Success in Finland Challenges American Ideas about Education

Posted on January 16, 2012 by


In my last post I expressed the idea, common in America, that a lack of rigorous testing standards would lead to a “race to the middle” which would demotivate students and teachers and result in poor educational outcomes.

I see a lot of value in debate and the exchange of ideas, though, and so this time I am posting an idea in direct contradiction to the above: in Finland, a lack of competition and standardized testing has led to some of the best educational outcomes in the world.

This of course raises many questions about the assumptions we all make about education. In particular, I would point out that Georgia leads the world in basic literacy (even if Georgians read an alphabet that is mostly unknown outside of Georgia).

The takeaway here is that while we all have strong cultural predispositions towards what works in education, it is highly worthwhile to take a look at how other cultures do education and how their strategies impact outcomes. It could be that Finland, Georgia, and the US are all so different that different strategies are called for; but it could also be the case that all of these countries could stand to benefit from dialogue and intellectual exchange with each other.

That’s what TLG is all about – gathering ideas from all corners of the world to improve Georgian educational outcomes.