Finland Schools No Homework
Wonderful! Now how do we start doing this in SA? Find the best SA schools and use these as examples? Change the way our teachers are educated and what they are taught? Send our teachers to Finland to learn and experience? There is NOTHING more important than teaching our children!
finland schools no homework
Ever since I was a little kid, I was not too fond of school. It was never something that I enjoyed doing. I always thought to myself, why do we only have two recesses? Why do I have hours of homework every night? None of my questions were ever answered.
While drastic economic solutions are easier said than done, moving education towards federal funding, increasing teacher pay, and lastly establishing more educational requirements for teachers would benefit schools across the United States and begin lifting our education system out of the mud.
One of the most simple yet most important things that Finnish schools incorporated for the students was a change in schedule. They began to see sleep as a priority for their students. Today, adolescents in Finland begin school closer to 9:00am-9:45am and it ends around 2:00-2:45pm, meaning that the average school day is roughly 5 hours long compared to the much longer American school day.
If U.S. schools began implementing these schedules as well, students will likely show academic improvement much like Finnish students have. More breaks and independent time helps lessen burnout and increase productivity.
Additionally, American schools have an obsession with competition and coming out on top. Our schools are fueled by top SAT scores, being valedictorian, and taking the most advanced placement courses in order to attend a high status university.
Finnish schools typically have three to four 75-minute classes a day (four to five hour school days) with several breaks in between. This allows both students and teachers to be well rested and attentive.
Finland shows us that, when it comes to education, less is more. Less time in school, less homework, less compulsory education are some of the many reasons that students in Finland are incredibly successful.
By contrast, the US, driven by No Child Left Behind and Common Core mandates, requires students in third through eighth grade to take annual standardized tests to track their performance. Critics claim constant testing doesn't make students any smarter but instead creates a "teaching to the test" environment in schools.
Students in Finland spend relatively little time on homework, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). A 2014 study of 15-year-olds around the world by the OECD said that on average, Finnish students spend 2.8 hours a week on homework. This contrasts noticably from the 6.1 hours American students spend per week.
Research from Stanford Graduate School of Education conducted amongst 4,300 students highlighted that over 56 per cent considered homework to be a primary source of stress, whilst others reported increased levels of anxiety, sleep deprivation, exhaustion and weight loss.
The educational debate over the merits of homework has been going on a long time, with different countries taking very different approaches. Wanting to discover the best approach to setting homework to achieve optimal wellbeing for students and parents, our teaching team collaborated on a research project to help find the solution. Our findings highlighted that for homework to be truly effective, it must be highly personalised for each student. So we set about making these changes.
In the effort to make Sackville's public school system the best it can be, it's worthwhile to examine successful models that exist elsewhere for ideas. There has been much written lately about the successes of the Finnish education system, so let's take a closer look at some of the features that stand out about Finnish schools.
Transformation of the education system in Finland began about 40 years ago as part of the effort to help the country's economic recovery plan. Since then, Finland has topped the charts in reading, math and science literacy. Part of the success comes from the fact that teachers are trusted to do whatever it takes to turn young lives around. It is interesting to note that Finnish schools provide children with not only an education, but many other important resources and services, including a daily hot meal, psychological counseling and health and dental services.
Having read so much about how Finland revolutionised its education system to reach the pinnacle of global PISA and OECD league tables, I was determined not to gawp as Michael Moore had done in his brilliant movie Where to Invade Next when he heard about no standardised testing, no homework, the respectable standing of teachers in their local communities and the unwavering belief that all children should have a childhood.
The accelerometer- and diary-based measurements were implemented in November 2016, 3 months following the beginning of the semester, meaning that several PE homework assignments had already been completed. The teacher delivered the devices during PE lessons and instructed the girls to wear the flexible (elasticated) belt with the accelerometer around their waist, placing the monitor on the right hip. The teacher gave oral instructions, and written instructions were attached to the diary questionnaire, which was delivered during the same lesson. The girls were instructed to wear the belt for seven consecutive days during their waking hours, apart from during water-based activities such as showering or swimming. The girls started the monitoring straight away and tested the accelerometers; if a malfunction was detected, the device was replaced immediately.
The difference in objectively measured average vigorous daily PA between the groups who did PE homework more often and those who did not was statistically significant (p = 0.000) (Table 5). The differences comprised an average of 3 to 7 minutes, but the difference favoured the group who did more PE homework.
Comparing those who did more PE homework with those who did less requires addressing. Those who participated more in PE homework might be more active and more physically competent in the first place. However, PE homework added PA time, at least a small amount, to those who did more homework and to those who did them less.
The small sample could be a limitation and might preclude the detection of significance; however, this selected sample only contained girls from one lower secondary school in Finland. The question of transferability regarding all aspects is relevant. In Finland, schools and PE are quite similar nationwide. In addition, in the Western world, PE and teaching styles are comparable. As such, the replication of the study is possible in other schools. There were no withdrawals or dropouts during the study. This could be due to the school structure and the influence schools and teachers have on girls of this age (Kohl II & Cook, 2013).
This study aimed to determine the influence of organizational and pedagogical changes in school by using PE homework as a tool to influence the PA of adolescent girls. Increasing PA outside of PE has implications also for public health policies, the makers of which could participate in the discussion regarding the use of this practice on a wider scale. Educational policy-makers and school administrators can use these findings to guide curriculum planning and development, as schools are the focal point for interventions designed to incorporate health-enhancing PA in after-school hours.
In infant school I feel homework is unnecessary, apart from reading nightly (if possible) at home with parents/caters. This is where the focus should be as it is the foundation for almost everything else.
Dear Julie,Thank you for a well-considered and detailed response. I think you may find much agreement with your comments, which are also useful to me for discussions with the St Chris heads about homework.
Sound fun, no? Maybe even too good to be true? Well, this novel approach to schooling has seen massive payoffs. Finnish students score higher than most of their peers on international assessment tests. Crazier yet, Finnish schools generally assign minimal homework, and administer few tests.
Danish students focus mostly on basic academic concepts like letters and numbers before the age of six. Danish schools emphasize social rules centered around values like community and compassion. Quite unlike the United States, Danish students spend the majority of their day exploring outside or enjoying recreation time.
Swedish students begin compulsory school at six or seven, somewhat later than some of its counterparts. Swedish schools, similar to South Korea, leave testing up to local schools. Like our northern neighbor Canada, Swedish schools require students study a second language. Many important academic decisions are left up to individual schools, and that notion of say reaches students as well.
Swedish schools usually employ very informal discipline and teaching, an open-plan layout, and an emphasis on individualized learning rather than formal classes. Student autonomy can be seen in the absence of uniform requirements, but it goes a lot further than that. Each week, students structure and restructure their schedules. Remarkably, students can opt to take as many or few formal classes as they wish. Consequently, Swedish education is lauded by education researchers for being child-centered, not target-driven.
Finland has ranked at the top of the Program for International Student Assessment since the testing began in 2000. Finnish children enjoy short school days, extended recess, no standardized tests and virtually no homework until they are into their teens.
The US, on the other hand, is ranked 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading, according to a report by Harvard University's Programs on Education Policy and Governance. Our public school children attend full days, undergo standardized testing, and are given homework beginning in kindergarten and increasing sharply with age.