Appendix B: CLS as a Best Practice in Student-Directed, Globally-Minded Classrooms, Hanson-Peters
Finland’s Education System
Halinen, Irmeli. [Opetushallitus]. (2014, June 13). General Aspects of Basic Education Curriculum Reform 2016 Finland [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.oph.fi/english/education_development/current_reforms/curriculum_reform_2016
Halinen provides an overview of the reforms the entire Finnish education system will adopt in 2016 including national goals and national curricula. Halinen highlights three things students need in a changing world: “the need to understand the world around us… to be able to manage our daily lives… and to be listened to , valued, and loved in our communities.” She then summarizes the elements in schools that affect student experiences including interaction and sharing and the importance of students both taking “responsibility of one’s own learning and learning together.” At the national level, it seems that, if done well, cooperative learning strategies could simultaneously support students’ understanding the world as global citizens and also learning effectively together.
Moate, J. & Ruohotie-Lyhty, M. (2014). Identity, agency and community: Reconsidering the pedagogic responsibilities of teacher education. British Journal of Educational Studies, 62 (3), 249-264. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00071005.2014.955456
The intentional cultivation of a global mindset among pre-service teachers at the University of Jyväskylä via its JULIET program is highlighted here. Pre-service teachers are involved in three community projects yearly which put them into authentic multicultural situations as a means to better prepare them to be teachers in the changing future. The projects included working with immigrant adults, teaming with American pre-service teachers, and teaching Finnish to primary school students who did not have Finnish as their mother tongue. The work here reinforces the mandate of the Finnish National Board of Education that teachers be prepared to meet students in an ever-changing, intercultural context and sheds light on how future teachers might incorporate global mindedness into their practice.
Niemi, H., Toom, A. and Kallioniemi, A. (2012). Miracle of Education: The principles and practices of teaching and learning in Finnish Schools. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. https://www.sensepublishers.com/media/655-miracle-of-education.pdf
This compilation of essays about Finland’s education system offers a meticulous overview of Finnish schools from the administrative and policy levels to the subject-by-subject details of all courses in the FNBE curricula. It provides insight into how Finnish culture, as a whole, supports and reinforces the values of the education system as well as the trust and autonomy that Finnish teachers experience as part of their profession. This text provides a strong foundation for anyone coming to Finland to examine aspects of the education system.
Pokka, Ari. [TedX]. (2015, April 9). Finnish Pathways [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYf0144HXRM
Pokka begins by sharing anecdotes about the skepticism many have regarding Finnish schools that he often faces when he addresses international audiences. He then reiterates an ideal observed frequently in Finnish schools, that is, “keep it simple, keep it practical,” while also being flexible, as teachers. Additionally Pokka highlights the fact that while each student in Finland chooses his own educational path, “the school is a little bit like home… something that gives us direction, but not one direction, many directions,” thus, reminding us even though students follow their own, individual curricula, it is not necessarily limiting and students actually do have a wide variety of choices. While only a minor aspect of my research, the fact that each student has a unique educational path might impact the decisions teachers make about which cooperative learning strategies to use or not use. Relevant to my research, Pokka reinforces a premise of the Finnish system overall: all Finns have choices when it comes to education in the present and in the future.
Ripley, Amanda. (2013). The Smartest Kids in the World: And how they got that way. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Finland, Poland, and South Korea are the locales where Ripley introduces us to three different American teens who are attending high school abroad for a year. Ripley not only explores the education systems of the three countries but lambasts the American education system as one of gross inequity with a hyper-focus on sports. Ripley uncovers the characteristics of students in the three countries and argues that, despite their relatively recent academic successes, the strides made in each country are no accident. This book confirmed my decision to examine Finland and reinforces part of my findings that cultural values significantly impact cooperative learning strategies succeed or fail in the classroom.
Sahlberg, Pasi. "Five U.S. Innovations That Helped Finland’s Schools Improve but That American Reformers Now Ignore." Weblog post. Washington Post. The Washington Post, 25 July 2014. Web. 23 Aug. 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/07/25/five-u-s-innovations-that-helped-finlands-schools-improve-but-that-american-reformers-now-ignore/
Sahlberg pointedly asserts that despite being a breeding ground for innovation within educational pedagogy, teachers in the United States fall short when it comes to implementing such innovations in their own classrooms. Cooperative learning strategies, related to my research, are one of the innovations identified as a missed opportunity for American educators and this piece served as the original impetus for my research question.
