Exploring school system in England on Erasmus+ 3T’s – project

On our Erasmus+ -trip to Bedford we had a wonderful opportunity to see out nearly the whole education system in England. We had time to follow lessons in different kinds of schools; we had conversations with students, teachers, principals and University staff.

Through Finnish perspective, English school system seems very complicated compared to ours. Instead of comprehensive school, there are systems in a system. Roughly, there are either independent or public schools but within this division, there still are many systems: nursery schools, preschools, maintained schools, academies, independent schools, special schools and pupil referral units. Independent schools cost a lot of money; public schools are free of charge.

A new system will take place in becoming September. Then so-called foundation stage will contain nursery and preschool (3-5 years). Primary school will be divided in two key stages: key stage 1 and 2 (5-7 years, 7-11 years). Secondary school will include stages 3, 4 and 5 (11-14 years, 14-16 years, 16-18 years).

Nursery school starts at age of three. All 3 and 4 year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare a week. The rest of daily care is charged. Free 15-hour childcare is also extended to the most disadvantaged 2 year-olds. In England, it is believed that education from early ages brings good achievements. Daily activities are more or less based on subjects like math, science and English. Same subjects are seen important throughout the whole school path.  During school days, children practice reading, writing, counting, measuring etc. We even saw four-year-old children writing sentences on their small whiteboards.

Studying and teaching at primary and secondary schools seems to be very hard and demanding for both students and teachers. Studying under pressure because of test results affects teaching and learning in various ways. SATS (Standard Assessment Tests) tests are taken at the end of year 2, year 6 and year 9. They are used to show child’s progress compared to other children born on the same month. In UK testing is a part of normal routine. School days in England are long, families either pay for their children’s school lunch or give them packed lunch and the amount of homework is huge.

One of the most awakening moments was a 15-year-old girl’s speech on her English lesson. The topic was quite provoking: Why school sucks? This youngster was worried about (endless) testing and what that kind of testing will do to young and growing children. It is a good question for every teacher!

We got so many new experiences during this school tour in England that we could never imagine. It is a true privilege to be a part of this 3T -project team!

Heli, Asema School and Raini, SYK

Advertisements

Exploring the 3 T’s in Erasmus project

Three Finnish schools from Innokas network had a change to take part in an Erasmus project with England and Denmark. The theme for this two year project is Time, Talent and Technology; the 3 T’s. The schools, which decided to apply, were SYK from Helsinki, Veikkola school from Kirkkonummi and Asema school from Hankasalmi.

During the first year of the project the aim is to observe the 3T’s in each country by visiting them and their schools. In June 2017 the Danish and the Finnish representatives visited Bedford in England for 4 days and during those days had a great opportunity of visiting altogether over 20 schools. Here are some of the observations the Finnish team made. The schools in the Bedford area were very interested to hear about these observations and use them to develop their schools in these areas.

taulukkoKuva yliopistolta

– Anu and Kati from Innokas

Jaana’s and Alice’s GEC project in Beijing

 

Our collaboration with students started with the games and the presentation about Finland. After these students made posters about the similarities and differences between China and Finland. The most popular similarities were four seasons, but the most popular difference was the lenght of summer time. About the school students were very eager to know that there is a free hot lunch in Finland, but in China they had to pay for their lunch. One of the biggest difference was the free-time that Finnish students have a lot and Chinese students only sometimes.

On the second time we met the students we played the Finnish game called “Juoru” (gossip in English). During that game students had to whisper to the next one what they did hear from the previous student. The main point of that game was to demonstrate how the sentence changed when it was told by many persons. The same thing happens with the gossips – they are not the same after many persons.

After playing students started to think about the basic knowledge of our playground equipment theme. In that case we used the method called “Learning cafe”. During that the groups of students moved from the table to another one and thought about the themes one by one. The themes were materials for the real equipment, materials for the model equipment, structures of the equipments, adjectives of the equipments of students’ dreams and places where to place designed equipments. During working students were allowed to use dictionaries and Internet to find translations and information. When every group had go through all themes, groups presented the ideas what was written down on the mind maps and we had a discussion about all themes.

Students designed their playground equipment by using the planning paper. They drew a picture of the equipment and wrote down the main details of it, f. ex. the height, width, the size of the model, materials for the real one and for the model and also they thought where to place their equipment in their own school yard.

When the plannings where finalized, students gave feedback to other groups. For the second time we used the method called learning cafe. After getting the feedback, students improved their plans.

After planning it was time to build the miniature of their own school. During our demo lesson students continued their work and build the playground equipments that they planned before.

The conference participants followed the stream of our lesson in the Hall of Achievement. During our lesson there was also a interpreter who translated our lesson into Chinese. After the demo lesson we teacher went to the stage, presented our project and answered all questions asked by the audience.

