perussivu,sisällys, tiivistelmä,abstract,lectio praekursoria, essee Vastaväittäjää vastaan

Satunnainen kuva

aarnkari12_010

Uusimmat kirjoitukset

Yhteystiedot

anssi kuusela
posthaantie 12
26510 rauma
044-2547459
email:
nsskuusela90@gmail.com
Files: http://anssikuusela.com
/portraitt2/123







Kävijälaskuri

Käyntejä kotisivuilla:75029 kpl

Uusimmat kuvat

rauman_lyseo.img321014_edited-4
lyseo11
yo55
img002
ak_lk-kuvassa_1945
pikkukoulu1945
uotilan_alakoulu1944
aarnkari12_033
Share |

ORGANISATION OF SCHOOLWORK, GRADED OR UNGRADED, the DALTON PAN, HELEN PARKHURST, GYMNASIUM, LUKIO, MODULAR CURRICULUM, PERIODICAL SCHEDULE,  SCHOOL-REFORMS, PISA

 A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO THE SITE

The Finnish upper secondary school of the Finnish education system has been very conservative in nature. Especially its upper part, gymnasium (called ´lukio´ which is a derivative from the verb ´lukea´ meaning to ´read´) remained about a hundred years - on broad lines - almost unchanged. I was not until  in 1982 that the first real reform of the ´lukio´ was realized. It introduced two new elements, which were to prove decisively important, but only about two decades later. One concerned the structure of the curriculum, and the other was a new way of arranging the yearly working schedule.

Earlier the curriculum had been laid out on the basis of a whole school year ordaining the number of weekly lessons per each subject so that all the school weeks were exactly similar. Now the element of weekly lessons was abandoned and replaced by the number of ´courses´ in a school year. As to the working schedule, earlier there had been only one schedule for a whole school-year offering no variation during it. Now the year was divided into (e.g. five or six) periods of equal length, each of which had a working order of its own as to subjects to be studied with an added number of lessons of them.

The result was generally called a course-formed school, but, falsely, also an “ungraded” school was not all rare title in the media and among people, even among those, e.g. administrators, who should have known better. What to a large extent explains the confusion of the terms was that there had been experiments of ungraded lukio in the early 1970´s featuring courses and periods. At the time the experiments had been widely and enthusiastically reported on in the media, and so – together with ´course´ and ´period´ -  also the word ´ungraded´ was propably still echoing in the media and people´s minds.

The earlier experiment in the late 1960`s and the beginning of 1970`s took place in an evening school (the Evening school of Käpylä in Helsinki) where it was difficult for mostly grown-up students adapt themselves to regular schoolwork in a fixed grade and a permanent learning group with predestined lessons. So the most empowering feature for students was found to be the student´s possibility to use an individual length of time for his studies. The invention was called variation with time.  This would not have been possible, if the student had been tied to a permanent grade and group. To achieve this the organisation of schoolwork on the basis of cohorts and permanent learning groups was abandoned. The result was called an ungraded school.

The doing away with fixed grades and permanent learning groups was left out from the reform of the year 1982, either for ignorance or lack of courage. So, when the students were tied to the same group for the length of their gymnasium, nothing that was essential changed. Courses and periods as such did not change the traditional segratory academic nature of the gymnasium – thet stress, competiveness, unpracticality, concentrating shortsightedly on imminent tests, then forgetting what had been passed and looking forward to the next  of studying etc. The reform was found to be a failure in a couple of years.

As the age-based permanent grades remained, no wonder the reform soon proved a failure. The traditional ills that it had been meant to cure were rather aggravated. The factual praxis and spirit remained the same and even escalated, though the number of students in the lukio had risen to around a half of the cohort – so that the ´lukio´ no more prepared for academic studies.  The gravest defect was an excessive amount of obligatory courses together with the temporal rigidity of age-bound grades and almost non-existent possibilities individual choices. The situation worsened as the contents of courses, i.e., their width and exactingness, which had originally been meant to be adapted and measured so as to be taught in one period and be learned successfully enough. However due to the pressures of the various branches of the teachers´ unions led to overloading them. Another decade and another reform were needed for a real change.

About a dozen years later, after another period of experiments, in the mid1990's age-related grades and permanent teaching groups were at last abandoned – almost a quarter of a century later than it had first been thought to be possible. At the same time the obligatory component was reduced and the optional part increased.  It was also very important that the structure and contents of the matriculation examination, which had traditionally dominated the timing and choices of teaching and studying, was made temporally and optionally much more flexible. Now  we can say that the Finnish gymnasium had become modern, ready to meet, as a social pedagogical institution, the challenges of the more and more rapidly changing world.

Education is sure to be one of the key factors for instance in answering to challenges of developing technology and in solving problems of growing youth unemployment, , increasing immigration etc. There is an aching need for worldwide comparative surveys about the education of the teenagers of the 21st century, studies like those known as the PISA surveys about the educational levels concerning the obligatory schooling in various countries.

Two things - I think - are necessary conditions for a progressive development of education to meet the challenges of the future. The organisational division into general and vocational lines must be abolished and that the student can find his/her educational best, be it theoretical and intellectual or practical and vocational or something in between.  

Hopefully the optimism und dynamics that prevailed in the Käpylä Gymnasium for Adults (Helsinki) in the 1960´s and the 1970´s in their search for better education for the youth will enliven also  future aspirations for better educational systems.

+ + + + +

An Abstract of the dissertation

GRADED OR UNGRADED, SELECTION OR EMPOWERMENT

The Fight about the Limits of Flexibility and Differentiation in instruction and organisation of instruction in Finnish Gymnasiums (Note: in its European meaning: secondary school that prepares for university studies) as Part of the Reform of the Finnish Secondary School System

 In the Finnish school system "lukio" (I will use the Finnish term "lukio" for the academic line in the Finnish secondary schooling, because it would be more or less misleading to adopt one of the close equivalents from the usages of other counties.) used to be the secondary part of a whole called "oppikoulu". Together with its primary part it formed the Finnish version of the European continental gymnasium in the 19th century. My research is a historical survey of this school and its traditions and a critical analysis of its pedagogical practice (some details of which are relevant also about the primary part of the Finnish "oppikoulu" before its fusion with  the folks school into the obligatory comprehensive school in the 1970´s).

The attendance figures were low up to the second half of the 20th century, so that even at the beginning of the 1950´s the percentage of graduation from the "lukio" was under 5 % of the total populationl. When the living standard and the socio-economic level in Finland started to rise in the second half of the 20th century, the attendance figures began to rise fast. By the 1970s about a third of the cohort started lukio studies. The Finnish school system was not at all ready for this. It was even in theory impossible for universities and high schools to accommodate the "flood" of undergraduates. The possibilities of the vocational sector to help were restricted, because, in addition to its low social status, it was unorganized and schools lay scattered unsystematically in various parts of the country. History had overtaken the young state, which had neglected one of its most central institutions, schooling. A radical reform was acutely overdue. Nevertheless, the tide to the lukio continued, reaching about 50 % of the cohort at the beginning of the 1980s. This unbalanced situation is in the focus of the study.

In the wake of the European, mainly German gymnasium the Finnish gymnasium /"oppikoulu" was strongly influenced by the humanistic and neoclassical  trend of the 19th century as a reaction against the utilitarism of the Enlightment. Its practice and didactics were largely grounded on the psycology, pedagogics and philosophy of the German philosopher J. F. Herbart. Originally this school was meant for a small elite ( 1 – 2%) aiming at academic careers or priesthood. It was strictly selective and exclusive. To be accepted to the lukio the student had to have high enough marking level in the primary stage. To be accepted to the university the student´s learning achievement was checked in the undergraduate examination.

The Finnish lukio stayed essentially unchanged well over a century, through a time of a rapid increase of the population and especially of the school attendance. It contained radical social changes both in quantity and quality.   The reform of the compulsory schooling stage at the beginning of the 1970´s meant that the five primary-stage classes were united with the folks-school into a comprehensive whole. But the three secondary-stage classes, the lukio, with its elitistic and selective characteristics persisted to the end of the 20th century.

The basic factors of the lukiohad been curriculums of classical and theoretical content and herbartian didactics. All of them had cöme about in an essentially different social situation, when industrialization had hardly taken its first steps in Finland. And still In the last decades of the 20th century, when even modern was already turning into postmodern, there had been practically no reform. The classic-formalistic curriculum (Lehrplan), which had been seen as something universal, sort of above reality and opportunistic change, was certainly a firm  factor in conservimg what belonged to the past. Other cornerstones of the old were the unvarying organization of school-work and its bureaucratic governance. But perhaps the highest obstacle of any reforms  as to the content, method and preferences in teaching has been the overall domination of the matriculation examination.

After nearly a century of no essential change lukio was at the latest in for adapting to demands of modernization, because a huge change had taken place in the society around it. The role of lukio was no more to be a preliminary for a small elite to their more or less hereditary positions. It had become a demoratic gathering for later schooling and positions in general. And more and more students whose aims were not university or high-school studies or whose plans were unsettled or who simply wanted to keep open as many options as possible went to lukio. Instead of privileges lukio provided a route to social rise and an opportunity for social distinction. The outward symbol of the distinction, the "white cap", gained in visibility and publicity. Though officially the nature and content of pedagogics and curriculum were essentially the same, the lukio of the 1980´s was very much different from that before, say, the wars. The change was characterized - not by a new approach of educational  basics, but by uncontrolled growth and a search for outward symbols of social distinction at the expense of basic knowledge and arts, i.e.basics of culture..

