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Teach Like Finland


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About the Author

Timothy D. Walker is an American teacher living in Finland. He has written extensively about his experiences for Education Week Teacher, Educational Leadership, and on his blog, Taught by Finland. He is a contributing writer on education issues for The Atlantic. Pasi Sahlberg is a Finnish educator and professor of education policy and research director at the Gonski Institute for Education, University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. His book Finnish Lessons 2.0 brought Finland's educational system to worldwide attention.


Tim Walker is one of the most thoughtful educators I've ever encountered. His observations as an American teacher working in Finnish classrooms will surprise many readers: Some traditional ideas we've pushed aside actually work well in Finland, some of Finland's most effective strategies originated in American schools. With refreshing clarity, Tim gets specific with daily interactions, policies, curriculum, procedures, faculty relationships, and student expectations. Including the voices of many Finnish educators, he answers the skeptics who question whether or not any of the Finnish schooling elements can be incorporated in America and elsewhere. There is substance here that adds to our important conversations about what works in schools. A gift to our professional selves and one to share with respected colleagues and any parents you know.--Rick Wormeli, author of Fair Isn't Always Equal
[Walker] provides an engaging and eye-opening vision that does not pit America against Finland, but lets us see what we can learn from each other... For teachers and education advocates who would like to understand one instructor's reflective quest toward educational improvement.
Clear, thoughtful, and thought-provoking, this book actually does present 33 strategies that would, in fact, make teaching and learning both more joyful and more productive. My response in reading was never, "Where did that come from?" or "We could never do that!" Rather, I thought over and over, "Of course!" "How is it that so many of us have moved so far afield from what we know to be true?"--Carol Ann Tomlinson, Ed.D., William Clay Parrish, Jr. Professor & Chair, Educational Leadership, Foundations, and Policy, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Walker was nevertheless able to identify 33 strategies that could be easily introduced into American educational systems... [Walker's ideas] are geared toward the relaxed, flexible, welcoming atmosphere that works so well for both teachers and students in Finland. Teachers and parents will be intrigued.
Walker offers realistic tips on creating joyful schools, arranged according to five 'ingredients' of happiness: well-being, belonging, autonomy, mastery and mindset. . . . [T]he tips are prefaced with lively anecdotes from the author's own classroom experiences and often reveal how he overcame American biases to embrace them. . . . [T]hey all highlight how we can learn to value happiness more than achievement.

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