Summer break is often a needed respite from school, but it’s also a natural time to think about how the classroom experience might be improved. Here’s a look at seven educational innovations from around the world. Should America consider adopting any of these? Some of these innovations are technological, while others are philosophical. Some are brand-new, while others have been around for a few decades. All are enhancing student learning in interesting and sometimes counterintuitive ways.
Finland: Teacher Autonomy
Low pay and low autonomy (think “teaching to the test”) have long made it difficult for American schools to recruit and keep talented teachers. Finland, on the other hand, has moved towards greater and greater teacher freedom in the past several decades. Teachers, who are highly trained (all must have master’s degrees) and well-respected, are given generous latitude to help their students learn in the way they feel is best. So there’s very little standardized testing and no punishments for failing to meet specific standards. The system seems to be working—Finnish schools consistently rank among the best in the world.