Not that there hadn´t been attempts to do something about the problem. The first committee (Oppikoulukomitean mietintö marraskuulta 1932) charged with pedagogic reform of the oppikoulu/gymnasium, then thought to be the main and genuine line of the Finnish school system, had published its work as early as 1932. It pondered even the possibility of adopting ungraded system to help in amending shortcomings. Its suggestions however dissolved, first for educational, professional and poltical reasons and then in wars and their afrermath. Its successor in the first part of the 1950´s collected what pieces there were, but now the scene had changed irrevocably. It abstained from making any suggestions concerning the system level contenting to make some piecemeal remarks. The same is true about The Matriculation Committee and the Gymnasium Comittee and the unofficial Shadow Committee, which worked in the 1960s. Only  the Schooling Structure Committee (1969) sees the situation from the viewpoint of the whole secondary schooling after the ccompulsory omprehensive primary school would have been realized.  However they are essential sources, when we want to know about the thinking of the pedagogical experts and administrators in a phase, when they realize that a reform is necessary. 

The Finnish parliament had expressed as its will that like the primary school also the secondary stage should be based on comprehensive conception. The official committee called The School Committee of the Year 1971 was established to work out a proposal for the  comprehensive reform of the whole of the secondary schooling in Finland in 1971. Close to this date news broke out about the experimenting of ungraded school system - the theme of the next part. The new system had been developed on private initiative and worked out in the experiments in the Käpylä Evening School. As the new system had proved workable and  aroused enthusiasm and great expectations, it was generally expected  to be the common denominator and the glue and oil for the unity and flexibility in the coming comprehensive secondary system of schooling, both general and vocational.  However - to the astonishment of many -  the committee rejected it because it was not combatible with the principle of comprehensive school, as it included a possibility of varying lengths of schooling. This proved fatal, as it meant that the vocational schooling and lukio would go their separate ways. We follow the line which led to the present ungraded lukio. The story starts in a sort of privacy far from "maddening crowds" and  centres of power.

 

From Sysmä to Helsinki/Käpylätouvo_131012.jpg

Well before there was any real stir about the reform of the oppikoulu/gymnasium in the administration, there was a spark outside the centres of power that started  a  process that from a modest beginning grew in about half a century into a historical reform. The final focus was to be the reform of the Finnish "lukio", but it had wider repercussions. The start took place in a small  gymnasium in a small provincial town of Sysmä in 1949. Touko Voutilainen (born in 1918), whose studies had been delayed by the war years (1939/40 and 1941/45) was elected headmaster of the  Sysmä gymnasium at the age of thirtyone. This creative and innovative man, who had the opportunity to start his career only now that he was over thirty, began by challenging a primordial usage in one of the most conservative national institutions.

 

Periods march in

As headmaster Voutilainen´s first task was to organize the coming school year. So right at the start the piecemeal and discontinuing character of the traditional school made him think. The curriculum that consisted of one or more lessons per subject per week was traditionally organizeded into a week schedule, in which the lessons were haphasard like on a motley cloth. Every single week of the school-year was similar. No one sensible would plan and arrange work like that, he wrote later. So he wanted to do something about that. The school acquired an official permission to experiment with a different organisation. The school year was divided into periods, each with a different schedule. The school subjects were distributed into periods according to a kind of on/off-principle: when ON, the number of lessons was increased, for instance doubled, when OFF, the number of lessons was null. This lessened the incoherence and scatteration and some amount of concentration of teaching became possible. Seen from now, the move doesn´t seem very extraordinary, but one should notice that at the time it was a breach in a long tradition thought to be little short of eternal, and, without a doubt,  this  innovation was bound to arouse a new kind of educational thinking and practice. This was to lead to the reform of the Finnish lukio and to a new way of seeing school work and conditions of learning in general.

 

And then courses

The experiment lasted only for one year, as its leader, Voutilainen left Sysmä and moved to Helsinki. In 1956 he, with some friends of his, started a new kind of  school (Helsingin yhtenäiskoulu), which was special in the sense that it included all the stages from elementary to matriculation exam. Together with the period system this "union" of the stages was another step to diminish the diffusion of schooling. The "union of stages" widened further, when In 1962 an evening school was annexed to it. Voutilainen started as headmaster in the former and then moved to the latter, which obviously offered new challeges on the way he was advancing.

The special feature of an evening school was that students were adults. Consequently their studying and learning experiences, abilities and goals varied widely as well as their living situations. The same program at the same collective pace in a permanent group was very unsuitable for many, because if you belong ed to a certain grade and a permanet group with a fixed program, it was naturally hard and often impossible to keep abreast. In other words graded school was not for them.The first attempt to solve the problem in Käpylä was an experiment called “the Speed Line". It was a compressed program of two years to do the 3-year gymnasium examination. When the result was not good, the staff looked for a different solution.  

 

And finally ungraded

When learning goals and materials were adapted to fit the frames of a period, the evident unity between a period of lessons and the content to be learned  led to seeing there a whole, i.e. a course. So the next step was that the curriculum was written on the basis of courses of fixed length instead of a number of weekly lessons. The individuality of course was emphasized by giving each course a name descriptive of its content. Instead of of permanent groups and its collective workplan, there was a tray of courses, and the students were invited to choose and to plan their studying programs themselves. There was no permanent grouping anymore. Own choices were not only be possible, they were required. This meant that the graded system was done away with, it was not only possible, but a reality that  occasionaly a beginner and some one finishing belonged the same group.

The courses as separate units could be timed, repeated etc. and various pedagogical and personal needs, goals, demands etc.could be taken into account  Only if the student was disengaged from his or her age-cohort (grade) and freed from belonging to any permanent group, one could make individual choices and have a possibility of optimizing one´s duration and quality of studies. The emancipation from the confinement to predestined cohorts and classes together with periodical organisation of schoolwork and course-structure of curriculum were what was needed for ungradedness. The three grades of the Finnish lukio/gymnasium were wiped over in the Ungraded Lukio Experiment. It proved a success.

Thanks to the idea of courses school appeared now in a new light. The traditional presupposition had been that school is what it is. Students advance on the same route in the same pace and are measured with the same standard. Those who retard are left to wait for a later train - or to go to other pastures. It was believed that the same content, duration, methods, criteria etc. fulfilled the principles of demoracy and the ideal of equality. Any idea that there might be an alternative was a rare thought, and It was far from common knowledge that the prevailing conception had taken root in a time, when the function of school had really been to select the fit and to discard the unfit. It is true that around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries the Progressive Education movement tried to promote more liberal approaches, but its voice was not heard too well and the movement had lost its momentum already before the World War II. It was only during the second half of the 20th century that a new vision of school started to reach wider public notice. This was part of other fundamental social changes and more liberal atmoshere in general. The idea that the function of school was to empower, not to discriminate started to get foothold. The procedure of the same at the same pace in the same measure was more often challenged. Instead the idea that because people differ in their mental capabilities, interests and motivation, learning capabilities, in how they learn, in their maturing pace and so on, school must offer variation and be resilient.

The student´s possibility to regulate the time-dimension of his or her studies is the most remarkable and the most characteristic feature of the ungraded system. So, the staff at Käpylä coined variation with time as a "trademark" for the new system, which had evolved feature by feature during more than twenty years. It had proceeded relatively unnoticed and without any wide publicity, it had been done for a cause, not for show. In every phase a step further had been a result of innovative solution of a real problem. That is at least partly why there was genuine freshness and inventiveness in the activity at Käpylä. And most important of all, the innovations had  feasibility, because the system was developed in the immediate everyday practice of the schools. When the official Experiment of Ungraded Gymnasium ended in 1972, the  result was relatively clear-cut and ready to be used, needing only  some further refining, for instance studying rules in a system essentially different from the preceding. Anyway there was an ungraded system to take, for instance to solve the fundamental defects in the traditional gymnasium instruction and to level its undemocratic functions.pict1527__kopio.jpg

So far, so good

So far the winds had been favourable, but as soon as the new system became part of national , schooling policy, problems appeared. The new  system had  worked in an evening school, but would an ungraded systen work also in day-schools? To get an answer In 1972 two experiments were started, one in Mäkelänrinteen yhteiskoulu and the other in Alppilan yhteislyseo. The former school was eager to get the new strategy, and its headmaster Rainer Pelkonen (born 1928) and teachers had been interested in the experiments already for some years, the school had even applied to the Department of Public Education to be allowed to adopt some of its features in advance. However the school had to wait for the experiment to begin, but from that on it has been ungraded. ( Rainer Pelkonen is beside Touko Voutilainen one of the leading developers of the Finnish ungraded lukio.The Mäkelänrinteen lukio has contributed many important additions to ungraded system, and it has long been one of the leading schools in Finland.)

Unfortunately the first experiment year in Alppila was a failure. The reason was an insufficient preparation and unrealistic expectations. The teachers had not had enough time to acquaint themselves with the new system and clearly did not understand how widely it differed from the traditional school. The fact that any new system requires good preparation and especially ungraded system, which is more demanding than graded system in that few things are automatic, but require own activity. However the school gave the pupils almost complete freedom to choose right in the beginning. The staff was unable to handle the situation, and the consequence was nearly a disaster, a quick "normalization" and the resignation of the  headmaster. The school informed that there would no more be "any variation of time" and that the aim would be three grades in three years and that free choices would be allowed only in peripherial subjects. The case of Alppila gave a sign that under the name of ungradedness it is allright to remain practically graded. However, there was little harm done at the time, because the ungradedness of day-schools was soon dropped altogether by the resolution of the government, as we shall see later on. ((The new system was however acceptable in evening schools, and in about a decade practically all of them were ungraded.)


