“Thank you for coming. After one month schooling, I want to share with you some feedback regarding your kid,” Sam said.

“Thank you for arranging the session and having me today,” I replied.

“I found your kid struggle in Mathematics but at the same time, very strong in Arts, ” Sam showed me some notes she made about my kid’s learning progress.

“Yes, that is very true. I didn’t mention anything to you and somehow was hoping that you will discover it at one point,” I said.

“So, I will use the strength to overcome the challenge. I will use more Arts to explain Mathematical concepts to your kid. That might help your kid to sense the logic easier and faster!” Sam shared her strategy to assist my kid.

I was speechless.

I will use more Arts to explain Mathematical concepts to your kid.

QUALITY INSTRUCTION

The conversation I had with Sam about a year ago reminds me to what Michael Fullan says in his book:

“… Quality instruction requires getting a small number of practices right. These practices involve knowing clearly and specifically what each student can or cannot do, followed by tailored intervention that engages students in the particular learning in question, and then doing the assessment-instruction-correction process on a continuous basis…

… In systems that go, strategies focus on and drill down to effective instructional practices so that all teachers, individually and collectively, become better at what they are doing while they continue to seek even better methods.

This is the domain of expertise that John Hattie (2009) is getting at in his synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses of teaching practices related to student engagement and achievement.

High-impact strategies such as structured feedback to students, reciprocal teaching (teaching students to learn cognitive strategies to facilitate their own learning), and observation and feedback on ones’ own teaching all had high impact on student learning.

Hattie tells us that the critical change agents are:

  1. Knowledge and skills
  2. A plan of action
  3. Strategies to overcome setbacks
  4. A high sense of confidence
  5. Monitoring progress
  6. A commitment to achieve
  7. Social and environment support
  8. Freedom, control, or choice

To me, Sam is an excellent example of a teacher that learns to become a professional exactly along the lines that Hattie is talking about – engaging in specific, precise, evidence-based, high-yield instructional practices. She is learning this because she is part of a comprehensive collective-capacity enterprise” [1].

I would say, it is the ingredient Finnish education is benefiting from. The trust the system has with the teachers, and how autonomy is fully utilised, is when the teacher training program managed to instil both the purpose, and mastery.

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About a year ago, the teacher told me that my kid is struggling with Maths but strong in Arts. So she is using more Arts to explain Mathematical concepts to my kid… I was literally speechless. And now, my kid is no longer consider Maths as a problem. She is now doing a homework for her English literature by writing a love story using Mathematics. . What the teacher did is what Michael Fullan says in his book about ‘Quality Instructions’: . “… Quality instruction requires getting a small number of practices right. These practices involve knowing clearly and specifically what each student can or cannot do, followed by tailored intervention that engages students in the particular learning in question, and then doing the assessment-instruction-correction process on a continuous basis.” . #myfinlandmoment #finnisheducation #teachersofinstagram #teacher #teachers #mathematics

A post shared by Hasrizal (@iamhasrizal) on

A year after my kid attending the school here in Oulu, Finland, Mathematics is no longer a struggle. Few weeks ago, the teacher gave my kid a homework for English literature lesson, “write a love story using Mathematics!”

Super awesome!

Hasrizal
Oulu, Finland

[1] Fullan, Michael. All Systems Go: The Change Imperative for Whole System Reform (Kindle Locations 324-326). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition. 

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