Pasi Sahlberg took part in the educational reform which gave Finland its reputation. He was present at the recent Education Leadership Summit uLead, held in Banff from April 24-27, 2016. We had the chance to meet him and discuss teamwork among teachers.
In this episode of École branchée educational meetings, we discuss the importance of mutual aid and teamwork among teachers to promote student success. The “École branchée educational meetings” are podcast interviews with school stakeholders from here and elsewhere. In this episode, our collaborator (and concept designer), Marc-André Girard, talks to Mr. Pasi Sahlberg (@pasi_sahlberg), Harvard University in the United States. The latter was also part of the team that spearheaded educational reform in Finland, a model admired around the world.
In this interview, Sahlberg emphasizes the importance of teamwork in education and demystifies, citing research, three statements.
Play the game! Try to determine if these statements represent myth or reality.
- The most important factor in improving the quality of education is the teacher.
- A rather weak teacher performs as well as an average teacher if their social capital in the school is high.
- The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.
Let us now see what Mr Sahlberg has to say about it.
- The most important factor in improving the quality of education is the teacher : myth. Rather, they are factors external to the school, coming from the community and the family. Believing this myth creates expectations that are too high for teachers.
- A rather weak teacher performs as well as an average teacher if their social capital in the school is high : reality. Research shows that teamwork and collaboration between teachers positively influences student learning.
- The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers : myth. If this were a reality, it would mean that the better the teachers, the better the education. However, the best possible learning conditions are rather encountered when teachers work together and help each other.
To illustrate the point, Mr. Sahlberg draws a parallel with a hockey team that does not necessarily have a “superstar”, a star, but which performs particularly well as a team.
“Education does not work like the economy,” he sums up. You can't calculate human factors.
Pasi Sahlberg's bio
Former teacher of mathematics and science in Finland, Pasi salhberg has certainly become one of the foremost educational experts in the world. At the heart of the Finnish school reform that has become a model of performance around the world, Sahlberg has advised several governments in piloting school reforms. Thanks to his scientific and academic approach, Sahlberg's background is diverse: Finnish Ministry of Education, the World Bank, lecturer, author of a book and, today, professor at Cambridge University.
Marc-André Girard speaks with Pasi Sahlberg (in English)
Professor at Harvard University
Download (.mp3 format)
Collaboration: Audrey Miller