Enter politicians

The realization of the reform of the compulsory primary stage began in 1972. It meant that in five years the first students from the new comprehensive primary would knock on the doors of the secondary stage schools, and all of them would would be eligible to continue in the secondary schooling of their choice. The Schooling Committee had been set in 1971, and its proposal was published in 1973. The central idea in it was that general and vocational schooling should be united into a comprehensive whole, "the school of the  youth", which would contain twelve sectors. One of them would have been general and the others vocational. The length of every sector was to be the same: two years. That was, because the committee believed that, if the length of the sectors varied, a longer education would give an advantage in comparison with shorter sectors. The committee declared that the compulsory stage of education must not create formally unequal  positions. It would be contradictory to the principle of equality, which the parliament had set as the topmost principle of the reform. On the whole  ”lukio” with its three grades and dominant undergraduate examination was wholly uncombatible with the conception of the committee. It would be replaced by one of the sectors, the sector of general education. With these premises the committee naturally rejected ungraded system with its idea of “variation with time”.

The proposal meant that there should be no “lukio” any more and no undergraduate examination, no high brow “white caps” in springs. The rejection of ungraded system was a surprise to many, a disappointment to some and a mere word to most, while the threat of the abolition of the traditional “lukio” hit the heart of the national culture. There broke out a hectic battle between the pro-lukio movement and the supporters of the committee´s suggestion.

“A reform”

The government solved the question of “lukio” or no “lukio”  pragmatically. In its resolution of 1974 it ruled that “lukio” and the professional schooling should remain separate and be developed as separate. The comprehensive flexible united secondary stage that had been dreamed of in the late 1960´s and early 1970´s was a remote memory. About the "lukio" the resolution determined that it was to be graded 3-year school and that it was to  be developed as such. There had been no event in the century-long history of the Finnish "lukio" that could be called a reform.  But now following the resolution of the government a politically representative commission concentrated on the fundamental principles of the gymnasium pedagogics and curriculum, but the "reform"  in 1982 was purely pragmatic and had little to do with the paper. It was rather an attempt to revive the traditional “lukio” in disguise of two elements borrowed from the ungraded system: periods and courses. The most dominant feature was a revised curriculum that was heavier that ever before and a periodical marking system that occupied a central role, causing stress in students and labour for teachers, governance and headmasters. The overall frame was a graded whole of three years.

In an evening school the attitude to grades used to be liberal, even though school was formally graded, so that belonging to a ceratin grade was more or less a formality. But in a day school especially in "lukio", this was not so. You had to do and pass courses to pass grades, and if you failed, you could not proceed. There was no room for individual timing, planning, flexibility, repetitions, monitoring and so on. The graded course-based  system was full of doing what was prescribed in common pace with your grade and home group. So it is no wonder this reform  proved a failure. It aroused a lot of criticism the common denominator of which was that it was too heavy, contained too much compulsory and too little optional content, courses were overloaded and forced to direct an overload of energy on tests and marking,  especially as the marks received at the end of each course were part of the finishing marking. This was a cause of acute stress 

 Ungraded system revisited

The graded, course-formed gymnasium was a hybrid that worsened the earlier ills. The selective academic nature became even more marked and stress intensified. Hasty, listing, superficial teaching was accompanied by cramming reading of students. The monolithic nature of the curriculum made the organization of instruction even more rigid. Tests at the end of every period directed attention to marking and intensified competitive atmosphere. This failure  turned the attention again ungraded system. Preparations for a new experimentation were started in 1984, about a decade after the government had shelved the system. However before this happened, two day-school experiments had started. Two models were inherited from them. First, Mäkelänrinne followed and realized what had been developed in the Käpylä experiments proving that the new system worked and produced excellent outcome. Second, there was the Alppila model, which was a result of a failure. This was because in the Alppila experiment  they lost control of the new system and the grades and permanent grouping had to be returned. The experiment continued and only some outward features reminded of a new system. Unfortunately it gave a sign that ungraded need not be ungraded. It has been an excuse for numerous schools to introduce themselves as ungraded, though in reality they have been much more graded than ungraded. 

This ambivalence has created a lot of confusion, in addition to schools and the public even to the administration. To distinguish between the lines it has been suggested that pretended ungradedness could be called "graded ungraded" and real ungradedness ungraded ungraded.

The second attempt to introduce ungraded system to the Finnish school scene started in six "lukios" in 1987. There was no definition or agreed idea of ungraded system, only the reports of the experiments in the Käpylä evening school and two different models from day schools, those of Mäkelänrinne and Alppila.  So even now no one knew exactly what it was that would be experimented. Finnish "lukios" differ in many ways, most markedly in size, and the lack of a definition allowed many-coloured versions. Anyway there were two main approaches - with innumerable variations - that were at odds: one with a true pedagogic idealism and another that looked for compromises between the old and the new. Most schools were content with a system in which permanent grouping and grades remained, more or less masked. No masks could not hide the fact that the teaching arrangements aimed at the matriculation in the spring of the third year, which might be the toughest tradition to break.

In an idealized case the starting point might have been the hypothesis that  a genuine ungraded system and the pedagogic philosophy, on which it is based, would be the best guarantee that the known ills of the traditional school would diminish andthe outcome be better. Then the most crucial determinants would be the dismission of grading and permanent grouping. This would mean that a student would lose the support of a group and every one would have to decide for oneself. The student´s personal participation in planning and timing ("variation of time") and a followup of them would be essential. Sufficient personal guidance would be necessary and should be handy.

The former approach is easy, as it differs very lttle from the traditional. The other is demanding and laborious, for example because it requires special attention and added contribution, not only from administration and teachers, but also from students and even parents. So it is no wonder that the Alppila model has been much more popular than the really ungraded. In the simple approach some new details, which would have been impossible in a graded system, have become part and parcel of every gymnasium, for instance  another time of a course. But the fact that a purposeful lengthening/shortening of traditional studying time is rare, shows that the final dismission of grades is rare. The traditional is present and pendant all the time ready to overrun anything deviating too far. This is another indication that the Finnish "lukio" belongs to the institutions of "long durée" such as for example "culture" and "nationality ". (conf. Braudell) Their characteristic is very slow change, something that is measured in generations..

Reforming an institution of permanent durability

The reform of "lukio" in the mid 1990´s was curtailed in regard to original goals. The gravest obstacles impeding change in the instructional scheme and schedule of Finnish gymnasium appear to be deep-rooted fixations that are inseparably connected with the conventions of the Finnish matriculation examination. The most rigid tradition is that you must have your studies finished early in the second half of your third school-year. This temporal predestination will lead inescapably to the traditional passing through the gymnasium. A real reform must be accompanied by a change in attitudes and thinking. The student needs to be ready, when he is called upon to make decisions about his or her own studying: the content, aims and duration. This is asking a lot, so the usiness slips onto the traditional line - with ready-made permanent groups and programs. The alternative is not impossible. This is shown in a few instances. A genuine doing away with fixed classes, an "ungraded ungraded" system is outlined toward the end of the research.

Anyway somehow the normative sameness of content and duration of studies should be tuned more varied. The necessity arises from the fact that the levels of learning achievement, readiness to learn and the motivation of the youngsters starting gymnasium or secondary schooling have become more varied from ambitious to laissez faire. In instruction the traditional linearity, in which it is supposed that all learners master what has been passed is harmful, because that is not the case. If the bottom miscarries, and you add new material on what is failing, there will necessarily be dropouts. The linearity of instruction has been destructive for the lives of many peopler, and the problem will worsen now that the heterogeneity, following the growth of the number of students, has enlarged.

 

 

Notes referring to some themes in the research

The instruction of a course should be as self-dependent as possible, and as such be fitted into the epistemological and ethical level of those being taught. The most crucial aim should be to arouse an interest to know.

The educational system of a society is one of its most central institutions. Any educational system is not only what it is rationally planned to be. It is influenced by general social dynamics and it has social functions that are not intended. Before any real change in the practice and ideology of school can take place, the unintended functions, the "hidden curriculum" that bypasses the official one, must be made visible. The features of education explored in this research seem to belong to the sphere of ´la longue dureé´, the historical deep-structure defined by Fernand Braudel, a French historian. In this historical sphere changes are characteristically very slow, hardly noticeable.

The most important question in regard to secondary education is how its nature and social role will develop. Unavoidably it will develop in some direction in a world of more and more of sophisticated technology and overall and aggressive business and globalization. Will the secondary education, as its primary function, serve the selective needs of a commercial and competetive society? Or would it be possible for education to grow into a democratic and empowering force, the basic function of which it would be to ensure everyone's active integration into one's community and an access to and participation in the world of knowledge and culture?

No doubt the selective function in Finland has changed now, when about half of the cohort passes the matriculation examination. It may be more refined and masked. Maybe that is one of the reasons, why attempts to bring gymnasium and vocational schooling closer to each other or even under the same cover have failed. The need for an institutionalized mechanism of social distinction is still strong enough, especially as it is not generally recognized as such. Naturally parents hope their offspring will walk on the sunny side, and it is no wonder the young themselves see the white cap as a sign of being accepted into the upper story. It is very doubtful, whether gymnasium has succeeded in empowering people in democratic spirit, its official pedagogic goal.

