Finland Schools Ditch ‘Subjects’ – Topics Will Be Discussed Instead, Creating Citizens That Are Professionally Ready, Not Just Academically Smart

Students in Finland won’t have to study subjects. Soon, their classrooms would resemble conferences where “topics” are discussed.

The education system is Finland is about to undergo a radical and fundamental change, despite enjoying the distinction of being one of the best in the world. The education department has decided to scrap the eons-old method of “teaching by subject.” Instead, the country will now involve the children to help them learn and question by evolving to “teaching by topic”, shared Liisa Pohjolainen, who is in charge of youth and adult education in Helsinki – the capital city at the forefront of the reform program,

“This is going to be a big change in education in Finland that we’re just beginning.”

The education system, though appearing to be radical, is quite logical, explained Pasi Silander, the city’s development manager,

“What we need now is a different kind of education to prepare people for working life. Young people use quite advanced computers. In the past the banks had lots of bank clerks totting up figures but now that has totally changed. We therefore have to make the changes in education that are necessary for industry and modern society.”

How does Finland plan to implement the method of teaching by topic? Evidently holistic vocational training and cumulative skill development take up precedence over “lessons.” Those in their late teens are already being engaged in what Finland refers to as “phenomenon teaching” – or teaching by topic. For example, “cafeteria services” lessons will include elements of finance, languages (to help serve foreign customers), writing skills and communication skills.

Students will slowly be taught cross-subject topics which would have varying elements of multiple “subjects.” These elements will vary as per the “topic” or “skill” the student is learning. Apart from the same, students will move away from the traditional sitting and evaluation techniques as well.

Finnish Schools Are Already Implementing Collaborative Learning

Students will sit in smaller groups and work collectively to solve problems, all the while improving upon their communication skills. They won’t be made to sit in rows and asked questions individually to assess their progress. Instead, a group whose collaborative efforts bring out results faster will be promoted.

The education system needs a thorough overhaul, owing to the fact that traditional teaching techniques were based on primitive tools that were quite limited in availability and accessibility. With modern world being extensively connected, isn’t it time the students learn how to step ahead of mere fact-based learning that promotes memory expansion rather than mental development?

[Image Credit | CNN, Rebenok]