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Late last year, I flew to Finland for a study tour. Finland’s education system has always been well-known in the world, so I want to see it for myself. After I have been to Finland, I am envious and yearns for their education system and quality!
In Finland, I visited some of the local schools to find out how they implemented a “children-oriented” education policy without a test system. Finnish students under the age of 15 do not need to sit for an exam. Since childhood, teachers have given their children some assessments. For example, after learning some units, the teachers will give students some quizzes to find out if the children have fully learned anything taught in the chapter. If the children are still confused about some parts, the teacher will continue teaching the children until they understand before entering the next unit, and the situation of struggling to quickly finish off the syllabus in my country can be said to be two extremes.
According to the various information provided by the principals of different schools, I found that they have a great degree of freedom in designing course content. They will decide what children should learn according to their learning status and ability. Therefore, different schools of different levels will have different textbooks and syllabuses. When they shared about their teaching situation, they also said that sometimes they would discuss with students what knowledge they were interested in and put what they wanted to learn into the syllabus.
We often instill in our parents a “children-oriented” education in Yelaoshr , and we should decide what classes they should go for according to the children’s level. The Finnish education concept is in sync with our concepts and they also implemented them so thoroughly! It is important to create such an educational environment because children can have a complete and effective learning. What they are learning is of their own interest. The teacher just guides the children to learn from the side. When children have the motivation, and the teachers have given effective learning methods and ways to explore knowledge, therefore, Finnish children have a high ability to learn. This is exactly what today’s society needs. In this era of information explosion, we have limitless knowledge to learn. The key is whether we know how to learn the skills and knowledge we need. If children are able to have this ability during their school days, this means they win at the starting point.
Under the Finnish education system, children have the ability to think independently, because they are exploring what they want from a young age, what kind of people they want to be, unlike Malaysian children, generally we ask what children like, or what they want to do, they can’t answer us.
Based on my experience, the most frequently received response is “100 points for exams”, “I have to study hard and become a useful person when I grow up”.
Finnish children say they want to be carpenters, tailors, nurses, not doctors, lawyers, accountants who are generally considered promising. They dare to express their opinions, while our children don’t. Where is the problem?
We, as elders should reflect on it. If the children of the next generation are to succeed in their careers, they must have the ability to compete, especially their creativity and innovation. These will be a important abilities in the future society. If we continue to spoonfeed our children with a cramming education method, then our children are destined to fall behind.
THE TEACHER SHOULD LEAD BY EXAMPLE
To implement a new set of education methods, we must start from ourselves and allow ourselves to become parents and teachers with independent thinking. We need to have greater tolerance to accept different answers and opinions of children, and at the same time support and explore the different potentials of each child, instead of forcing children to learn what we think is useful that they are not interested. If our children are facing the challenges and problems above, we should try our best to help them and find effective ways to help our children and not just criticize and scold our children for being lazy, stupid, not studying, and not motivated.
I also sincerely hope that teachers and other educators will be able to improve their thinking and ability in this area, to design a truly effective teaching program for children, to stimulate children’s interest in learning, and to improve and enhance the entire teaching process. This can really help the child. Education is not meant to fill the children’s study time and sit for exams only.
Sometimes we will see some parents put their children’s exam questions on Facebook and criticize them, saying that the topics are too deep, too difficult for the children, and so on. These are the changes that the government and the Ministry of Education want to make. They are to improve the children’s high-order thinking skills. Only that parents are unable accept it, hence the many voices of opposition. In truth, actually we underestimate our children’s ability to learn.
The children are liken a blank piece of paper, especially primary school students who have just entered school are able to accepting new things the best. We should believe that children can accept a new education system and believe that children have the ability to step out of the comfort zone and challenge higher levels of difficulty and deeper learning.
Many parents are always too skeptical about their children’s abilities because they are overprotective of their children, or say that they are too young to learn these high-order thinking classes, saying that it will make them suffer. These are the blind spots and misunderstandings of some parents.
Before criticising, how many parents actually learned about the content of these high-order thinking education? These are the materials we have not come to know before. Only when we first understand what is a picture book, what is a high-order thinking question, or even explore the direction of the current and future changes in the education system, then we will have the qualifications and ability to nurture children and educate children in accordance with the needs of the future society. It’s not helpful to complain about the school, the teachers, and the Ministry of Education.
To make children better individuals, we need to start from ourselves because we are role models of our children. When we become people who love learning, people who are brave enough to face challenges, and are used to accept new things, our children will naturally follow and learn to face the their growing path positively.
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