Finnish education has been a focus of global interest since its first PISA success in 2001. After years of superficial celebration, astonishment and educational tourism, the focus has recently shifted to what is possibly the most interesting element of this Finnish success story: that Finnish schools have been effectively applying methods that go against the flow of global education policy with no testing, no inspection, no hard evaluation, no detailed national curriculum, no accountability and no hard competition. From a historical and sociological perspective the Finnish case is not merely a linear success story, but is part of a controversial and paradoxical struggle towards Utopia: towards egalitarian schooling.

Bringing together a collection of essays by Hannu Simola and his colleagues, this book analyses the key dimensions of schooling in Finland to provide a critical, analytical and uncompromising picture of the Finnish education system. Going beyond the story of success, the book reveals the complexities of educational change, but also identifies opportunities and alternatives for smart political action in complex and trans-national societies.

Including a selection of key chapters on Finnish education policy and governance, teacher education and classroom cultures, the book will be of interest to researchers, academics and postgraduate students in comparative education, teacher education, educational policy and educational reform.



part I|66 pages

Education policy-making and governance

chapter I 1|24 pages

Firmly bolted into the air

Wishful rationalism as a discursive basis for educational reforms? 1

chapter I 2|21 pages

Abdication of the education state?

Constructing a new system of reason in Finnish schooling 1

chapter I 3|19 pages

Quality assurance and evaluation in Finnish compulsory schooling

A national model or just unintended effects of radical decentralization? 1

part II|67 pages

Teachers and their education

chapter II 4|26 pages

Educational science, the state and teachers

Setting up the corporate regulation of teacher education in Finland 1

chapter II 5|20 pages

The birth of the modern Finnish teacher

A Foucauldian exercise 1

chapter II 6|19 pages

Didactic closure

Professionalization and pedagogical knowledge in Finnish teacher education 1

part III|69 pages

Schooling practices

chapter III 7|24 pages

From exclusion to self-selection

The examination of behaviour in Finnish primary and comprehensive schools from the 1860s to the 1990s 1

chapter III 8|17 pages

‘It's progress but …'

Finnish teachers talking about their changing work 1

chapter III 9|26 pages

Changes in Nordic teaching practices

From individualized teaching to the teaching of individuals 1

part IV|68 pages

Understanding the Finnish PISA miracle

chapter IV 10|17 pages

The Finnish miracle of PISA

Historical and sociological remarks on teaching and teacher education 1

chapter IV 11|28 pages

Against the flow

Path dependence, convergence and contingency in understanding the Finnish QAE model 1

chapter IV 12|21 pages

Education politics and contingency

Belief, status and trust behind the Finnish PISA miracle 1

chapter |10 pages