Finland constantly tops the charts when it comes to great school systems. The question remains—why? Part of the answer might be that teachers in Finland are highly trained, paid and respected. But, along with this, they also have more autonomy when it comes to decision making than teachers in many other countries. When they see students struggling, they don’t have to wade through piles of paperwork or get the approval of a host of administrators. Rather, they are empowered to do what they think will get a struggling student out of an educational rut.
An added benefit of this autonomy is that teachers can customize their lessons and curricula according to the group dynamics in a given grade or classroom. No one forces them into conforming to a one-size-fits-all style curriculum. Similarly, report cards to parents are a personalized assessment of the student as opposed to a percentage or a cumulative grade. Like some alternative teaching methods, the Finnish system encourages creative play and discovery as part of the process. All of this results in a more collaborative approach, allowing students to teach each other along with the teacher and progress together. This mixture may be hard to achieve, but it definitely has something going for it.