Education cannot be only or not even mainly about learning and reproducing facts and that is what we actually ask our students to do too often.
So what we need to do is to provide them opportunities to use their minds in more complex tasks. Teaching and learning different types of skills require a lot of modelling and practice. Traditionally we put a lot of energy and time in preparing students for learning vast amounts of content and if we put that much energy and thought in preparing lessons and projects where the main focus is on learning, for instance higher-order thinking skills, critical thinking or argumentation then I think we are on the right track. The first step is that we need curricula that supports the focus on teaching and learning skills and in Finland we are very fortunate because our new upcoming curriculum is structured exactly like that.
Finland has a reputation of having one of the best education systems in the world. For the past years, the success in Pisa-studies has brought in great numbers of international groups to study the secrets of the system. In August 2016 the most innovative curriculum to date came into effect nationally.
I am not saying that everything that we have been doing for years has been wrong but all I am saying is that there are certain areas that we can do better and we can do better and it is as simple as that.
Project-based learning (PBL) is a unique pedagogical framework that we have successfully implemented in Finland. The core idea of the PBL is to help develop the learning breadth of the students through focused projects. We have expertise in curating incredible projects for students at all levels.
I will share my views on PBL in the blogs to come.
By Petteri Elo, Principal Consultant