Sunday, January 8, 2017

How Finland’s youngest learners obey the rules — by fooling around in school - The Hechinger Report

How Finland’s youngest learners obey the rules — by fooling around in school - The Hechinger Report:

How Finland’s youngest learners obey the rules — by fooling around in school

Master teacher reveals secrets of the world’s best education system

Children in Eastern Finland in what is considered one of the most important activities of the day: recess. Photo: William Doyle

 It is lunch time at the University of Eastern Finland’s teacher training lab school in North Karelia, a lush forest and lake district on the Russian border.
Fourth-grade children race to the cafeteria in their stockinged feet, laughing, hugging, practicing dance steps and cavorting as they head for the cafeteria. One girl does a full handstand in the hallway. A distinguished-looking professor beams at the procession and doles out high-fives to the children. He is Heikki Happonen, head of the school and a career childhood educator.
As chief of Finland’s association of eight national university teacher training schools, he is, in effect, the Master Teacher of Finland, the country which still has, despite many challenges and a recent slide in global test scores, the No. 1 best primary school system in the world, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017.
According to Happonen, the hallway scene reveals one of the secrets of Finland’s historic success in childhood education.
Children’s brains work better when they are moving, the master teacher explains. Not only do they concentrate better in class, but they are more successful at “negotiating, socializing, building teams and friendships together.”
Finland leads the world in its discovery that play is the most fundamental engine and efficiency-booster of children’s learning. The nation’s children learn through play until age 7, and then are given guaranteed 15-minute outdoor play breaks every hour of every single school day (regardless of the weather) until high school.
Another crucial secret: the learning environment, both physical and How Finland’s youngest learners obey the rules — by fooling around in school - The Hechinger Report:


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