Author Archives: katisormunen

Erasmus 2017 – Bedford

The main purpose of the 3T project is to compare and thus reflect the three different school systems of the participating countries. The schools involved in this project are from Finland, Denmark and the UK. In addition there is also a consulting firm from Denmark taking part in this project and their main focus is to get useful tips for building Danish schools as well as for their interior design.

The first step of the project was taken at the beginning of June in 2017 in Bedford, England.

Before the trip each participating Finnish school was given a task which was to be returned to the coordinator of the hosting country by email.

The programme in Bedford was divided on four days and the participants were equally divided into four groups so that each group had members from each participating country. The groups spent their first day in the school of their English member. During the day we had an opportunity to get to know the everyday life of a typical English school. Our hosting schools were Castle Newnham, Livinstone School, Westfield School and Biddenham School.

The second day was reserved for visiting various schools. Each group visited four different schools so the total number of school visits was 16. Each of these schools differed greatly from the others and they included preschools, primary and secondary schools as well as some private schools. Each group made observations during their visits.

During the third day we were given an opportunity to visit the University of Bedfordshire. On the campus we had a guided tour and visited e.g. their Faculty of Education and School of Teacher Education. The rest of the day was spent in making preparations for the last day. These preparations were made among the visitors of the same country and not as was originally planned.

As I mentioned before the purpose of the trip was to observe the English school system. The fourth day we spent in a meeting where one Finnish group and four Danish groups shared their observations from two previous days. This feedback with all its pros and cons was very informative and diverse.

Petteri and Aki, Veikkola School

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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

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.

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– Anu and Kati from Innokas

Greetings to Santa and friends in Rovaniemi

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The mystery skype turned out to be not so mysterious after all 🙂 The children from Rovaniemi recognized Anu from the springs Robo Cup -competition in Helsinki and the children from Espoo had read too well the papers on the classroom wall. For on the plan for this years activities and events said “Mystery skype Rovaniemi”. This plan was made in September when the Finnish Global Innokas teachers met in the University of Helsinki. So it only took about 5 minutes and we knew where the others are from. Last minute we remembered that Christmas was closing in and remembered to send greetings to Santa.

Work continued in each end. The children in Jalavapuisto Espoo were very interested in our new friends from Rovaniemi. How old they are and do they also study in a bilingual class. They enjoyed picking a friend to send a Christmas card to. These cards are now on their way and we hope they bring lots of joy to Ounasrinne school’s class 6C.

5K class, Jalavapuisto school, Espoo, Finland

Mystery Skype!

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We had night school. During night school we had a mystery skype. We called with skype to someone that we didn’t know (well the teacher knew). We could ask “yes/no”-questions from the other class and try to figure out where they are from.

“Do you live in Europe?”

“Is it 8 P.M. Where you are?”

“Do you speak another language than English?”

“Is it hot where you live?”

Just to name a few. We found out that our mystery skype class was calling us from Janesville, Wisconsin, America. Next we are going to get together in Edmodo and get to know each other better.

5K class, Jalavapuisto school, Espoo, Finland

Autumn greetings from Global Innokas!

This week our Global Innokas Network experienced global education in many angels. First, we participated in a state grant applicants’ seminar day organised by Finnish Board of Education. We heard speeches of global competences, how to grow up to be global citizen and new sights of language education. We also had an opportunity to connect with actors from Finnish educational field that implement global education in their municipalities. kuva1

Second, we had a meeting with Finnish Global Innokas teachers in the University of Helsinki. The teachers shared best practices from the last school year and planned this year’s activities and events. Fruitful face-to-face conversations and working together for the same goal is fairly important to teachers as well as us organizers. In such skilful and ingenious group, new kind of educational innovations can truly nourish!

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Helsinki meets Oulu and Hankasalmi – thanks to Facetime and Skype

At last Global Innokas -meeting teachers from different parts of Finland gathered together, had great conservations but also built mental bridges together. The idea of ‘Our Neighbour School’ started to grow in teachers’ minds: we decide to connect our classes here in Finland by FaceTime and Skype. We didn’t tell our pupils what part of Finland we were going to connect them; they had an opportunity to make up some questions to find out the city where the other class was.

So during past couple of weeks pupils in Helsinki have been searching Finland. Boys and girls have made little presentations about Helsinki and we will send them to both Oulu and Hankasalmi. Today we saw a wonderful trailer made by Hankasalmi teachers and pupils!

We had difficulties with Skype: weather we saw only picture or just heard voices. We’ll try again! But FaceTime worked fantasticly. Pupils in Helsinki were really exited to talk with pupils from Hankasalmi. This work will continue!

– Raini, SYK