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A Visiting Trip

This Wednesday, our mentor, Pirjo Kananen, organized three mentees, Ana, Fatiu, and I to visit Finnish schools. Before our trip, I researched relative information about Finnish school system.

From the school system and specific introduction, I know that the Finnish education system offers equal and free educational opportunities to everyone, no matter their age, economic situation, linguistic, and cultural background. After provisions of compulsory education (basic education), the public authorities still guarantee everybody have an equal opportunity to obtain other educations according to their abilities and special needs. The major objective of Finnish education is to make the whole population achieve high level of education.

We spent an hour from Oulu to Ruuki by car, which is a village belongs to the Siikajoki municipality. That day we visited two schools: Ruukki comprehensive school and Siikajoki general upper secondary school. These two schools are in the same building and have the same teachers. Pirjo was a teacher who teach Finnish and Literature in Siikajoki general upper secondary school before she came back university to learn Master’s Programmer.

During that day, we looked around the teaching facilities and places of the schools and library; went to art class, distance learning class, and religion class to feel the real classrooms; had lunch with students and teachers in the school canteen; and participated Pirjo’s presentation about her research outcome with her students.

In the visiting trip, I am affected deeply by the schools and students. Although Pirjo always said the schools’ condition are very bad, I found it does not as bad as she said, maybe their expectation are very high or it is different from Chinese schools for me. The school is a three-floor building, every location is very clear, bright, and warm, which give me a feeling of cozy. There are benches in the corridor where students can stay here to read or do something they like when they do not have course. In the classroom, except for different kinds of projects, computer, TV, radio, etc., it still has an air-clear machine to prevent spreading of germs occurred by no circulation of air in the winter. Students are relaxed to learn and hear their teacher’s speaking. In the library, there are many books and audio-video products divided by various categories, and the reading rooms are comfortable for students and people to read magazines, newspapers, etc. Especially, I like those students very much, they are friendly, happily, and cute. They greet us when we meet in the corridor, open doors when we come in, welcome us when we go to their classroom, and so on. From their expression and status, I can feel that Finnish students do not have more learning pressures than Chinese students; they are freedom and can really enjoy their childhood and studying life.

For a teacher, I would like to work in this environment. There are not so many students in a classroom that I can take care and pay attention to each student; I can understand everyone’s learning condition, state of mind, problems they meet and help them to solve those troubles. Hence every student would stay in my mind and we could set up a good relationship between teachers and students. Meanwhile, it is still easier for me to organize some activities with other classes and groups, which help students to broaden their perspectives and increase experience. For a student, this kind of classroom is not crowded and gives their more chance to express and share ideas, and talk with teachers and other students. They could be familiar with every classmate and make friends with them. At the same time, because of the school is not big, it is simple for them to contact with various students who are in other grades and classes.

This visiting trip is meaningful for me. It makes me not only go through the Finnish classrooms and students for the first time, but also obtains more understanding and cognition about the Finnish education, which are good and useful for my learning experience. Thanks Pirjo to organize this nice trip.^-^

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