• Finnish Lessons

  • What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?
  • By: Pasi Sahlberg
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael Garcia
  • Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 07-24-12
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.1 (95 ratings)

Regular price: $17.47

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Publisher's Summary

Ever wondered how Finland managed to build its highly regarded school system? Look behind the headlines and find out.
Finnish Lessons is a firsthand, comprehensive account of how Finland built a world-class education system over the past three decades. The author traces the evolution of education policies in Finland and highlights how they differ from those in the United States and other industrialized countries. Rather than relying on competition, school choice, and external testing of students, education reforms in Finland focus on professionalizing teachers’ work, developing instructional leadership in schools, and enhancing trust in teachers and schools. This book details the complexity of educational change and encourages educators and policy makers to develop effective solutions for their own districts and schools.
Pasi Sahlberg recounts the history of Finnish educational reform as only a well-traveled insider can, offering the insight and facts necessary for others to constructively participate in improving their schools—even in a tightening economy.
Pasi Sahlberg is director general of the Centre for International Mobility at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture in Helsinki. He is an expert in educational reform, training teachers, coaching schools, and advising policy makers. He has worked in Finland as a teacher, teacher educator, policy advisor, and director and served the World Bank and the European Commission as an education expert. He has a PhD from the University of Jyväskylä and is adjunct professor at the Universities of Helsinki and Oulu.
©2011 Teachers College, Columbia University (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"The story of Finland’s extraordinary educational reforms is one that should inform policymakers and educators around the world. No one tells this story more clearly and engagingly than Pasi Sahlberg. This book is a must-read." (Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at the Stanford University School of Education)
"This book is a wake-up call for the United States. Finland went from mediocre academic results to one of the top performers in the world. And they did it with unions, minimal testing, national collaboration, and elevating teaching to a high-status calling. This is the antidote to the NCLB paralysis." (Henry M. Levin, William H. Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University)
"A terrific synthesis by a native Finn, a teacher, a researcher, and a policy analyst all rolled up into one excellent writer. Pasi Sahlberg teaches us a great deal about what we need to know before engaging in national educational reforms." (David Berliner, Regents Professor of Education, Arizona State University)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Small Mountain on 02-27-15

Where are the Lessons?

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I'm not sure who this book is for. It doesn't seem to be for educators or instructional designers, and it is too vague for much use in policy considerations. Perhaps education boards could glean some insight from it on how to treat teachers.

What do you think your next listen will be?

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman

Would you listen to another book narrated by Paul Michael Garcia?

While I am not a huge fan of the narrator's performance , the performance is sufficient such that I would listen to another book narrated by him if the topic was of interest.

What character would you cut from Finnish Lessons?


Any additional comments?

I was disappointed by the lack of meat in the book. I understand that large systems can be difficult to understand, but despite the book's title, there aren't really any lessons here with one important exception. Thus either:
a) the author doesn't have a clear understanding of the aspects that make Finnish education so remarkable (correlation is not the same thing as causation)
b) the author doesn't communicate those reasons well, or
c) the reasons behind Finnish success in education aren't well-understood in general.

I haven't done a lot of extra research on the topic, but I get the feeling that the last reason is the correct one. That's no fault of the author, but it does mean the book should have a different title. One thing that is fairly clear is that a cultural expectation that teachers should perform at their best as professionals and be masters of their discipline most likely makes a major impact on the quality of education.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Andy on 08-16-12

not plug and play

Pasi Sahlberg does a great job telling the story of how Finland went from the so-so quality category to the world's most admired public school system. Although high teacher quality is the bedrock, there are many cultural characteristics that woven together, encourage learning. Nonetheless, there are lessons we all can learn here. The text is a bit burdened with policy speak...talking about reforms and outcomes, rather than using more action oriented words like change and results.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By JTF on 12-14-16

A different world

An intriguing look at the Finnish Education model. Although the system is not far from that of the UK where I teach it has some fundamental and striking differences that allow Finnish students to flourish and Finnish teachers to do the job they are paid to to do - teach!

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5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 07-29-14

Finnish Lessons, tthe starting point

Would you listen to Finnish Lessons again? Why?

This is a must audio book for any teacher in any country. It is impossible to get it all fully understood in one session. This audio book must be listened to again and again

What did you like best about this story?

Re-enforces my own beliefs and pedagogy

What does Paul Michael Garcia bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

An Amercian (or is that I'm a Rican) accent as I do not have an american accent in my head.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?


Any additional comments?


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