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If you look at the 15-year-olds, or 16-year-old Fins
who are leaving the basic school, most of them have been
in special education throughout their schooling.
Which means that special education is actually nothing special.
So it's you are a special child or student if you haven't been,
if you haven't ever used special services.
We are putting a lot of emphasis on the early detection
of any difficulties and problems that the students in our schools may have.
And this is a very different policy to many other countries
where these measures are designed in a way that they are implemented only
when the problems have emerged and are too visible.
But we don't think like this in Finland.
I think we believe in this early intervention to make sure that those
who are likely to be in trouble will be recognized early,
and provided help and support as quickly as possible.
We as subject teachers cooperate with the special teacher
in cases where we see
that an individual student has problems with their studies.
It might be problems with concentrating on a theme.
It might be reading and listening difficulties,
especially in languages and math.
What we do is that we contact the special teacher
at the very early moment.
We call it the first intervention.
We talk with the special teacher, and try to arrange a time that she
or he could be able to come and join me as a subject teacher
to my classroom, and then focus on the problem.
The special teacher is available for a couple of hours.
And then she picks the student to a separate classroom
and helps him or her there.
And we also make an individual learning plan
for that individual student.
And by taking these measures, we try to guarantee
that no one is lagging behind.
The student welfare team gathers on a weekly basis,
and subject teachers inform the group with different cases.
They might be bullying, they might be skipping classes,
they might be learning difficulties,
it might behavioral problems, all kinds of things.
And then these individual problems are dealt with case-by-case
in this weekly meeting that every school in Finland has.
Well, a student welfare group deals with any kinds
of problems that we see in a school having to do with problems at home
or at learning disabilities, multi-cultural problems.
The main value of our student welfare group is to interrupt as soon
as possible, problems involved.
With this policy, we are trying to really make it easy
for everybody to say, "Yes, I have some areas where I need help now.
Is there anybody who can help?"
rather than trying to hide these things.
And in many cases, when you do this in the later years they will come
and accumulate even more difficult problems.
So I think with this, we have been able to positively affect both
the equity of the system, and also the quality of the system.
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Finland's Formula for School Success (Education Everywhere Series)

8583 Folder Collection
VoiceTube published on May 15, 2013    Karen translated    Evangeline reviewed
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