Finnish and Estonian Education Success: School Visit Insights


Concept by Mirjami Junnikkala, Pui Ying Law

Ever wonder why and how Finnish and Estonian students rank among the top in PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results?

Finnish education has been regarded as one of the best education systems in the world, well-known for its focus on well-being, trust, student agency, and teacher autonomy.

On the other hand, interest in Estonian education has grown significantly as it climbs the international ranking despite being a small country in the Baltic area.

Estonia’s focus on innovative digital skills and teacher-led approaches stand out among others. Many educators around the world are interested in discovering in what ways these two neighboring countries are similar and different from each other in their educational development.

This course is designed to help you gain insights into educational best practices in Finland and Estonia.

You will discuss the key features and values of the Finnish and Estonian education systems, as well as their successes and challenges. Through interactive workshops, you will learn how different cultures and other contexts impact schools and educational achievements.

By visiting schools in Finland and Estonia, you will open up new ways to reflect on the strengths and challenges of your country and schools.

You will also discuss the latest educational trends and reflect on your work and practices at schools. You will also expand your professional networks with fellow educators in the course.  

After the course, you will gain new knowledge about the educational successes in Finland and Estonia. You will gain first-hand experience from the school visits in both countries about their best practices and challenges.

With the new perspectives and experience you gain from this course, you will see through a new pair of glasses the strengths and challenges in your school and country, which in turn help you to shape the direction for future development.

*The ferry from Helsinki, Finland to Tallinn, Estonia is about 2 hours. Ferry tickets are not included in the course fee. Further information about the transportation will be given after confirmation of the course.

**Please note: this course is only offered during the semester in the following months: Feb – Apr & Sept – Nov.

What is included

 Unmatched Support: full day chat assistance

 Fully Fundable: tailored on Erasmus+ budgets

 Flexibility Guaranteed: easy changes with minimal restrictions

 360° experience: from coffee breaks to cultural visits

 Post-Course Training: 100€ voucher on 40+ online courses

Learning outcomes

The course will help the participants to:  

  • Develop insights into the educational successes of Finland and Estonia;
  • Gain perspectives on how different cultures and other contexts impact schools and educational achievements;
  • Discuss the latest educational trends;
  • Recognize and rediscover the strengths and priorities of their schools and educational systems.

Tentative schedule

The majority of the course will be held in Helsinki.

On Thursday, there will be a scheduled school visit in Tallinn.

Participants have the option to travel to Tallinn by ferry on Wednesday afternoon, allowing for an overnight stay before returning to Helsinki on Thursday afternoon. Alternatively, it’s possible to take a round-trip ferry journey on Thursday itself. Regardless of the chosen travel schedule, the cost of ferry transportation is included in the course fee.

Day 1 – Course introduction

  • Introduction to the course, the school, and the external week activities;
  • Icebreaker activities;
  • Presentations of the participants’ schools.

Finnish education in a nutshell

  • Introduction to the key features of Finnish education.

Day 2 – How we do school in Finland and Estonia

  • What does the PISA result tell and what doesn’t?
  • The key values and pedagogical approaches comparison between Finland and Estonia;
  • The successes, the challenges, and the future trends in Finland and Estonia;
  • Preparation for a school visit.

Day 3 – Study visit in Finland

  • School visit in Finland: Getting to know the learning environment, the structure of a school day, observation of everyday school life, etc;
  • Reflective discussion;
  • Ferry trip from Helsinki to Tallinn (if you prefer to stay a night in Tallinn; or you can also travel on Thursday morning).

Day 4 – Study visit in Estonia

  • School visit in Estonia: Getting to know the learning environment, the structure of a school day, observation of everyday school life, etc;
  • Reflective discussion;
  • Ferry trip: from Tallinn to Helsinki.

Day 5 – Looking forward: priorities in your schools

  • Consolidate the inspirations from the visits;
  • Workshop: The role of culture in educational practices;
  • Recognize and (re)discover the strengths and priorities of your schools;
  • Creating new project ideas or action plans for your school.

Day 6 – Course closure and cultural activities

  • Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion;
  • Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance;
  • Excursion and other external cultural activities.

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