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FIN-EST Education Trends introduces Finnish and Estonian takes on the future of elementary schools

Remember the time international press wrote (quite misleadingly) that Finland’s school system was about to get rid of teaching subjects? The true story behind the headlines was about making phenomenon-based learning part of curriculums alongside more traditional subject-based learning. The idea of phenomenon-based learning is to develop skills that are ever more relevant in society, such as critical thinking, making research and drawing multidisciplinary connections between things by having the students work with a phenomenon that interests them. This work can include research from multiple points of view as well as different kinds of practical work.

Another increasingly important skill in future workplaces is programming. Estonia is a leading country integrating teaching programming with their Education and Youth Authority’s programmes advancing technology training on different levels of education. Such a programme is ProgeTiger, which is bringing technology teaching into primary, elementary and vocational schools. The programme provides teachers with resources and further education and provides schools with financial support to buy programmable devices. Additionally, it supports integrating technical education into all subjects of the curriculum and arranges extra-curricular activities that support technological learning.

Next week FinnAgora and Estonian Institute are diving deeper into these topics in our webinar, FIN-EST Education Trends, focusing on these methods in Finnish and Estonian elementary school education. “Good education is a requisite for wellbeing and success in every society. Every country has their challenges in the field of education, but Finland has managed to solve at least some of them. We are very happy to be able to provide new trends and fresh ideas about the future of educational field with the help from our experts together with the Estonian Institute”, says Cita Högnabba-Lumikero, the director of FinnAgora.

Finnish expert Ilona Taimela is speaking about phenomenon-based learning, whereas Estonian expert Kristi Salum is speaking about teaching programming and robotics. Besides expertise in their subjects, both speakers are established teachers who have practical experience in teaching the subjects they are talking about.

Ilona Taimela is a Finnish teacher and specialist in phenomenon-based learning. Taimela has a PhD from Helsinki University and has worked extensively in the field of education. She is an author, mentor, lecturer and executive and possesses a wide range of knowledge in fields such as sustainability and intercultural awareness. Taimela has worked at Council of Europe in intercultural affairs and has also been responsible of organizing the annual international education event Helsinki Education Week. She has lived on three continents and in six different countries and is a popular and sought-after speaker in Finland and internationally.  

Kristi Salum is a ProgeTiger Programme Manager at the Education and Youth Authority. On the seminar she will give an overview about teaching robotics and informatics in Estonia, focusing on how to engage students with interest-based learning from kindergarten to high school and how to create a good base for the labour market.

The webinar takes place on Zoom on October 28th at 10 am CET. Pre-registration is required and can be done here: https://forms.gle/oU1Y8xrbVxgiJJfk7 Registration is open until midnight on October 27th. The webinar will be held in English.