William Doyle’s column (March 25) on Finnish education raises questions about our system. The Finns value their teachers and we say we do, but seem not to. The Finns require the highest levels of training including a master’s degree, while we allow Teach for America recruits who rarely stay in teaching into our classrooms with nothing more than a couple of months of “training.”
Finland understands child development. Teaching reading begins when children are 7 or 8. The hyper-competitive U.S. believes “earlier the better” and shoves things onto the shoulders of children at too young an age. We place too much stress on children and retard proper social/emotional development in the process. The Finns eschew the massive testing program that the United States seems to think will provide “data” to evaluate “progress” that can’t be properly and accurately evaluated, anyway.
Most of all, Finland values the role of “play” for children. Play is how children learn, create, solve problems, function socially, fail without recrimination. Look at our loss of recess/P.E. and see how we’ve thrown common sense to the wind.
School should be fun, challenging and exciting. In many cases, for our children, sadly it seems not to be.
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Joseph Herzog, Fresno