The Québec-Finland educational expedition: departure on December 3

An educational expedition is being prepared. As of December 3, two school administrators will leave for Finland to travel approximately 3,000 kilometers from south to north, via east and west. The aim is to visit around ten schools and some faculties of education which train future Finnish teachers. We are happy to share their columns here with you!

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An educational expedition is being prepared. As of December 3, two school administrators will leave for Finland to travel approximately 3,000 kilometers from south to north, via east and west. The aim is to visit around ten schools and some faculties of education which train future Finnish teachers.

It will be possible to follow them in particular here, via the École branchée.


In education, Finland is recognized as a model to follow, but why exactly? What are they doing so well that deserves our attention and elicits our admiration? The aim is to immerse yourself in Finnish school culture and to testify about noteworthy practices directly where they take place. These discoveries will take place in heterogeneous environments:

  • In the east, about an hour from the Russian border, in Savonlinna, Joensuu and Punkaharju where primary, secondary and vocational (arts) schools will be visited. Emphasis will also be placed on the symbiosis of educational approaches with nature.
  • To the north, we will visit schools in Sodankylä and Utsjoki, in the heart of Lapland, where Finnish and Saami cultures come together and shape school life in a unique way. The north is also Rovaniemi, located on the Arctic Circle. City known internationally as the home of REAL Santa Claus, we will also visit what is certainly one of the northernmost faculties of education and also, we will visit the normal school affiliated with this university.
  • In the middle, it is difficult to pass Oulu where the university is recognized worldwide for its research in education. We will take the opportunity to meet the dean of the faculty of education at the University of Oulu and the director of her normal school.
  • In the south, we are planning two vocational school visits to Äänekoski and Jyväskylä. The first specializes in digital technologies and the second in manual labor.

Between these school or university visits, other meetings are planned with decision-makers or municipal administrators, since, in Finland, schools are the responsibility of the cities.

To transfer

But it doesn't stop there. The most important part is not just visiting or soaking up the Finnish school culture. The goal of the Expedition is to transfer what is witnessed to Quebec to allow Quebec education professionals to drink from Finnish practices. Educational adventurers will disseminate their findings daily and exclusively on the École branchée site in addition to feeding a Facebook page dedicated to the Expedition (see links below). Short clips, photos and several thoughts will be added daily.


Already November is a difficult month in terms of morale, the Covidian situation certainly does not help that of the troops. In these difficult times in our schools, one of the goals of the Expedition is to inspire education professionals by giving them hope. Hope from many spheres. For example :

  • How do Finns, especially teachers and administrators, keep their spirits up in November and December when the light drops drastically?
  • What way out of the health crisis can Finnish schools offer?
  • How to work with students who have been confined and who certainly lack several academic skills?
  • How to overcome the lack of social skills of some students more affected by confinement?
  • How do they go about making the students more autonomous?
  • How are Finnish teachers viewed and what leads are to be imported into Quebec?
  • Etc.

In short, ten schools, three faculties of education, several teachers, school administrators, researchers, professors, administrators and decision-makers ... All with a view to bringing everything back to share with the community. Quebec school community; that's the Quebec-Finland Educational Expedition!

To track the shipment:

It is also possible to contribute to the financing of the Expedition (until December 22):

(Editor's note: The École branchée is happy to be a media partner of this expedition! Note that we are not, however, associated with the fundraising campaign.)

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About the Author

Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard holds a bachelor's degree in humanities education (1999), a master's degree in history teaching (2003) and a master's degree in educational management (2013). He is currently a doctoral student in school administration. He specializes in change management in schools as well as in educational leadership. He is also interested in 21st century skills to be developed in education. He holds a managerial position in a public primary school and gives lectures on educational leadership, pedagogical approaches, change in the school environment as well as on the professionalization of teaching. He took part in educational expeditions to France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Morocco. In September 2014, he published the book “Le change en milieu scolaire québécois” with Éditions Reynald Goulet and, in 2019, he published a trilogy on the school of the 21st century with the same publisher. He frequently collaborates with L'École branchée on educational issues. He is very involved in everything that surrounds the professional development of teachers and school administrators as well as the integration of ICT in education. In March 2016, he received a CHAPO award from AQUOPS for his overall involvement.

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