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PostSubject: Why Finland Excels   Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:28 am

and we stink :

(Of course, genetics plays a part in it also . . .)

http://www.businessinsider.com/finland-education-school-2011-12?op=1

EDUCATIONAL DYSFUNCTIONALITY IS NOT INEVITABLE !

cat What a Face study
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:47 pm

Yep, and they field the best looking Olympics teams, even if they don't grab up the most medals Smile It's also a relatively homgeneous country which doesn't put as much stress on Finnish institutions, education included.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:53 pm

I was kind of bummed to see that it was 100% state funded. I was hoping it was going to say it was 100% privately funded.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:27 pm

ZeroContent wrote:
I was kind of bummed to see that it was 100% state funded. I was hoping it was going to say it was 100% privately funded.
Finland has one of the biggest, if not the biggest, welfare system in the world. It is a strong socialist society, and it's refreshing to see such a political system (or one of its products) celebrated in BoB. Smile

I hope this thread does not end in the Rubber Room...
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:51 pm

I know, see the harm socialism does!? Good thing we're avoiding that kind of ungodly oppresion here in the US. Suspect

It's no surprise Beetlejazz is such a smart cookie. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:02 pm

Everyone loves apples, but hates tending the tree, paying the farmer, getting rid of the bugs, trimming, packing, paying someone to pick them...but we still love apples. So we'll often say, "Screw apples, I'm heading for pears! Pears are the new apple!" Then there's trimming, bugs...packing...picking...

...socialist structure? Private structure? We're clouded by what we perceive as freedom and choices anyway. Someone or something will screw it up in time. It's just a good year in (Finland) for harvesting (apples). So we eat them with sloppy grins on our faces, vicariously or not. It's a moment, and a good one. It's being enjoyed.

What's the harm in that? Ask the grape farmer competing for land. Otherwise, it's a victory for mankind. Ideas are funny things. They're great when they're similar, but really suck if you have to put them on the back burner for a catch twenty-two that everyone else likes more.

I'll take an apple. *shrug* But if next year if there's no grapes, I'd be pretty bummed. Right now, in this realm, the US is happy with rotting cabbage. The laurels of being "the best," USA. Good job. Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:36 pm

Ooh, ooh, they're also allowed to own guns over there. Must be awful all that state control. Healthy (state-run universal health care), educated, gun owners all. God forbid should such an affront to personal freedom be allowed to occur in the US.


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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:46 pm

I hera that Shawn Hannity is gonna move over there as it's his kinda country Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:57 pm

MisterE wrote:
Ooh, ooh, they're also allowed to own guns over there. Must be awful all that state control. Healthy (state-run universal health care), educated, gun owners all. God forbid should such an affront to personal freedom be allowed to occur in the US.


This. And remember: they have tobacco over there, too. It isn't outlawed.

I truly hope someone doesn't come and screw it up, but if I know anything about Finland's history, their unfortunate geographical location putting them in the middle of many political battles...they may have picked up on some cues being in that unique position.

I just hope no one screws it up.

I don't like "models," one country can never be another. But there's certain examples of approach that do work, because they make sense, rather than because the benefit the few or the many...

...time will tell. Finland is someplace I have always wanted to go. If Beetlejazz has space on her couch! cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:59 pm

The best people tend to flee from socialist countries, only one of many reasons why socialism doesn't work, at least not in the long run. And yes, there is such a thing as the "best" people, if by that you mean those who are best at creating the goods and services that our existence on this planet depends. I will take capitalism over statism every time, for every reason, because it has capitalists. And liberty. And property rights. I have read too much of history and economics to choose otherwise. Virtually all of the "sins" and deficiencies of capitalism are attributable to either a misreading of events (like the plight of the poor in England's industrial revolution), or government meddling, favoritism, and all the other unholy crap that occurs when business and government fornicate with each other.

