Finland’s education system is held in high regard based on it’s top ranking in international assessments.
I believe the most important lesson we can take from Finland is the preparation, development and support of high-quality teachers. This starts with honoring the profession and reinstating the esteem with which teachers are held.
It was interesting to read of West Virginian Schools Superintendent Dr Stephen Paine’s emphasis on learning from Finland’s success. “In Finland, it is a tremendous honor to be a teacher, and teachers are afforded a status comparable to what doctors, lawyers and other highly regarded professionals enjoy in the U.S.,” he said. The profession is held in such high regard that competition to get teacher training is fierce. Nationally, only about 10% of the 7000 applicants to primary school programs are accepted annually to Finnish teacher training programs.
And it’s not about the money.”In Finland, they do attract the very best and brightest into the profession, and it has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with the respect that is given to the profession,” Paine said. Click here to read more about plans in West Virginia.
Part of the challenge in raising the esteem with which teachers are held is implementing appropriate accountability processes to quality assure the work of our teachers. In Australia we have made tremendous progress on this in recent years. Crude measures at times but we are getting better at assuring the quality of the educational experiences of our most prized possessions.
99% of teachers want to be the best teacher that they can be. To achieve this they need support, feedback and professional development tailored to their needs. What else is needed to raise the status of teaching?