Finland

Interview: The secrets to Finland’s educational success

Originally published Nov. 6, 2017 in The Times of Malta.

Finland’s Education Minister discusses her country’s education system

Headmaster Kenneth Vella recently visited schools in Tampere, Finland, a country which has made huge progress in education over the past few years. There, he interviewed the country’s Minister of Education, Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.

What do you consider the secrets of your success in education both at local and international levels?

For one, we have highly educated, skilled and motivated teachers. The teaching profession is respected and popular in Finland. At all school levels, teachers are highly qualified and committed. Universities can select among the most motivated and talented applicants. At both primary and secondary levels a master’s degree is required, and teacher education includes teaching practice.

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Gym

How Personalized Learning is Breaking the “GYM” Class Stereotype

Originally published Nov. 6, 2017 by the Huffington Post

By Brian Kampper

When I introduce myself as a physical education teacher, the two most popular responses I get are “Oh, you must love being a gym teacher, just playing sports all day must be great” or “I hated gym class when I was in school, all we did was…”

Unfortunately, most people think of physical education as a class where athletes take control while all others wait for the bell to ring to save them from having to participate in another game of dodgeball. While this is not the case in the majority of PE classes across America, the stereotype does exist and personalized learning is the key to breaking it.

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personalized

Inside Vista High’s Big National Experiment With Personalized Learning

Originally published Sept. 28, 2017 in the Voice of San Diego.

By Voice of San Diego

Great educators have always known certain things.

Students learn at different paces, in different ways. Students do better when they’re interested in what they’re learning.

Charter, private and even some traditional public schools are actively bringing these philosophies into classrooms.

It’s a movement commonly called “personalized learning” and is part of an evolution away from the traditional classroom model.

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bikes

Teacher, students cranked about gift of 30 bikes to school

By Katie Langford

There’s an intangible thrill that East Middle School teacher Patrick Roenicke feels when he’s riding a bicycle.

It started when he learned to ride at 5 years old and it grew during his childhood in Michigan, riding with friends every day after school.

“I would basically go out and tear the cranks off my bike for a few hours,” Roenicke said. “I noticed kids don’t do that anymore. They play organized sports, but the idea of going out on your bike alone or with some buddies, to explore other parts of town, has gone away.”

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adaptive

Ann Arbor adaptive PE students use HRMs to manage their health

July 19, 2017 – A teacher’s unique use of heart rate monitors helped Ann Arbor, Mich., adaptive physical education students learn to manage their health during the school day.

adaptive
Deak Swearingen (right) with colleague Gloria O’Neill.

During a pilot program directed by Ann Arbor Public Schools Adaptive Physical Education Teacher Consultant Deak Swearingen, 30 students wore the adidas Zone for IHT Spirit heart rate monitors during their PE classes. While many students have health issues — some severe — and cognitive disabilities, Swearingen saw unexpected success with students learning to self-manage.

I wasn’t sure the monitors would be able to teach [self-management] because I wasn’t sure that my students would have the cognitive ability to grasp it,” Swearingen said. “It’s something I’m extremely excited about.” Read More