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- Education Professionals
In this programme, Ophelia Vanderpuye, a primary school teacher from London, travels to Finland to learn more about the country's approach to teaching literacy.
Johanna Hamalainen, a teacher at Stromberg Primary School in Helsinki, begins her class with a puzzle: "I'm silent, but I speak to you; if you join me I will tell you more than anyone else."
Her eight and nine-year-olds are attentive. "Who am I?" she asks. The answer, of course, is "a book," as this is a literacy class.
Together, Johanna and Ophelia want to try to answer a bigger puzzle. Why have Finland's youngsters performed so well in the international OECD PISA assessment in literacy; what are Finnish schools doing better than any other country?
Johanna has spotted one feature in the PISA statistics "What I've noticed in Finland's results, is that there are not as many of those slower learners who need the special help."
Is her mixed ability class part of the answer, or does the explanation lie deeper in the nation's character?
Part of the series: Finland