 

But the old conception has not died out. And there are more and more features in the economic and technological development that increase cmpetition. This brings with it demands that competitiveness should be all right in schools and that schools should be selective. The democratic and human values of modern society demand that its institutions see their citizens as equals and give them equal opportunities, even go in for positive distinctions in the sense that those whose basic conditions are worse get more material and intellectual contributions to bring them to the line

KEYWORDS

SCHOOL, GYMNASIUM, LUKIO, SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS, TRADITION, TRADITIONAL, PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION, HUMAN LEARNING, SOCIAL LEARNING, INDIVIDUAL LEARNING, SELECTION, SEGREGATION, EMPOWERING, DIFFERENTIATING EDUCATION, COGNITION, CONDITIONS OF LEARNING AND COGNITION, CONCENTRATED/DISCONNECTED TEACHING, SECONDARY SCHOOLING, VOCATIONAL SCHOOLING, GENERAL SCHOOLING, FINNISH SECONDARY SCHOOLING, GRADED SCHOOL SYSTEM, SCHOOL GRADED BY AGE/YEAR, PERMANENT GROUPING, UNGRADED SCHOOL SYSTEM, NON-PERMANENT GROUPING, FINNISH UNGRADED LUKIO, CURRICULUM, MODULAR CURRICULUM, PERIODICAL SCHEDULE, FINNISH LUKIO, FINNISH GRADED AND UNGRADED LUKIO, MODULAR CURRICULUM, PERIODICAL SCHEDULE, HIDDEN CURRICULUM.
 

AVAINSANAT

LUKIO. LUOKATON LUKIO, GYMNASIUM, SOSIAALINEN INSTITUUTIO, PERINNE, YKSILÖLLINEN OPPIMINEN, SOSIAALINEN OPPIMINEN, VUOSILUOKKIIN JAETTU KOULU, PYSYVIIN OPETUSRYHMIIN JAETTU OPETUS, LUOKATON OPETUSJÄRJESTELMÄ, VUOSILUOKKIIN JAETTU KOULU, TOISEN ASTEEN KOULUTUS, SUOMEN TOISEN ASTEEN KOULUTUS, YLEISSIVISTÄVÄ, AMMATILLINEN KOULUTUS, KURSSIMUOTOINEN (MODULAARINEN) OPETUSSUUNNITELMA, PIILO-OPETUSSUUNNITELMA, HAJAUTETTU LUKUJÄRJESTYS, JAKSOJÄRJESTELMÄ, OPETUKSEN KESKITTÄMINEN, YLIOPPILASTUTKINTO, KOEVIIKKO  

 

Järki ohoi, äly älä jätä

Keskiviikko 9.3.2016 - anssi kuusela

Hyvä vastaanottaja

 

Pyydän kunnioittavasti, että julkaisisitte alla olevan kirjoitukseni lehtenne yleisö-osastossa

 

 

anssi kuusela, rehtori emeritus

044-2547459

 

 

"Ymmärrys hoi, äly älä jätä!

 

Maailmanlaajuisesti ollaan yksimielisiä siitä, että koulutus ja sivistys ovat viime kädessä se keino, jonka avulla yhä pahemmin sairastuva planeettamme  voi pelastua. Koulutus on välittömässä avainasemassa myös yhteiskunnan ja sen kansalaisten hyvinvoinnin sekä elinkeinoelämän menestymisen kannalta. Tätä taustaa vasten oli tyrmäävää lukea uutinen, että Raumalla aiotaan lopettaa lukion iltalinja! Spontaanisti tuli mieleen historian kuluessa usein toistettu lause: He eivät ymmärrä, mitä he ovat tekevät.

 

Uutisessa iltalukion apulaisrehtori Sanna Koivunen kertoo, mitä iltalinjan lopettamisen seurauksena  menetettäisiin: ammattiin opiskelevien mahdollisuus ns. kaksoistutkintoon, syystä tai toisesta lukion keskeyttäneiden tai ohittaneiden uusi mahdollisuus, yo-tutkinnon suorittaneiden mahdollisuus täydentää tutkintoaan ja korottaa arvosanojaan jatkokoulutukseen pääsemisen helpottamiseksi. Lopuksi Koivunen toteaa alistuneesti, että ". . .sääli, että mahdollisuus jää nyt pois, vaikka ymmärrämmekin, että iltalinja on selkeä säästökohde." 

 

Siis että kun on "selkeä" säästökohde, niin mikäpä siinä sitten!

 

Erityisesti nyt ja tulevaa ajatellen uskoisi päättäjien "ymmärtävän", mikä merkitys joustavalla iltakoululla on/olisi pakolaisten kotouttamisessa. Onhan selvää, että niin taloudellisesti kuin inhimillisestikin on ratkaisevan tärkeää, että maahanmuuttajat voivat kouluttautua, saada ammatin ja luonnollisen sijan yhteiskunnassa. Näin konkreettisesti nyt, mutta pahoin pelkään, että olemme näkemässä vasta alkuvaihetta maailmanlaajuisesta väestön uudelleen asemoitumisesta.

 

Iltalukion lopettaminen olisi kaiken kaikkiaan lamauttava isku kaikelle viime vuosikymmenten koulutuksen kehittämistyölle. Se alkoi peruskoulu-uudistuksesta 1970-luvulla ja jatkui seuraavina vuosikymmeninä nuorisoasteen, lukion ja ammatillisen koulutuksen kehittämisellä joustavaksi erilaisia yksilöitä palvelevaksi järjestelmäksi. Tässä kokonaisuudessa iltakoulut ovat olleet tärkeitä täydentäviä ja korjaavia järjestelmän osia.

 

Erityisen typerää ja lyhytnäköistä on ajatella, että iltakoulun lakkauttaminen merkitsisi taloudellista säästöä. Tässä tapauksessa ei ole nähty lähimpää budjettikokousta pidemmälle. Summittaisella yliviivaamisella on pakotettu viivan alle muodostuvat meno- ja tulopuolen luvut täsmäämään - tällä kertaa - uskoen, että kylläpä ensi vuonna taas jotain yliviivattavaa löytyy. 

 

Koulutusmahdollisuuksien vähentyminen lisää väistämättä epätasa-arvoa ja mahdollisuuksien menettämistä sekä lahjakkuuksien hukkaamista. Uskoisi ja toivoisi viranhaltijoiden ja vaaleilla valtuutettujen päättäjien tajuavan, että nuorten ja maahan muuttavien syrjäytyminen se vasta hintohinsa tuleekin ja että tulevaisuudessa hinta vain nousee, ellei eriarvoistavia rakenteita poisteta ja panosteta inhimillisen kehityksen perustekijöihin.

 

anssi kuusela, rehtori emeritus"

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: iltalinja, lopettaminen, budjettisäästö

nuorten koulutus

Tiistai 3.2.2015 klo 18:39 - anssi kuusela

”NUORTEN KOULUTUS ON AVAINASEMASSA Yliopistolehtori Pekka Räihä kommentoi kansleri Kari Raivion yliopisto-opiskelijoiden arvostelua liian kevyestä opiskeluotteesta. Hän näki, että syy akateemisten opiskelijoiden velttoon asenteeseen juontaa ylioppilaskirjoitusjärjestelmästä. Hän kirjoittaa: ”Muissa maissa joko harvinainen tai kokonaan puuttuva ylioppilaskirjoitusjärjestelmä ohjaa lukion opetusta sen alkumetreiltä lähtien. Koko lukioaika on vain ylioppilaskirjoituksiin tähtäävää . . . puurtamista.” (HS 25.1. 2015) Räihän esiin nostama ongelma ei ole uusi. Jo vuonna 1890 pidetyssä Suomen oppikoulunopettajien kokouksessa enemmistö kannatti yo-kokeiden lopettamista, koska ne johtavat ”muistilukuun” , ts. pänttäämiseen ja lyhytkestoiseen oppimiseen. Sen jälkeen ongelma on ollut esillä lukuisissa vaiheissa seuraavan vuosisadan mittaan.  Vahingollisimmillaan valkolakin hohto oli 1970-luvulla, kun peruskoulu-uudistuksen jälkeen agendalle nousi nuorisoasteen koulutuksen uudistamisen tarve. Uudistusta valmistelleiden luonnollinen lähtökohta oli luoda yhtenäisen peruskoulun jälkeen yhtenäinen toisen asteen koulutusjärjestelmä, nuorisokoulu. Lähtökohtaa pidemmälle ei asiassa kuitenkaan päästy. Se näet törmäsi perinteen voimaan: perinteisen lukion ja sen päättävän yo-tutkinnon säilyttämisen vaatimukseen. Perinteistä systeemiä puolustamaan nousi lopulta aktivistinen ”pro-lukio” –liike. Jakolinjasta tuli lopulta poliittinen. Hallitus asettui lopulta perinteen säilyttämisen kannalle. Niinpä nuorisoasteen koulutuksen uudistus jäi puolitiehen, ts. toteutui vain ammatillisen koulutuksen osalta. Lukiokin on toki muuttunut. Ensinnäkin sen suosio on noussut niin, että lähes joka toinen käy sen. Sen virallinen opetussuunnitelma on moitteeton, mutta kun käytännössä sen yli jyrää piilo-opetussuunnitelma: preppaaminen ylioppilaskokeisiin. Lisääntyneiden oppilasmäärien käsittelyn helpottamiseksi tutkintoa on ”valinnaistettu” niin, että sen voi nykyään läpäistä hyvinkin kevyin eväin.  Nyt kun talouden ja taloudellisuuden keskeisyys on temppelin harjalla, voi ihmetellä, miten kuitenkin on varaa ylläpitää lukion kolmatta luokka-astetta, jolla opetusta on vain helmikuun puoliväliin, minkä jälkeen remutaan potkiaiset penkkareineen. Kokemuksesta tiedän, että varsin monet murrosikäiset valitsevat lukion päästäkseen mukaan näihin siirtymäriitteihin. Kokeiden jälkeen huhti- ja toukokuu ovat valkolakin odottelua. Tiedän kyllä, että monet valmistautuvat silloin jatkoa varten, mutta tiedän myös, että suuri osa vain lepäilee ”uuvuttavan” lukioprässin jälkeen.  Lukiolla sinänsä ja erityisesti sen kolmannella ”luokalla ” , ns. abiturientti-instituutiolla on yhteys nykyiseen nuorisotyöttömyyteen. Lukion käynyt kun ei osaa juuri mitään, millä olisi käyttöä nykytuotannossa. Mutta erityisen hälyyttävää on, että lukion jälkeen yhä useampi ylioppilas harhailee vuosi vuoden jälkeen vailla suuntaa ja mahdollisuutta päästä alkuun elämässään. Tuskin se, että kerran vuodessa Vappuna saa painaa valkolakin kutreilleen, riittää antamaan perustan elämälle. Kellojen pitäisi soida myös siitä, että Pisa-tutkimuksen myönteiset tulokset perusasteen osalta eivät toistu nuorisoasteen osalta. Haluan muistuttaa siitä, mitä Matti Vesa Volanen kirjoitti tällä palstalla noin puoli vuotta sitten: ”Toisen asteen koulutus ei menesty ennen kuin lukio- ja ammattikoulutusväki yhdistää voimansa kaikkien nuorten kouluttamiseksi lukioissa, ammattiopistoissa tai niiden yhdistelmässä.” (HS 31.8. 2014) anssi kuusela, kasvatustieteiden tohtori”

