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Finnish Lessons 2.0

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Pasi Sahlberg has thoroughly updated his groundbreaking account of how Finland built a world-class education system during the past four decades. In this international bestseller, Sahlberg traces the evolution of Finnish education policies and highlights how they differ from the United States and much of the rest of the world. Featuring substantial additions throughout the Pasi Sahlberg has thoroughly updated his groundbreaking account of how Finland built a world-class education system during the past four decades. In this international bestseller, Sahlberg traces the evolution of Finnish education policies and highlights how they differ from the United States and much of the rest of the world. Featuring substantial additions throughout the text, Finnish Lessons 2.0 demonstrates how systematically focusing on teacher and leader professionalism, building trust between the society and its schools, and investing in educational equity rather than competition, choice, and other market-based reforms make Finnish schools an international model of success. This second edition details the complexity of meaningful change by examining Finland's educational performance in light of the most recent international assessment data and domestic changes.


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Pasi Sahlberg has thoroughly updated his groundbreaking account of how Finland built a world-class education system during the past four decades. In this international bestseller, Sahlberg traces the evolution of Finnish education policies and highlights how they differ from the United States and much of the rest of the world. Featuring substantial additions throughout the Pasi Sahlberg has thoroughly updated his groundbreaking account of how Finland built a world-class education system during the past four decades. In this international bestseller, Sahlberg traces the evolution of Finnish education policies and highlights how they differ from the United States and much of the rest of the world. Featuring substantial additions throughout the text, Finnish Lessons 2.0 demonstrates how systematically focusing on teacher and leader professionalism, building trust between the society and its schools, and investing in educational equity rather than competition, choice, and other market-based reforms make Finnish schools an international model of success. This second edition details the complexity of meaningful change by examining Finland's educational performance in light of the most recent international assessment data and domestic changes.

30 review for Finnish Lessons 2.0

  1. 4 out of 5

    Phakin

    Good book to begin thinking about education in Finland, especially its historical background, its structure, and its challenging strategies.

  2. 5 out of 5

    María

    If you are curious about Finnish educational system, and how it came to be what it is now, this is your book! Easy and light to read and very informative.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robert Ford

