Author Archives: tiinakorhonen

My reflection after visiting Finland primary school

At the early of November, I had chance to go to Finland primary school, this is the place where every basic educator aspire to. The first day in Finland, I had a chance to follow the teachers from Zhongguancun No.3 primary school to Helsinki University and have a conversation with Jari Lavonen and Tiina Korhonen. From this meaningful talking, I knew that the education system in Finland, the way of teacher training, the important qualities in 21st century, teacher cooperation , crucial ability of teachers in school life and so on . I learned that teacher is the very important part in this education system.

SYK is a historical schooland has its own long storythe basic values of this school is respecttrust and growth as a person. When we come to this school, we had chance to talk with the school principal who told us the background of this school, the school history and the management philosophy and characteristics of this schoolthey pay more attention on the value of open, equality, freedom. Every school has their own education culture. What impressed me the most is the school corridor. In this corridor, it is showing the pictures of school history, school building changesand a special wall which exhibited the people’s names who make contribution to the country construction. This school share the history with students, it is also a very good education resource to encourage students to make greater progress. By understanding history, we can be better developed in every aspect in future life. I also saw the pictures which are very simple color and lines with the shape of door, the principle told us they used to encourage students should continue to progress, be brave, and have courage to open every door in their life.
liu3 liu2In SYK, I spent one week to follow Raini to experience the real school life in Finland, it is very valuable chance for me to know the education in different country, although we have different language and culture background, but we have the same passion for better education and love for children. Raini taught me a lot and answered my questions very patientlyshe tried her best to explain everything in her class, I am very touched! After I graduating from university, I want to be a good teacher and share my thinking with others.
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In this school, I learned a new learning way is “Phenomenon Based Learning”, this learning way can combine subject knowledge with real life together, children can find the studying point which they are interested. Children enjoy learning, teachers are creative to use different ways to motivate students. Every teacher has their good way to teachand all teachers can be trusted by school, family and society. In the process of learningteacher will have a clear study plan, pay attention to every student, and give special guidance to children. Students can have their own choice to join in or not. In different project phase, the teacher will have different arrangement, teaching method and works exhibition. In this school, I saw all teachers and all children can be treated equally. The atmosphere here is relaxed and fun, but rules are also strictly required.
In Finland school, technology science is used widely. Every student has their ipad and phone. I had chance to join in a computer courseswe learned how to use an website called ’’Prezi’’ to make a topic presentation which they are interested. In another school, I saw teachers guide students to play an interesting “coding game”, the degree of difficulty according to their grades. They are having fun by learning. In Raini’s class, I saw every students be encouraged to solve the problems by using technology, search the information what they need. It is very good way to learn the knowledge what they can not learn in limited class. I asked a boy ”Can you control yourself not to use your phone and play games in school ?”, the boy answered me: ”I like school very much, I just use my phone when I am allowed to use.” So excellent answer! We should try our best to let children love school, it is the basic explanation for all question.

From my observation, I know that every teacher at SYK pay much attention on the topic of “environment protection”, from lower grade to higher grade, they all have environmental studies. In fourth grade, teacher led children to know nature in different way, like “nature watch”; in 9th grade, they had an expert teacher to teach them to promote the awareness of environmental protection by using shadow play; in their school activity, I was lucky to see their material recycling Design show, very interesting
They used very creative way to design the wasted material. This kind of learning related to our real life, the development of society and the world environment, very meaningful!
I think teachers are the most important part in Finland school. In SYK, I saw many nice, warm, talented and experienced teachers. Through talking with Tiina and practicing with Raini, I found that “teacher cooperation” is very useful way to have self-development for teachers. In Raini’s fourth grade, every Wednesday, four teachers will gather together to have a discussionaim to make a new study planshare expericencessolve new problems and so on. In Raini’s study project, she want to help children to know the different weather, temperatureplants and animals in different areas in Finland at the same time, she will cooperate with teachers in different areas, they use video, pictures to know each other, it is very informative way to teach with the way of teacher cooperation. In future work and study life, I will try to make self-improvement, strive to become a professional teacher, and provide better learning resources to my students. Thanks for Raini set a good example for me.
After half month visiting in Finland, I was deeply impressed by very nice teachers and students. I saw Raini apply drama in their literature study very well, I saw very creative children in the class. I am really grateful for this valuable experience happened in my life, it help me to have better progress. I will work hard in the future, and strive to become a good teacher
BR, LiuJia,  Capital Normal University