We also presented them a video that tells what we had done during the Spring in Finland and in Taiyuan.

-Jaana from Metsokangas Comprehensive School, Oulu-

2017 The 5th Annual Elementary Education International Conference – Our School-Neighbor’s School

Global Educational Community and The Authentic Learning Institute held an international conference in Beijing on the 8th-9th June.

 

Innokas-Network had an important role by taking Finnish teachers to work and co-operate with their Chinese colleagues during the conference week. Before that teacher-teams had collaborated by planning and implementing projects on learning environments in their own countries. A few days before the conference teacher-teams met in Beijing and modified their projects. Moreover, Finnish teachers educated and supported their Chinese colleagues on the innovation process. The aim was to model Finnish teaching practices to Chinese teachers in authentic learning sessions.  To do so, there where Chinese students from different areas from China. Finally, teacher-teams gave demo-lessons to conference participants. The demos were reflected by the audience teachers and all the participants from the Beijing Normal University and Beijing Capital University and elsewhere.

Panel discussions were important parts of the conference. Minna took part in the discussion about the equality in Finnish schools and Finland. Johanna’s panel discussion was about the authentic learning. Both discussions were held in Chinese, so Finnish panelistics had an interpreter to keep them aware of the main point of the discussion.

Minna had a keynote speech about the Finnish school system and new curriculum, Innokas network and teaching practices. The main points of her speech were the phenomena and project based learning, collaboration between students and teachers and students based learning.

Moreover, the Finnish participants took part in the radio interview about the equality in Finland, transversals skills, multidisciplinary learning units and Finnish school’s success in PISA assessment. They also discuss the learning outcome and the main point of the new curriculum and it’s affects in nowadays’ Finnish schools.

-GEC team 2017: Minna K., Minna K., Johanna, Raini and Jaana-

Collaboration with Hong Kong schools

Our collaboration with Hong Kong started in August 2016. 1K-class from Jalavapuisto School in Espoo was happy to get a friend school called Holm Glad No.2 (The Mission Covenant Church Holm Glad No. 2 Primary School). Holm Glad No.2 has started an academy project called ‘Learning by Doing’. This project aims to change culture at the whole school level for example, by giving teachers s supportive school environment that puts people instead of grades first.

 We have been emailing, sending pictures and videos telling about our class and school day whereas they’ve been telling about their school and taking us to ‘the trip’ around the town introducing their neighbourhood. And we also started a match ‘Checkers’ going on on WhatsApp between Hong Kong and Espoo.

We teachers have been chatting on Skype two times now. Listening to each others plans and hopes and of coarse getting to know each other better.We are going to go on our collaboration after the summer. 

 This far this has been rewarding yet challenging. We’ve been happy to learn about their culture which differs from ours quite a lot. Several emails and Skype chats have been a great way not only to get to know the teachers better but also their always optimistic way of thinking.

 Linda Mattila from Koulumestari School in Espoo has also been working with Holm Glad No.2 with me. Planning and sharing ideas together has been a great help when thinking about this in all.

BR,
Hanna Mäkynen, Jalavapuisto school, Espoo

FULBRIGHT VISITORS AND SPRING IN ASEMA SCHOOL

We had a great school day in March when we got two Fulbright visitors from USA. We don’t have visitors often so the children (and adults too..) were really excited and happy to meet them. We had planned water-themed workshops for the preschoolers and children in the first and second class. Also the children with special needs took part in the workshops. Overall we had six teachers and 50 students doing this project. The visitors were science teachers and they told me beforehand some very good tips for planning the day.

For many children it was a unique experience to meet people from another country because not so many of them have ever traveled outside of Finland. Nat and Stephen took part in the workshops doing the same things as the children. We found that nonverbal gestures are really international. The kids don’t speak English at all except some phrases. Especially I liked that Stephen and Nat went out with children and played with them. For example one of the preschoolers asked me what is kivi paperi sakset in English and when Stephen knew he meant rock paper scissors he was so happy to play with Stephen. The kids found out that the visitors also knew hide and seek.

We have been following spring coming to our village with SYK. It has been a really strange spring as you know. This year it has been snowing in May even in Helsinki. And suddenly we noticed that after few warm days we could find spring flowers near the school! My students wanted to send cards to those in SYK because the next autumn they will have a new teacher and I will continue cooperation with the new class. They also wanted to show what they have been learning in English lessons during the school year. So they filmed videos with iPads introducing themselves.

-Heli, Hankasalmi Asema School

3D creations

On the 18th and 19th of May we had a work shop in Robocup event in the university of Oulu. In that work shop the participants had a possibility to test 3D pen. The idea was to plan a school yard of their dreams and some playing equipments and constructions to the yard. The work shop was very popular and we got so many great creations made mostly by kids but also by the adults who took part to the event. Here are some photos of the creations that were made.

Petri, Jaana and Minna