Learning about Finland

by Susana Becerra Martínez

I must confess that I had never heard of Finland before other than its wonderful panoramic views and majestic forests. And not long ago, my daughter told me about her desire to see the Northern Lights live. And then, two Finnish people came to our classroom at the language school. They were teachers from a multidisciplinary cultural center like ours, but in Finland. To be honest, I was tremendously excited and, at the same time, I was curious about whether their customs would differ greatly from ours. To my surprise, when they started speaking, I understood most of the information they provided.

I was most astonished at their teaching system, which differs so much from ours. It should be considered that their teaching system does not depend on which government rules at that time as it happens to be in Spain. Instead the decisions of the teachers and furthermore the parents´ decisions are taken into account. Therefore, teachers are allowed to organize their own teaching programmes and so, in what way the course is going to be taught. For example, it does not matter for the Finns to give children information that is being repeated until it is memorized but it is more important to learn by thinking instead of memorizing.

Probably, most of us in the classroom were pleased by finding out that in Finland Spanish was surprisingly taught as a second language more often than English. People are becoming more and more interested in Spanish. In fact, in Finland some of the series on TV like Los Serrano are shown in the original Spanish version because it is very expensive todub them into Finnish. However, the success of the teaching of English lain on the fact that most of the foreign programmes, series as well as movies are shown in English with Finnish subtitles.

All in all, it certainly looks like the teachers from Finland got a good impression of many facts about Spaniards. It was obvious, though, that everybody sees the difference between the Finnish education system and the Spanish one. Some attempts have been made to improve the way of teaching in Spain but I wonder whether the Spanish education system needs some urgent changes.

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