For the Love of Learning
|The new "Olds" at Schildt Upper Secondary School, Jyvaskyla|
Being wrapped up in the cozy cocoon of Finnish schools (wearing socks instead of shoes, eating a daily hot lunch, and hearing the happy buzz of children), it is easy to forget that Fulbright is more than just teachers working on inquiry projects.
|Schildt has merged and will be known as Gradia next year|
These last two weeks swiftly reminded me that Senator Fulbright left the world an incredible legacy, and that almost half a million people have participated in cross-cultural exchanges since the program’s inception.
Fulbright Finland’s Spring Forum
For those of us fortunate to attend the separate workshop “Making Democracies Resilient to Modern Threats,” we enjoyed the added bonus of hearing an impressive panel of speakers from the U.S. and Finland.
|Terhi Molsa, Executive Director|
|Panelists from Harvard, MIT and Columbia|
|Distinguished audience as well|
Did you know that standardized tests were never designed to measure teacher effectiveness? Yet some states use them to determine a teacher’s pay and assign schools a ranking or a label. I wrote about that experience here. We are adding gratuitous stress to both students and teachers, and real education is missing the opportunity to grow in our unique American way.
The next two days involved sharing our preliminary findings of the work we are doing in Finland, and in short, it was just FASCINATING to hear what others are doing. From solar energy, to quirks in physics, to sustainability, and to education, the Fulbrighters really went deep into their fields of expertise and did an excellent job making their presentations comprehensible to each other.
As a bonus, all our meetings were held in some breathtaking locations.
|Tiffany Viggiano presenting her project|
|Fulbrighters doing a STEM experiment|
|A commander from the Coast Guard also on a Fulbright!|
Upon completing my presentation, I received immediate feedback from both my colleagues and members of the audience. I made the acquaintance of Dr. Juha Valtonen who is aSenior Lecturer in Didactics of Physical Education at the University of Helsinki. “Your hunches about break time improving student performance are correct! There is a lot of research that backs this up. I would love to share some with you. Also, you should look into the work of Texas, they are one of the first states to make a return to recess.” This sharing of knowledge and insight is what these forums are all about.
|Terhi Molsa, leader of the fabulous Fulbright Finland team that brings it all together|
Workshops that start on time, are masterfully facilitated, and whose logistics are planned to the T give this sensei deep satisfaction. What a once in a lifetime experience to live in this wonderful country and see Finnish excellence in action.
|Fulbright Finland 2017-2018|