Parting gifts…primary school?

We are at the point in our time in Finland at which we are considering what gifts and souvenirs we might take home.  Moomin mugs?  Of course.  Alvar Aalto vase?  Maybe.  Iitala candy dishes?  Perhaps.  Marimekko tote bag?  Hmmm.  A years’ supply of salmiakki?  Sign me up.  What to take home as a remembrance of … More Parting gifts…primary school?

Inquiry Project: Professional Development for K-12 Educators

The culmination of my time in Finland is the creation of a professional development framework for K-12 educators based on my research and work here.  Feel free to use the resources in your own school district and do not hesitate to offer feedback.  Kiitos! Professional Development Framework: Cooperative Learning Strategies as a Best Practice in … More Inquiry Project: Professional Development for K-12 Educators

No such thing as a?

Free lunch. If I had to make only one recommendation to American policymakers about how to improve the state of public education based on what I have observed in Finland it would be this: give every kid a free lunch, every day, no questions asked. Give each kid one hot, nutritious meal regardless of family … More No such thing as a?

Sink or swim: Thoughts from Finland

The following was the basis for a talk I gave as part of the Fulbright Forum on March 17 at the University of Jyväskylä and hosted by Fulbright Finland.  My four-month research project is “Cooperative Learning Strategies as a Best Practice in Student-Directed, Globally-Minded Classrooms.”  Basically, it was a chance to present on my thinking at the … More Sink or swim: Thoughts from Finland

The kids are all right

Up here in the northern latitudes, adults start placing trust in their youth from a very young age.  Moms place six-month-olds in the arms of their 18-month-old siblings on plastic sleds and pull them around town as a mode of transportation in snowy conditions.  Toddlers ascend impressive heights on the playgrounds while their parents nonchalantly … More The kids are all right

Warts and all

Several years ago I read a piece in which the author criticized parents for being paranoid about child abductions and terror attacks when, statistically-speaking, their children were more likely to be hurt as the result of a household accident or heart disease. It talked about too much hovering and not paying attention to the things … More Warts and all

Crossing the pond: Trust vs. Mistrust

  Pre-post two-minute brainstorming video. In the late 1950s, psychologist Erik Erikson (yes, his real name) put forth his theory on human development, essentially identifying a series of stages that all humans go through on our way to forming our identities and learning how to navigate life on earth.  Erikson asserted that during each stage … More Crossing the pond: Trust vs. Mistrust

The Here and Now

I have been following Finland, or more precisely its education system, since the spring of 2011 when I was teaching Sociology. Leonard Sax wrote about Finnish schools briefly in Boys Adrift which we were reading in class. Sax described the American kindergarten of today as one which more closely resembled a first grade classroom of 30 years ago postulating … More The Here and Now