martes, 22 de mayo de 2012

What is the Finnish Educational System?

 The Finnish Educational System (FES) is one of the best educative structures in the world, according to the results which have been obtained from PISA report. On of the most important points which makes that Finnish Educational System is so extraordinary is the great basic formation which it provides to children. Next, we are going to see what this educational organization is about and how it is being compared to the Spanish Educational System.

-          The first point is languages, Finnish Educational System pay a lot of attention to languages and, therefore, English or Swedish is the second required language in classes.  Here, in Spain, children learn English or French as the second language, but it only focuses on grammar and vocabulary, oral language development is among absent.
-          Finnish bilingual groups are supported from pre-primary education. Here in Spain bilingual education is not compulsory and it does not start until primary or secondary education.
-          Sometimes, Finnish classes are also supported by a second teacher who tries to adapt the teaching and learning process to those children who have necessities in order to prevent the school failure. In Spain a second teacher is only demanded when the situation becomes extremely serious.
-          In Finland, schooling is not compulsory until the age of 7 years since FES conceives that children have not acquired the correct level of development. In Spain, compulsory education starts at 6 years old.
-          The time of break is divided in periods of 15 minutes per 45 minutes of class. In Spain, children usually have two hours of class, then, 30 minutes of break and, finally, two hours and a half of class again.
-          Finnish schools have their own counsellor-psychologist in order to prevent and treat troubles. Spanish schools also have their own counsellor-psychologist.
-          Teaching degree is five years long in Finland, and students can only access to it if they get a high mark (similar mark to Medicine one in Spain) . In addition, government helps students economically; the job of teacher is well-recognized in this country. In Spain, teaching degree is four years long, students do not have to get a great mark to enter, in fact, it is one of the lowest, the government does not give any economical help and, in addition, people conceive teachers as people with a easy life, with a lot of free time and too many holidays.
-          Less than the 1% of students suffers school failure; on the contrary, in Spain the percentage of failure is 30%.
-          Finnish teachers do not need to get an opposition in order to conserve their job; they are hired by public or private schools when they finish the degree. In Spain, oppositions are compulsory if a teacher wants to work in a public school and also conserving his permanency.
-          Finnish methodology does not only conceive theoretical content as the only knowledge which children have to know, they usually use practice as a way of learning. In Spain, all subjects are based on theoretical content, especially on finishing the textbook.
-          Food, transport and schooling material is free in all cases. Here in Spain it is necessary to carry out a study in order to provide free elements.
-          The great majorities (99%) of Finnish schools are public and, therefore, they are paid by public funds and they are also free, avoiding social differences. Private Finnish schools only represent the 1% of total schools from the country. In Spain the percentage of students who attend to Private and Concertado Schools are the 48,6% of the total students.
-          Finnish government supports Education as the base of the country’s development and, therefore, this is the main reason because it carries out all these characteristics in order to foster it. On the opposite, here in Spain we are in the other way around, we carry out cuts in Education and Public Health; we put the cart before the horse.
 However, here is the principal reason because Finnish Educational System is the best in the world (he he):

 (From "Ágora Blog")

That's all, Juan ;-)

miércoles, 16 de mayo de 2012

Snakes and Ladders Game

Hello, this is Juan and here I am writing a new post. First of all, I have to say El Pensamiento Ajeno blog is a little bit old because these weeks I have been member of another group so this is the main reason because of I could not make an analysis about my weekly work group because as you know our group is only constituted by two members and, in fact, the other member was missing so I though making an analysis about myself would be a stupid task since the purpose of the analysis is taking stock of how the group has worked. Anyway, I felt I had the necessity of making reference about Snakes and Ladders on Pensamiento Ajeno blog and, after knowing that this task must be included in the portfolio I will try to explain the whole activity as well as can expected.

Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and Ladders is a “trivial game” whose questions and answers are based on the Organization of the Spanish Educational System from the European Educative document. Questions are divided in seven topics which are always related to the educational area:

1. Laws and Structure.
2. Management (person and groups of management and government)
3. School time and grouping.
4. General indications about teaching methods.
5. Assessment and certification.
6. Differences between public and private centers.
7. Financing issues.
8. Other structures and variations.

Each one of these topics includes eight questions which were made by SOyER groups. At the beginning, every group would make three questions for each topic and then, all questions from all groups would be joined by topic and, taking into account grammar, quality of question and its elaboration, SOyER groups would choose the best eight questions for each topic.
To make the questions, Hakuna Matateros and I decided to adopt the next methodology: each member of the group would make one question per topic and, as a result, we would obtain six questions for each topic (we were six people). After making this task, we would put in common our questions and we would choose the best three questions for each topic.

