Six teachers from Georgia visited the Turun normaalikoulu school and the Turku International School during August and September to learn more about Finnish education. On 16 September, the Finnish International School opened in the city of Saguramo.
– For me, Finnish education is about endless discussion, feedbacking, and openness to innovations, says Georgian teacher Nano Khetsuriani.
Khetsuriani and five other teachers arrived in Turku in August to learn more about Finnish education. First, they participated in the lessons at the Turun normaalikoulu school, and then transferred to the Turku International School. The two-week training period included various activities from crocheting to coding and organising PE classes.
– It’s very interesting to look at this system from the inside, says Sofia Cheisvili.
Cheisvili noted how independent the pupils’ behaviour was. She believes that it is also reflected in the learning outcomes. The Georgian teachers also brought up their notion that the Finnish children seem to consider school important. The joy of learning is held on to, and teaching is practical.
– It’s not just something you are forced upon, it’s something that you do willingly, says Ksenia Kim.
The practices learned in Turku will be implemented in education in Georgia right away. At first, the classes 1–3 are started to be taught in the new international school, and the future goal is to extend the teaching to cover the entire comprehensive school.
Project Proceeded from Planning to Training and Mentoring
Directed to Georgia, the project developed by the Polar Partners company includes several Finnish transnational education operators, and several experts from the University of Turku have taken part in it. Working at the Turku International School, Tuire Suvitie and Adele Harju have e.g. drafted a curriculum for the new school based on the Finnish national core curriculum, and trained Georgian teachers in Turku. They have also visited Tbilisi twice to train teachers. In addition, the project has included teachers’ online training and mentoring.
The University of Turku actively participates in the development of Finnish transnational education. Suvitie believes that the University of Turku and the Finnish education system have a lot to offer internationally. As examples, she mentions multiculturalism and language-sensitive teaching as well as the autonomy of teachers in teaching. According to Suvitie, the pupils in Finland are being prepared for their futures.
– The pupils are not taught to memorise information but to learn to learn and think, take care of themselves, and take responsibility.
The Georgian teachers’ training continues once the school year is well under way. The University of Turku follows the progress of the project. According to Suvitie, the project has been rewarding.
– It’s just great to see how much can happen in such a short period of time. The project includes top professionals who want to do things in new ways and break boundaries so that children would learn more and education would be better.
Text and photos: Sara Harju
Translation: Aura Jaakkola