Thursday, 2 October 2008

Tero's sharing: cross subject, and student-centred teaching

Tero is the vice principal of Meilahden ala-aste who has shared his teaching philosophy with me and told me a lot of background information about the school.

The teaching in the primary school is theme based, rather than purely subject-based. Cross-subject connections were encouraged, for example in the art class, I could see for myself that the teacher introduced different elements of nature in the art curriculum, which led the students to observe more about how weather changes, what different animals looked like. Each subject is not quite seen as self-contained separate subjects.

They also appreciate that students learn in different ways, and there should not be one fixed method that applies across the board – it should vary depending on the needs of the students. It can be through group learning, individual learning or problem solving.

I think this is also the rationale behind small class teaching. The teaching should as far as possible respond to the needs of different children ie student-centred teaching.

In a Finnish school, I can see that these children are really 'centred'. They have their own learning schedules, and the teachers supplement them by giving them appropriate guidance when needed. You can see examples in almost all the classes - the students all learn at their own pace.

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