Category Archives: Teachership

Erasmus 3T – Collaborating in Bedford 

 

This time teachers and school developers from Denmark and Finland gathered in Bedford for a week in October. The week was full of different school visits, great conversations about the English educational system and observation of the three T’s (time, talent and technology (and trust)).  

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Our visit to England started with a reunion in a local restaurant. After a fun evening together it was time to start the activities. On the first day we had a chance to visit the University of Bedfordshire. It was very interesting to hear about the English school system. We spent the next days in different schools where participants got to know the school, observe lessons and even teach microlessons. The last day of the week provided again an opportunity for each delegation to present their thoughts and reflections to each other and discuss together.  

When discussing technology we found similar things that came up in both Finnish and Danish reflections. For us technology education in England seems like a separate entity from other education. This led to discussions about how to integrate technology in schools in order that it would be helpful and useful in pedagogical way.  

Reflections on talent included discussions on grouping of pupils and ranking. One big topic was also trust. We noticed that headmasters trust their teachers but the lack of trust is evident from the government’s side and that leads to ongoing testing and registrations.  

In a time perspective we talked about structured lessons and classrooms. Everything seemed to be very structured and that was one thing that was different from Finnish schools where we don’t have strict schedules and pupils may have just one or two tasks per lesson. Overall our visit to Bedford was great and we learned a lot about the English perspective to education and at the same time gained new insight into our own system. 

Asta Ansolahti and Kati Sormunen / The Innokas Network 
 

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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-

GEC project about the school yard of students’ dreams

My and Junfang’s GEC project is about designing the school yard of students’ dreams. We have started our co-operation via WeChat, wrote the project plan and started the project with our students in May. The co-operation has been successful and WeChat very convenient way to keep in touch.


The main idea of our project is to design and build the playground equipment of students’ dreams and place them to the miniature versio of students’ own school yard. During the project students learn how the supporting structure of the playground equipments (f. ex. triangle structure, reinforced bars etc.) affects on safety. They also learn to design and build the playground equipments of their dreams, they test which material is the best option for the making a model of the playground equipment (paper, toothpins and marshmallows, 3D pen or modelling clay) and they also learn to make a video by using their own mobile phones or school’s digital cameras while documenting their work.

During the project students will work in groups of 3-4. At first all students study the knowledge about the playground equipments after seeing the pictures of equipments. They will study knowledge by searching answers to these questions: what kind of structure of the playground equipment is strong (f. ex. triangle structure, reinforced bars), what kind of shape of the playground equipment is strong and suitable and which are the best material for the real playground equipments and why they are the best options. They will also write down adjectives which describe the equipments of their dreams.

After studying the basic knowledge students will design their equipment by drawing it and writing down the main words they will need while presenting their plans. After that they will build, fold or mold their equipment and place it to the miniature versio of their school yard.

Junfang will build the miniature version of their school yard in Taiyuan before coming to Beijing with her students because they need the pictures of their school’s walls.

– Jaana from Metsokangas Comprehensive School –

Fulbright teachers visiting Oulu

Two Fulbright teachers from USA visited our school before the winter holiday.

On the first day in Oulu they visited the lukio of Oulunsalo. During that day they saw how the students use e-books and different software f. ex. during the Maths lessons, heard about the Finnish lukio system and interviewed a few students about the futuristic world.

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On the second day of their visit they visited our school in Metsokangas. Steven’s morning started with the interview with 9th Graders and Nat took part in the Chemistry lesson. After that they both had a possibility to visit the Handcrafts lesson with 6th Graders, then they visited our modern campus Korpimetso and after that they had a presentation for 6th Graders who heard information about their home country and after the presentation the 6th Graders asked them many questions about the theme.

The visit was excellent and it was a great possibility to our students to talk with native speakers while the students guided Nat and Steven from different class to another class.

– Minna, Petri and Jaana from Metsokangas Comprehensive School-

The Project of the Kitchen Waste

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In this update I’ll shortly tell you about the China co-operation which happened in summer 2016, the aims of the co-operation and specially of meeting the Chinese students. Co-operation brought up many new ideas, notices and particularly lovely memories. Making a short blog posting of this material has been slow – What not to write, because everything was so wonderful.

In spring 2016 three Finnish teachers got a Chinese teacher partner as their co-worker pair with The Global Innokas network. Our task as a co-worker pair was to plan and carry out a project which we first carried out in our own country with our own class and again together in the summer conferences in Peking and Shenzhen. The audience of the conferences had opportunity to follow the last lesson of the project and comment on it. The aim of the co-operation was to build understanding by using PBL (Project Basic Learning) to understand differences of cultures and to learn new aspects from each other concerning possibilities of collaboration.

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Mine and my Chinese partner Kathy’s project theme was Kitchen Waste – recycling and reusing of kitchen waste. The theme was practical and actual enough, so it was also accepted in Kathy’s Chinese team. Our first project theme The Mathematical Forms was rejected by the team as a too abstract. For a Finnish teacher this kind of approval method was strange because we in Finland are used to making decisions more freely without any approval method used by the school management. On the other hand Kathy’s backup team did fine work for example in making teaching videos.

Meeting The Chinese Student

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The students of both Chinese schools were absolutely sweet, brave and charming. The first meeting with the students of the Peking project class has remained in my mind especially well. There two future students of ours were running sweating from gym class in to our project class and one of them lifted a plastic bag full of recyclable kitchen waste on the table. Immediately without any hesitation we started to chat openly:

– What is your name and where are you hurrying form so sweaty? Oh, you have your recycling material already with your. What have you brought with you?

So, he started showing what kind of kitchen waste he had brought with him. There was an empty beer can among other things. The student told that he had bought the beer can on the way to school and that he had poured the beer on the ground. I wondered in my mind how a fifth grader has been able to buy beer. Kathy reminded the student that too much soda can be fattening. The open and joyful atmosphere of the meeting impressed me at once and I felt cozy and relaxed – this project will succeed.

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The classes were delightful, where everyone participated eagerly and actively. The students used our common language English well and I understood that the knowledge of English had been one of the criteria to get in to this class and this project. Due to students good activity, possibly other criteria were good manners and working skills. During the teamwork it seemed that students had difficulties in sharing ideas and planning together, both of these had to be emphasized before starting to work and have a clarifying discussion on what common planning means. In Shenzen once I had to interfere in children’s tone of conversation and tell them that they lacked common understanding. I asked them to talk in English so I could help them. It looked that a member of the group didn’t want to take others in to consideration at all and others didn’t like the situation. There were also other similar situations in which you could see the children’s difficulty informing one common plan of the group. Many children had planned a fine plan of their own which their wanted to stick to and not to change it because of others’ opinions.

While working the children were able to ground their working finely and tell of their aims. They were eager to tell of their work thoroughly and theoretically. I might miss a bit more spontaneity and a braver desire to experiment. Was the perfection of the result the most important thing?

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Outside the classroom children looked and giggled what we did and were very eager to help. While we were visiting the Peking school the learning street held there introduced the students’ fine work. As a presenter I got a boy of my project class who guided me by hand form one stand to another. There was almost a dispute of my attention – who will be able introduce his own work to me. Altogether the Chinese children performed briskly and talked loudly in front of the audience.

The most evident thought of the journey was how fluent it was to get along with the students and create interaction despite the differences between the cultural backgrounds. The Finnish and the Chinese school system perhaps approaches children’s capability and individuality from different goals, but despite them children are children anywhere in the world. A smile meets a smile!

The experience of the co-operation with the Chinese colleague was fine and successful! The experience of peeking the Chinese school system was amazing and eyes opening, without saying anything of all possibilities to meet all the friendly and helpful people who I met during the journey. Thank You!

– Minna from Metsokangas Comprehensive School, Oulu, Finland –

Skype call to Indonesia

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53 students from Metsokangas Comprehensive School had a Skype call to their new friendship class from Indonesia. During the first call students from both countries presented their country, traditional food, dance and daily life. All students were very excited and eager to learn from each other.

Children from Indonesia presented their traditional dance with the traditional costumes and properties.

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The Finnish students presented the traditional song of Finland.

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The Skype connections will be continued. Next time our students will present acrobatic show to their new friends.

– Petri and Jaana from Metsokangas Comprehensive School –