In a world where access to information and knowledge formation has become easier than ever, individuals of no matter what educational background have the capability of learning whatever subject they are willing to learn. With the right research skills, individuals can not only learn but they can also become experts in the field that interests them. So the role of academic institutions should no longer be restricted to giving information. Their primary focus should shift to preparing students with the right tools and skills to become lifetime learners. And this is one of the greatest strengths that the Finnish model represents and can offer to the rest of the world. In this blog post, we will explore the practical techniques that Finland employs to nurture lifelong learning, as a contribution to the world that Finland has all the rights to boast about.
A Focus on Intrinsic Motivation
One of the key principles of Finnish education is the belief that intrinsic motivation is the most powerful driver of learning. The Finnish approach emphasises cultivating students’ natural curiosity and passion for learning, rather than relying on external rewards or punishments. Students are encouraged to explore their interests and learn at their own pace, fostering a love for learning that extends far beyond their formal education.
Play-Based Early Childhood Education
Finland’s commitment to lifelong learning starts at an early age. Children in Finland typically begin their formal education later than in many other countries, as the emphasis in the early years is on play-based learning and social development. This approach allows children to develop essential skills such as problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity, which are crucial for lifelong learning.
Fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills
Finland promotes critical skills for students through a practical and holistic approach. One key aspect is its emphasis on a well-rounded curriculum that encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, rather than solely focusing on rote memorization. Additionally, collaborative learning is integrated into the classroom experience, encouraging students to work together on projects and engage in discussions that stimulate critical thinking.
Focusing on real world scenarios
Finnish educators strive to connect classroom lessons to tangible, real-life situations. This approach helps students see the relevance of what they are learning and how it can be applied beyond the classroom. By integrating real-world scenarios into their teaching, Finland ensures that students develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and a deep understanding of how the knowledge they gain can be put to practical use in their everyday lives and future careers.
A Flexible Curriculum
Finnish schools have a more flexible curriculum that grants teachers greater autonomy in their classrooms. This flexibility allows educators to tailor their teaching to the unique needs and interests of their students. It also allows for integrating collaborative learning, encouraging students to work together on projects and engage in discussions that stimulate critical thinking
Minimal Standardised Testing
Unlike many education systems that rely heavily on standardised testing, Finland has significantly reduced the number of tests and assessments. This approach reduces the pressure on students, allowing them to focus on understanding and mastering subjects rather than simply preparing for tests. It also helps to instil a love for learning, as students are not constantly driven by the stress of exams.
Teacher Professional Development
Finnish teachers are well-educated, and the country places a strong emphasis on continuous professional development. This commitment ensures that educators stay current with the latest teaching methods and educational research. Consequently, they are better equipped to inspire their students to become lifelong learners.
Comprehensive Student Support
Finland’s education system places a significant emphasis on providing comprehensive support to students. This includes counselling, special education, and resources for students with diverse needs. By addressing the unique needs of each student, Finland ensures that all individuals have the opportunity to thrive as lifelong learners.
Finland’s approach to education, with its emphasis on nurturing lifelong learners, is not only a model that the world can learn from, but one of the greatest gifts that Finland generously offers. By prioritising intrinsic motivation, play-based early education, a flexible curriculum, minimal standardised testing, collaborative learning, teacher professional development, and comprehensive student support, Finland has created an environment where students are motivated and equipped to continue learning throughout their lives. This commitment to lifelong learning not only benefits individuals but also contributes to the overall success and innovation of the nation. Other countries would do well to consider the Finnish approach as they strive to prepare their students for a future where learning is a lifelong endeavour.