As for stories of the wonderfulness of the Scandinavian socialist models, with further review they seem to always break down to either the fact that they really aren't that socialist and are essentially resting on a capitalist framework, or more likely, they have rapidly degenerated into welfare state sclerosis, which would never get any press in this country.

As for the U.S. of A's problems with its educational system, their causes are too well known to even comment on. Read virtually any critical assessment, as long as you avoid the ones that advocate more spending or are written by a teachers' union hack.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:14 pm

When a country has 1/5th the population of just one of our states ( Finland - 5.4mil, Texas- 25.6mil.) it can do a lot more with it's resources just due to the numbers. It's admirable what they have done and I'm sure some of it could be applied over here, but untill both the population AND business in this country realistically see the benifits of a COMPLETE education with it's populace, it ain't gonna happen. Evil or Very Mad
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:33 pm

If it wasn't so frikkin cold over there it might be worth considering.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:47 pm

Well as we're celebrating the Independence Day here today (95 years now from breaking off Russia - a peaceful break actually, the wars with USSR came later; and 204 years from being part of Sweden) it feels quite fitting to comment on this post. Smile

You know every time an international study comes out showing how Finland excels in this or that, how people react is to try their darnest to find ways to explain how the study is skewed in our favour and thus is without value, because it just can't be that anything was done well here. Laughing Part of it is a young-nation complex I'm sure, part of it perhaps a way for the rightists to argue that the current system must be driven down. Mad

But there was just a while ago a columnist arguing quite convincingly that one of the reasons why the Finnish school system seems to do such a good job is that due to still a pretty strong ethnic homogenity, most kids have the chance to learn on their own language. Note that this is not to say that the immigrant kids were stupid or unable to learn - but it's harder to learn on a foreign language. I can attest this - I've been at a point teaching immigrant children in a high school and while the kids were just as bright as any other kids I have taught, it was obvious that the language was a problem. The fact that those kids (in a sadly notorious "ghetto school" around here) were lumped together in waaaay too big groups practically impossible to teach because no teacher wanted them and the added work in ther class didn't help the kids either I'm sure. Mad Anyway spending time with those totally cool young people is one of the main reasons I am so absolutely disgusted by the current Finnish racism.

It's been always said that one of the things that teaches Finnish kids both English and reading skills is the TV. The TV shows a lot of English and American programs and Finns don't like dubs. Only the programs for really small children might be dubbed. So kids spend their TV watching time reading Finnish, while hearing English. Good practice!

It's not only the teachers that have their degrees fully subsidised, but all education is free. The idea behind this is that in a small country with not many people and very limited natural resources, talent can't be wasted. If a farmer's daughter has a sharp intelligence, it makes no sense that she would forego higher education because she can't afford it, or is unwilling to take a big financial risk. This means that to get a place to study, the competition is really hard, but those who get in are likely to be very motivated as they had to work their arses out to get in. Students also tend to be somewhat older when the do get in, perhaps having spent a couple of years working odd jobs to apply again if the first time wasn't succesful. This is currently considered a huge problem, that this kids "waste years" before getting educated, which I find a bunch of bollocks as they're most likely working anyway and growing a bit more mature, figuring out what they want.

The teacher's pay might not be big on American terms, but you have to take in account that the teacher is not going to have a huge student loan to pay away, so teaching is as good job as anything. With both state-funded healthcare and childcare, it's a perfectly livable wage. What actually is a big bonus in teaching in a school, is the long holidays, especially the long summer holiday.

The numbers on applicants for teaching jobs and jobs available doesn't look quite right though - I believe many schools try to save money by, if the just anyway can, not looking for a real full-time teacher but to hire unqualified staff they can throw out when the 2-month summer holiday rolls in. They can still be very good teachers, but they're used for sure. Mad

I don't know how it is nowadays, but back when I was in school the exams started right away and the proper ratings at age of 9. I wouldn't be sad if this had changed now, what I can grasp about the psychology of children is that numbers are bad motivators for little kids.

