Monday, December 5, 2016

Finland can teach Betsy DeVos a thing or two about valuing teachers and school choice that’s real - The Hechinger Report

Finland can teach Betsy DeVos a thing or two about valuing teachers and school choice that’s real - The Hechinger Report:

Finland can teach Betsy DeVos a thing or two about valuing teachers and school choice that’s real
Lessons in educational options from a highly ranked nation


Joensuu, FINLAND — Things are not going well in Pessi Pollanen’s physics class at the University of Eastern Finland’s elite teacher-training lab school. Halfway through a high school lesson on the complex subject of string theory, students game on their laptops and text on their phones. Heikki Saari is a teacher trainer and 40-year education veteran observing the bright, 23-year-old teacher in training. Saari’s feedback: Slow down. Let speech, drawings, graphics and models flow “so the students can truly learn.” Pollanen, a candidate for the master’s degree in education that’s a teaching requirement here, soaks it all in, saying Saari is “one of the top-tier physics teachers in Finland. He’s got a lot to offer me when it comes to improving my teaching.”
On Monday, Pollanen teaches the next lesson at an ideal pace, checks if students absorb the material, switches tools seamlessly, makes eye contact and smiles. Spellbound students take notes. To Saari’s praise later, Pollanen confesses, “It’s a very complicated challenge for me, I have to strike a balance between having a good classroom atmosphere and being scientific, making sense and being empathetic. I’m happy the students could connect to this lesson.”
Another lesson: Networks of top schools, teachers and training programs can produce many educational choices.
Donald Trump is promoting “school choice” as he vows to improve the American education system. To achieve this vision, he should start by putting his incoming Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on a plane to world education superpower Finland to see what school choice means in its most powerful form — the choice from among numerous, great, neighborhood schools anywhere in the country.
Just ranked by the World Economic Forum as the No. 1 primary school system globally Finland shows us, that true educational choice means holding politicians accountable to provide families the choice between safe, well-resourced, high-quality local schools, especially in high-poverty areas, schools run by teachers trained at Finland can teach Betsy DeVos a thing or two about valuing teachers and school choice that’s real - The Hechinger Report:

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