Finnish education soup

Perhaps this is a sign I’ve been eating too much here in Finland, but I’d like to share my recipe for a tasty education soup. Add the following:

  • a heaping measure of teacher education (MA quality)
  • a healthy dose of teacher autonomy and respect
  • a sprinkling a small classes
  • a generous provision of SEN
  • a measure of a broad, teacher-made curriculum
  • a scattering of social support

Stir well with shared responsibility and blend with personalised learning. Be sure NOT to add testing, streaming, an excess of teaching hours and outside inspections. Less is more in Finland. To ‘finnish’ off this special recipe, season with the secret ingredient ….. libraries.

This recipe occurred to me after I visited four of the University of Helsinki’s 11 libraries yesterday.  Helsinki University Library is the largest multidisciplinary university library in Finland and it is open to the general public with a stock of 2.3 million items on 4 different campuses. As in the UK, librarians work quietly in the background, promoting information literacy and supporting education in a variety of ways. Libraries, it seems to me, are the secret ingredient of educational success. Without their gentle flavour supporting learning, education would be very bland.

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