anssi kuusela, FT Posthaantie 12, 26510 Rauma nsskuusela90@gmail.com 044-8547459

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: nuorisokoulu, yhtenäinen koulutusjärjestelmnä

NUORISON KOULUTUS AVAINASEMASSA

Keskiviikko 28.1.2015 klo 13:11 - anssi kuusela

Helsingin sanomat/Mielipide

Pyydän kunnioittavasti, että julkaisisitte mielipidepalstallanne seuraavan näkemykseni, joka liittyy kansleri Kari Raivion kannanottoon (HS 23.1. 2015) koskien korkea-asteen opiskelijoiden opiskeluotetta ja motivaatiotasoa sekä siihen kantaaottaneiden kirjoituksiin:

 

”NUORTEN KOULUTUS ON AVAINASEMASSA

Yliopistolehtori Pekka Räihä kommentoi kansleri Kari Raivion yliopisto-opiskelijoiden arvostelua liian kevyestä opiskeluotteesta.  Hän näki, että syy akateemisten opiskelijoiden velttoon asenteeseen juontaa ylioppilaskirjoitusjärjestelmästä. Hän kirjoittaa: ”Muissa maissa joko harvinainen tai kokonaan puuttuva ylioppilaskirjoitusjärjestelmä ohjaa lukion opetusta sen alkumetreiltä lähtien. Koko lukioaika on vain ylioppilaskirjoituksiin tähtäävää  . . . puurtamista.” (HS 25.1. 2015) Räihän esiin nostama ongelma ei ole uusi.  Jo vuonna 1890 pidetyssä Suomen oppikoulunopettajien kokouksessa enemmistö kannatti yo-kokeiden lopettamista, koska ne johtavat ”muistilukuun” , ts. pänttäämiseen  ja lyhytkestoiseen oppimiseen. Sen jälkeen ongelma on ollut esillä lukuisissa vaiheissa seuraavan vuosisadan mittaan.

Vahingollisimmillaan valkolakin hohto oli 1970-luvulla, kun peruskoulu-uudistuksen jälkeen agendalle nousi nuorisoasteen koulutuksen uudistamisen tarve.  Uudistusta valmistelleiden luonnollinen lähtökohta oli luoda yhtenäisen peruskoulun jälkeen yhtenäinen toisen asteen koulutusjärjestelmä, nuorisokoulu. Lähtökohtaa pidemmälle ei asiassa kuitenkaan päästy. Se näet törmäsi perinteen voimaan: perinteisen lukion ja sen päättävän yo-tutkinnon säilyttämisen vaatimukseen. Perinteistä systeemiä puolustamaan nousi lopulta aktivistinen ”pro-lukio” –liike. Jakolinjasta tuli lopulta poliittinen. Hallitus asettui lopulta perinteen säilyttämisen kannalle. Niinpä nuorisoasteen koulutuksen uudistus jäi puolitiehen, ts. toteutui vain ammatillisen koulutuksen osalta.

 Lukiokin on toki muuttunut. Ensinnäkin sen suosio on noussut niin, että lähes joka toinen käy sen. Sen virallinen opetussuunnitelma on moitteeton, mutta kun käytännössä sen yli jyrää piilo-opetussuunnitelma: preppaaminen ylioppilaskokeisiin.  Lisääntyneiden oppilasmäärien käsittelyn helpottamiseksi tutkintoa on ”valinnaistettu” niin, että sen voi nykyään läpäistä hyvinkin kevyin eväin.

Nyt kun talouden ja taloudellisuuden keskeisyys on temppelin harjalla, voi ihmetellä, miten kuitenkin on varaa ylläpitää lukion kolmatta luokka-astetta, jolla opetusta on vain helmikuun puoliväliin, minkä jälkeen remutaan potkiaiset penkkareineen. Kokemuksesta tiedän, että varsin monet murrosikäiset valitsevat lukion päästäkseen mukaan näihin siirtymäriitteihin. Kokeiden jälkeen huhti- ja toukokuu ovat valkolakin odottelua. Tiedän kyllä, että monet valmistautuvat silloin jatkoa varten, mutta tiedän myös, että suuri osa vain lepäilee ”uuvuttavan”  lukioprässin jälkeen.

Lukiolla sinänsä ja erityisesti sen kolmannella ”luokalla ” , ns. abiturientti-instituutiolla on yhteys nykyiseen nuorisotyöttömyyteen.  Lukion käynyt kun ei osaa juuri mitään, millä olisi käyttöä nykytuotannossa. Mutta erityisen hälyyttävää on, että lukion jälkeen yhä useampi ylioppilas harhailee vuosi vuoden jälkeen vailla suuntaa ja mahdollisuutta päästä alkuun elämässään.  Tuskin se, että kerran vuodessa Vappuna saa painaa valkolakin kutreilleen, riittää antamaan perustan elämälle. Kellojen pitäisi soida myös siitä, että Pisa-tutkimuksen myönteiset tulokset perusasteen osalta eivät toistu nuorisoasteen osalta.

Haluan muistuttaa siitä, mitä Matti Vesa Volanen kirjoitti tällä palstalla noin puoli vuotta sitten: ”Toisen asteen koulutus ei menesty ennen kuin lukio- ja ammattikoulutusväki yhdistää voimansa kaikkien nuorten kouluttamiseksi lukioissa, ammattiopistoissa tai niiden yhdistelmässä.” (HS  31.8. 2014)

anssi kuusela, kasvatustieteiden tohtori”

 

anssi kuusela, FT

Posthaantie 12, 26510 Rauma

nsskuusela90@gmail.com

044-8547459

 

 

Temppelinharjalle lukio ja ylioppilaskirjoitukset pääsivät varsinaisesti vasta 1970-luvulla, kun peruskoulu-uudistus alkoi toteutua. Silloin agendalle nousi koko painollaan ja kiireellisenä perusasteen jälkeinen koulutus. Peruskoulu tulisi näet antamaan koko ikäluokalle yhtäläisen kelpoisuuden jatko-opintoihin. Sitä silmällä pitäen Vuoden 1971 koulukomitea ehdotti yhtenäistä toisen asteen koulutusta, jossa lukio olisi ollut yksi samanpituinen 2-vuotinen sektori muiden rinnalla. Tähän liittyen pohdittiin, miten tutkintojärjestelmää pitäisi muuttaa, kun ylioppilastutkintoa ei enää olisi. Kansallista perusinstituutiota puolustamaan syntyi  pro-lukio –liikkeeksi nimetty kansanliike. Hallitus ratkaisi tilanteen säätämällä, että lukio saisi pitää erityisasemansa ja näin myös ylioppilastutkinto –instituutio pelastui.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: yo-kirjoitusjärjestelmä, nuorisoaste, yhtenäinen keskiaste

nuorten koulutus avainasemassa

Keskiviikko 28.1.2015 klo 13:01 - anssi kuusela

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: yo-kirjoitukset, nuorisoaste, opiskelumotivaatio

Kommentti Herlinin blogille "Eläköön luokaton lukio"

Maanantai 12.8.2013 klo 21:29 - anssi kuusela

 

Kommentti Niklas Herlinin nettiartikkeliin "Eläköön luokaton lukio"

Niklaksen puheenvuoro ilahduttaa. Luokatonta järjestelmää koskevat puheenvuorot ovat enimmäkseen olleet asiaa tuntemattomia ja ilmeeltään yleispopulistista muutosvastarintaa.
Rohkenen viitata Turun yliopistossa vuonna 2003 hyväksyttyyn väitöskirjaani LUOKATON VAI LUOKALLINEN, VALIKOINTI VAI VALTAUTTAMINEN. Sitä esittelevä sivusto on osoitteessa:http://www.anssikuusela.com. Sivustoon sisältyy mm. suomen- ja englanninkielinen tiivistelmä, englannin kielinen johdatus: A SHORT HISTORY OF THE FINNISH GYM, A KIND OF UNGRADED, joka on julkaistu myös englanninkielisessä wikipediassa. Suomenkielisessä julkaistu MITEN LUOKATTOMUUS TULI SUOMEEN käsittelee historiallisesta näkökulmasta po. muutosprosessin kulkua.

