The Learning Renaissance

Finland to Abandon Teaching in Subjects in Favour of a Topic-based Approach

Pupils at Siltamaki primary school perform a rap as part of their cross-subject learning (Jussi Helttunen)

Regular readers will know of my regular rants against a school curriculum based on subject knowledge as the way we need to deploy our learning requires a much more broad topic-based approach. I’d go further and state that in secondary schools, the tyranny of the subject departments, where teachers see their primary loyalty to their subject rather than the inculcation of successful learning, is the greatest hindrance to learning development in the education system.

It seems that, yet again, Finland is ahead of the game in recognising that subjects actually constrain learning.

Subject-specific lessons – an hour of history in the morning, an hour of geography in the afternoon – are already being phased out for 16-year-olds in the city’s upper schools. They are being replaced by what the Finns call ‘phenomenon’ teaching – or teaching by topic. For instance, a teenager studying a vocational course might take ‘cafeteria services’ lessons, which would include elements of maths, languages (to help serve foreign customers), writing skills and communication skills.

You can read more in this recent report published by The Independent: Finland schools – Subjects scrapped and replaced with ‘topics’ as country reforms its education system | The Independent

For further coverage on Finland’s move to abandon subject-based teaching, visit the Quartz website: Goodbye, math and history: Finland wants to abandon teaching subjects at school | Quartz

About educationalist04

I'm convinced we can, as a species, do much better than this if we set our minds to being much more positive and productive towards our fellow humans. The solution is learning - creating independent and autonomous learners who can problem solve, innovate and create a better more equitable and sustainable world. My books, Future Proof Your School and Re-Examining Success together with this blog, explore how better learning outcomes for all can be achieved.

One comment on “Finland to Abandon Teaching in Subjects in Favour of a Topic-based Approach

  1. Pingback: The History and Development of Experiential Learning | The Learning Renaissance

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