Sahlberg, P. and Hargeaves, A. (2011). Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
The authors trace the history of the Finnish education system and the intentional, systemic changes that have been put into place over the last 40 years. The trust and autonomy that Finnish teachers have within the system as well as a marked lack of competition (whether among students, teachers, or schools) are traits which make Finland an island unto itself in the international landscape of education. The text is a solid foundation for any research being conducted on schools in Finland.
Cooperative Learning Strategies
Berry, J. and Sahlberg, P. (2006). Accountability affects the use of small group learning in school mathematics. Nordic Studies in Mathematics Education, 11 (1), 5-31. http://pasisahlberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/CL-and-accountbility-NOMAD.pdf
As a means to improve the teaching of mathematics in both England and Finland, this study examined how 18 teachers use small, cooperative learning groups in classes in both primary schools and secondary schools. Berry & Sahlberg offer an overview of research, concluding that “social interaction and peer support seem to be the factors that promote intellectual development in a cooperative learning environment” (8). Moreover, they reinforce the notion that in order for students to be successful in cooperative learning tasks, teachers need to cultivate the sink-or-swim together mindset that is critical in order to assure success for all, an area of exploration within my own research project.
Cohen, E. G., Brody, C. M., & Sapon-Shevin, M. (Eds.). (2004). Teaching cooperative learning: The challenge for teacher education. New York: SUNY Press. https://muse.jhu.edu/book/4767
The essays here highlight changes in teacher education programs in three countries (United States, Canada and Germany) to intentionally include more cooperative learning strategies as part of their programming. The trials and tribulations of pre-service teachers using cooperative tasks are chronicled against a background of both the idealized nature of theory and the realities of day-to-day life in modern, increasingly heterogeneous classrooms. Relevant to my research are the benefits and problems observed during the implementation of cooperative learning tasks in classrooms.
Hannula, M. (2012). Seeking Dialogue Classroom Discussions in Small Groups (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Jyväskylä Studies in Education, Psychology and Social Research. https://jyx.jyu.fi/dspace/bitstream/handle/123456789/39932/978-951-39-4846-7.pdf?sequence=2
Hannula’s study explored what tools might be used to foster classroom dialogue in grade three classrooms over a five-month period. Information was gathered to assess what kind of speaking skills children used, what kinds of dialogues small groups exhibited, and what types of tasks were best-suited to small group discussions. Only parts of this research were available in English but I was able to interview the author in person as well as observe her practices using small group classroom discussions with grade three students in her own classroom.
Jääskelä, P., Klemola, U., Kostiainen, E. & Rautiainen, M. “Constructing the Future School Community - The Scenario of an Interactive, Agency Building and Creative Learning Environment.” The Future of Education at Florence, Italy. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä, 2012. http://conference.pixel-online.net/edu_future2012/common/download/Paper_pdf/516-SE73-FP-Paivikki-FOE2012.pdf
This conference presentation highlighted the PedArt pilot program, a teacher education course at the University of Jyväskylä, that was designed as a means to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration via an interactive project among student teachers, grade six students, veteran teachers, and professional artists. The pilot was designed to offer a suggestion for how future school communities might be built, hinging on cooperation and authentic problem-solving skills for life in an intercultural society that must respond to globalization, migration, and constantly changing technology. The presentation informs my work because it offers support for the contention that university teacher education programs are addressing the need for global thinking among not only their teacher candidates but also those candidates’ future students.
Leonard, J., & McElroy, K. (2000). What one middle school teacher learned about cooperative learning. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 14(2), 239-245. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02568540009594767
This case study examined small group interactions during cooperative learning tasks over a six-week period in a middle school science classroom. Observations found that group success seemed to hinge on the level of teacher planning and organization prior to the tasks. The study corroborated my own experiences in the classroom when implementing cooperative learning tasks with ninth graders over a nine-year period. In my observations in Finnish schools, however, it seems that there is a lot less structure when it comes to the decision to use cooperative learning tasks in classroom. Nonetheless, Finnish teachers observe some of the same phenomena, namely one group member emerging as a leader and fostering positive peer relations.
Mercer, Neil. (2010), The analysis of classroom talk: Methods and methodologies. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 80: 1–14. doi: 10.1348/000709909X479853 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1348/000709909X479853/full
Mercer offers a variety of ways to analyze types of talk that occur between students and teachers. First, he explains the differences between linguistic ethnography and sociocultural research, two diverse approaches that can be used for analysis . Linguistic ethnographers, for example, espouse the tenets that language and socialization are inextricably linked and, really, never-ending. Sociocultural research adherents use the frameworks from social and developmental psychology, namely those connected to Vygotsky. While this research was interesting, it did little to inform my research project as it was more about the ways classroom talk could be analyzed as opposed to what findings emerged as a result of said analysis.