I think we had some practical experiments at age of 14-15, but dunno perhaps it was the crap poor highschool I went to, but they weren't much to speak off. We did some stuff but I don't remember understanding much of it, and cut open a kidney and giggled at the smell of pee.

The student-teacher ratio has grown worse year by year. When I started school one class consisted of 24 pupils; when I ended, the number was 32.

And when it comes to the "best people fleeing", as much as I detest the wording in itself, well... depends what they're doing with their lives. Finland is a rather good place to start a family in. There will be free education all the way up, children are really looked after when it comes to health care (this actually starts from the pregnancy of the mother), the schools are generally considered good, and the streets are safe. I think that last one plays a big part in favour of raising a family in Finland.

Oh and guns? Yup there's awfully lot of guns around here. You need to hop through a lot of bureaucratic hoops to get one, but there's still a lot of them, as hunting is big here. But I can honestly say that I have never in my life seen a handgun, or known a person who owned one.

But yes in many ways, I would say that the system used to be really cool, something I'm glad to be a bit proud of on a national holiday as this. It was created with vision and heart, with no interest in quick profits. I hope a spirit like that will come back one day, although with how the things are going right now, I'm not holding by breath.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:09 pm

Meanwhile, in Finland...Laughing Beetlejazz is smoking her pipe in a snow drift in shorts and bare feet. Razz

Good local assessment, Beet. Americans get criticized for being unworldly and ignorant (largely due to reliance on media, and well... stubbornness) but it ain't the only country. I had to convince a group of Germans we still didn't ride horses and shoot Indians in Nevada. They thought I was full of crap, and asked me to explain the Western film genre if that wasn't the case. Totally true story. Neutral

It's a human thing. Not to pun in a phrase, but "...from the horse's mouth" usually works pretty good if being there in person isn't feasible.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:29 pm

What Kyle said! cheers An excellent viewpoint from a local.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:41 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
Americans get criticized for being unworldly and ignorant (largely due to reliance on media, and well... stubbornness) but it ain't the only country. I had to convince a group of Germans we still didn't ride horses and shoot Indians in Nevada. They thought I was full of crap, and asked me to explain the Western film genre if that wasn't the case. Totally true story. Neutral
One has to realize that what most people know about the USA is conveyed to them through Hollywood movies and TV series. Here, in these forums, it's via the Rubber Room . Smile


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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:43 pm

...ah, my peaceful, padded walls... I love you...

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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:01 pm

That's a good point, Kyle. Becoming active on a few internet forums has taught me so much about the US I didn't know. Due to American pop culture being really strongly present in here, I somehow always imagined that US wasn't such a different place. What I've learned on the net, interacting with people, is that the cultural differences are huge! America is WAY more religious than Finland; way more on the right politically, and more patriotic. Also, before that I wasn't at all aware of the conservative/liberal divide, how strong it really was, and how blazingly emotional.

I haven't had a TV in more than 10 years so I pick what I watch carefully and it doesn't usually come from US. Actually from "cultural products", what I find most interesting in US is the field of visual arts. Really interesting stuff.

BTW, to the original article - one thing they're missing is the free school lunch. It's not tasty but apparently healthy enough. One of those things I think is generally a very good idea, but damn it could be done better.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:10 pm

That's why I have a love-hate relationship with The Internets (et al). Just enough information to get someone in trouble. When I was a network admin/tech, my biggest fear was getting a fix-it request, just to find the guy or gal decided to "work on the computer themselves" because they "knew what they were doing." The Internet is like this--you get experts from nothing, they interpret what they please, and fancy themselves worldly. Being there is tops, having good, lengthy discussions over time with locals (in any capacity) is an alright second...and then, as a metaphor, you have documented cases of people diagnosing themselves with illness on WebMD that have actually died because they decided they were better than a doctor. Laughing

*shrug* Beetle, our gateway to Finland here on BoB. cheers

Is the school lunch Soylent Green? Very Happy

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(PS...gave up TV four years ago, and found it hard to do. Even though for years I hated it thoroughly. That right there told me something...)
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:33 pm

TV = Steeler Games.