    Interesting history of the Finnish school system. I read this with intent on stealing tons of ideas and using them in my classroom. There are some good ideas but not as many as I was hoping for. Still an interesting read for those curious about education in another part of the globe.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Oh my gosh!! Why are we not following this Finnish school system that works?? Great read, lots of information, not always exciting, but very interesting!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bill S.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 5 stars for Finland's education. 3 for the book which got repetitive and at times a little vague. MY NOTES: Finland’s education - Does the opposite of what most are doing. Not competition, more data, more testing, more homework, more standardization, more accountability. Local control and trust with teachers able to excercise their professional judgment - that’s what makes the profession attractive. It is the most desired career and getting into a college teaching program is most competitive. Fins 5 stars for Finland's education. 3 for the book which got repetitive and at times a little vague. MY NOTES: Finland’s education - Does the opposite of what most are doing. Not competition, more data, more testing, more homework, more standardization, more accountability. Local control and trust with teachers able to excercise their professional judgment - that’s what makes the profession attractive. It is the most desired career and getting into a college teaching program is most competitive. Fins have great respect for teachers. You have to address student inequality before you get student excellence. Preschool and welfare system - seems really essential. Maternity leave starts 2 months before birth and continues for 8 months after. Both parents are encouraged to take it and are paid full salary by a gov. Agency. Then, all have the right to voluntary day care and kindergarten if they so desire. PURPOSE IS NOT ACADEMIC. It is to make sure they are happy responsible individuals. “School readiness” means that schools need to be ready for children no matter where they are at. Every child has health care, free lunch for every child all the way through high school, and child poverty is only 5%. From the age of 7 to 16 in a peruskoulu. 9 years of basic education without any tracking. Compulsory ed. Ends at 16, but upper secondary education is attractive. Four options: General Upper Secondary School - prepares for college. 50% do this. NOT GROUPED BY AGE COHORT. Students free to pick class when appropriate. A personalized plan. Year is divided into six or 7 week periods and students tested at the end of the period. Each course is completed in 6-7 weeks. Need 75 courses of 38 lessons each to graduate; about ⅔’s are required. Must take 18 subject areas including Chemistry, philosophy, two languages. Takes 3 years usually, but some take more, some less and you can leave if you wish. Funding is based on the number of students you have, so there is an incentive to retain students. They do take a comprehensive Matriculation exam at the end which is criticized by teachers as narrowing curriculum and teaching to the test. 2) Vocational School - 42 % do this. Free to change to other track. Schools also allow students to take courses in General Upper School and General Upper Secondary students can take vocational classes at Vocational School. 3 year program. 25 % are general courses. ⅙ of training must be on the job. In theory they can take the Matriculation Exam, but few do. 3) Take a tenth year of peruskoulu before moving onto one of the other options. Not a popular choice. 3) Go to work. 6 % do. Some might return to education. They have become a burden on society. A big difference about Finland is that when making the choice, students have never taken a standardized test which put them into a box, and they had 2 hours of counseling per week for the two years leading up to the choice. Matriculation Exam - Take at least four subject area tests. Mostly open ended questions that test their ability to cope with unexpected tasks. ONe in your native language is required. Then, an additional for. Language, math, science or humanaties. Many more optional tests. Ticket to college. Graded by teacher and a board independent of one another. Score combined and scaled so only 5 % get top score and 5 % fail. Higher Education is tuition free to all who successfully completed upper secondary school. Looks like you get aid and grants for housing and other expenses. HOW THEY DIFFER: Schools do not compete with one another. They cooperate and share best practices. Equity is not about everyone getting the same curriculum. Everybody goes to a school where they can fulfill their intentions. No leveled classes. Prior to High School all study math and foreign language without levels. Expectations raised for all. Special Education is not for those with a disability. It is for anyone experiencing difficulty in a subject matter. Assumed that most will need it at some point. IDEA IS PREVENTION. Kids are identified before they enter school. No grades for first five years. No standardized tests to compare. Schools set own goals. Greatness is when all kids exceed expectations. They do test age cohorts taking 10 % randonmly. THis is to evaluate effectiveness of cur. Only. No reflection on student or teacher. Spend less time in school, less homework. There is no coorelation between time in class and performance. LESS IS MORE. Most students have 30 minutes of homework. Many complete it before they leave for the day. Relaxed culture, less stress. Teachers spend less time in classroom and are required to have 3 hours of collaboration per week. 15 minutes off for each 45 minute lesson. DO NOT HAVE TO BE IN SCHOOL IF THEY ARE NOT IN CLASSROOM. Provides more time to develop, reflect, observe, work with others. Spend less on education as a % of GDP than U.S. Salaries are a little above average. THe big key is that teachers have autonomy and respect. More admired than doctors. Because it is seen as a respected profession, many apply for teacher education. Only 10 % are accepted. A test based upon six academic articles announced in advance is the first screen; then, universities pick those most suitable. You must get a master’s degree, complete with a research based thesis. Everyone trained as an educational researcher. THERE ARE NO ALTERNATIVE ROUTES TO CERTIFICATION. Do not accept that drill sargents make good teachers or that CEO’s can run schools. Oddly, they then get thrown into the classroom without experience. No formal evaluation system of teachers. Assumed to be professionals. There is merit pay - but never based on student outcomes. Principals must be former teachers and ⅔’s continue to teach. Curiculum is created by teachers. There is a national framework, but no standards. Finns usually maintain that there is no typical teaching style in Finland; the culture prizes professionalism and initiative, rather than uniformity, in its schools. GREAT TEACHERSare needed BUT…. Only explains 10-20 % of acheivement. School leadership just as important. More important - home life, peer influence, personal characteristics far more important. WAITING FOR SUPERMAN IS A MYTH. Great teachers in a constrained educational system will not succeed. You take Finlands talent and bring it to Indiana and we would not see much improvement. Author believes that we need to make slogan: Help all students find their talent and passion in school. Alternative View - Economist in 2019 article points out that the first big test scores by Finland were taken by students who were taught by rote and regimented. Scores have declined particularly in schools where students "find their own learning" in math and science. Also, stress that culture outside of school's control such as adult literacy is high in Finland. Still, they point out that Estonia copied model and improved. Found their Social Studies Cur, separate from History (see below): Compulsory - Politics and Society; Economics Specialization Courses: Citizens and law; Europeanism and European Union Goals: To understand the nature of society as a result of historical development; • Being familiar with the foundations and practices of Finland’s social system and economy and be able to place these in European and international contexts; • To command key social and economic concepts; • Being aware of the opportunities to influence and participate in a civil society and also know how to use these; • Being capable of acquiring current information from different sources and of assessing verbal, visual and statistical information critically; • Being capable of forming justified personal views of controversial social and economic issues that are bound to values; • To obtain capabilities to build a conception of society based on responsibility, tolerance and respect for equality. History is considered a separate study. Students preparing to take the matriculation exam in history begin with three required courses and a couple of recommended electives, but then fill out the rest of their program with independent reading and more focused electives. These history courses are theme-based. The compulsory course themes are ‘The human in environmental and societal change’, ‘International relations in the twentieth and twenty-rst centuries’ and ‘History of independent Finland’ Goals: . History content. For example, mastering the main developmental trends and the key historical processes, together with their backgrounds and consequences, in the history of Finland and the world.2. Historical skills. For example, the ability to construct knowledge of the past using appropriate sources of information, evaluate it critically and understand its relativity and susceptibility to multiple interpretations.3. Active, democratic citizenship. For example, the capability to form a world view in which human rights, equality and democracy are valued, and the ability to act as a responsible citizen promoting these values

