents are now torturing themselves with not very interesting education and teaching in classes that aren’t for their
    Pia (EL) finds the PISA frenzy about Finland amusing, since
    she believes the schools have declined in recent years: “I think [the
    attention] is quite funny because school isn’t as good as it used to be … I
    used to be proud of being a teacher and proud of this school, but I can’t say I
    ’m proud any more.”
    Aino (BS) states that the evenness and equality of the education
    system has a “dark side.” Teaching to the “middle student” in a class of
    heterogeneous ability bores the gifted students, who commonly do not perform
    well in school. Maarit (DMS) finds
    teaching heterogeneous classrooms very difficult. She admits that dividing the students into abilitylevels would make the teaching easier, but worries that it may affect the self-esteem
    of the weaker worse than a more egalitarian system Similarly, Terttu (FMS) thinks that the
    class size is a detriment to the students’ learning. Even though Finnish schools have relatively
    small class sizes, she thinks that a group of twenty is too large, since she
    does not have time for all of the students: “You don’t have enough time for everyone
    … All children have to be in the same class. That is not so nice. You have thebetter pupils. I can’t give them as muchas I want. You have to go so slowly in
    the classroom.” Curiously, Jukka E.(DL) thinks that the special education students need more support and theeducation system needs to improve in that area.
    Miikka (FL) describes how he will give extra work tostudents who want to have more academic challenges, but admits that “they canget quite good grades, excellent grades, by doing nothing actually, or verylittle.” Miikka (FL) describes
    discussion in educational circles about creating schools and universities for academically
    talented students: 3 Everyone has the same chances…One problem is that it can
    be too easy for talented students. There has been now discussion in Finland if
    there should be schools and universities for talented students… I think it will
    happen, but I don’t know if it is good, but it will happen, I think so. I am also afraid there will be privateschools again in Finland in the future … [There] will be more rich people and
    more poor people, and then will come so [many] problems in comprehensive
    schools that some day quite soon …
    parents will demand that we should have private schools again, and that is quite sad.
    Linda (AL), however, feels the love of reading has declinedin the younger generation, as they tend to gravitate more to video games andtelevision. Miikka (FL), also a teacher
    of mother tongue, also cites a decline in reading interest and an increase ofvideo game and computer play. Saij a(BL) agrees. As a teacher of Finnish, she feels that she has difficulty motivatingher students to learn: “I think my subject is not the … easiest one to teach. They don’t read so much, newspapers ornovels.” Her students, especially the
    boys, do not like their assignments in Finnish language. She also thinks the respect for teachershasdeclined in this past generation. Miikka(FL) also thinks his students do not respect their teachers: “They don’trespect the teachers. They respect themvery little … I think it has changed anot in recent years. In Helsinki, it wasactually earlier. When I came here sixyears ago, I thought this washeaven. I thought it was incredible,how the children were like that after
    Helsinki, but now I think it is the same.
    Linda (AL) notes deficiency in the amount of time available for subjects. With more time, she wouldimplement more creative activities, such as speech and drama, into her
    lessons. Saij a (BL) also thinks thather students need more arts subjects like drama and art. She worries that they consider mathematics as the only important subject. Shefeels
    countries such as Sweden, Norway, and England have better arts programs than in
    Finnish schools. Arts subjects, according to Saij a, help the students get to know themselves. Maarit (DMS), a Finnish-speaker, thinks thatschools need to spend more time cultivating social skills.”

  2. Finnish teachers about Sahlberg-nonsense:

    *@Popo: I’m not complaining about the education system, but this article just doesn’t match with any of my experiences

    *@Alecaldi: What a bunch of crap. As a Fin with 18 years in the school system, now M.Sc Tech, I can’t recognize most of the stuff.And to remind you, there is no High school in any Scandinavian countries. It’s more like a pre-college for 3 years if you choose to go academic.

    *AM : This article is just unbelievable propaganda and it would be very interesting to know who fed you all this rubbish. Where are these so-called “facts” been taken from? Several of them are simply not true! Finnish teachers are not selected from the top 10% of graduates. All pupils take exams and have homework. All children are certainly not taught in the same classrooms. And what in the world is this “mandatory standardized test which is taken when children are 16”?! I’ve never heard of it and I work as a teacher in Finland. And excuse me…according to these “facts” I only spend four hours per day in the classroom?! That is so not true!

    *DI: This article explains why there have been so many Nobel prizes per capita in Finland, and why Finnish technology companies like Nokia are currently destroying the competition, and why Finland leads the pack on biotech.

    *PM I went through the Finnish education system so I can correct a few “facts”. 1. We start to get homework since the first grade. Of course not that much in the beginning, but there definitely is homework. 2. We definitely are measured since grade one (=eerste leerjaar) at school.3. All kids are taught in the same classroom except when a kid is having difficulties with learning, and then he/she can go to a special teacher’s little class to be taught. 4. Teachers spend way more than 4 hours a day in a classroom, except maybe when his/her class is the first or second grade and their days are shorter. But I remember being 10 and had 7-8 hour days and my teacher was there all the time.5.. Although teachers are highly regarded, they are not regarded as highly as doctors and lawyers. Especially if you teach Swedish in Junior High School.

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