Teacher Education Students Discover Secrets behind Finnish Education
Since Finland excelled all other country in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) held by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2011, the Finnish educational system and its success have drawn international attention.
Subsidized by the Ministry of Education, 12 students from NTU’s Center for Teacher Education visited the University of Helsinki (UH) as well as middle schools and vocational colleges in its vicinity in August 2019. This precious experience allowed the students to discover why education in Finland is second to none in the world.
Bilateral Cultural Exchange Enhanced by Team Work
Headed by Prof. Hsiou-Huai Wang (王秀槐), the delegation worked together on everything during the trip, including sharing research references on the education system in Finland, making travel arrangements, and preparing souvenirs from Taiwan for the hosts. The program covered educational theory and practice, from the essence of phenomenon-based learning to visiting nonprofit educational organization HundrED and nearby schools. At the end of each day, Prof. Wang led discussions that stimulated the students to reflect on what they had experienced and learned, while cross-referencing the existing systems in Taiwan.
Face-to-Face Discussions for Breaking the Myths of Finnish Education
On the first day of the program, Dr. Heidi Krzywacki and Dr. Jari Salminen gave the students an overview of the educational system of Finland and its core values, analyzed the reasons for its outstanding performance from a historical perspective, and reflected on its current status. During the discussions, the myths revolving Finnish education were clarified one by one. The delegation was surprised to witness the degree of concentration the students had in a liberal classroom setting. The members were also able to observe how the teachers motivated the students and managed their classes, which no doubt provided substantial food for thought.
Bringing the World to NTU
On the last day of the program, all of the student shared their learning experiences and suggestions for future cooperation with the collaborators at UH. Everyone hoped that this rich, informative program could lead to more structured cooperation in the future. Besides gaining firsthand observations about the Finnish education system, the delegation also built a model of positive exchanges with the host university through classroom discussions. “Coming here gives us the opportunity to bring the world to NTU,” said Prof. Wang. “This time we were guests in Finland. In the future, we will invite them to Taiwan to learn more about our educational system.” This program hopefully will be one of the many fruitful exchanges to be developed between NTU and UH. This experience has given the Center for Teacher Education a glimpse of the positive potential, and everyone is looking forward to making all of the wonderful possibilities a reality.
This article is also featured in No. 75 of NTU Highlights (December, 2019).
NTU students and faculty members take a group photo with student hosts at Lagstad Skola, a comprehensive school in Finland.
Prof. Wang presents a gift to HY+, short for UH’s Center for Continuing Education, on behalf of NTU.
NTU teacher education students share what they have learned and observed in Finland with one another.
A visit to Otaniemen lukio (Otaniemi Upper Secondary School) in Espoo, Finland.