Finland’s education system a model for Dallas?

Sir Ken Robinson recognises that enabling creativity within ourselves and institutions will ensure our futures as societies and this Blog agrees, adding that this will liberate the ingenuity we need to drive the Virtuous Circle’ in the direction of continual reduction in the ‘resource intensity’ of  our societies.

Hopefully enabling us to live in relative comfort within the bounds of the ‘One Planet Equation’. See header.

Sir Ken says in his book ‘Out of Our Minds’, page 188, “Creativity often comes about by making unusual connections, seeing analogies, and identifying relationships between ideas and processes that were previously not (seen to be) related”. link below.

This seems to be the approach being taken by the Finns through the Aalto University as depicted in the presentation, from which the slides below have been taken. The need is to mix the disciplines to enable a synergy that will accelerate the ‘Virtuous Circle’ of continual improvement.

Central to this is the critical point, which the Finns seem to have recognised, as the National Board of Education decided to trust its teachers and let them do their jobs without so many strictures.

That is, they understood that it is only the stakeholders who understand the process and possess the knowledge and skills who can drive improvement, through the virtuous circle in the direction of sustainability.

External imposed targets usually only serving to drive the system to meet the targets rather than improvement


 Findland’s Education system a Model for Dallas

12:00 AM CST on Sunday, February 8, 2009


HELSINKI, Finland – This is the land where no child is left behind.

By the time Finland’s children complete the ninth grade, they speak three languages. They have studied algebra, geometry and statistics since the first grade. And they beat the pants off students from just about everywhere else in the world.

In math, science, problem solving and reading comprehension, Finland’s 15-year-olds came out at or near the top in international tests given in 2000, 2003 and 2006. Even the least among Finnish students – the lowest 10 percent – beat their peers everywhere else.

This matters to Dallas because so many students are still left behind. Even though Dallas reformers played key roles in the federal legislation named for the goal of bringing everyone a quality education, there are still great disparities in academic achievement between city and suburbs, and in DISD itself between quality schools and poor ones.

Dallas has improved a lot, but there are still lessons to learn from abroad that have whetted the curiosity of reformers such as Dallas lawyer Tom Luce and former Dallas school board president Sandy Kress.

Although Finland is a very different place in terms of the racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds of its students, the Finnish experience offers several salient reform ideas.

First, it takes a long-term commitment to bring about a goal as sweeping as “no child left behind.” The Finns have been trying to find the right formula for 30 years and continue to fine-tune their approach.

Second, though Texas teachers chafe at the scripted classrooms seemingly dictated by the federal law, Finnish teachers felt the same until the national board of education decided to trust its teachers and let them do their jobs without so many strictures. Freedom came with a price, however. All of Finland’s teachers must have master’s degrees…………..

Continues at



Related links

Creative Cities

Expanding the creativity of Finland

Failure by Degree

Systems Thinking Review

Out of Our Minds


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