  6. 5 out of 5

    Abdullah Almuslem

    First, the book is dry, Second the book is Dry, Third, the book is DRY. But I had the persistence to finish it. I heard a lot about how good the educational system in Finland, so, I determined to finish the book. So let me put some colors and flowers in this review: Although Finland is a northern country characterized by its dark and cold climate, Finns are among the world’s happiest people and live in one of the most prosperous communities in the world. One reason is their educational system. So First, the book is dry, Second the book is Dry, Third, the book is DRY. But I had the persistence to finish it. I heard a lot about how good the educational system in Finland, so, I determined to finish the book. So let me put some colors and flowers in this review: Although Finland is a northern country characterized by its dark and cold climate, Finns are among the world’s happiest people and live in one of the most prosperous communities in the world. One reason is their educational system. Somehow, Finland created one of the best educational systems in the world. The irony is that their schools have no standardized tests until the end of high school years! Finnish students spend much less time doing homework than many other nations. If there is any homework, it is done in school. Also, teachers spend less time teaching and students spend less time studying than many nations in the world. In Finland, school is free and students are provided with a free and healthy lunch every day, regardless of their home economical situation. The science and mathematics curriculum in Finland has a strong focus on problem-solving, and experimental activities therefore linking the two subjects to the real world. In short words, Finland did the opposite of what every educational establishment does, and by that, they have created one of the most successful educational systems in the world. It is true that Finland cares a lot about building schools. But the key factor for them is the Teachers. Teaching in Finland is the number-one profession above medicine and law. Primary teacher education in Finnish universities is one of the most competitive choices of study. In fact, teaching is regarded as a very prestigious profession in Finland driven mainly by moral purpose, rather than by material interest, careers, or rewards. To become a teacher in Finland, you need to have a minimum of a master's degree and therefore teachers are well paid in Finland. Women in Finland has a better chance to marry if they get into a teaching profession. Finnish males viewed a teacher as the most desirable spouse, rating them above nurses, medical doctors, and architects (I thought that was interesting).__ I wondered about the best job choice for Saudi women that will make them preferable spouse for Saudi men! I do not have the answer !! __ Anyway, informative book but I did not enjoy reading it

  7. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    This book offers insight into the highly successful Finnish education system, while still remaining balanced about its challenges and where it must improve. Sahlberg shows what works well in Finland and encourages readers to take note, but also says that another country's education system should not try to exactly replicate the Finnish system. Rather, each country should build and reform their education system on broad principles like equity, while specializing their specific approaches to their This book offers insight into the highly successful Finnish education system, while still remaining balanced about its challenges and where it must improve. Sahlberg shows what works well in Finland and encourages readers to take note, but also says that another country's education system should not try to exactly replicate the Finnish system. Rather, each country should build and reform their education system on broad principles like equity, while specializing their specific approaches to their own contexts. Basically, this book made me wish the US would take note of the benefits of teacher professionalism, lack of frequent high-stakes testing, solid career counseling, and true equal opportunity for all students. I hope very much to see the US move in this direction, although that hope is based on something other than current trends.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Clausen

