One Country Thinks School Subjects Are 'Old-Fashioned,' Plans On Eliminating Them Forever
The three "Rs," reading, writing and 'rithmetic, definitely have changed in classrooms across the country. Today, things like Common Core and other new concepts sometimes baffle parents. But the basic subjects remain the same with a different approach to teaching them. School subjects like math, literature, science and history are subjects every child and adult are familiar with, but now in the 21st century, one country wants them all gone.
Known as one of the best educational systems in the world, Finland consistently ranks in the top 10 for successful programs. Only countries like China and Singapore outrank Finland in the prominent Programme for International Student Assessment rankings. But now, educational officials in Finland want to obliterate schooling as we know it. They want to erase school subjects from the standard curriculum, subjects, like physics, math, reading, geography and history.
Marjo Kyllonen, head of Finland's department of education, told the Independent that educational needs change and the country was ready for a change, too.
"We really need a rethinking of education and a redesigning of our system, so it prepares our children for the future with the skills that are needed for today and tomorrow. There are schools that are teaching in the old-fashioned way which was of benefit in the beginning of the 1900s - but the needs are not the same, and we need something fit for the 21st century."
The goal is not to teach single subjects, but rather combine all disciplines together and study events and phenomena in a new approach. Kyllonene told the Independent that, for example, studying a war would be approached by focusing on the mathematical, geographic and historic angles. Students interested in taking a vocational course could enroll in "cafeteria services" lessons, which would incorporate math, languages, writing and communication skills.
The new system is being tested with high schoolers 16 years and older and will be fully implemented across all grades by 2020. Students will be able to select what events or areas they wish to study, ensuring that they reflect upon their academic capabilities and future aspirations. This helps omit students sitting through classes that have nothing to do with their future college major or future employment.
Students also will work in small groups instead of singularly at desks. Teachers are working together collaboratively to teach individual aspects of an overall lesson instead of teaching just one subject day after day.
Pasi Silander, Helsinki's development manager, told the Independent that this new approach being tested out in his city will provide a "different kind of education to prepare for working life."
"Young people use quite advanced computers. In the past, the banks had lots of bank clerks totting up figures but now that has totally changed. We therefore have to make the changes in education that are necessary for industry and modern society."
Here is an overview of the new teaching approach.
So far, the academic results from this new method of learning in Finland show early success. In the three years since the program was first implemented for upper-level students, pupil outcomes have noticeably improved, officials say. But what do you think?