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tiistai 23. huhtikuuta 2013



I'm continuing my blog from yesterday. Writing in the train again, for the third time :)

Yesterday Dr Sunita Gandhi spoke about the learning process. That teachers should put more effort on the pupils learning process. 

The process is a popular theme. But it's not easy to find the time and place for evaluating the process in a classroom. If you still focus on the outcome. Reflecting and process thinking takes time, at least in the beginning.

Therefore we should encourage our teachers to be more of free spirits. Forget the outcome for a while! Just do it!

If teachers would focus more on the learning process there would also be more time to include ICT in every day work. Searching for knowledge, bloging, writing, painting, planning, evaluating, tweeting ... ICT could be a tool for everybody, pupils and teachers. Supporting everybody's learning process and giving everyone the opportunity to be a more active learner. Taking responsibility for their learning process and eventually also the outcome.

Yes, I know. I'm simplifying everything. But sometimes you have to make it simple, to make it happen.

Dr Sunita Gandhi in Helsinki, Finland. 

Siv Enberg
Teacher of Special Needs Education

maanantai 22. huhtikuuta 2013

Developing Special Needs Education


the last time I wrote in this blog I was travelling by train. It seems to be a trend. I'm travelling by train again, but not so far this time. I'm going to Helsinki, it takes only 40 minutes.

I'm on my way to Nationella utvecklingsdagar för specialundervisning (Swedish). In English it's something like National Days for Developing Special Needs Education.

It will probably become two interesting days. The first speaker will be Dr. Sunita Gandhi. I'm looking forward to her speech. Usually our international guests are really interesting and inspiring.

Most of the program is in Finnish, but there is also some (three) seminars in Swedish. I am joining one seminar in Swedish and four in Finnish. Although my native language is Swedish. But the context is more important than the language.

The seminars better be interesting. Because in spring teachers are very critical when they leave work at school for some in-service training. This time of the year Finnish teachers are really busy. Our pupils are already counting days. It's only about 30 day's of school left before the summer vacation begins :)

/Siv Enberg
Teacher in Special Needs Education

It's convenient to travel by train in Finland. 

Dr Sunita Gandhi is inspiring. 

sunnuntai 14. huhtikuuta 2013

Students lying on the floor

I'll never forget one particular lesson I had with my 2nd graders a few years ago. It must have been in 2006 or 2007. We were having a "mixed" lesson, pupils had different tasks depending on what they had done so far. Some of them solved math problems in pairs with my assistance. In a corner of the classroom the assistant teacher was listening to some pupils reading. Some pupils were writing stories and a few read their "desk books", borrowed from the school library. Those who read their desk books sat comfortably on the sofa, except for one girl, who was lying on the floor under a table. (I had this quite large kitchen table in front of the window where I used to have piles of books and other stuff.) The girl had a cushion under her head and there she was, lying on the floor, reading her book. (Yes, I like to have sofas, cushions, blankets, floor mats etc. in my classroom.) The atmosphere in the classroom was calm and peaceful, everyone seemed to enjoy what they where doing.

Suddenly I heard a knock on the door and our school principal enters the room with a bunch of people. The principal tells us that we have guests from France who are interested in learning about Finnish education. I introduced myself and explained what we were doing at the moment. The pupils continued working without getting distracted, because they were quite used to having "PISA tourists" around. Those who had entered the classroom were principals from different schools in France. They wandered around in the classroom, observing and taking notes.

One of the principals was eager to make some questions and here's how our discussion went:

- Why do you teach Swedish ("mother tongue") and math during the same lesson?
- Well, some of the pupils are ready with all their math problems so far, while others still have something to solve. Some need to practice their reading skills and that's why they read with the assistant teacher.
- What about those sitting in the sofa?
- They have solved the math problems and they don't need extra training in reading.

Then the principal noticed the girl lying under the table:

- What's she doing there?!?
- She's reading her desk book.
- But why is she lying on the floor?
- Well, the desks aren't that comfortable, so the pupils are allowed to find a place where they like to read their books. Some like the sofa and she likes to lie on the floor with a cushion under her head.
- But don't you have any rules?!? Are they allowed to do whatever they like?
- (Sigh.) Of course we have rules and no, they are not allowed to do whatever they like. I expect them to focus on their work and to not disturb their classmates.
- But why does she get to lie on the floor?
- Well, she might think it's a peaceful place to read and as long as she isn't disturbing anyone it's totally fine with me.

The principal rolled her eyes and continues to the next classroom with her fellow principals. I sometimes wonder what she told about Finnish education when back in France?

tiistai 9. huhtikuuta 2013

An addict to learning


it's a beautiful morning and I'm enjoying this early start by writing my first blog for #Finnedchat. I'm a bit excited. It's ages since I wrote an english text.

I'm travelling by train to Hämeenlinna today. In a couple of hours I will join a workshop provided by Fronter.

I have already  learned so much these past day's. I'm almost feeling overloaded. I have been working with a website at home. But I'm of course eager to learn something today. I have great expectations for this workshop.

It's a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) occasion. I'm actually bringing two devises. One iPad for work and one for fun :) Fun meaning following Twitter and Facebook.

Finnish teachers has to take part in three day's of in-service training. Usually you spend one day with your colleges at school. Learning together. Then you can participate in an in-service training of your own choice. Like I'm today and tomorrow.

Some of us enjoy learning more than others. While some teachers complains about our obligation to be active learners others are really proud of our system. I like it a lot! Usually I'm taking part in a lot of more in-service training than expected. I am addicted to learning :)

Arriving to Hämeenlinna. Have a nice day!

Siv Enberg
Teacher of Special Needs Education
Siv Enberg @pedagogiskt

torstai 4. huhtikuuta 2013

Pedagogical coffees

You´re about to read my first blog post in English, ever. I´m going to introduce you to the concept of  ”pedagogical coffees”. Hope your eyes don´t hurt after reading it, because English really isn´t my strongest language!

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I must admit that I have no idea when the first pedagogical coffee took place in Finland. In our school, Winellska skolan in Kirkkonummi, we had our first coffee in autumn 2011.

The pedagogical coffees take place in the afternoons, often from 3 PM to 5 PM. They are open to all teachers from nearby schools – an invitation is sent in advance. Some schools even organize coffees on their own, for own staff only. The themes for the coffees vary a lot. We´ve had the opportunity to discuss social media, digital storytelling, presentation tools, differentiation and much more.

One teacher, or some other expert, gives an introduction to the theme of the day. The one who gives an introduction might get paid for doing it, appr. 50EUR/hour. After the introduction there´s time to discuss, share ideas and also network with teachers from other schools. And of course, while participating, you get to sip your afternoon coffee, maybe have a sandwich and some other refreshments!

There are approximately 1-3 coffees per month, in different schools and different cities. No one´s obliged to participate in the coffees, teachers can choose whether to join or not. Some teachers take part in almost every coffee, some never go. It´s optional. Participating in at least some of the coffees is, in my opinion, highly recommended though. It´s really nice to sit down with your colleagues and have the time to discuss different issues and get lots of new, useful ideas!