From the point of view of a Finnish teacher the trust that the Danish teachers had towards their young pupils was occasionally even a little disconcerting. We saw young pupils to play without any kind of supervision near a frozen pond in a forest, pupils were acting as traffic directors on heavily trafficked roads etc. But everything worked well. We started to wonder if we, teachers, are a bit too overprotecting in Finland.
While comparing the Finnish and Danish schools we didn´t notice any difference between the way teachers and principals work together in both countries. However, there are differences in the rewarding behaviors. In Denmark it was the principal who was rewarded for his school´s success, not the teachers directly. It was left for the principal to decide whether to reward the teachers for their good results or not.
The biggest single factor that stood out and seemed rather strange to us, who are used to the Finnish culture, were the annual and public quality reports in the Danish schools. These reports were quite explicit telling, for instance, how well their school performs in respect to the neighboring schools. To a Finn this kind of measuring carried out by the state doesn´t seem to inspire and build the trust in the teachers.
By the end of the week we noticed how important it is to get to know the educational culture of other countries, especially on the ground level. The things that we found disconcerting at the beginning of the week started to make sense and seem like functioning solutions. This familiarizing oneself with a different educational culture is a very significant and important aspect in this kind of projects.
After our trip all we can say is that Denmark is a very good place for children to live and grow up!
Aki & Petteri, Veikkola School, Kirkkonummi