Education for All versus Individualized Learning
|Boy holding an electric fan as Joseph Wee speaks
The picture showed the Master of Ceremonies, who was later identified as Joseph Wee, standing behind the podium. Behind him was a student holding a desk electric fan. He was made a stand of the electric fan! ( http://ph.news.yahoo.com/blogs/the-inbox/students-used-human-stand-electric-fan-160907427.html)
"...The photo reminded us of scenes in movies based on Biblical stories showing the Pharaoh or the Queen always followed by Nubian slaves holding a giant fan made of ostrich feathers.
Closer to home, it reminded me of señoras being fanned by a uniformed maid.
What happened in Zamboanga City High School last Sunday was sort of a modern version because instead of an ostrich or anahaw fan, they were using an electric fan. But it was still a master-slave setup.
Two of those who served as human stand for the desk fan were Boys Scouts, proudly wearing their uniform.
Julie said she found out later that the not- so- bright idea to make the young boys hold the electric fan to cool the guests was that of a teacher, Jesus Francisco.
Didn't Mr. Francisco or any of the guests think of getting a small table or a chair to put that electric fan?
Didn't Bro. Armin, Mayor Lobregat and other officials notice the disturbing assignment of the boys in that event? The boys were just a few feet away from them on the same stage.
Surely, they saw the boys fanning them. Was it normal to them?..."
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I always taught the basics of a new unit to the entire class. Then I would test on the basics and use those grades to determine how to proceed. As we delved deeper into the unit, all students would begin with identical assignments. As the faster students mastered each new skill, I would have enrichment assignments and group assignments prepared for them to work on independently or in groups. This accomplished two things: it would keep the faster students engaged and learning and would give me time to remediate the slower students. At the end of the unit, I would bring them all back together in carefully selected groups to review specific material for the final test. Then the entire class would be tested on the unit. If you do this, it's important to make sure that the remediation students have as many assignments as the fast group. That way there can be no complaints about extra work.
They began with an end in mind that most in the world overlooked - the opportunity for the child to have a basic learning; not the philosophy of pushing the child to their best academically only. While the rest of the world aimed for the highest academic accolades, the Finns only wanted to ensure that no child's need was left behind. In order to make education as accessible as possible, they did away with the whole idea of streaming - which removed the whole idea of special gifted and talented (G&T) students, and focussed on a collaborative learning model which ensured that everyone participated in the classroom.
"Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality.
In the Finnish view, as Sahlberg describes it, this means that schools should be healthy, safe environments for children. This starts with the basics. Finland offers all pupils free school meals, easy access to health care, psychological counseling, and individualized student guidance.
In fact, since academic excellence wasn't a particular priority on the Finnish to-do list, when Finland's students scored so high on the first PISA survey in 2001, many Finns thought the results must be a mistake. But subsequent PISA tests confirmed that Finland -- unlike, say, very similar countries such as Norway -- was producing academic excellence through its particular policy focus on equity."
If any country were to only focus its lenses on the G&T, or stratify its children by how well they test, then they really miss the point of Finland's success. It's not a method, so much as a philosophy.
Rich Couch has his take on how Finland achieves quality education for all on his blog:
"Finland provides free universal daycare to children between the ages of eight months and five years of age. This daycare is not mandatory but 98% of children participate. A year of kindergarten-like preschool is provided to all at age six. Formal schooling begins at age seven._________________________________________________________________
These preschool years are critical in the development of a child. Think what it would mean if every child in this country could begin school with this shared experience. Each child would have grown up well-nourished, would have been introduced to the same rich learning and social experiences, and would have had the same preparation required for learning to read. The educational disparities caused by poverty, as we have defined it, would have been greatly eliminated.
Children develop and mature at different rates. Studies in Europe indicate that, independent of language, it isn’t until about age six that the majority of children have advanced to the point where they are ready to begin learning to read. These same studies show that trying to teach reading before the age of seven can be counterproductive. This approach is another means by which equality of opportunity is sought. Waiting this extra year to begin diminishes the ill-effects felt by slow developers.
Finland’s schools also avoid binning students into high performers and low performers as another means of protecting slow developers from what can become a lifetime of educational bias in our system. The egalitarian Finns instead encourage the fast learners to spend time helping the slower learners.
At age 16 or 17 there is a transition to a higher level of education that is equivalent to the final two years of high school and two years at a community college. In a manner reminiscent of the vaunted German system, there is a bifurcation into a "vocational" path and a pre-university path. Students have a choice, but they must be able to demonstrate capability to follow the university path. The Finnish system appears a bit less rigid than the German, making it easier to switch paths if desired.
The Finns recognize that a college degree is not for everyone. Unlike in our country, where vocational training is rare, Finland tries to provide options to fit everyone’s needs. And higher education in Finland is tuition free.
It is not practical, nor is it necessary, to try to reproduce the system in Finland. However, we should have it within our means to produce a daycare system for preschool children that would be available to all who chose to use it. That would be a critical step in preparing all of our children to enter and develop in our existing school system. This does not require the elimination of poverty, but it would eliminate many of the effects of poverty on our children and on our educational system."
Lastly, we have the following excerpts:
The Practice of Tracking in Schools
"Education for All" envisions a society in which everyone is a contributing individual. Special tracks in basic education in the Philippines must be examined closely to check if these indeed contribute to the progress of Philippine society. Where are the students in the past special tracks now? And what has happened to the general mass of pupils?
Only with these conscious efforts could we keep our eyes on the ball and see more from the picture.
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