by Riitta Juusenaho, TAKK
This old saying definitely hit my button, as I was invited to give a speech in the 5th National Initiative Education Forum in Beijing and Principals´ Forum of Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Macau Big Bay Area last month. What a great opportunity to advertise our Educational School Camps! Free!
So Ms Jin Muranen from GTE (Global Tampere Education) and I jumped on the plane. In Beijing it was nice summer weather but in Guangzhou we were hit by the tropical heat. Two ladies from the frosted North to a 38 Celsius degree heath, oh boy, oh boy. But we fought like Finns do.
When you go to seminars in China, you will soon find out that there are not ten, but hundreds or even thousands of people in the audience, and they are really interested in what you are saying. Especially when it comes to the Finnish education.
For me as a former teacher and a principal, it is always very strange how things that you as a Finn find as a matter of course in schools are new innovations and confusing phenomenons for others. For example school camp pedagogy. Or learning outside classrooms and school buildings or the deep trust between teachers and administrators. Or the lack of inspection system in our schools.
On these basis I think we should urgently create a broad supply of everyday school life practices and hit the international markets. There is a huge demand of that. But what do we Finns do? We usually say: Let´s not make a big fuss out of this! This is not a big deal! Are you sure we are THAT good? Ain’t at least the Swedes better than us?
So I did not hide the candle under the stable (like we say in Finland) but praised our education system as well as I could (trust me I can) for forty minutes. I was able to tell about school camps in Finland and how most of the positive school experiences our students have are often connected to school camps. Why? Because there they can learn the true meaning of collaboration, help each other, learn new things from each other (and the teacher, she is snoring, isn´t she?), really get to know each other and really live with each other. Without their moms and dads! Or siblings, for God sakes!
I truly believe, that we should put our modesty aside and start really focusing on our pedagogical solutions and practices in every level of Finnish education. They are all ready products for commercialization! That´s what others do! There are several schools that follow American or Australian school curriculums in China. Why not Finnish? Let´s roll up our sleeves and let´s get started!