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No, Finland isn’t ditching traditional school subjects. Here’s what’s really happening.

A school in Finland. (Flickr user Leo-setä under Creative Commons license)

Plans to overhaul schools in Finland — whose students have been at or near the top of international exams for years — have sparked stories in the media saying that traditional subjects, such as math and history and art, will be abandoned. A recent story in the British newspaper the Independent, for example, had this headline: “Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with ‘topics’ as country reforms its education system.”  Alas, the stories are overblown, according to Finnish educator and scholar Pasi Sahlberg. In this post, Sahlberg explains what is actually happening in Finland.

Sahlberg, one of the world’s leading experts on school reform and educational practices, is a visiting professor of practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is the author of the best-selling Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn About Educational Change in Finland?” — originally published in 2011 and recently republished in an updated edition. The former director general of Finland’s Center for International Mobility and Cooperation, Sahlberg has written a number of important posts for this blog, including “What if Finland’s great teachers taught in U.S. schools,” and “What the U.S. can’t learn from Finland about ed reform.”

This post first appeared on The Conversation Web site, and I am republishing it with permission.


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