Saturday, March 21, 2015
  FInland gets it exactly

Finland gets education exactly right. Though Finland is already near the top of those international ratings, beaten only (of course) by Orientals, it feels the need to do things differently.

This is courageous. Doing things differently will help their students to be more effective adults, but it may well drop Finland's position on those TEST-BASED rankings and scales.
“We therefore have to make the changes in education that are necessary for industry and modern society.”

Subject-specific lessons – an hour of history in the morning, an hour of geography in the afternoon – are already being phased out for 16-year-olds in the city’s upper schools. They are being replaced by what the Finns call “phenomenon” teaching – or teaching by topic. For instance, a teenager studying a vocational course might take “cafeteria services” lessons, which would include elements of maths, languages (to help serve foreign customers), writing skills and communication skills.

There are other changes too, not least to the traditional format that sees rows of pupils sitting passively in front of their teacher, listening to lessons or waiting to be questioned. Instead there will be a more collaborative approach, with pupils working in smaller groups to solve problems while improving their communication skills.
Sounds familiar. As Polistra proposed a couple years ago:
What is the deepest distinction between conservative and liberal? Right-wing thinking starts with the accurate understanding that PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT. Left-wing thinking starts with the genocidal lie that PEOPLE ARE IDENTICAL.

How do we educate based on the accurate view? Job training.

You have to begin with three or four years of mainly identical rote practice in reading and writing. No way to avoid it. After that, at age 8 or 9, each person shows and knows his proper talents and tendencies. So we should take those distinct passions and use them to the max. Put each kid in a broad training program to develop his own proper skill set, which he understands and likes. Take care of all the necessary subjects within the job-oriented training, in context, at times when they can be used and appreciated.

Example: We find that your talents and passions are aimed at cooking. We give you constant practice in the essential skills of food preparation and restaurant/bakery/grocery work, adding more complexity and subtlety each year. Along the road, we take every available opportunity to discuss those other 'subjects' within the context of your passion. History: We have records and recipes from every culture and nation starting with the Babylonians, and we have riots and revolutions caused by inadequate food supplies. Math: Ratios and proportions, metrology a la Fanny Farmer, rate of change in the oven, pricing and taxes on the menu. Economics: Bread gave us the first written economic observations in 300 AD, and wheat is still part of Goldman's evil manipulations. English: There's plenty of good writing about food, and lots of opportunities to watch and produce Youtube howto videos. Chemistry: Cooking IS chemistry. Acids and bases, oxidation and combustion, alteration of proteins and vitamins. Physics: Elasticity of gluten, thermodynamics of burners, viscosity in stirring, friction in non-stick pans.
Same idea, same example, almost same sentences.

Of course this isn't new and isn't Polistra's idea. This is the way MOST education was done before the 20th Century Dark Age brought in mechanical memorization.

In ed as in science, the Dark Age is finally starting to fade IN SOME PLACES.

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