About Ways of Improving our Education System to Become Closer to Finland’s Successful System
America’s school system is failing. America’s school system has many aspects, and some of them work for the students; however, a majority of them do not. America’s education is ranked 12th out of 40, with Finland being 1st and still the American education system refuses to change many of its rules and how it works, not even to become closer to what Finland’s successful system is. It may stun you how many rules and regulations Finland has that makes schools better than America and that America still refuse to change including competition between schools, standardized tests, and class time.
Instead of encouraging competition between school, Finland encourages cooperation. American schools take their school pride and turn it into competition between other schools in that district. Some teachers push school pride and insisting that they must be better than the other school that it turns into them belittling the other schools instead of having pride of what they can do. School pride isn’t bad ,however, the extremes that America has taken it to is. Students may start fights and bully others because of what school they’re from. At times, there is so much pressure on students who play football to win the next game that they find it difficult to focus on their studies.
Not to say that extracurricular activities and a bit of competition are bad but America’s schools take it too far. Schools will pull students out of class and away from learning to promote violence against the opposing school in school assemblies, if that’s not too far, what is? Students are told to focus on being better at sports than other schools in their districts and enough pressure is put on them to represent their school that they lose focus on their studies. Students should be encouraged to be better than the other schools academically just as much, if not more, than they are athletically.
Standardized tests have excessive pressure and importance placed on them. Teachers in Finland are trained to create their own tests for their students based on what they know they understand. It’s common in America for teachers to express concerns to their students about certain test question that they may not understand or that is worded strangely. If teachers made their own tests for students instead of having enforced, standardized ones, then the teachers could give the students questions they know they will understand and have learned about, increasing how many students would pass. For reading and grammar tests, students are forced to read an essay about something they may have absolutely no interest in, which could cause problems with their ability to focus and comprehend what they’re reading.
It’s understandable that teachers wouldn’t want to make a different test designed specifically for every student but perhaps find a more specific but still slightly generalized way to make tests, such as letting students choose some test questions to be bonus questions or finding ways for students to choose their own version of a test. Some students may have so much pressure put on them when it comes to standardized tests that they can’t eat, make themselves sick, or depriving themselves of sleep to study. Students shouldn’t ever be made to feel like getting a good grade on a test is more important than their health.
In Finland, schools have three to four classes each day with several breaks in between. Breaks help students relax, get out energy, digest what they are learning, talk to their friends, and all the problems American teachers complain about students doing in classes. Multiple studies have proven that children need to be physically active to learn properly. Stagnation of the body leads to stagnation of the brain, making students unfocused, inattentive, and hyper. The teachers also have these breaks, and a “teachers room” with coffee, a kitchen, chairs, tables, sofas, etc.
It’s ridiculous that students are expected to properly learn about 7 different subjects a day, every day, with only 2 day breaks in between and teachers are expected to answer emails, prepare for the next class, pick up messes, and go to the bathroom in 3-5 minute passing periods. Most schools in America assume that students can focus for approximately 8 hours, 5 days a week and still have to do homework and projects for every class that assigns it, going to school is basically a full time job, which takes up the time that high school students have to get jobs and make money to plan for college and their future.
Students and teachers alike are expected of too much and not given enough encouragement of cooperation, time to relax, and free time to do what they want. They’re expected to do too much in too little time and so much stress is put on them that that find it hard to enjoy learning and teaching.
Day, / Kelly. “11 Ways Finland’s Education System Shows Us That ‘Less Is More’.” Filling My Map, 12 May 2015, fillingmymap.com/2015/04/15/11-ways-finlands-education-system-shows-us-that-less-is-more/.
Weller, Chris. “8 Reasons Finland’s Education System Puts the US Model to Shame.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 6 Dec. 2017, www.businessinsider.com/finland-education-beats-us-2017-5.
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