This was the list of questions about Laws and Institutions which we reviewed.

Being honest, I think that I am not wrong when I say our cards suck aesthetically, they were written with pens and there was no more colour than the blue colour from the pen. In fact, handwriting was not the same in all cards and there were significant differences between them. On the other hand, in relation to the content which was inside the cards I think it was not bad at all, that is, I think was pretty correct and we paid especially attention to grammar and spelling because, in this point, there were quite cards from other groups which we had to discard since you had to make some “juggling” in order to understand what the question wanted to ask. 

The Game

Friday 27 of April was the date when Snakes and Ladders started. The game was really exciting, you could smell competitiveness in the air, all groups wanted to win the “Key to The Paradise”. Due to the winner’s absence the game was extended to three days and, at the beginning, the first day, Hakuna Matateros was in first place. I think we were a strong group, maybe there were some questions which could be answered but, anyway, we had a great control about topics, questions and, especially, chance.
Despite we were in first position, next days the game turned into a maze and, after being in first place the second day we finished in third position and we were tied with the fourth one. Our spirit was rock bottom; we thought we did not have any possibility and Snakes and Ladders would only be an illusion for us. However, the last day of the game it happened what we would never think it was going to happen; after finishing in third place the day before, groups which are in advantaged positions began to go back since “snakes were playing pranks”. We took advantage of the situation and we trusted our destination to chance. When it seemed we were really near to the prize Never Too Late group won the first prize since the number eleven helped them to get to the final square.
Although the first prize was already awarded, the tension increased a lot because only the second prize was left and the rest of groups wanted to get it. Fortunately, the time was very near of 10 o’clock so we carried on playing in a normal way, but watching the watch every time because, after some troubles, Hakuna Matateros was the nearest group to the final square and we were looking forward to win.
It was my round, I had to sit down with the rest of members from the other groups, I watched the watch more and more because I only wanted to kill the time and finishing with this stressful game. It was my turn, I stood up and I was waiting for hearing the question when Jesús, a member of Hakuna Matateros, said: Linda, its 10 o’clock! It’s time! And Linda proved with her Iphone that it was true.
Consequently, Hakuna Matateros and I won the second prize, that is, an eight in one of the two questions which Linda will ask to us in the oral exam.

My own thoughts

I think working with another group as Hakuna Matateros has been a grateful experience because you are aware of how a numeric group develops its normal activities. All people try to do one’s bit and this is a point which I consider very important when you are working in a cooperative way. Furthermore, I have to say Hakuna Matateros members are like my family, I am almost alone in Broken Dreams but in HM group I have been like at home, I had a great welcome and all members have respected my opinion and they have also taken into account my considerations. All I have to say is thank you very much for having this amazing time with you, I am fond of you girls and guys, you rock!
On the other hand, in relation to Snakes and Ladders, I think this game contains a highly pedagogical point, that is, the extrapolation of Spanish Educative System Framework to a Trivial Game and, in fact, I believe we have not been aware of the task but making this activity, the contest and prizes have encouraged us to learn knowledge in a significant way and I am pretty sure that it will be so difficult to forget the content which I have learnt thanks to this game.
Despite I have said I was not going to make the analysis about myself I would like to make this “quick report” taking into account the time which I have spent with my friends from Hakuna Matateros.

What was the best part of the activity?
The best part of the activity was, without any doubt, the cooperative way in which we had to work the get the prize, the feeling of cohesion and unity was more than evident.

What was the worst?
The worst part of the activity was the aesthetical point of our cards; they sucked a lot when they were compared to other ones.

What was the best moment of the week (in the work of the group) ?
 I think the best moment of the week was at 10 o’clock Friday 4 May when Linda said that the game had finished and Hakuna Matateros had won the second prize.

What was the worst?
The second day of the game was the worst part because we saw before our eyes how the prize was running out.

What have you learnt?
On one hand, I have learnt tons of things about the Organization of the Spanish Educational System which I think I will not forget during all my life. On the other hand, I have also learnt how learning can turn into a funny thing when you extrapolate the theoretical content to interactive tasks as a game, I think I will put this combination into practice in the future.

What do you need to conserve -as a group- for the next weeks?
These weeks Hakuna Matateros has been my group, I thinks it is a strong group which have to conserve the motivation which allows it to get good results.

What do you need to improve -as a group- for the next weeks?
Sometimes there was a lack of coordination between members of the group but I am not anyone to judge what it is good or bad in Hakuna Matateros. All I have to say I had a great time with them. 

That's all! 
Juan ;-)