Finnish schools are increasingly adopting the mindset that flexible, open learning spaces are better than walled-off classrooms, and that mixing students of different ages is better than drawing bright lines between grades.
Architect firm Lahdelma & Mahlamäki designed the walkways and courtyards to fit the kids who would be using them most — smaller, kid-friendly areas for young children and wider blacktops for older ones.
Inside, however, such divisions collapse. The interior of the school is composed of long, sprawling hallways that keep students mingling with one another.
In Finland, teachers are viewed as white-collar workers on par with doctors or lawyers. The majority of them hold advanced degrees, and they’re highly paid.
While Finnish students still take their traditional science, math, and literature courses, in recent years the country has undergone a push toward integrating the different disciplines.
Students from a biology class may merge with those in a math class to investigate the ways each overlaps with the other.
Prof. David Lubinski has found flexibility to be one of the most essential components for nurturing students, especially the brighter ones.
In the US, school boards tend to politicize research; parents ignore what works and focus on what they feel is “right” for their kids. In Finland, the mindset is the exact opposite.
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