Marjo Kyllonen, the head of the department of education in Helsinki, explained the changes that are taking place in the school system:
“There are schools that are teaching in the old-fashioned way which was of benefit in the beginning of the 1900s — but the needs are not the same, and we need something fit for the 21st century.“
Finland’s education system is considered one of the best in the world but you don’t become the best by sitting around.
First thing they they are doing is removing school subjects from their curriculum. No more classes in physics, math, literature, history, or geography. Instead of individual subjects, students will study events and phenomena in an interdisciplinary format. For example, the Second World War will be examined from the perspective of history, geography, and math.
The big idea is that the students will be able to choose for themselves which topic or phenomenon they want to study, bearing in mind their ambitions for the future and their capabilities. In this way, no student will have to pass through an entire course on physics or chemistry while all the time thinking to themselves “What do I need to know this for?”
The traditional format of teacher-pupil communication is also going to change. Students will no longer sit behind school desks and wait anxiously to be called upon to answer a question. Instead, they will work together in small groups to discuss problems. Teachers will take on more of a coaching role.
Though I don’t think this is the total solution, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Also published on Medium.