Powerful and distressing personal account of the harm caused by our toxic cultural obsession with an ‘evidence base’, and our drive to define value only in terms of what can be categorised and measured. Shades of Charles Dickens’ ‘Hard Times’, and Utilitarianism, at infinite cost to personhood and a child’s innate abilities in a supportive environment to actualise in enhancing ways (for self and other/community), and direct their own learning.
The reality is that our ‘evidence’/test-based educational culture – even on its own terms – is less effective than systems such as they have in Finland, where there is little testing, and children are given far greater opportunities to flow with their energies, connect with nature and follow their own learning threads and enthusiasms. This is from an article in the Smithsonian:-
‘There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students’ senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions. Finland’s schools are publicly funded. The people in the government agencies running them, from national officials to local authorities, are educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians.’
The whole of this – worthwhile – article by LynNell Hancock is here. It makes an interesting and inspiring read:-
Here’s another excerpt:-
There is lots of debate about what the Finnish results mean, and how sustainable they are. Time will tell…. From a person-centred perspective, it seems natural that a system that operates more to child-centred principles and allows personhood/autonomy to children, teachers and schools will be more effective than a system characterised by top-down governance, with the emphasis on standardisation, metrics and compliance, regardless of the cost in human terms. Is it okay with us that any child has the experience Susan describes? Let alone the repeated accounts of this nature we have seen following the recent round of testing…. Even if academic results appeared to bear out this approach, it would be unacceptable.
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling Exeter since 1994