From May 20 to 27, 2018, Marta Albert and Carolyn Stone of the Literacy Program led a short-term travel course with seven students, three alumni, and two additional faculty (Deborah Conrad and Tina Bush) to Finland and Sweden through EF College Study Tours. Prior to travel, the course itself required research and preparation. The three goals of the course were to: introduce students to current literacy educational programs of Finland and Sweden; identify values, approaches, and conditions that have shaped each nation’s formal and informal educational structures for children and youth; and, to compare current educational programs in Finland/Sweden to those in the United States.
Students conducted extensive research about Finnish and Swedish teaching styles leading up to the trip. One of the required readings, Teach Like Finland: 33 Simple Strategies for Joyful Classrooms by Timothy Walker, helped to frame the course. After they arrived in Finland, the group met Walker, an educator from Boston who now lives and teaches in the country. This was an exciting and fulfilling experience, as he reinforced what the students had read about, and also reminded all that we CAN be joyful in our classrooms!
For one traveler, meeting Walker was the highlight of the trip. “He was able to tell us the differences between teaching in the United States and Finland and it was just really interesting to be able to talk to him. He was there for us to ask questions, to further our intellectual knowledge of the Finnish school system.”
Another terrific outcome of the meeting with Timothy Walker in Helsinki, Finland was the opportunity to chat with him about our Journey Into Literacy conferences at SUNY Potsdam. We (Carolyn and Deb) personally invited him in 2018, and he will be here at JIL on October 24, 2019. Make sure to attend his workshops and keynote and have your personal copy of Teach Like Finland signed by the author!
Need a copy of his book? Buy one HERE
By Carolyn Stone, JIL Committee Member