In the News (from The Independent): “For years, Finland has been the by-word for a successful education system, perched at the top of international league tables for literacy and numeracy.
“Which makes it all the more remarkable that Finland is about to embark on one of the most radical education reform programmes ever undertaken by a nation state – scrapping traditional ‘teaching by subject’ in favour of ‘teaching by topic.’
“’This is going to be a big change in education in Finland that we’re just beginning,’ said Liisa Pohjolainen, who is in charge of youth and adult education in Helsinki – the capital city at the forefront of the reform programme.
“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.
“More academic pupils would be taught cross-subject topics such as the European Union – which would merge elements of economics, history (of the countries involved), languages and geography.
“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.
“Early data shows that students are benefiting too. In the two years since the new teaching methods first began being introduced, pupil ‘outcomes’ – they prefer that word to standards – have improved.”
My Comment: Everything that is group-related (connection) and closer to life (theme) will have a positive impact on knowledge and behavior.