As schools remain closed for the foreseeable future, both in the UK and many countries around the world, we asked Pirjo Suhonen, Global Education Influencer – Finland, Education Influence, and Founder and Learning Facilitator, ALO Finland for some advice on how others can learn from Finland’s experience of teaching and learning online.
If you'd like to hear more from Pirjo and others including Ofsted and the Chartered College of Teaching please see our Evidence-Based Teaching Conference here.
“When there is an accident, see the people who help”...
This advice from older generation can help to concentrate on the positive during difficult times and bring some comfort into tough life situations.
Worrying and stressful times can offer an opportunity to teach children kindness. Remote schooling can be demanding for children, parents and teachers. How could children help each other, teachers and other families during the corona crisis?
Sharing is caring and we all can do our share to bring a little bit of kindness and caring into the current global corona crisis. Pupils can help teachers and fellow learners by teaching others for instance via video. Finnish double flip-pedagogy can provide ideas how to enhance remote learning.
Finnish Double Flip is a playful term for a pedagogy used to teach coding and competences effectively. During coding and collaboration lessons not only video was used as in flipped classroom-pedagogy, but more importantly learners became teachers. In other words pupils flip place with their teacher and the role of the teacher is to facilitate the learning process.
Primary school pupils in Finland enjoyed teaching the whole school including teachers, as well as some classes from nearby schools, local entrepreneurs and even the mayor the basics of coding. They used a video, lesson plan and taught others what coding is, why it is an important skill to learn and how to play a coding game. Within their learning journey, they learned to take not only ownership for their own learning, but also responsibility of their extended learners community. Learning by teaching proved to be effective, since the young coding teachers continued to deepen their own knowledge of code and they also became eager to learn more about how to build and program robots. In fact, they came so motivated and good at coding,that they came second and third in the national robotics competitions in the following years.
More information on the Coding and Competences lessons can be found here.
The Finnish Double Flip-pedagogy has been used in many creative ways to enhance whole school collaboration and even beyond. The same method has been used so far for instance in Pakistan to teach yoga for children in an orphanage; Finnish primary school children taught phonetics and writing for nearby preschool children with the help of learning games. Also, year 3 pupils made fun and practical maths videos for year 1 pupils, so that they could learn calculations needed to play a mathematics game. The pupils were enthusiastic and creative teaching younger learners how to use concrete materials, such as stairs, legos and straws (,which can be found in most homes) to assist abstract learning to do adding, taking away and multiplications. It was one of the year 1 pupils, who summed it all up nicely in his own words: “I can watch the video at home again and use my own legos, if I forget how to do multiplications”. Teacher choose to use safeguarding measures in the videos, which were made in the school. Thus, some pupils used handmade masks of the maths game's characters and in some videos only pupils' hands were showing.
Watch a video clip about children in India learning coding from pupils in Finland here.
Is there something your pupils are passionate about and really good at? Is there an uplifting song, rhyme or a poem they would love to share with others? Or could they teach phonetics, maths, sports, dance or write and read an encouraging story to younger or even older learners? Is there a trick or method, which helped them learn a challenging mathematical concept or calculation and they would like to teach that to other learners? Or could they show their passion towards arts or music and teach how to be creative with arts and crafts or even important life skills such as cooking?
The list of teachable concepts is endless, but the main thing is to be creative with the Finnish double flip-pedagogy and the main focus is in teaching children ethical thinking and how to put kindness into action during the global crisis.
At the same time children can practice self-assessment to help them find their own interests and strengths as well as they will have an opportunity to show their own skills and talents to other learners.
For further inspiration, watch the young Coding Ambassadors tell in their own words what they learned by teaching other classes, teachers, entrepreneurs and even the local Mayor the Magic of Code.
We must remember, that the current situation worldwide can be challenging to many families and also teachers. The aim of this article and the idea to use Finnish double flip-pedagogy to enhance remote learning is not to burden any educator or learner with extra work, but the opposite. Ideally it will bring some joy of learning as well as sharing good teaching and learning practices, thus making home schooling a bit easier for all counterparts locally and perhaps even globally, if the videos are offered to a wider audience.
With the help of modern tools, sharing of learning content and methods is easy. Education already is, but it could be even more global than it is nowadays. Perhaps the current crisis makes educators and learners come closer and we can learn more from each other in the future.
Stay safe and well!
Kind regards from Finland,
Pirjo Suhonen, CEO, ALO Finland
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