Finland regularly ranks at the top of global education standings but the country is revamping its educational system. Instead of curriculum centered around traditional math, literature, science, history or geography classes, the country is turning to something called phenomenon based learning.
Phenomenal Education is described as an approach where “holistic real-world phenomena provide the starting point for learning.” The idea is to give students 21st century skills and adapt the way children are taught to new understandings of how humans learn.
Rather than studying siloed subjects, students in Finland will choose to study topics from the world and their surrounding, such as media and technology, energy, water or the European Union. They’ll organically learn math, reading, science, history and civics as it intersects with their understanding of their chosen phenomena.
Phenomenon based learning puts a focus on creativity, innovation, teamwork, critical thinking and communication. Classrooms are designed for collaboration and information sharing.
The approach reminds me a lot of coworking, where independent professionals work, learn and teach and collaborate.
Any day in my home coworking space brings cross-discipline challenges and connections, as well as opportunities to learn new skills and discover intersections of knowledge, creativity, passion and insight. I don’t focus on writing, then learning tech tools, then networking, then marketing, then administrative stuff—it all swirls together in the beautiful, sometimes hectic, ecosystem of my work.
This organic approach of learning through our experiences, interests and surroundings inspires and enables lifelong learning, which seems what educators in Finland are working toward.
If the future of work is collaborating in shared spaces with those whose knowledge and abilities complement our own then Finland is, once again, getting ahead of the curve by equipping students with the skills that will help them thrive in the new global economy.
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