Pasi Sahlberg on Finland’s education system

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Pasi Sahlberg’s book ‘Finnish Lesson’ has helped with with my dissertation and this youtube video gives a good overview of why Finnish education is providing good results!

Thank you!

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BBC on Finnish education

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I’m currently writing my dissertation on education, I’m comparing England, Wales, Japan and Finland in order to try and find areas for development for the English and Welsh system! Just thought I’d post some of the videos from youtube that give brief overviews of the Finnish system!

Thanks!

A change in culture? A couple of issues with the capitalist privatisation of public services…

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It is common knowledge that during the consumerist age that we live in institutions such as healthcare and education have slowly (like everything else it seems) become more ‘privatised‘ and less ‘public’, but what possible negative effects are these changes having (or potentially having)? Below I have summarised two points, please comment and add more

A less localised institution – as institutions become more consumer focused within their approach to working with people (or ‘for’ people) it is a very real issue that services are likely to be made more ‘for the masses’ and the aims become generalised rather than for local individuals who receive the service on a face-to-face level. This could further enhance the globalisation process that we are currently in and be more likely to change local cultures to be more ‘global’ friendly or ‘market’ friendly (or perhaps a mixture of those things?) Is this what we want people to be learning from our health and education?

A reinforcement of capitalism – with privatisation comes competition for services and although competition can be a very good thing (for example development comes from healthy competition) competition for the right to produce services such as healthcare and education will surely focus work more around targets, statistics and agendas than around people, and their ‘needs’ or ‘wants’. Competition for these services will enhance the statistic war of who can provide the most ‘cost effective’ and ‘results based’ service. Those of us who work in the field of health, education, youth or community work can compare this to the current trend of ‘results-based accountability’ which has positives and negatives of its own.

This privatisation is a global topic, some people may be endorsing it and others may be trying to reject it (see attached picture!) it is a very real thing that is happening all around the globe with positive and negative results. I hope that through sharing knowledge and discussing the topic we may learn from each other.

References

Information learnt and paraphrased from: Peter Jarvis, 2007. Globalisation, Lifelong Learning and the Learning Society Sociological Perspectives. Oxon: Routledge. It can be found in google books here:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=l8iPetH_os4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Peter+Jarvis+Globalisation,+Lifelong+learning+and+the+learning+society&source=bl&ots=bVMrY6bjFh&sig=xeEkoWemCsTc41x6lyTUS4Cn1SU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zC6CUIzJGKnD0QWEpICIBA&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAA

Photograph taken from: The Guardian (Sri Lanka) http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/11/privatisation-and-keeping-standards-in.html all credit goes to the photographer and the individual who made the sign!

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In-case anyone noticed I haven’t been on here for a while, due to the fact that 1) I have been studying and working hard and 2) I haven’t actually had the internet for a couple of months!!

Where are we going now? 2011 riots research summary

When individuals commit crimes of theft and destruction on a large scale within society our reaction is to aslongside penalising individuals involved also ask why did this happen and how can we provent it from happening again?

And so since the summer riots of 2011 a study has been commissioned to interview individuals from the areas of London affected ‘After the Riots’ the final report of the Riot Communities and Victims Panel has now been published find the link here http://riotspanel.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Riots-Panel-Final-Report.pdf

Below is a summary of the findings of this report…please feel free to comment and add to this yourselves.

The report calls for

opportunities for all (including the young), people to respect where they live and each other, people to feel they have a stake within society, greater inter-partnership of voluntary and statutory services working for individuals in society who are struggling, police and public law to uphold the law and order, a penalising and reformative criminal justice system within all communities.

After the Riots states that there are different reasons why people may commit crimes and anti-social/anti-community behaviour and highlight 6 key areas that would build economic and social resilience within our communities.

  1. Children and Parents :- many communities involved in the research believed they rioting was a result of poor parenting. Therefore the report states that there is a need to make sure children are getting support, guidance and control from their families. The report continues to talk about the government ‘Troubled Families Programme which is believed (in a poll of 80 local authorities) to overlap with rioters families by 5%. There are key principles outlined for services that work with families; early intervention,  evidence based support for the communities to access, planning for families and not just individuals, to share data across agencies working with families to save time, an advocate for children who need to reach their potential as opposed to looking at their deficits, giving children positive role models within families or communities (including contacting absent fathers about there children).
  2. Building Personal Resilience :- many young people expressed hopelessness to the panel, the panels suggests that families are to instil character into young people including self discipline, application and the ablility to deal with set backs. Where families cannot do this children’s and young people’s services are responsible for this. Also there is also a need for schools to develop their policies on building character, testing their pupils on their character development.
  3. Hope and Dreams :- record youth unemployment among other things were mentioned in regards to young people’s lack of hopes and dreams. In a survey 43% f people thought that schools prepared people for work, there was also an accusation that schools exclude and transfer students for the wrong reasons.  A fifth of school leavers have literacy skills of or below that of an 11 year old, there is a recommendation that schools which fail to provide people with the appropriate literacy skills should pay the cost of raising their attainment via the new provider. There are also recommendations that schools to more to stop truancy and to only exclude as a last resort, there should also be inspection into transfers to ensure a transferred student has not lost any quality in their education. The report states that there is a need for a careers support quality guarantee for all pupils expressing what a child can expect in terms of guidance and support. Businesses should be an ambassador for schools.  Core NEETs (those out of education, employment or training for a year) should have a job promise form the government and a job guarantee for those NEET for two years.
  4. Riots and the Brands :- a majority of shops targeted stocked high value goods, the panel asks businesses to adopt CSR (corporate social responsibility) including apprenticeships and work opportunities. The panel asks the government to support businesses to give something back to the communities such as offering shareholder participation to shorten the growing capitalist wealth gap. In order to address concerns that pressure is put on young people through advertisement the panel writes that the Advertising Standards Authority include materialism into their engagement with young people to build their resilience to it.
  5. Usual Suspects :- the need for early intervention with offenders such as Triage, improving resources for offenders and effective punishment and rehabilitation of offenders is suggested by the panel. Alongside suggestions for community projects for offenders including unpaid work, there is also a need for inter-partnership working and mentoring for each offender.  Due to negative images of police services integrity within communities the panel states that police engage with the communities they work within to tackle negative perceptions, including improving the treatment of individuals on minor occasions by the police.
  6. Community Engagement, Involvement and Cohesion :-  there needs to develop community engagement and communication capabilities as the report found that community members felt they could not interfere with other’s lives but also felt their is a need for communities to help develop families and households. The use of community members within community projects is vital the report found as people will react more effectively with their ‘peers’ than their ‘officials’. The report suggests that volunteering be at the heart of community development.