Global Innokas Friendships

At the Global Innokas network meeting I met teachers from Helsinki and Oulu. We decided to get familiar with each other’s classes and schools as well as different sides of our country. There would be a school from the capital city (3rd grade), a small school from the countryside (1st grade) and a big school from a town in Northern Finland (5th grade) involved in this partnership. We decided to set FaceTime and Skype connections between the schools. The classes made questions for each other to try and guess the location of the other school and they were only allowed to answer with “yes” or “no”. My class was the first grade and luckily they had the easiest job to figure out the location of the other schools since they were located in big cities. The other two classes had a tougher time trying to guess our location. We also prepared ourselves for the video call by filming the surroundings of our school with iPads and compiled them into an introduction trailer.

The other classes also sent introductions of their hometowns for us to see. We’re planning to continue our collaboration in autumn by sending our ‘friendship classes’ presentations we’ve been making in our environmental studies and Finnish classes.
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Heli, Hankasalmi Asema School

Co-operation works well!

It is a fine opportunity to work with a colleague and a class from China. My students have asked lot of questions from their new friends, like: How long are your school days? What is your favourite movie? What hobbies do you have? It is good to see that there are things that are pretty much the same in both countries but also to see and to understand the differencies. My students were quite amazed about schooldays in Beijing: 5th graders have eight school hours per day!

My students have made A3-sized postcards to their friends in Beijing. I will take them to China as a souvenir from Finland.

Raini Sipilä, SYK

A Wonderful Conversation

A lot of things has happened this spring between Helsinki and Beijing. I have got WeChat -messages nearly everyday from my Chinese colleague Sienna,  my class has worked well with the theme Nest and now Sienna’s class in Beijing has started the project aswell.

Today we finally met: a FaceTime call let us talk face to face. I think it is marvellous how technology helps us to build relationships between people from different parts of the world. I and Sienna had a wonderful conversation about our schools, our jobs as teachers, and about becoming GEC Conference. We decided to meet at least twice before our teaching demo. We also decided to make another FaceTime call on next Monday so that our students could see each other and ask some questions. It is nice that the same project is happening in Finland and in China at the same time!

Raini from SYK

Helsinki – Beijing – connected!

Co-operation with Chinese colleagues has started slowly. I think the main problem was that I didn’t success to create a GEC-email account – so my Chinese colleagues perhaps thought I was too lazy to answer their e-mail. But as the summer – and the GEC Conference – gets closer the more we chat  – by WeChat.

My Chinese colleagues are Ms. Xiaoshuang Xi and Ms. Haijing Du from Beijing Zhongguancun 4th. Primary School. I have chatted mostly with Xiaoshuang (Sienna) and we have thought our project based learning unit. At the moment it seems that our topic will be a Nest. It will be marvelous to see what will happen in Helsinki and what will happen in Beijing. This is a fine opportunity for me to see how things work in China and how I and my Chinese colleagues will build a project together.

My 3rd graders have made video and Power Point -presentations about Helsinki. I have tried to send them to China, but for some reason I haven’ t succeeded. But we keep on trying!

Raini Sipilä, SYK

Global collaboration seminar in Yyteri, Pori, Finland 3.-4.9.2015

National Board of Education organized global collaboration seminar 3.-4.9. in Pori, Finland. Global Innokas team started bright and early on Thursday morning with Global Innokas network gathering. We shared experiences since last meeting in March and planned the events for the upcoming year.


In the seminar we heard many presentations on the different views of global education. The Finnish Board of Education emphasized the importance of networking globally both nationally and internationally. Sharing and working together offers better opportunities for new innovations. There is power in a network! The new learning environments together with ICT create easier opportunities for crossing boundaries in global collaboration.

We had during the seminar great possibility to share greetings from Global Educational Community (GEC) schools:

We also heard a lot about the new Finnish curriculum starting in August 2016 and how the local and global citizenship are presented in it. In small groups we shared ideas on how to implement it in practice. Everyone chose at least one of these to try in their own work and shared it on the Wall of promises. For example Anu promised to use students as guides for international visitors this school year. Juhana promised to skype abroad with his students. Jaana and Minna also promised to use Mystery Skype, Seppo (SmartFeet) and Ted talks with their students. Can’t wait to try these out!

