Teacher Reflections

An A+ Student Regrets his Grades & Finland

I just read an article, An A+ Student Regrets his Grades, that reminded me of my own schooling and reminded me what I aspire to be as an educator.

The passages that resonated with me most were:

Education is not confined to the walls of a classroom; it stretches well beyond that. Valuing success above all else is a problem plaguing the schooling systems, at all levels, of many countries including Canada and the United States, and undermining those very qualities that are meant to foster an educated and skillful society.”

The system teaches us that if you get ‘As’ across the board, you’ll be successful. And if you fail a course, you’ll be labelled incompetent or hopeless. These pressures force students to regard education as a mere schooling tenure where the goal is to input a sufficient amount of work to output the highest possible grades. We sacrifice learning for schooling. (emphasis mine) 

Finland’s nonconformist education system – the best in the world – should serve as an example of how students ought to see their educational experience. Finnish students don’t start school until they’re 7; they aren’t measured for the first six years of their education; and they rarely take exams or do homework until they are well into their teens. These students aren’t raised to see school as a measurement cycle where everything comes down to standardized testing, graded assignments and exams worth large portions of their final grade. Their educational culture is substantially different from the evaluation-driven Western world.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcC2l8zioIw]

I would like to see the documentary above. I know many critiques of their success point out how socio-economically  homogeneous the population in Finland is compared to America. However, I teach at a school that is more similar to Finland’s schools in demographics than an average slice of America.

I would like to keep growing as an educator to teach my students how “to learn how to learn – to become independent, innovative thinkers capable of changing the world.”  

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