 

anssi kuusela

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: luokaton opetusjärjestelmä, lukio

A KIND OF UNGRADED

Sunnuntai 10.3.2013 klo 15:55 - ANSSI KUUSELA

GYMNASIUM, SECONDARY SCHOOLING, VOCATIONAL SCHOOLING, GENERAL SCHOOLING, FINNISH SECONDARY SCHOOLING, GRADED SCHOOL SYSTEM, UNGRADED SCHOOL SYSTEM, FINNISH UNGRADED LUKIO, CURRICULUM, MODULAR CURRICULUM, PERIODICAL SCHEDULE, FINNISH LUKIO, FINNISH GRADED AND UNGRADED LUKIO, MODULAR CURRICULUM, PERIODICAL SCHEDULE

LUKIO, LUKION HISTORIA, SOSIAALINEN/YKSILÖLLINEN OPPIMINEN/OPISKELU, LUOKATON LUKIO, GYMNASIUM, LUOKATON OPETUSJÄRJESTELMÄ, VUOSILUOKKIIN JAETTU JÄRJESTELMÄ, TOISEN ASTEEN KOULUTUS, YLEISSIVISTÄVÄ/AMMATILLINEN KOULUTUS, MODUULIT, KURSSIMUOTOINEN OPETUSSUUNNITELMA, JAKSOJÄRJESTELMÄ, YLIOPPILASTUTKINTO

(The text below is published also in the English Wikipedia.)

 

 A KIND OF UNGRADED

The Finnish Version of Ungraded School

Historically the traditional gymnasium in Finland as well as in other European countries was exclusive and segregating, a school for elite and for screening the upper classes. On these premises, apart from its cultural mission, it was only natural that the essential curriculum of gymnasium was theoretical and unpractical, academic and non-utilitarian, far from the lives of common people. Basically the nature of gymnasium stayed that way, though the growing numbers of students, industrialization and for instance the progress of international connections compelled to some changes, e.g. to take up spoken languages, which gradually pushed Latin and Greek more and more towards margin. But  it was not until the [[progressive education]] movement started to criticise the narrowness and formalism of traditional education that the question of the need of  reforms arose.

Until the 1970´s Finland had a  very segregating parallel school system:  the folks-school and a version of the European gymnasium.  Four classes in the Kansakoulu were common to all.  The first segregating point was, when some entered gymnasium (if they had passed the entrance examination) and the others continued in the folks-school. The division was fatal, because only those who had passed the five classes of gymnasium were accepted into the three further classes of gymnasium, practically the only gateway to academic studies. This segregation point was abolished, at least in theory, in   the 1970´s, when the folks-school and the five lower classes of the gymnasium were united into a comprehensive whole. From that on all who had passed it, were entitled to the finishing classes of gymnasium.

The second segregating point was, when, after five gymnasium classes, some continued to the three further gymnasium classes, while some others entered professional schooling or finished school. Those who passed the [[matriculation examination]] at the end of the  gymnasium, got an undergraduate certificate that entitled them to academic studies. The emblem of undergraduates was the "white cap", distinguishing its carriers from the others. Originally practically all "white-capped" and until, say, the sixties a great majority of them started at least lower academic studies. But later a growing number of undergraduates have entered professional schooling of a lower status and even vocational schooling for which the matriculation examination is not required. This weakening of the segregating function has been due to natural reasons, mostly to rapidly growing numbers of students in "lukio" and general modernization.   There was strong political pressure, even before the beginning of the 20th century, to reform the segregating system. But for many reasons it was not until 1970´s that the compulsory part of it (folks-school and five gymnasium classes) were united into a comprehensive whole. the three finishing gymnasium classes,“lukio”, continued two more decades. It is true that there was a set of changes in 1982 that was called a reform, but ,as we shall see further on, renovations were at that stage only technicalities, and otherwise the old annoyances grew even graver. This essay is an attempt to give an account of the reasons for the tardiness of the reform of the “lukio” and of the path that finally led to a kind of ungradedness  that came about in Finland in the 1990´s.

The first committee charged with preparing a proposition of a pedagogic reform of the "lukio" (the three finishing grades of the gymnasium) published its work as early as 1933. It concluded that the working schema together with the curriculum of mutually independent subjects was incoherent and disconnected, as the lessons were placed in a haphazard way without any didactic point of view onto a weekly schema, which repeated every week of the school year exactly in the same form. So the system ached for centralization. Looking for a remedy the committee brought up Helen Parkhurst´s idea of ungraded school and her Dalton Plan. But finally the committee thought that ungraded system would be too demanding a change for the then Finnish  school system, and did not include it in its proposal. Instead it proposed grouping the subjects and periodizing the groups so that all the subjects would not be on at the same time. When the work was published, the opposition was loud, and for well known reasons the 1930´s was a very unfavorable time for a school reform. But the idea of the periodic system survived to be brought up, when the century turned to its second half. In the end none of the proposals of the committee were realized.

At the beginning of the 1950´s there was another official committee with a similar task as that of its predecessor twenty years earlier, but it could not produce anything new, on the contrary it looked backwards trying to revive the Herbartian heritage. Modernization was not yet in the horizon of the committee. Even the "Lukio Committee", which published its work in 1970, when the coming reform of the compulsory stage was already well known, concentrated only on some details, e.g. evaluation and matriculation examination. This was the time, when it would not yet have been too late for a plan of a necessary reform for the secondary schooling after the comprehensive primary stage. The first official preparatory measure was the nomination of a committee in 1971. The parliamentary directive was that the guideline of the reform should be equality and so be comprehensive by nature. As we shall later see, comprehensiveness did not come to pass.  

 Far from the "maddening" centers of power there had - before even the slightest stir in the administration - been a spark which would prove to be the beginning of a path that should lead - after many adversities and reverses - to a reform of the "lukio" (the vocational schooling was at that stage  following a separate line of its own). The start of the path was In Sysmä, a small country town in Central Finland.  In 1949 the headmaster of the local school Touko Voutilainen took as his task to do something about the imperfection that already the first gymnasium committee had set its eyes on: incoherence and disconnectedness of the system. He acquired an official permit an experiment the goal of which was to gain more  centralization. He  devised a periodical working order. Instead of the same schedule of lessons for every week of the school-year, the year was divided into periods, each having a special schedule. The subjects were divided into periods according to a kind of on/off-principle: when a subject was ON, the number of lessons was increased, for instance doubled, when OFF, the number of lessons was null. This was how incoherence and disconnectedness of teaching could be lessened. Seen from now, the move does not seem very extraordinary, but at the time it was a breach in a long tradition thought to be little short of eternal.

The Sysmä experiment lasted only for one school-year, as its leader moved to Helsinki - to greener pastures. But Voutilainen took the new system with him. Soon the period system was developed further in the  Helsinki yhtenäiskoulu and then in The  Käpylä Evening Schoo]. The former was founded in 1956 and the latter in 1962 Voutilainen being the main agent in starting them and their self-evident headmaster. In the former the learning material started to take courselike shape and measure so as to be fit to be taught in one period. In the evening school the teaching unit of one lesson per week was replaced by course measuring as many lessons as the number of school weeks. So the curriculum consisted of separate named courses of equal length.  Courses could be placed, timed, repeated etc. more freely, and so it was possible to pay attention to pedagogic and didactic needs, goals, demands etc., which was not possible, if the weekly schedule of lessons became fixed for the whole year. In addition to concentration periods and courses produced flexibility.

The traditional presupposition has been that school is what it is and where everyone is measured with the same standard. The student has been supposed to adapt to it - or if he is unable or unwilling to do so, he was in a wrong school.   It could be – in fact was - said that the school of the same content, duration, methods, criteria etc. for every one fulfills the ideal of equality, and gives every one equal opportunities. So it would, if the students were similar, came from the same kind of background, matured at the same pace, learned in the same manner, their interests were of the same kind etc. But this is not the case. The classroom, in the view of the most influential theorist of progressive education, the American philosopher John Dewey, was to be a democracy in microcosm. And according to democratic ideals people´s different means, needs, situations, ends, interests etc. must be taken into consideration in the distribution of social benefits.

In the Käpylä Evening School students were adults, and their studying backgrounds and ends as well as their learning experiences and abilities varied widely as well as their living situations. Not to speak of the numbers of those who gave up, because they concluded that it would be impossible for them to engage themselves to a graded system of three years with fixed permanent groups and schedules. For many of those, who had been able to start, it was too hard to keep pace and finally resigned. The same program at the same collective pace in a fixed group was very unsuitable for students, who differed widely in so many respects from each other - and were essentially in a different situation from that of day-schools into the system of which they were subjected to.

