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Creative students play in the world’s best school

“Without creativity, a sense of wonder and play, none of the great achievements in science or art would’ve been born. When we know how to foster these skills in schools, our children have the best opportunities to grow up to be happy and skilled people,” says Kirsti Lonka, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Helsinki.

When the media wants to know about what’s behind Finland’s excellent Pisa results, they call Kirsti Lonka.

“However, the most important thing to remember is that neither school nor people are ever ‘finished.’ Instead of tests, the most important task of a school is to equip children with good self-confidence and skills for learning. We’ve succeeded well in this in Finland.”

Short school days, little homework and few tests, small differences between students and excellent learning results – that equation is admired all over the world. Lonka summarizes Finland’s success in three points:

  • Children enter school relatively late, at seven years of age – before that they learn by playing.
  • Free education for all.
  • No unnecessary tests for children – we take care of all.

Getting together in Helsinki to utilize the latest information

In teaching, we implement solutions every day that we hope will enable children to thrive in the future. However, the world and the skills that we need in it might now change at a faster pace than ever before. That’s why those who develop teaching – teachers, principals, deans and early education professionals – bear a massive responsibility for the world of tomorrow.

At the turn of August and September, Lonka and four other professors as well as experts specializing in fields such as robotics, management and positive psychology will guide participants at the Diploma in Innovation in Education event to get to grips with the latest teaching methods and innovative learning environments. This six-day event will be organized in Helsinki by Aalto University Executive Education (Aalto EE) in cooperation with the University of Helsinki Centre for Continuing Education HY+.

“In addition to guiding the event, we want to create an atmosphere where we educators will also learn from the dialogue between educators from all over the world,” says Lonka.

And we should remember that only the smartest creatures in the world know how to play. We adults now need creativity and insights so that we know how to develop learning environments in which our children have the best opportunities to succeed and be inspired.

“Fortunately, you’re never too old to play,” says Lonka.

Even before the education program begins, you can talk with Kirsti Lonka about the engaging learning model on Twitter @kirstilonka with the hashtag #oivaltava.

Professor Kirsti Lonka Kuva: HY Linda Tammisto
Prof. Kirsti Lonka 23.9.2010 WOX


Kirsti Lonka is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Helsinki. She is one of the instructors at Diploma in Innovation in Education program.

Text Ville Korhonen

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