    If schools in the USA/Idaho/Emmett were like this, I think I'd still be teaching. The difference between this book and other articles and books I've read on the subject is that this is written by an insider. Though the system seems nearly ideal to me, Sahlberg concedes that it is not perfect. For example, he faults the Finnish for resting on their success rather than anticipating changes or new systems that will be needed in the future. {sigh.} If schools in the USA/Idaho/Emmett were like this, I think I'd still be teaching. The difference between this book and other articles and books I've read on the subject is that this is written by an insider. Though the system seems nearly ideal to me, Sahlberg concedes that it is not perfect. For example, he faults the Finnish for resting on their success rather than anticipating changes or new systems that will be needed in the future. {sigh.}

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vu Giang

    Good overview about Finnish Education, School System and what Gorverment willing to do to improve on education. But still there is alot of repetative in this book and made me feel more like a number report This is a good book for someone who interested in Education on another country, but it also show that you cannot just copy and paste their Education to another country without challenges

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Petruzzi

    I'd probably give it five stars if it weren't so frequently repetitive, but maybe that's what makes the "lessons" stick. Good stuff that flies in the face of contemporary (failed) education theory in the West. Hopefully it will be very useful in the near future. I'd probably give it five stars if it weren't so frequently repetitive, but maybe that's what makes the "lessons" stick. Good stuff that flies in the face of contemporary (failed) education theory in the West. Hopefully it will be very useful in the near future.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christina Heredia

    I'm not enjoying this book. I'm not learning anything new and the author keeps saying, "In this chapter I will talk about..." and then proceeds for the next 4 pages to say what he will talk about. OMG, just talk about it already! I'm not enjoying this book. I'm not learning anything new and the author keeps saying, "In this chapter I will talk about..." and then proceeds for the next 4 pages to say what he will talk about. OMG, just talk about it already!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Abdelkader Khelifi

    I had heard some news about the Finnish educational system because of its spread reputation, so one I found this book I decide to read it for the sack of knowing more.Eventually it was one of the best books I have ever read. Mentioning the the history which bases the philosophies behind this system; the use of statistics and diagrams in addition to analysing it; the comparison with the existing systems;all this were some of the positive points in this book.Finally, reading it make keen on readin I had heard some news about the Finnish educational system because of its spread reputation, so one I found this book I decide to read it for the sack of knowing more.Eventually it was one of the best books I have ever read. Mentioning the the history which bases the philosophies behind this system; the use of statistics and diagrams in addition to analysing it; the comparison with the existing systems;all this were some of the positive points in this book.Finally, reading it make keen on reading more about this system in order to know deeply how do they work in the daily basis , also about the creativity in education.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Jackson

    Good propositions, a little repetitive As always, Pasi Sahlberg calls into question the best ways to educate youth. This book provides some interesting strategies to think about school structures and systems, and the part about the importance of teacher collaboration and an investment in equity resonates with everything else I am reading. At times, though, I was not sure where the idea in one chapter ended and the next chapter began. That might have been part of his argument, though.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Antonina

    The book promotes a number of interesting and extremely important ideas with regards to education, therefore it is a must read for anyone interested in this field. However, it gets extremely repetitive to a point you get a feeling of reading the sames sentences over and over again. So may be "less is more" is a Finnish motto, but it is definitely not followed in this book. Better editing would have been welcome. The book promotes a number of interesting and extremely important ideas with regards to education, therefore it is a must read for anyone interested in this field. However, it gets extremely repetitive to a point you get a feeling of reading the sames sentences over and over again. So may be "less is more" is a Finnish motto, but it is definitely not followed in this book. Better editing would have been welcome.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    "The success of Finnish education is not the result of any major or national education reform per se. Instead, education development in Finland has been based on the continual adjustment of schooling to the changing needs of individuals and society." This is the key to so many issues with American public schooling. So much of who I want to be as a teacher is deeply rooted in the methods and ideas in Finland. I only hope to influence this kind of future in America! "The success of Finnish education is not the result of any major or national education reform per se. Instead, education development in Finland has been based on the continual adjustment of schooling to the changing needs of individuals and society." This is the key to so many issues with American public schooling. So much of who I want to be as a teacher is deeply rooted in the methods and ideas in Finland. I only hope to influence this kind of future in America!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra N.