The first attempt to approach the problem in Käpylä was an experiment that was called “the Speed Line. It was, on a voluntary basis, a fastened program of two years to do the ordinary 3-year examination. The result being dissatisfying  the staff planned another kind of experiment. Now they searched for a possibility of variation to meet the needs of different students in varying situations. Their attention focused on what was the obstacle that kept the student from following an a more flexible route as to the duration, content and level of studies. The answer was: the graded system, in which every student belonged to a fixed group and was bound to advance through the three grades. And, in principle, all the members of a permanent group were obliged to attend the same daily program of lessons collectively through all the three years.

Only if the student was disengaged from his or her age-cohort (grade) and freed from belonging to any permanent group, one could make individual choices and have a possibility of optimizing one´s duration and quality of studies. The emancipation from the confinement to predestined cohorts and classes together with '''periodical''' organisation of schoolwork and '''course-structure''' of curriculum was the basis for a new kind of school strategy: ungraded organization of school-work. The student´s non-dependence from a fixed grade and group and consequently from a prearranged schedule was adopted as the basis for the new system. This produced two essential results: First, the student could plan, or at least be the interested party in planning, his/her individual program of studies. Second: He/she was free to regulate the time-dimension of his/her studies.

Internationally ´ungraded´ had been chosen for the characteristic label of the new system. Käpylä did not disagree, but they wanted to bring forth and stress what they thought might be even more characteristic of the new system. The staff at Käpylä coined variation with time  as the "trademark" for the strategy that had evolved feature by feature during more than twenty years starting from Sysmä and culminating in their Experiment of the Ungraded Lukio. In every phase a step further had been a result of innovative solution of a real problem. That is at least partly why there was genuine freshness and inventiveness in the activity at Käpylä. And most important of all, the innovations had  feasibility, because the system was developed in the immediate everyday practice of the schools. When the official Experiment of Ungraded Gymnasium ended in 1972, the  result was relatively clear-cut and ready to be used, needing only some smaller further refining, for instance studying rules in a system essentially different from the preceding. Anyway there was an ungraded system to take, for instance to solve the fundamental imperfections in the traditional gymnasium instruction and leveling its undemocratic segregating functions.

The Käpylä experiment had proceeded relatively unnoticed and without any wide publicity. At this point you could still say that what had been done had been done for a cause, not for show.So far, so good. But after the success in an evening school, inevitably, there arose the question, if ungraded system would work also in day-schools, where students were younger. Two day-school experiments were started In 1972 to get an answer, one in Mäkelänrinteen yhteiskoulu and the other in Alppilan yhteislyseo. Both adopted the system developed in the Käpylä Evening School. The staff in the former school had been interested in the new strategy and in advance studied the pedagogical philosophy on which it was based. They had even applied some of its features already beforehand. Since the beginning of the experiment Mäkelänrinne has been ungraded and contributed many important additions to the system. It has been and still is one of the leading gymnasiums in Finland. At least some of the credit for this is due to the novel system, which provided scope and organisational possibilities for inventions. The retired headmaster Rainer Pelkonen (see Luokattomuuden tulo Suomeen) is, in addition to Touko Voutilainen, one of the main developers of the Finnish ungraded school.

Unfortunately the first experiment year in Alppila was a failure, probably mainly because preparation of the staff had been, if not nonexistent, fatally insufficient regarding the scope of the change. Though the teachers had not had enough opportunity to acquaint themselves with the new system and clearly did not understand how widely it would differ from traditional school, the school gave the students almost complete freedom to choose their programs right in the beginning. The staff was unable to handle the situation, and the consequence was nearly a disaster, a quick "normalization" and the resignation of the  headmaster. The school soon informed that there would no more be "any variation of time", that the aim would be three grades in three years and that free choices would be allowed only in marginal subjects. This declaration notwithstanding the experiment continued under the auspices and the name of an "ungraded" system. So it came about that Alppila gave a sign that it would be alright to remain more or less graded under the word of "ungraded". In fact the policy of "three grades in three years" was even more pressing than the traditional graded school, because in a school supposed to be without grades you could not possibly repeat a grade - which was quite a frequent procedure in the traditional gymnasium, when some one was not able to keep pace.

(One of the most prominent official goals of the experiment had been the need to get rid of repetitions of the whole curricular content of a grade, because it was, rightly, seen as waste of time for the student and waste of money for society.)

But at the same time "elsewhere" the course of events rolled on uncompromisingly. Around the middle of the 1970´s the scene was appropriated by the main stream of the national educational policy. Namely, the reform of the compulsory primary education was under way, and in a couple of years any one who would have passed the comprehensive primary stage would be knocking on the doors of secondary schools, vocational as well as general. This meant that,in principle,  almost all Finnish youngsters would be passable into lukio. The awakening of the highest headquarters was late consideing that the situation called for far-reaching decisions about national educational policy for the secondary stage. Having heard the call to arms the government had appointed a large, politically representative committee (The 1971 School Committee) to plan the reform and gave the principles of equality and comprehensiveness as the guiding cornerstones of the new secondary school. The committee followed the instruction and proposed a '''comprehensive secondary school of twelve years''', the 11th and 12th years consisting of 2-year vocational sectors. One of the sectors would have been general, i.e. a 2-year substitute for the three-year lukio. Ungraded system was not included, because the principle of variation of time did not fit the scheme. That was because, according to the interpretation of the committee, equality demanded schooling to be of equal length to all. And of course a three-year lukio could not possibly fit in.

The most prominent and immediate reaction to the proposal of the committee was a hectic nationwide debate about the question of the traditional 3-year lukio. The conservatives demanded that it should remain separate, last three years and be allowed to keep its specific position. The "res novae" party were ready to abolish its special position and accept the duration of two years. The conservative line was victorious, when the guidelines for the reform were set by the resolution of the Government in 1974. So the far-reaching decisions were made, besides prematurely, in a state of loud confusion. In this situation the government resorted to pragmatism. The "verdict" was practical and popular enough: the day-lukio was to continue as a separate and graded three-year school - as the majority had wished in a loud voice. Both general and vocational schooling were to be developed as separate, the guideline for the latter was that it should be developed so as to become a competent alternative for "lukio".

The disappointment of those who had worked for a non-segregating comprehensive secondary stage was disheartening - but in hindsight the government may have been right, when it concluded that, in the then situation in the 1970´s, the Finnish schooling system would not have been ready for so big a change. But the government and its then minister of education, Ulf Sundquist can be blamed for the hurry and haste, for having miscalculated what was the degree of urgency, importance and timing in the impending agenda. Considering the scope of the  maneuver it would not have been too early, if the preparation for the reform of the secondary stage had been embarked upon not much later than the preparation for the reforming project of the primary stage.

So the ungraded lukio was dropped altogether by the government´s 1974 resolution. The comprehensive united secondary stage that had been dreamed of in the late 1960´s and early 1970´s was set aside - except in two special cases: the two day-school experiments of ungraded system that had been started in 1972. The official permits for them were valid until 1978. Mäkelänrinne was lucky and happy to have a legal basis for their innovative work and refined the ungraded system taking little heed of the  resolution of the government. No doubt they knew they were on the right track. When the term of the official permit ended in 1978, they wanted to continue and requested for a special permit to go on. In fact that is what they more or less had to do, because they had advanced so far that they would not have known how to return. And they did not have to turn back, for the school was granted a special permit until further notice - and the rest is a glorious chapter in the history of Finnish education.

Instead the case of Alppila  was an odd remnant of the enthusiasm and optimism at the start of the 1970´s. As we realized earlier, the school plunged into the system developed in the Käpylä Evening school without proper preparation and so the beginning of the experiment there was more or less a total failure   and consequently the school retreated quickly to the traditional three-year grades and permanent groups with little chances of personal choices. The possibility of variation of time was even less than in the traditional graded system, because it was the explicitly expressed goal of Alppila after the failure for every student to finish in three years. The permit of the experiment was not however cancelled. The fact that a strictly graded and mainly permanently grouped school was doing an experiment with the name of ungraded system was not at all an innocent and harmless dislocation of words. The consequence has been that after the Alppila case the use of the word "ungraded" has been indiscriminate. This has  gnawed the possibilities of sensible discussion about the concept. The gravest consequence is that today mostly the word must be furnished with quotation marks as to the Finnish gymnasium.

Probably there were many reasons for the rejection of the new system, but one of the most acceptable was that, on the average, neither schools nor schooling system were ready for it - which from today´s viewpoint evidently was a right judgement. The resolution of the Government, however, contained a  commission to develop vocational schooling and "lukio" - separately. For the latter it decreed that the three-year lukio had to be developed as such. The result was a reform in 1982 after a few years of preparation in an almost hostile spirit towards any "variation of time". But though ungraded system was  determinedly abandoned, two of its cornerstones, the periodical organization of schoolwork and the course-formed, i.e. modular structure of the curriculum were picked up to give a tinge of novelty for the reform.

