4 Ways that Make Finland a Great Place for Students

For years, Finland has been touted to have one of the best education systems in the world. Many have marveled at the country’s different approach to educating students with some citing how other countries could take a leaf off the Finnish education playbook. Here are some of the reasons why Finland is probably one of the best places in the world to be a student.

No pressure

“No pressure” seems to be one of the most common themes you will find the Finland’s approach to education. Formal schooling for children start much later compared with other countries across the globe. With children starting school at seven years old, they spend more years outside a formal education setting. Finnish students also have more options that allow them to choose an educational path that best fit them. They can choose to go to the three-year upper secondary school program that will prepare them for university. Or they can opt for a three-year vocational education program that gives them the skill to enter the workforce straight out of school or to get more training and education at a Polytechnical College.

Less structured environment

Most education systems in the world follow a structured environment that often involves standardized tests. Finland’s approach to educating its students, however, follows a different path. There is less structure and more freedom both for students and teachers. Finnish students enjoy more and longer breaks compared with other students around the world. They also have less homework thus allowing them to focus on other things outside school.

More rested

School starts at around 9:00AM, or sometimes later, in Finland. This gives students more time for sleep and rest. Lessons also end fairly early so the total amount of time students spend in school is much lower compared with others.

Teachers have more quality time planning lessons
Finnish teachers spend less number of hours every year teaching compared with peers from other countries. This gives them more time for lesson planning and other activities that help them develop better curriculum for their students.

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5 Inspiring TED Talks for Students

Whether you are a student looking for inspiring ideas or something interesting to watch during your downtime, here are some of the best TED Talks worth watching.

Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids

If you think there is nothing you can learn from kids, think again! Child prodigy Adora Svitak shares how the world could benefit from a childlike approach to learning. She posits that children are not the only ones who can learn from adults and that the latter can pick some important lessons as well from kids.
From having bold ideas to being creative and optimistic, kids have plenty to share to adults who are willing to learn.

Angela Lee Duckworth: Grit: the power of passion and perseverance

In this captivating talk, Angela Lee Duckworth shares insights on her experiences as a math teacher for seventh graders in a public school in New York. Here she opens up about her observation on how grit and not IQ can predict success. This is an engaging and enlightening talk that puts the spotlight on the value of grit and perseverance despite the challenges.

Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career

A long time educator, Larry Smith has spent many years teaching and mentoring students. He received the Distinguished Teacher Award at some point and has served as coach to many students who have pursued a career in business. Here he shares a different perspective on what a “great” or successful career may look like. He posits that passion is important and that hard work is not the sole factor in achieving success. He also shares how the fear of taking risks can be a huge stumbling block for anyone who aspires for a great career.

Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree

This talk by Margaret Heffernan will make you change the way you see conflict and how it should not be avoided at all cost as many are wont to do. She shares a beautiful story of collaboration between a scientist who worked on finding out the cause of childhood cancers during her time and someone who worked on doing his best to prove him wrong. Heffernan manages to show how these two people’s unique way of collaborating is something that everyone, especially organizations, can benefit from.

Nikki Adeli: What standardized tests don’t measure

Nikki Adeli is a high school junior and Youth Commissioner in the City of Philadelphia. Here she shares her personal insights based from her own experiences as a student. One of the major takeaways of this talk was on seeing education not as a tool to create good standardized test-takers but rather on its important role in developing good citizens.

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