    Very 'to the point' book that shows how, over about 20 years, Finland completely changed their educational system. The message for me was that there is no single thing that will improve education as a whole, but rather, there needs to be a joint effort coming from a variety of institutions and a national interest in investing in the youth's future. Very 'to the point' book that shows how, over about 20 years, Finland completely changed their educational system. The message for me was that there is no single thing that will improve education as a whole, but rather, there needs to be a joint effort coming from a variety of institutions and a national interest in investing in the youth's future.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Exavidreader

    The details of the Finnish education system, including how it evolved historically, explains a lot on why it is among the best in the world. Many countries can learn a lot from Finland, and a good start would be this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Harriette

    A good overview of the education system in Finland for teachers, school leaders and policy makers. This book is honest about Finnish innovations being borrowed from other places and yet consistent with the cultural norms of Finland. Good food for thought.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Heather Marvin

    Very informative and interesting. Lots of information that I will probably have to read again because I couldn't take it all in the first time through. It gives a great understanding into the Finnish education system and how and why it works. Very informative and interesting. Lots of information that I will probably have to read again because I couldn't take it all in the first time through. It gives a great understanding into the Finnish education system and how and why it works.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Mayberry

    A dense read - a lot more quantitative than qualitative data - and while it gives a lot of data, it really doesn’t give much specific detail about what makes Finland’s educational system run smoothly. Basically read like a 200 page research paper.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alison Mary

    This book was eye-opening--as an educator, it was fascinating to read about the minute facets of an education system that WORKS for its students and teachers. There was an excellent balance between data and commentary. I would definitely recommend the read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    Excellent and so thought-provoking! So many lessons about school reform, including the importance of social and economic policies to address childhood poverty and parental leave. Would love to see more lessons from the Finnish system in our own conversations about systemic reform.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Ojanen

    A provocative and well layed-out book examining the features of the successful Finnish education system and providing suggestions for other countries.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dave Darutto

    Interesting perspective of the Finnish school system. The organization of people, agreements, preparation, and time built what became a winning education in a small country.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Very clearly written, this book provides an excellent overview of the Finnish education system.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Trinh Nguyen

    To me this book is just an introduction to the Finnish education system or to a now successful model for other countries to learn from. One thing the book points out is that it will not garantee any nation that copy "The Finnish Way" will have the same results, changing the education system requires unstoppable efforts of the government, educators. To me this book is just an introduction to the Finnish education system or to a now successful model for other countries to learn from. One thing the book points out is that it will not garantee any nation that copy "The Finnish Way" will have the same results, changing the education system requires unstoppable efforts of the government, educators.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Adam Watson

    Chock full of sobering statistics, evenhanded analysis of Finland's successes and struggles, and a thorough rebuke of the Global Education Reform Movement (or GERM, as Sahlberg wryly puts it) that the U.S. and most Western European nations are currently suffering under. Perfect for dissertation research, has more pragmatic advice for changing education even at the local level than I would have assumed possible, but might be a bit dry for educators hoping to read more "day in the life" slices fro Chock full of sobering statistics, evenhanded analysis of Finland's successes and struggles, and a thorough rebuke of the Global Education Reform Movement (or GERM, as Sahlberg wryly puts it) that the U.S. and most Western European nations are currently suffering under. Perfect for dissertation research, has more pragmatic advice for changing education even at the local level than I would have assumed possible, but might be a bit dry for educators hoping to read more "day in the life" slices from Finland's teachers and principals.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I think I wasn't quite the right audience for this book. While I have some familiarity with the field of education, I'm not an educator and don't really know what it means to be studying pedagogy or curriculum development. I wanted more of a sense of what is actually happening in classrooms and schools and teacher ed programs, and this book was mostly statistics and principles. I think I wasn't quite the right audience for this book. While I have some familiarity with the field of education, I'm not an educator and don't really know what it means to be studying pedagogy or curriculum development. I wanted more of a sense of what is actually happening in classrooms and schools and teacher ed programs, and this book was mostly statistics and principles.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mar

    Thought-provoking and well-written. This update of the original Finnish Lessons uses more recent statistics and factual detail to assess the success and more recent challenges faced by schools in Finland.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Terri Fleming

    Gave me lots to think about. I will definitely re read this again soon

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