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Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? (Series on School Reform) [Kindle Edition]

Pasi Sahlberg
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

This book will give hope, vision, and strategies to anyone who is sincere in bringing a great education to every child. Pick it up and read it. --Education Week's BookMarks

Pasi Sahlberg as an insider knows what has happened and as a researcher has an objective perspective on cause and effect relationships. This story makes sense to me. --Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director, Finnish Broadcasting Company and former Minister of Education (1994 1999)

Finland's remarkable educational story, so well told in this book by Pasi Sahlberg, is both informative and inspiring because it shows that with appropriate effort sustained over time, a country can make huge improvements for its young people, something that all countries aspire to do. --Ben Levin, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

Product Description

“It is now time to break down the ideological and exceptionalism of the United States and other Anglo-American nations, if we are to develop reforms that will truly inspire our teachers to improve learning for all our students—especially those who struggle the most. In that essential quest, Pasi Sahlberg and his work is undoubtedly one of the very best teachers of all.”
—From the Foreword by Andy Hargreaves, Lynch School of Education, Boston College

Finnish Lessons is a first-hand, comprehensive account of how Finland built a world-class education system during the past three decades. The author traces the evolution of education policies in Finland and highlights how they differ from the United States and other industrialized countries. He shows how rather than relying on competition, choice, and external testing of students, education reforms in Finland focus on professionalizing teachers’ work, developing instructional leadership in schools, and enhancing trust in teachers and schools. This book details the complexity of educational change and encourages educators and policymakers to develop effective solutions for their own districts and schools.

Pasi Sahlberg is Director General of CIMO (Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation) at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

Advance Praise

“The story of Finland’s extraordinary educational reforms is one that should inform policymakers and educators around the world. No one tells this story more clearly and engagingly than Pasi Sahlberg. This book is a must read.”
Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University


“A terrific synthesis by a native Finn, a teacher, a researcher, and a policy analyst all rolled up into one excellent writer. Pasi Sahlberg teaches us a great deal about what we need to know before engaging in national educational reforms.”
David Berliner, Arizona State University

“This book is a wake-up call for the United States. Finland went from mediocre academic results to one of the top performers in the world. And they did it with unions, minimal testing, national collaboration, and elevating teaching to a high-status calling. This is the antidote to the NCLB paralysis.”
Henry M. Levin, Teachers College, Columbia University

“Pasi Sahlberg is the best education policy expert to share the Finnish experiences with the international community. This book confirms that he is not only a practitioner but also a visionary that we Finns need when searching for the solutions to our educational challenges.”
Erkki Aho, Director General (1973–1991), Finnish National Board of Education

“Pasi Sahlberg as an insider knows what has happened and as a researcher has an objective perspective on cause and effect relationships. This story makes sense to me.”
Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director, Finnish Broadcasting Company and former Minister of Education (1994–1999)

“Finland’s remarkable educational story, so well told in this book by Pasi Sahlberg, is both informative and inspiring because it shows that with appropriate effort sustained over time, a country can make huge improvements for its young people, something that all countries aspire to do.”
Ben Levin, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 883 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press (12 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CDSTBG6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #101,561 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wider lessons 22 Nov. 2011
Format:Paperback
Pasi Sahlberg has written a remarkable book showing how Finland established a high performing education system by adopting policies counter to that which came in across most Western education systems. He calls these the GERM - the Global Education Reform Movement. The features of the GERM are: standardizing teaching and learning with common criteria for measurement and data; increased focus on core subjects, particularly literacy and numeracy; teaching a prescribed curriculum; transfer of models of administration from the corporate world; high stakes accountability policies - control through testing, inspection, division between schools and an ethos of punishment (for educators.

Sahlberg shows how Finland took another route, yet which led to high performance, even by international comparators. Its success was achieved by the simple solution of framing the development of the system around dialogue based on professionalism, trust and responsibility. It fostered practice change through reflection over theories and models of education whilst other countries focused on performance management, standardized testing and inspection.

As so many education systems opted for public grading, `shaming and blaming' of schools and teachers (for what?), ratcheting up pressure, and a mantra of `excellence' proclaimed as a threat not an aim, Finland went another way looking for the conditions which promote success and set about involving school communities in the process. This book is an antidote to `Race to the Top' (USA) `Journey to Excellence' (Scotland) and `raising the bar to outstanding' (England) by a process which works by more humble means, yet would seem to work very well indeed. Read this book to find out how this success was achieved.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
This book tells an extraordinary tale about the transformation of Finland's education system from a mediocre to a world-class one.