´Course-formed´ was the keyword for the 1982 reform. It aroused great expectations, especially as, in the beginning, it was hyped extravagantly in the media. The greater was the disappointment, when the nature of the reform became obvious in the next few years. The course-formed graded gymnasium was a hybrid that was bound to be unsatisfactory. The '''modular structure of the curriculum''' was purely cosmetic, without any practical function at all, because the students were tied to a certain year-grade and a certain permanent group without any real possibilities of variation and individual choices.  When at the same time the number compulsory subjects was increased and the renewal of the textbooks was a long-waited opportunity to include up-to-date content in them, the bulk to be taught, learned and evaluated grew beyond reasonable. So even the periodical system, born to give an an opportunity to concentrate the disconnectedness of the traditional working schedule, turned into aggravating the pressure. The consequence was that the earlier ills got even more acute. The stress intensified. Hasty and hurrying, listing and superficial teaching was accompanied by cramming reading. The monolithic nature of the curriculum made the organization of instruction even more rigid and academic, evaluation at the end of every period directed attention toward tests, marks and undergraduate examination and sharpened competitive atmosphere, characteristic of the traditional gymnasium.

The critisism grew louder and louder. Unforunately the essential concepts were often misplaced. For instance "course-formed" and "ungraded" were often used indiscriminately. The irony in the matter was that often the guilt for the failure was set on ungraded system, the lack of which in reality was perhaps the main reasons for it. But some of the schools that been appointed to test the the applicability of the new whole made repeated reminders that the advantages of course-form could not come true, if the school was graded. On their initiative at last the idea of ungraded system was revived in 1985, and new experimentation started after two ears of preparation in six schools on the premises of the earlier experiments about ten years ago. The inheritance included two models.

First, the gymnasium of Mäkelänrinne stayed close to the original pedagogic idea and philosophy of ungraded school. The school saw the potential of the system and developed the original model of Käpylä further with innovations. It was allowed to continue as ungraded with a special permit, when the official experiment of ungraded system in day-school ended in 1978. If this model had prevailed later, when the second wave of experimentation started in 1987, the situation today would probably be different. However Mäkelänrinne had developed the system and advanced so far that it was regarded more or less a special case. And adopting it as a model would have meant a real change, a change that may have looked like a frightening lot of work. Something that may have seemed as too big for an ordinary school. Also philosophical and educational outlooks naturally differed, and of course there was the everlasting counterpoint of the conservative and the progressive.

To detriment of real ungraded system there was the case of Alppila. As we saw above, the school returned to the old practice, as they had not been able to handle the situation, when they had plunged into the new system with fatally insufficient preparation. It was a big mistake on the part of the administration that Alppila was allowed to continue after their withdrawal, as if they were still - in spite of their declaration of rigid refraining from any "variation of time" and instead keeping up to the three years of "lukio" - experimenting with an ungraded system. The general public had no chance of knowing the basic philosophy of ungraded education (individual variation of time, content and level), and most schools looked up to the administration for advice. The administration either did not know what to do, could not make any conceptual analysis or just retreated behind the screen of ''laissez faire.''. So the case of Alppila looked like an official permission to call a system ungraded, though the organisation was graded and the grouping permanent.

The second phase of the experimentation of ungraded gymnasium, called upon as a rescue for the gymnasium ailing against all expectations, started in six day-gymnasiums in 1987. One of the tasks was to work out a definition of ungraded school. But no agreement was reached, the majority being more or less inclined towards the Alppila variant to remain contented without the most essential features of the ungraded system: no fixed grouping and individual time variation. In such cases classes and grades remained, more or less masked. The so-called "staying at the same grade for another year" and doing its whole content anew, which was a common feature in the old system (a sort of primitive variation of time) was a problem, because the system was supposed to be ungraded. The solution was that those who were not able to keep pace with his grade were said to be “slowing”. So some time-variation could not be avoided.

The other approach regarded as primary to take advantage of the possibilities of ungraded system to redress the imperfections that had so long been the object of attempts of remedy, for instance in the proposals of various committees. The basis was the philosophy of the progressive pedagogic movement. Because learners differ in many ways, learning is an individual thing. The same in the same way, the same tempo in the measure cannot be the right manner of schooling. Instead it should help every student to optimize his/her possibilities of achievement. That is why the crucial determinants are on one hand refraining from fixed grading and grouping, and on the other the flexibility of instructional arrangements and the individuality of studying duration ("variation of time"). Students´ personal planning of their routes and programs is essential, in which they need individual guidance and counselling of teachers.

The first approach is rather simple and easy. The other is demanding and laborious, for example because it requires extra work and added contribution, not only from those responsible for the general organization of schoolwork and teachers, but also from students and even parents. So it is no wonder that the first line, i.e. the more or less graded strategy with some stray features borrowed from really ungraded systems, has been much more popular than the second. Some new details, which would have been impossible in the traditional graded system, e.g. redoing a course passed already within special arrangements, have become part and parcel of most gymnasiums. Instead redoing a whole grade, is a problem, if the school claims to be ungraded.  In a graded system doing a whole grade for a second time was common, because if you failed to pass even in only one subject at the finish of a grade, you had to attend the same grade again. (About a third of students redid at least one grade in the Finnish "lukios" in 1985.) This was a very primitive case of "variation with time". In the Alppila model, in which three years is self-evidently declared to be the norm for all, you land up in a crazy situation: At the same time as you attach  "ungraded" to your system, your students are deprived even of the earlier primitive possibility of temporal margin.   

Grades being linear in meaning and nature instruction in a graded school tends to be linear in the sense that new content adds up on what has been taught before. A clever teacher knows that if the basis miscarries, a student´s cognitive structure cannot build up, and he/she takes care, e.g. through repetition, that new material can be fused onto the old.  In a graded system it is relatively easy to see that the teacher does not change unnecessarily. But in an ungraded system teacher may change from course to course. To suppose too much as mastered is a mistake in any instructional system, but in ungraded system especially in a cumulative subject to presume that all learners master the earlier content is fatal. This is one of the instances that show that becoming ungraded is not only an organisational  matter, but also didactic thinking must be revised, deepened. Ideally the instruction on a course should be as self-dependent as possible and be fitted onto the cognitive and ethical level of those being taught, the most crucial aim being to arouse an interest to know. A radical change is needed for this to come true.

But the traditional is present and pendant, all the time ready to overrun anything deviating too far. What makes e real change of a school system so difficult is that any educational system is not only what it is rationally intended to be. It is influenced by general social dynamics and it has social functions that are not intended. Before any real change in the practice and ideology of school can take place, the unintended functions, the "hidden curriculum" that bypasses the official one, must be made visible. The features of education explored in this research belong to the sphere of ´la longue dureé´, the historical deep-structure defined by [[Fernand Braudel]], a French historian. In this historical sphere changes are characteristically very slow, hardly noticeable in the present.

The reform of gymnasium in the mid 1990´s was curtailed in regard to original goals. A consequence of the two contradictory models was that both were present in the second phase of the experimentation and now around the country. But the Alppila model prevails, and so "ungraded ungraded" is relatively rare. One of the gravest institutional obstacles impeding change appear to be deep-rooted fixations that are inseparably connected to the conventions of the Finnish matriculation examination. The most dominating tradition is that you are supposed to do your exam in the spring of your third school-year. This temporal predestination will lead inescapably to the traditional duration of studies. A real ungraded system is not possible, unless this social institute is broken. Otherwise a student cannot make '''own decisions''' about his or her own studying: '''content, aims and duration'''. This is not easy, and it cannot be adopted ready-made. As we saw earlier, it is not easy, especially because to get started some measure of genuine thirst and innovative search for change is required in the staff and atmosphere of the school. And to succeed the determination should prevail in the long run.

The most important question in regard to secondary education is how its nature and social role will develop. Unavoidably it will develop in some direction in a world of more and more of sophisticated overall technology and aggressive business and globalization. Will the secondary education serve the selective needs of a commercial and competitive society as its primary function? Or would it be possible for education to grow into a democratic and empowering force, the basic function of which it would be to ensure everyone's active integration into one's community and an access to and participation in the world of knowledge and culture?

No doubt the selective function in Finland has diminished now, when about half of the cohort passes the matriculation examination, but equally without doubt it is still there - changed, refined and masked. Maybe that is one of the reasons, why attempts to bring gymnasium and vocational schooling closer to each other or even under the same "roof" have failed. The need for an institutionalized mechanism of social distinction is still strong enough, especially as it is not generally recognized as such. Naturally parents hope their offspring will walk on the sunny side, and it is no wonder the young themselves see the white cap as a sign of being accepted into the upper story. It is very doubtful, whether gymnasium has succeeded in empowering people in democratic spirit, its official pedagogic goal.

Does it make any difference, whether a school is graded or ungraded? There are innumerable other factors that have an influence on schoolwork. And after all compared with human elements like teacher, teaching, atmosphere, motivation and so on a system is no more than a medium. Or might it be that in "long dureé" graded school is losing ground.

 

 

 

 

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: '''GYMNASIUM, SECONDARY SCHOOLING, VOCATIONAL SCHOOLING, GENERAL SCHOOLING, FINNISH SECONDARY SCHOOLING, GRADED SCHOOL SYSTEM, UNGRADED SCHOOL SYSTEM, FINNISH UNGRADED LUKIO, CURRICULUM, MODULAR CURRICULUM, PERIODICAL SCHEDULE, FINNISH LUKIO, FINNISH GRA

Lisää kirjoituksia


Anssi Kuusela: Väitöskirja Luokaton vai luokallinen . . . Turun yliopisto, kasvatustieteiden tiedekunta, 2003