Highly qualified teacher is appreciated
EDUCATION – There are many reasons why the education level in Finland is high, but one of them is without a doubt the quality of the teachers. Even to be a teacher in primary education, you have to have a master’s degree in education. And highly qualified teachers are highly valued.
Since the year 2000 the Finnish students have been successful in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). At the latest PISA test the Finnish students were at the top of Europe when it comes to for example creative problem-solving. Spain, on the other hand, was in the bottom three. If teachers’ work is valued, it also shows in the results of pupils. Finland is known for its high rank in education, while Spain has not been as successful.
Micaela Castro Rey,21 ,studies Education in Madrid, Spain and is having her exchange at Thomas More Mechelen. She tells that Finland is the only country that she has heard of, where people think highly of the profession of teachers.
‘In Spain people go to study to become a teacher when they fail to study something else. Many think that being a teacher means that you hardly have to do anything.’
Children learn without being forced
Castro Rey believes that the current level of teaching in Spain affects the public opinion about teachers. She thinks that a bachelor’s degree is enough for a teacher, but the studies should include more practical content.
‘I feel that we don´t learn things that we actually need in the classroom. It is the same in Spain as here in Belgium. Of course I am here for an exchange only, so I cannot say how it really is in Belgium.’
Castro Rey tells that it has been very eye-opening to see how things are done differently in different countries. In some classrooms for example, pupils are able to choose themselves what they want to learn.
‘In our kindergartens, all kids sit around tables doing their assignments when they are told to do so. Here in Belgium, the children are in smaller groups around the classroom and they can choose what they want to do. They learn the same things but they have a choice what to do next and I think it is great. I hope I can use things that I have learned in my future job.’
Text and photos: Marie von Bell