Finnish Lessons

What can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?

by Pasi Sahlberg

Number of pages: 208

Publisher: Teachers College Press

BBB Library: Education, Corporate Success

ISBN: 9780807752579

About the Author

Sahlberg is currently working at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and a member of the board of directors of the ASCD.


Editorial Review

Finnish Lessons is a first-hand, comprehensive account of how Finland built a world-class education system during the past three decades. The author traces the evolution of education policies in Finland and highlights how they differ from the United States and other industrialized countries. He shows how rather than relying on competition, choice, and external testing of students, education reforms in Finland focus on professionalizing teachers' work, developing instructional leadership in schools, and enhancing trust in teachers and schools. This book details the complexity of educational change and encourages educators and policymakers to develop effective solutions for their own districts and schools.

Book Reviews

"InFinnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?, Pasi Sahlberg explains how his nation’s schools became successful." The New York Reviews

"Like other professionals, as Pasi Sahlberg shows in his bookFinnish Lessons, Finnish teachers are driven by a sense of intrinsic motivation, not by the hope of a bonus or the fear of being fired." The New York Reviews

"in his bookFinnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?provides the clearest analysis of how Finland's schools were able to achieve their world standing." Education Week

"Every educator and every parent in America should read Pasi Sahlberg’s book,Finnish Lessons." Huffington Post

"Pasi Salhberg, in Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?, doesn’t pretend to have a universally applicable solution to the problems we face in providing effective learning opportunities." Building Creative Bridges

"The greatest value of his book is not his description of what Finnish schools are doing now. Thetest scorescan tell us that. But he also shows us how the schools achieved their successes, and where they might go from here." The Tyee

"Nonetheless, there's no doubt that all nations could benefit from taking some pages from Finland's play book."National Council on Teacher Quality

"His new bookFinnish Lessons, tells the story of educational reform and change in Finland over the past fifty years and as he tells the story, it becomes less miraculous and more obviously the outline of a purposeful, thoughtful and coherent strategy for school improvement."BALTIMORE CURRICULUM PROJECT

"Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland?, is simply put the onemust readto begin to understand how Finland has built perhaps the world's most successful educational system over the past few decades." Daily Kos

"The story of Finnish educational success as told by Sahlberg in the slim volume Finnish Lessons is remarkable"Gaea Leinhardt University of Pittsburgh, PA

"Pasi Sahlberg’s Finnish Lessons provides an insightful account of how, within recent decades, the Finns managed to shift their educational system from mediocre to topperforming."Henrik Saalbach

Books on Related Topics

Wisdom to Share

In the 1980s, Finns transformed their educational system from mediocre to one of the models of excellence today.

The transformation of the education system in Finland kicked off from the introduction of the new peruskoulu, or the 9-year comprehensive basic school.

A fundamental belief related to the old structure of the education system in Finland was that everyone cannot learn everything; in other words, that talent in society is not evenly distributed in terms of one’s ability to be educated.

The new curriculum framework places a stronger emphasis on understanding students’ cognitive development and also invited schools to make the best use of their own and their community’s strengths.

Education policies are necessarily intertwined with other social policies, and with the overall political culture of a nation.

Comprehensive school reform has generated obvious consequences.

Unlike many other contemporary systems of education, the Finnish system has not been infected by market-based competition and high-stakes testing policies.

It is noteworthy that in Finland all education after the 9-year peruskoulu is non-compulsory, while at the same time creating incentives for young people to stay on in the education system after completion of compulsory education.

The central idea of peruskoulu was to merge existing grammar schools, civic schools, and primary schools into a comprehensive 9-year municipal school.