Our leading politicians make references to Finland's achievement and to the high qualifications of its teachers. What they fail to mention is that virtually everything about Finland's transformation of its education systems is the opposite to what is happening to English education. Thus

(1) virtually all Finnish children go to a local authority maintained comprehensive school;
(2) Finnish children are subjected to very few high-stakes tests and exams;
(3) Finland has not gone down the path of longer school days, they have achieved 'more with less';
(4) Finnish children have a light homework load;
(5) Finnish teachers are trusted in a way that is almost unimaginable in the UK. They don't even have a national inspectorate;
(6) The transformation of their system was achieved by an effort involving all interested parties stretching over a period of 25 years or so;
(7) The Finnish debate was conducted on the basis of a high level of information with the aim of achieving consensus;
(8) The Finns clearly rejected market solutions to educational problems deciding that it was society's duty to supply good schools for everyone rather than giving parents the 'right' to fight for limited places in 'good schools'.

We doing the opposite to all this following the US Charter school model. That model is turning out to be truly awful. We need to re-think and this book is a great help in seeing that current "debate" in the UK badly needs some information on alternative approaches.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By _roope_
Format:Paperback
Fact: the Finnish primary/secondary education system is without a doubt the best in the world.
Fact: this book is hands-down the best account of the Finnish system and the reasons for its success.
Fact: if you're an educator or an education policy maker, this book is quite simply a must-read.
Enough said.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really interesting book, a real game-changer! 17 Feb. 2012
By Angel
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a must-read for anyone interested in education. Written in a very methodical, clear, factual style without any hype or outlandish claims, it describes how much better the Finnish education system is compared with those in the UK. It demonstrates that the current education "reformers" are really nothing of the sort. If we want to have a decent school system we should look to Finland.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vital content but untidy organisation 19 Dec. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first book for an International audience on Finnish education, written by one of the key protagonists. Because Finland blazes a trail as world leader in education, this book is therefore vital reading.

It explains that a collection of methods that form a systematic approach to education policy is the reason for high quality teaching and effective learning. And how these methods are almost diametrically opposed to the methods used in countries such as the UK and the US. It does concede that the homogeneous and extremely socially minded nature of Finnish people, coupled with very low poverty levels, does give them a head start, and means less time spent managing misbehaviour. But the approaches it has taken over a 30 year period make for extremely enlightening reading. If, as it seems, they are the reason for its success, then here in the UK, we are seriously misguided on too many aspects of education. And my gut feel is that this is very much the case.

I will not spoil the reading by listing these methods.

But I can only award the book 4 stars because it appears to have been written in one pass. There is a great deal of repetition, and a weakly organised structure. There is also too much self-congratulation, although this is occasionally offset by very honest declarations of shortcomings that remain in their system, such as the single high-stake matriculations at the end of the compulsory part of school education.

Read 5+ stars for content, and 2 to 3 stars for the communication of that content.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all who care about young people
Essential reading for all who worry that education doesn't fit with how children best learn. Finland tops all achievement tables without inspection,frequent formal tests,... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Janet May
5.0 out of 5 stars How to create a world-class education system.
Imagine an education system where all children go to a local comprehensive school, there are very few tests and exams, no streaming or setting, no league tables and no national... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jazzrook
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to know about education in Finland, this is the book you...
If you want to know about education in Finland, this is the book you need to read...
It's an accessible book, I used it for my dissertation but I think it's a book that people... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Student
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading
This extraordinary book corroborates and vindicates those of us who have always believed that education in childhood need not negate being a child -- that education can and should... Read more
Published 22 months ago by R. Stark
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent analysis of Finnish education systems
An honest account by Sahlberg of the strengths and weaknesses of the Finnish education system and why it seems to produce the best educational outcomes Worldwide. Read more
Published 24 months ago by ms CE DAVIES
5.0 out of 5 stars best book for educationalists and policy makers
This book tells it as it is and it should be mandatory reading for anyone making educational policy. If only our own politicians would read this and take note. Read more
Published on 7 July 2012 by Dr. T. C. Fish
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review
I bought this book to support my work as a Curriculum Manager at Plumpton College. My interest lies in why the Finnish educational system is so highly rated. Read more
Published on 2 July 2012 by Mr. M. Shorten
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