Räihä, P. & Rautiainen, M. (2012). Education for Democracy: A Paper Promise? The Democratic Deficit in Finnish Educational Culture. Journal of Social Science Education, 11 (2), 8-23. http://www.jsse.org/index.php/jsse/article/view/1197
The CITE program for pre-service teachers at the University of Jyväskylä is an attempt to increase democratic participation in schools, hinging on the idea that despite attempts to incorporate more democratic ideals in Finnish schools since the 1970s, those attempts have, more often than not, fallen short. Rautiainen offers several pieces of evidence from pre-service teachers explaining their beliefs around democratic participation in schools. While his assessment is that little has changed, many of his subjects’ comments inform my research in terms of how pre-service teachers value (or do not value) the concept of student collaboration in the classroom.
Simpson, A., Mercer, N. & Majors, Y. (2010). Editorial: Douglas Barnes revisited: If learning floats on a sea of talk, what kind of talk? And what kind of learning? English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 9 (2), 1-6 https://edlinked.soe.waikato.ac.nz/research/files/etpc/files/2010v9n2ed.pdf
This article introduces readers to an entire issue of the journal dedicated to research on using “talk” in classrooms across a wide range of cultures and locations. Despite fostering strong social skills and higher self-esteem, such skills are critical to a dynamic and changing world. The authors highlight, specifically, cooperative learning tasks as both a blessing and a curse: classroom collaboration tasks can result in great benefits but only if teachers intentionally teach the students how to collaborate and talk together, which most do not.
Boix Mansalla, V. & Jackson, A. (2011). Educating for Global Competence: Preparing our youth to engage the world. Retrieved from http://www.fulbrightteacherexchange.org/uploads/pdfs/DA/eduforglcomp.pdf
As a resource for a wide variety of stakeholders in education, the book provides a definition of global competence, that is, “the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance,” and offers a series of capabilities that globally competent students will be able to know and do. Further, it offers a framework that schools can utilize to assure that their students are becoming globally competent as part of an intentional institutional and curricular plan. Global competence is relevant to my research as part of my quantitative data collection is having students and teachers define “global mindedness” and “global thinking,” as well as asking them to identify attempts to promote such thinking at school.
Jääskeläinen, L. and Repo, T. (eds). (2011). Schools Reaching Out to a Global World: What Competences Do Global Citizens Need? Retrieved from http://www.oph.fi/english/current_issues/101/0/what_competences_do_global_citizens_need
The “As a Global Citizen in Finland” project aimed to identify what competences a global citizen would need and inform the Finnish National Board of Education’s work on curricular reform. 15 comprehensive and upper secondary schools participated in the project and collectively, they had over 100 international contacts including partner schools in various countries. In the “Intercultural Competence” section, Mikko Hartikainen asserts that “the foundation of intercultural competence consists of attitudes, values, sensitivity and the capability to learn open interaction with others and to learn through collaboration (85). Hartikainen calls for all stakeholders in a school, both students and teachers, to “critically assess cultural conceptions” even when it means “to jump outside our comfort zone and to process even unpleasant criticism constructively” (89). Moreover, global citizens need to be able to interact with one another and collaborate, particularly in such a conflict-ridden society as posited by Arja Virta in “Global Citizen’s Civic Competence” (102). If schools, in Finland and beyond, are truly committed to creating global citizens, then it is logical for teachers to be more intentional with their use of cooperative learning strategies in classrooms as one means of fostering these global competences.
Weinstein, C., Curran, M., & Tomlinson-Clarke, S. (2003). Culturally responsive classroom management: Awareness into action. Theory Into Practice, 42(4), 269-276. http://www.e1b.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=tZmXVJqcCOo%3D
Culturally responsive classroom management operates on three premises: we must recognize that we are all cultural beings with our own biases, we must acknowledge all of the differences that exist among people, and we must recognize how schools perpetuate institutional discrimination seen in other strands of society. The authors offer ways that teachers can become more culturally responsive and reflective about what they are doing or not doing to embrace such a mindset. It informs my research as a comparison point for my questions to students about what teachers might be doing to help foster global mindedness in upper secondary classrooms.