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Teachers who embrace this new system can receive a small top-up in salary.
About 70 per cent of the city’s high school teachers have now been trained in adopting the new approach, according to Mr Silander. “It is quite difficult to get teachers to start and take the first step…
“We therefore have to make the changes in education that are necessary for industry and modern society.” Subject-specific lessons – an hour of history in the morning, an hour of geography in the afternoon – are already being phased out for 16-year-olds in the city’s upper schools.
They are being replaced by what the Finns call “phenomenon” teaching – or teaching by topic.
The children must combine weather conditions with the different countries displayed on the board.
For instance, today it is sunny in Finland and foggy in Denmark.
“This is going to be a big change in education in Finland that we’re just beginning,” said Liisa Pohjolainen, who is in charge of youth and adult education in Helsinki – the capital city at the forefront of the reform programme.
Pasi Silander, the city’s development manager, explained: “What we need now is a different kind of education to prepare people for working life. In the past the banks had lots of bank clerks totting up figures but now that has totally changed.
“We really need a rethinking of education and a redesigning of our system, so it prepares our children for the future with the skills that are needed for today and tomorrow.
For years, Finland has been the by-word for a successful education system, perched at the top of international league tables for literacy and numeracy.
Only far eastern countries such as Singapore and China outperform the Nordic nation in the influential Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings.
Finnish schools are obliged to introduce a period of “phenomenon-based teaching” at least once a year. In Helsinki, they are pushing the reforms at a faster pace with schools encouraged to set aside two periods during the year for adopting the new approach.
Ms Kyllonen’s blueprint, to be published later this month, envisages the reforms will be in place across all Finnish schools by 2020.
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There are other changes too, not least to the traditional format that sees rows of pupils sitting passively in front of their teacher, listening to lessons or waiting to be questioned.