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Educate indipendent people

Aggiornato il: 3 dic 2019


One fact is certain. The Finnish school relies heavily on socialization with a profile in which knowledge (mathematics, language, history, etc.) is a tool for living well with others for improving the world. In the primary school of Tuomela, we are welcomed by the Vice President, also in rubber slippers. In the corridors, the shoes left by the boys and the sinks scattered everywhere, even in the classrooms, attract our attention. Open classrooms with lots of children who change space, according to the activities they carry out together with teachers, also here, young in appearance and approach. The environmental constant here is also silence. This school is experiencing a new attitude compared to the traditional classroom. Forward benches where children gather to listen (max 10 min) to the teacher, then counters for group work and single desks in front of a wall where, while they listen to music in their headphones, they perform deliveries themselves. If any of them want some privacy and not to be disturbed, they can choose the desk with the separators. And if some want to lie on the floor on the scattered mats ..... no problem, they can do it.

It is hard to connect this type of organization to the excellent results of the Finnish school. Thinking about our highly structured school system centred on the strong and authoritative figure of the teacher who decides, governs and arranges, it is natural to ask which is the best.

However, it cannot be denied that the effects in society are positive considering the quality of life, the order of social organization inspired by cultural aspects that find their main foundation in the family and the school.

Tuomela School. Here also handcraft lesson (manual activities). It starts with the product to be made put on the blackboard: a little bag of fabric. The children look at it and, independently, they know they have to go to the shelf where to choose the fabric, they take it, they mark the size with chalk .... they cut it and reproduce the model at the sewing machine. The most difficult thing is to sew the zipper ..... but how many skills are hidden in one action.

It makes one feel like seeing boys and girls striding around the sewing of the zipper of a little bag to store pencils and colours. Or knit to prepare the gift for grandparents. But lots of it.

The morning continues with a coffee break with the professors and the vice principal Jukka Väisänen. A young man who carries out an entire complex planning and holding meetings with teachers who recognize him as an educational leader. It is planned in the afternoon but also the morning because in Finland many children, twice a week, go to school at ten. Some of them attend between eight and a half to ten additional hours of English or other disciplines (optional curriculum), while others only follow the compulsory curriculum.

Jukka tells us about her autonomy as a vice-principal. The autonomy of Finnish schools in total, including the financial one and that of the vice-principal who administers a budget for the needs of the complex...

We are also surprised by the figure of the teacher "director" in this school: discreet but strong at the same time, ethereal but necessary for children as the air they breathe. Capable of instilling trust and autonomy. Supervisor of mind development ready to overcome the challenges of a present that is already beyond.

Susanna Capalbo Titti Romio Cristina Faraco Leonardo Gabriele

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