24/7/365

cat What a Face study
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:32 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:33 am

Yak wrote:
TV = Steeler Games.

Crap, and Giants baseball. *sigh* Sports doesn't count, though. I never get creepy vibes and regret being alive while watching sports.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:12 pm

>>one of the reasons why the Finnish school system seems to do such a good job is that due to still a pretty strong ethnic homogenity, most kids have the chance to learn on their own language<<

Told ya so. Not a big mystery.

Homogenity is one of the reasons American private schools can do better than public schools, even with smaller budgets. American public schools are obliged to take all comers, dysfunctional or not, but private schools just toss out those who don't want to be there. Guess where they end up? (I have a relative who's a HS principal who goes stark raving mad at comparisons of American school public/private test scores.)

Re: Scale. Many American institutions are determined by scale. In a national institution (like public ed) much strategic direction is centralized in Washington. Local direction often deteriorates to rubber stamping the wishes of public employee unions. This creates a certain amount of turmoil at the local level over what is taught and who gets to say so. It's also seen in medical care. Americans ask, "Why can't we have a medical system like France?" "Because," comes the reply, "France is about the size of Ohio."

I think the real reason Finland is a land of peace-loving people is that the females are such stunners that the men are perpetually kinda tired, even the homely ones that an American stunner wouldn't even put on her alternative list. It's Darwinism at work.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:35 pm

Kevin, I think the point I was citing wasn't so much about "dysfunctionality" in general when it comes to students but the language question. Like I said before, I've taught some really ingelligent and motivated immigrants kids, who not only were really struggling with the language, but their needs were also catered shamefully poorly to. So obviously when most students learn on their first language (either Finnish or in some cases Swedish - which is a minority language group here that gets special treatment), they are likely to perform well compared to those who are learning on their second language.

It's not long ago I heard a lecture that cited a study on how kids who learn on their mother tongue first are more likely to learn also other languages well later in life. This had to do with Tibetan kids learning Chinese - claiming that they are more likely to learn good chinese if they're taught in the mother tongue first and then learn Chinese, than to be thrown into a Chinese school right away. I don't have the source(s) at hand here but perhaps I should dig a bit around.

And yes, it must be way easier to build a comprehensive system in a small country. I think there's something deeply cultural about it too - Finnish people seem to be pretty eager to obey rules and authorities.

Quote :
I think the real reason Finland is a land of peace-loving people is that the females are such stunners that the men are perpetually kinda tired, even the homely ones that an American stunner wouldn't even put on her alternative list. It's Darwinism at work.

Actually the topic that gets continously speculation in the media here is how Finnish women are ugly, fat, and dress badly compared to women from other countries. This might be either because of 1) it's true 2) this is a fundamentally self-deprecation driven culture 3) being surrounded by Swedish babes in the West, Estonian stunners in the South, and the Russian goddesses in the East, the comparisons are likely to be unfavourable to us mundanes. lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Why Finland Excels   Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:55 pm


Quote :
I think the real reason Finland is a land of peace-loving people is that the females are such stunners that the men are perpetually kinda tired, even the homely ones that an American stunner wouldn't even put on her alternative list. It's Darwinism at work.

Actually the topic that gets continously speculation in the media here is how Finnish women are ugly, fat, and dress badly compared to women from other countries. This might be either because of 1) it's true 2) this is a fundamentally self-deprecation driven culture 3) being surrounded by Swedish babes in the West, Estonian stunners in the South, and the Russian goddesses in the East, the comparisons are likely to be unfavourable to us mundanes. lol! [/quote]

I think this may be the proverbial case of "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" . If I were to judge Finnish women by the three I have met personally over the years, I'd have to say they were (are still) extremely beautiful, stunning examples of the female gender Razz JMHE Razz
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