Are you sick of Finland?

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided

encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts in gear, their pens active and their votes available.


Are You Sick of Hearing How Good Finland is?

I’m getting tired of hearing about Finland’s great school education system, aren’t you?

I’m jealous, really.  It just wonderful to discuss what one country, like Finland,  can do for its future citizens; but I know that Australia can do better. Why don’t we  try?

Finland seems to have a Rolls Royce system while Australia is still trying to shove a bent crank-handle in a T-model to get it to move. It uses NAPLAN oil, as well, and so the vehicle is moving alright …being shoved…backwards.

The structural differences are startling……

Finnish teachers all have masters degrees and are paid very well; children don’t start school until they are seven years of age; tests of the NAPLAN kind are banned because of their corrosive nature; and their curriculum documents feature the learning of how to love  a particular subject rather that parroting stale facts from the subject in order to pass a test, Aussie style.

Australian education is stuck with the British Grammar school examination system, based on sorting out the plebs so that the survivors can go to a university and get a good job. This has been traditional and is based on the I’m-aussie-and-I’m-tough tenet, ‘if it was good enough for me, it’s good enough for present-day kids.’

Finland wants each of its pupils, even the ‘slow’ ones [those who’d be slow at scoring well on Aussie style tests, that is] to extend their learning abilities as far as they possibly can and to enjoy learning….and to be happy. Australia prefers that ‘light’ and ‘mid-strength’ pupils  stay at home during testing because judgements are made about schools and systems based on unreliable scores of a few testable-questionable items. It’s crazy and upside-down. How often have you read rubbish like “Penrith out-performed Toorak “ sometimes with a passing ‘based on NAPLAN’; both comments grossly stupid and erroneous and sickly?

That’s just the way we do things. Our educratic adult mafia, operating on behalf of their US godfather are in control….not serious educators from the work-face.

It really borders on criminal, the way we treat our children. It’s only when we compare what we do with other places that the rottenness reveals itself.

The Australian system became really bastardised, more so than other system, when politicians interfered and introduced the klein scheme,  with the ‘sorting process’ starting much earlier, like Year 3. The testing mentality went into over-drive. That started in Australia in 2008 and it has since wrecked the learning processes of a few million potential ‘lovers of learning’ who have been unfortunate enough to have attended school between 2008 and 2016.  They deserved better. If they had attended school in Finland during this period, the world would quite different for them.

That’s not what I wanted to say when I started this. That’s just the introduction. I wanted to say…..

Australia Can Have the Best School System in the World

if it wants one.

The problem is that we don’t appreciate the quality of the teaching force that we have. They have been ridden rough-shod for too long; and advantage taken of their busy-ness and their tendency to cooperate rather than to question…….by people who know sweet f-a about learning in classrooms.

PMs Julia and Kevin overplayed their role   Uni. graduates of the old school, they thought that they had all the answers. They treated the teaching force shabbily by imposing a system of schooling that few would ever approve of, if they had been given a chance to comment. The political twins were captured by the giants of greed; and had to rely on sweet-talking measurement folk to tell them what to do.  PMs since them don’t know what to do either, so they have just left the processes in place, hoping that not too many parents complain, and NAPLAN might just go away of its own accord.

Australian teachers have proven themselves in the classroom for ages.  Their teaching skills are in demand in other countries because they seem to know how to teach children to love learning better than most. During the naplanning of learning in our schools, they have maintained a quality of schooling that should make us all proud. They seem to be particularly skilled at controlling the million little interactions between teacher and learner that occur each hour in each classroom. Australian Michael Dunkin, with USers Bruce Biddle and N. Gage studied the complexities of the interpersonal relationships that teachers use to inspire their learners for some years. Their descriptions are still salient. Primary school classroom teaching is a helluva task but its one that many people love to undertake. Love for kids is the main criterion.  Measurement junkies, who prefer to frighten kids, have a hide, trying to tell experts classroom teachers what they should do.

Australia needs to start again. [     Just follow the reinventors.

Here’s what I would do…

I would assemble a hundred or so of Australia’s best classroom teachers……100 primary, 100 secondary…..and just encourage them to talk to each other for a few days about schooling per se. No set topics, except that they would know that they will be talking afterwards about classroom learning,  holistic curriculum, shared evaluation and any other topic that they think is important. They would share their visions of healthy classrooms and the tricks they use.

Then, using some sorts of interactive techniques, spend a few more days discussing the nature of learning in particular classroom settings and assembling a statement of some kind.

If deemed useful, a visit to some O.S.  authority  known for lively learning classrooms should be arranged.    It might be preferred to keep isolated and develop something unique.

A report from such a group could then be forwarded to every school in Australia, inviting comment.  A special unit would be required to process the interactions and compile a final statement.  The unit should be, as Churchill said,  ‘on tap, not on top.’ On top might be any one of our Directors’- General who has had wide experience at the chalk-face, in a supervisory role.

What could we lose?


 Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486              
07 5524 6443          0407865999



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