Here are some observations by an American math teacher who spent a research assignment in Finnish schools. His main observation is: ‘Less is more’.
That means fewer years at school for the children and more time to play, fewer hours in a school day, giving adolescents a later start and more sleep, fewer teaching hours for the teachers, allowing them more time to prepare interesting lessons, less testing and therefore more time for teaching and finally: fewer topics in the curriculum, allowing teachers to go deeper into the subjects.
I see no reason why we could not apply these principles to education outside Finland.
When I left my 7th grade math classroom for my Fulbright research assignment in Finland I thought I would come back from this experience with more inspiring, engaging, innovative lessons. I expected to have great new ideas on how to teach my mathematics curriculum and I would revamp my lessons so that I could include more curriculum, more math and get students to think more, talk more and do more math.
This drive to do more and More and MORE is a state of existence for most teachers in the US….it is engrained in us from day one. There is a constant pressure to push our students to the next level to have them do bigger and better things. The lessons have to be more exciting, more engaging and cover more content. This phenomena is driven by data, or parents, or administrators or simply by our work-centric society where we…
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