Sunday, March 19, 2017

Education Around the World

I have always found researching the education system of other countries fascinating.  It is hard to imagine a different way to learn and go to school.  However, every country has a different opinion when it comes to education.  Seeing how culture and religion affects the education system of certain countries is very interesting.  Although I have discovered many great things about the learning process, I have also discovered that America is falling behind when it comes to education.  Understanding why is a crucial part of fixing the model used in today’s classroom.

South Korea and Finland both possess very different education systems.  Both are very different from the system used in America.  South Korea has achieved an incredible thing: the country is 100% literate.  However, this accomplishment came with an incredible amount of grueling work every day.  Students in South Korea are under an immense amount of pressure from society to perform.  The culture puts hard work and dedication before anything.  Although this model doesn’t sound the most appealing to students, it does teach that success only comes after hard work.  “If you study hard enough, you will be smart enough.” ( The education structure in South Korea teaches this better than anything else. 

Finland uses both rigor and flexibility to teach.  It relies on extracurricular choice and underlying motivation in its educational system. “Instead of control, competition, stress, standardized testing, screen-based schools and loosened teacher qualifications, try warmth, collaboration, and highly professional, teacher-led encouragement and assessment.” ( Finland has a relatively short school day rich with extracurricular and school-sponsored activities.  This leads to students in Finland enjoy going to school, rather than dislike it.  It is a low stress culture that offers a broad range of learning experiences.  Although the education model in South Korea and Finland are very different, they both have one thing in common: they work.  These two countries consistently place at the top when it comes to education.  The methods they use helped propel them to becoming leading figures in the education world.

When viewing these education systems, it leads to a very important question: What is America doing wrong? Standardized testing chokes the learning process and is ruining the experience for almost everyone, students and teachers alike.  It promotes teaching to the test rather than actual learning.  A tense relationship between teachers and students for reasons outside of the teacher’s control makes it difficult for learning to happen.  America also spends an immense amount of money on education, but it has little to no effect on the typical classroom.  The model used today is old, out of style, and has simply stopped working.  However, Americans can fix the broken system by working together.  The broken model can only be rebuilt by changing the culture when it comes to education.  Learning from other countries like South Korea and Finland can be very useful.  They have figured out ways to adapt to today’s society and implement new ideas into their classrooms.  Even though these ideas are very different from one another, they all succeed in changing education for the better.

Culture isn’t permeant.  It changes more easily than most people think.  This change is essential if the education system in America will ever change.  Studying the changes made by other countries like South Korea and Finland can help in this difficult process.  In order to fix America’s education system, it first must be ripped apart.  This can only happen if all of America can unite and work together for the greater good. 


"How Finland broke every rule - and created a top school system." The Hechinger Report. N.p., 06 Dec. 2016. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

"What the best education systems are doing right." N.p., 22 Dec. 2015. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.


  1. Thank you for your words Sean. Powerful words, "Standardized testing chokes the learning process" and I love the point that we must change as the culture changes. We have a long way to go, don't we?

  2. My goal as a reading teacher is always to have intelligent conversations with students around ideas/themes from the materials we read. Although I believe in standards, standardized testing has done nothing for me, or my students. I can't wait to see the culture of education change in America. It's been a broken system for too long! Thank you to you and the Bow Tie Boys for leading us!