In week 17, we had the pleasure and privilege to host another Innovation Camp for Turkish education professionals. The Innovation Camp was organised in cooperation with KOULU’s long-time partner in Turkey, Senin Geleceğin. The eight Innovation Campers included teachers, school owners and a government official.
During the four-day camp, the participants got to experience the Finnish education system first hand. In addition to practical workshops, they visited Seppo primary school in Espoo, Kasavuori secondary school in Kauniainen and day-care at the H&S International School in Espoo. They also got to know Finnish teacher training both in the University of Helsinki and Haaga-Helia School of Vocational Teacher Training.
According to the participants, the most noticeable differences between education in Turkey and Finland were low hierarchy and high trust in Finland. While visiting Kasavuori secondary school, they were amazed about the relaxed learning environment and the informality of interaction between teachers and students. Trust was brought up a number of times during the camp, especially in relation to trust between management and teachers; how can management trust teachers to do a good job, how can management know if a teacher is performing well and further, how can parents trust the teachers.
One of the similarities between Turkey and Finland were the use of the students’ own digital devices in schools. Or, rather, the debate about whether they should be used and to what extent. In Turkey, using the students’ own devices would not work at all. In Finland, the debate is more about how much they should be allowed to use them in class. The same subject is, however, under discussion in both countries.
Other issues that were of interest in the visits were also home-school cooperation, the organisation of special education, whether difficult it is to get into teacher training and employment of teachers, school management and lack of formal learning in kindergarten. The participants especially liked meeting and talking to teachers and learning how different teaching methods are used.
The Innovation Camp was, yet again, a success and KOULU Group is looking forward to continuing the partnership with Senin Geleceğin and to beginning many new fruitful cooperations!