Imagine teaching in a school where playtime is not only valued, but required. Where part of every learning day is spent outdoors. Where students only take one standardized test throughout their entire K-12 careers. Or how about a school where every single parent is invested in his or her child’s education? Where technology is seamlessly integrated, and every teacher is respected?
In this two-part series, we take a look at Finland and South Korea—two of the top educational systems in the world. The two countries both have stellar schools but completely different approaches to education. South Korea’s schools are incredibly intense. Finland’s are super laid back. Yet despite their different approaches, both countries top the global PISA exam year after year. (The PISA or Programme for International Student Assessment ranks 15-year-olds’ competence in math, science and reading.) Here we take a look at what Finland and Korea are doing, and doing right, and what we can learn from each of them!
Finland’s A+ Schools
Many of us have heard how awesome the schools in Finland are. Their students rock international tests in reading, math and science year after year. Their teachers are highly respected and their students are highly motivated. But that wasn’t always the case. Read more about what we can learn from Finland >>
South Korea’s Amazing Schools
South Korea’s schools couldn’t be more different than Finland’s, yet their results on the PISA exams are similarly sensational. In the latest results, South Korea ranked second in reading (just behind Shanghai, China who participated as a city), fourth in math and sixth in science.
Read more about what we can learn from South Korea >>
One major thing
Finland and South Korea share is the belief that all children deserve access to an excellent education. Their approaches may be completely different, but both countries are truly committed to academic equanimity, and it shows. The countries share a passion for learning and a belief that if every child is educated, the entire society benefits. They share an unparalleled cultural respect for teachers. The system in the US may need some work before we get there, but until then we, as individual teachers, can make a difference one student at a time! By implementing some of the lessons we’ve learned from Finland and South Korea, we have more tools in our arsenals to do just that!