An interesting article here on the lack of improvement in NAPLAN results for 2016 which has led federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham to call for a fresh approach to teaching young people.

In late 2014, Carol & I had a highly stimulating educational tour of the Finnish schools. Our purpose was to find out what the Finns were doing to create such fantastic educational outcomes.

As you may know Finland leads the World in the most significant indicators of educational outcomes be it maths, languages etc and also, more importantly, student capacity to engage in thinking and problem solving.

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Click the image for the full SMH article

In the 1960’s Finland was a relatively poor country dependent on fisheries and forestry. The Finnish government then went about the process of installing a highly innovative educational program to support individual opportunity through education and to create a generation of thinkers who would help build a national culture of innovation.

Whilst touring these Finnish schools we constantly encountered the following comment; “We are here to show students how to use information, not accumulate it. That does not constitute thinking. All the information we need is now on a laptop”.

Classroom spaces are incredibly well equipped, students work independently in spaces that are designed for reflective thinking and problem solving. The teacher’s role is more that of a facilitator not a person who simply delivers information. Whilst constant testing is not a feature of the system students do participate in an HSC style exam in order to enter university. We were really pleased to see that our approach at HSC CoWorks and also the strategies which we have adopted were clearly validated in Finland i.e. creating highly independent & successful learners as well as promoting each student’s capacity to engage in thinking and problem solving.

So the question is, how long will it take Australia to catch up to the World leaders in Education?

Fergus Gardiner

Director of Studies