Sunday, January 13, 2013

Back to School TIme

On Friday, I spent a great afternoon walking around this school- Jyvaskylan Normaalikoulu. It is the school that is associated with the University so they are very used to visitors coming and going. I loved being there and back around around teenagers!

When I first walked in, I automatically looked for an office to check in at. What I found instead was a group of students in a lounge area enjoying each other's company and not an adult in sight. Then as if on a silent cue, they gathered their things a went about their way. No yelling from an adult to get to class or a threatening stack of detentions were present- they just simply did what they were supposed to. The trust that people have in students here to simply do the right thing is amazing! A lesson we can definitely learn from.

The other big take away from the school visit is that the Finnish system is based on choice- choice in your schedule, choice in your interests, choice in the path you take and maybe most importantly, choice to change your mind. The guidance counselor who was showing me around is amazing and answered every question I could think of. I am headed back next week for some class visits to an English class.

On a side note, the building was completely open. No one was checking me in or looking in my bag, I just walked in and waited for the person I was meeting. Amazing. The classroom doors are locked and that is how they protect their students while still keeping a very welcoming atmosphere in the building. On Wednesday when I go back, I just have to arrive a few minutes early to ask the teacher if I can stay and observe the class. There are seats already in the room for visitors making me feel welcome before I even get there. On Friday, I watched a few minutes of a lesson where 8th grade students were learning how to dance with each other in a PE class. The panic on their faces and the nervousness in their steps needed no translation- kids are kids wherever you go!

1 comment:

  1. Great, civilized atmosphere. When we were there it seemed someone was dancing in just about every park we saw.