Global Education Project

Written by Janet English

The “Finnish Way” to Optimize Student Learning

The “Finnish Way” to Optimize Student Learning by Janet English

The “Finnish Way” to Optimize Student Learning


Lessons from a Fulbright Experience


by Janet English


Dedicated to Curtis Browne and Bobby English



The Finnish Way” to Optimize Student Learning is a valuable resource for those wanting to improve educational policy and practice. Finns have been combining high quality educational research and classroom practice for more than twenty-five years and building an education system that optimizes student learning. “The Finnish Way” shares Finnish educational policies and practices through storytelling vignettes, short chapters and insightful interviews, and these chapters are reflective of what I found in schools all across Finland. Sit back, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and enjoy the journey.


Writing a book like this requires time, travel and many expenses.  If you find this work valuable please leave a donation. Thank you.




Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Frigid North

Chapter 2 Nine-Year-Olds with Power Tools

Chapter 3 Moonlight in the Finnish Forest

Chapter 4 Bridges, Chairs and Machines

Chapter 5 “Quit it!”

Chapter 6 Teaching is Like “Sailing”

Chapter 7 Problem Solving in Music Class

Chapter 8 Swimming and Dipping in Icy Finnish Water

Chapter 9 Candles on the Doorstep

Chapter 10 A Cottage Pre-School

Chapter 11 Night as a Winter Animal

Chapter 12 Saddle Shoes and a Pink Ukulele

Chapter 13 The “Silent Church”

Chapter 14 The Value of Time in the Learning Process

Chapter 15 Every Child has “Special Needs”

Chapter 16 More Than Fifteen Words that Mean “Peace”

Chapter 17 Teacher Freedom and the Core Concepts for Learning

Chapter 18 Finns Share Their Insights about American Education

Chapter 19 Visiting Andreas Schleicher and OECD for a Global Perspective

Chapter 20 Pasi Sahlberg on Equity and Education

Chapter 21 Lessons Learned and the Journey Home

Appendix A: American Research Used in Finnish Education

Appendix B: Vocational School

Special Acknowledgements

Note: This work represents my point of view only and is not associated with the U.S. State Department or the Fulbright Program.

To contact Janet English: