Here’s our recap: Finland ranks #1 in education, world-wide. On the 2009 PISA Finland placed third, yet their students spend the fewest hours in school compared to the other high scoring nations.
Finland’s students start formal education at age 7, although most attend preschool. Finland emphasizes a joy of learning. Also, their teachers are selected from the top 10% of graduates. Getting into the teacher education program is highly competitive.
Finnish educators put a great deal of emphasis on the joy of learning. This link discusses joy in the primary years: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/04/wheres-the-joy-in-learning/
Last week our blog discussed the brain and mirror neurons. Research indicates that mirror neurons are the reason that emotions are shared between people. If a teacher shows interest and joy, the mirror neurons of the child will be activated, “mirroring” the teacher’s state of emotion. This seems to be related to what Donald Hebb discovered, that “neurons that fire together are wired together”.
Let’s take this one step further. The brain contains several neurotransmitters, chemicals that activate neurons. The first neurotransmitter to discuss is dopamine. Dopamine is associated with interest and joy. Dopamine is also connected with our endogenous opioids. Opioids (opiates) create bonding, the feeling of being loved. When dopamine is fired, opioids are activated, and vice versa.
Young children are known to fall in love with their teachers. When teachers of young children are full of joy they are able to introduce the child to many new things. The neurons of caring and interest are fired together. As a teacher reads a book and shows interest, the child is awakening inner neurons and making the connection that reading is fun and good.
Lesson #1 from Finland and the brain – we are designed to be interested and to learn.
The connection to “What Went Right Today?”…The book and the journal are meant to be shared with the child and the caring adult. Take note that the journal includes the question “What went right for Mother, Father, Grandma, Grandpa, etc,” Enjoy!
One announcement…we have Pinterest up and running. Check the website for the link!