In this article, What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success, the writer challenges those countries who want all of Finland’s educational success without following any of its principles. This is similar to the government’s recent rejection of the OECD’s report that performance related pay makes no difference to standards but they continue the rhetoric all the same because it sounds tough.
The amazing thing about this article is the statement, “Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted.” It also says that, “There’s no word for accountability in Finnish”. This idea is fascinating to me. It captures what I have felt is wrong for ages with performance related pay and scolding teachers. Teachers don’t do what they do because they are paid more or because they are scared. They do what they do because they care and they want to do their best. Leaders at a government level, or even at local school leadership level, who fail to see that will never make any improvements. They are looking in the wrong place. They see the problem as something which must be bashed and attacked till it goes away. Finland seem to have found a differnet way…Oh, and by the way, it’s working much better.
[There is one caveat to this. Tim Oates would argue that Finland went through a long period of rigour and prescription until it was certain that the quality of the workforce could be granted such freedom. However this quality is also reflecte din the status, income and qualifications of Finnish tecahers.
I would also add that there is no place in the profession for teachers who do not take this personal responsibility and only work hard under accountability regimes.]