Finland Teacher Tales Pt. 9: "The class you're about to teach will get naughty"

Guess what? You can eavesdrop in on this lesson. There's a plot twist you might see coming.

I'm James and I've come to Finland to find out how the famous Finns 'do school'. There are so many 'facts' now, so what should I believe?
I think the best way to find out is first hand!

With Finnish students constantly outperforming Australian students in international testing, my goal is to identify any key points of difference that make a difference to students learning.

"What I love most about this crazy life is the adventure of it." ~ Juliette Binoche

What would you do if you were told the next class you're about to teach is "the naughty class"?

I had my lesson planned - but when I got this warning two minutes before the class arrived I decided to change my plan.

Do you remember the 20th century classroom? What was the 'go-to' strategy that teachers used 'back in the day' when teaching the 'naughty' class? Yep, that's right... SCARE THEM!

So as this particular Year 6 class walked into the classroom they saw pictures of deadly Australian snakes on the smartboard. After a few scary stories from Australia they were the perfect students for the whole lesson!

It also helped my cause that the class had just started their new English/Geography topic: "Australia".

(BTW - After spending three days in a Helsinki school I think a Finnish teacher's definition of "naughty" might be quite different from that of an Australian teacher's. It depends on what you are used to. By Australian standards all of the Finnish students and classes I met seemed like angels.)

Be a fly-on-a-Helsinki-classroom-wall and listen to this audio of Finnish 6th graders receiving their first lesson in critical and creative thinking. Count the number of open-ended questions I ask the pupils. And listen to their answers. I love it when kids are challenged think!

James Phelps

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