TEDxObserver-Plan B telling Britain about it’s young people

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Please watch this if you haven’t seen it Ben Drew (Plan B) makes some very bold points about how we could all be more community minded, this is empowering stuff and I wish him all the luck he needs to make his project a success!

Thank You

Children eating, cooking and creating their own future? That’s right we don’t always have to do it for them!

The BBC News has reported on two studies which show that cookery classes encourage pupils to recognise and become more accustomed to ‘healthy’ foods resulting in a desire to eat more fruit and vegetables. Cooking isn’t just a fun, social activity it’s a skill which can be used again and again, making it a very productive form of education. Within this article a survey of 2,500 participants of the ‘Let’s get cooking’ project showed that 92% of them used their learnt skills at home.

Read the full article here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16854572

How can this be related to our current climate?

Cooking is a great way to educate children, young people and even adults on what food choices they have available, where to get them, how much they cost, what exactly they can do with them and how to use ingredients. Young people at the centre where I work love to cook, however we don’t just run cooking sessions due to the recession and budget cuts we tend to run ‘cooking on a budget’ sessions. Where we make wholesome meals (and sometimes desserts) which cost less than £5.00 for a group of people (on average I’d say around 10 people but it depends on what we cook)! So far we’ve made wonderful rice, potato and pasta dishes as well as experimenting with pancakes, chocolate, honeycomb and porridge (not all at the same time I might add!) The young people who participate are now experts at flavouring rice dishes, in love with porridge and can make their own oven chips from scratch, this week we plan to be making chicken burgers which I hope will go well (even if a session doesn’t go a 100% to plan it’s still a learning experience which can be built on).

If no-one in the group has experience of cooking a particular dish we use this website http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/. If anyone can suggest any other sites please comment below, and especially mention it if you know a recipe which will cost less than £5.00 to feed a group (we’re always on the look out for new things to try).

Thank you

What did the newspaper say about British Education today?

Well I haven’t blogged for while as I’ve been busy in my family life over the holidays, just thought I’d get back into the habit by commenting on a couple of stories that caught my eye in the Metro newspaper.

The First:

Was about accusations that teachers have been bribing pupils to stay off school and out of the way during inspections. Allegations (which have been made to the Educational Times Supplement) stated that pupils have been paid sums of money to miss the day or have even been taken on theme park trips so that inspectors do not witness their behaviour. Ofsted are treating 38 complaints as a ‘handful’ of ‘possible misrepresentation’ of schools positions.

All this makes me wonder, first of all who in their right mind as a teacher prioritises hiding badly behaved young people during inspections so much that they’re willing to risk bribery? How do these young people feel about being hidden from school inspections? And what does it teach people about behaviour, consequences and accountability? It would be interested to see whether this has actually been happening in schools and how it can be combated in the future. It’s sad that teachers fell this much pressure to achieve during inspections, and I think if these allegations are true it may be because teachers ultimately want their school to have a good reputation.

The Second:

Cases of teaching misconduct and incompetence are too be abandoned due to unavailable scheduling of hearings before the General Teaching Council for England is ‘abolished’  (metro). Cases seen as highest priority will still be address, but lesser cases will have to remain unheard and unresolved. If this is true I wonder what kind of justice this offers the people who are involved in the cases. Mostly you can assume a lot of the reports against teachers will  have been made by pupils as they are the main witnesses to teachers during the school hours (although they will not be the only ones to complain). If a person has taken the time, effort and confidence to question a teachers behaviour and complain about it then it’s a shame that the cases may not receive hearings and be resolved/have appropriate action taken. Also it’s a shame that where allegations have been falsely made teachers will not have the opportunity to be heard and to prove their competence, which would make it harder to combat any rumours which may arise from the issue.

If anyone has any information or insight into these  issues please fell free to comment as I’d like to be further enlightened on them

Thank You

Referrence: Metro Friday, January 6th 2012. Front page and page 5.