What I Learned from the Finns, Part 1 of 3
What happens when test scores are great but students don’t care about learning?
During the official launch of a school design project in Asia with my partners at 180 Studios and the Academy for Global Citizenship, we spent two days with one of Finland’s teachers of the year, Aleksi Lahti. In addition to teaching middle school, he is also a clinical professor at Turku University.
For several years, Finland’s education system has been hailed as a model for the rest of the world. And yet in 2016 they announced a massive redesign to their national curriculum.
Why would the metaphoric winning team change its system? Aleksi told us, “We have a problem—we have the best schools in the world, but our students are losing interest in school, especially in STEM subjects.”
Finnish education researchers discovered that deep and authentic learning happens when students:
Play an active role, with “their experiences, questions, and ideas as a starting point.” 
Engage with their emotions.
Take responsibility for their learning.
Access verstatile learning environments.
In response to this research, the Finns redesigned their national curriculum between 2014 and 2016. The most newsworthy feature has been the introduction of phenomenon-based learning.
How often in the course of a day do your students have the opportunity to experience 3 or all 4 of these deep learning design drivers?
 Aleksi quoted this from: Halinen, I. (2014). General Aspects of Basic Education Curriculum Reform 2016 Finland. I could not find a copy of the article to link to.
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