Tiina, Minna, Kati, Anna-Kristiina, Juhana, Hannu, Minna, Jaana ja Anu

Finnish Penpals

One of the best products of my trip to Helsinki, Finland, for a meeting with Innokas and the Global Education Foundations, was meeting and collaborating with two educators from a Finnish school north of Helsinki.  We planned and put a plan in place to set up penpals between our classrooms and use a.   We wanted our initial letters to be handwritten so that the students felt they were more personal and got the feeling of receiving something in the mail from another country.   From there, they could then continue corresponding via email or post (whichever they preferred).  We also planned to share projects that we were doing in class to help give our students a real global audience to which they could share their learning.  To do this, we set up a blog called Bridging Communities (this ties in with the Building Bridges theme from the Global Education Foundation).  There was such a benefit to meeting and working with these two in person.  A bond was created that made it feel more comfortable when we communicated by email afterwards.

Last week our first letters arrived and the students were ecstatic to receive them.  For the most part we were able to pair them one to one, boy to boy and girl to girl, with a couple sharing a pen pal or receiving two.  The students read their letters and immediately were sharing with each other and asking some questions of me, such as what team is Oulun Kärpät (a Finnish ice hockey team), what is floorball, and what is a pedal car.  The letters lead to lots of discussions about similarities and differences from Finland to the USA.

When most of the discussion had died down, the kids asked if they could begin writing their penpals back.  My response was of course.  They began writing and you could have heard a pin drop until they began sharing what they had written, asking for ideas of what to share with their penpal, and wondering if it was okay to say Americanized things in the letters like football or tv show names.

I’m so excited to continue this collaboration into future school years and grow by connecting with more schools in other countries.  The engagement level for our students has increased for wanting to create projects to share, have time for writing, and we are building relationships that could span a lifetime.

Nicole, Jefferson & Roosevelt Elementary schools, Janesville, USA

Building GEC, conference day in Finland

Innokas Network and the Department of Teacher Education at University of Helsinki had the great pleasure of organizing the Global Educational Community (GEC) Finland conference day on March 6. During the conference day we promoted GEC to the wider audience in Finland, reflected on previous GEC experiences, and built and modeled GEC in practice.

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During the first session we introduced participants to Global Educational Community background, goals and practice. We also had the opportunity to hear GEC educator and musician Chris Kohn perform his own song “Building Bridges”. GEC leaders Professor Guoli Liang from Wisconsin University and Professor Ann Lieberman from Stanford sent their video greetings, followed by an open mic session between GEC teachers from Australia, USA, China and Finland. GEC teachers learned from each other about the great projects they are doing with students in schools.

Video greetings from professor Guoli Liang

Video greetings from professor Ann Lieberman

We also had the honor to welcome Counsellor of Education Paula Mattila from the Finnish National Board of education as our visiting lecturer. She facilitated a discussion on global education as part of the Finnish National Curriculum and on global education in general.

After the opening sessions, conference participants formed global teams, with the task of starting to “model the GEC”. The idea behind the task was that each global team would get to know each other, have an opportunity to discuss the day´s topics and would start to model GEC by using Innovation Education materials and tools. The global teams were so focused in building their GEC models that they almost forgot lunch!

In the afternoon professor Jari Multisilta ran a great presentation about ICT in Global Education, and Professor Jari Lavonen talked about linking the Innovative School model with global education. Tiina Korhonen, the Head of Innokas Network, summarized the Innovation Education idea and challenged all GEC educators to make learning and operational innovations and share them globally.

In the last session, each global team finalized their models and presented them, complete with accompanying stories. The models and stories about GEC highlighted the day – what a great idea and needs sharing moment it was! We agreed to share these moments with the larger GEC community.

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It´s a great to be part of GEC and to build it together with you. The next step is to build strong partnerships with schools, teachers and students to make global education a part of everyday school life. We’ll have our next meetings next summer in China (summer conference) and a GEC Finland meeting in September.

If you are interested in joining GEC please don´t hesitate to contact us!

Tiina, Kati and Minna