25. elokuuta 2016

Staffordshire University - TAOK project experience

We had a chance to take part in a collaborative project with Staffordshire University students. The purpose of our collaboration was to familiarize ourselves with the English and Finnish educational systems and exchange information we find with the use of online conference tools.

In the beginning of the project we received questions from the English students. The questions handled issues such as preschool subjects and the assessment of the students, parents’ role in teaching and interaction with the school and the education and work of teachers in Finland. We did some information search to answer their questions and we also had a skype conference to talk about different issues. We also sent our own questions to the English students.

The process was interesting and we learned a lot about the Finnish and English educational systems. We think there are a lot of similarities with the two countries but also some differences. The fundamental difference is the cost of education. In Finland all education is free and in England all education costs. The assessment is also different. Another striking difference is the education that is required from someone in order to become a teacher. In Finland every teacher needs to have at least a Master’s degree. However, in England this is not obligatory. Teaching degrees are usually 3-4 years in total and it is also possible to do the teaching qualification in one year with a degree in any subject. There is also Schools Direct, which is a new initiative, where you train as you work in school.

The school year is 190 working days long in both countries. Children from the age group 4-11 attend lessons during 08.30 - 15.15 in England. In Finland the length of a school day varies. Students in England study at least one hour of mathematics and literacy every day at each class. Finnish students might have days that they do not have mathematics or literacy at all.

The project was really interesting but we also had some difficulties. Still, we think that these projects are useful and should be done in the future as well!

Below is the comparison table of the two systems produced during the project:

      ·      Mandatory preschool (6 years old)

      ·      Both numerical and written assessment
      ·      Purpose of assessment: help and guidance of students

     ·      Parents’ role: parents associations, parents evenings, parents-teacher meetings
     ·      Communication through Helmi or Wilma ( virtual notebook)

      ·      Teachers are highly trained: at least Master’s degree
     ·      One and a half years of teacher training observed by their teacher trainer (included in the studies)

·    Optional preschool

·     Constant assessment
·     Purpose of assessment: inform pupils, staff and parents

       ·      Parents’ role: parents evenings, school communities 
       ·      Communication through school website and twitter

       ·      Variety in teacher’s education:
    - college studies of 3-4 years
    - teaching qualification in   one year
      ·      Newly qualified teacher: new teachers observed and qualified for one year in their new teaching post (after graduating )

Kirjoittajat: Saara Unnanlahti, Sofia Karakosta, Eeva Heikkilä - 15ETaTo