Teach Like Finland: 33 Simple Strategies for Joyful Classrooms (Paperback)

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Teach Like Finland: 33 Simple Strategies for Joyful Classrooms By Timothy D. Walker, Pasi Sahlberg (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Timothy D. Walker, Pasi Sahlberg (Foreword by)


The best-selling book of easy-to-implement classroom lessons from the world’s premier educational system—now available in paperback.

Finland shocked the world when its fifteen-year-olds scored highest on the first Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a set of tests evaluating critical-thinking skills in math, science, and reading. That was in 2001; even today, this tiny Nordic nation continues to amaze. How does Finnish education—with short school days, light homework loads, and little standardized testing—produce students who match the PISA scores of other nations with more traditional “work ethic” standards?

When Timothy Walker started teaching fifth graders at a Helsinki public school, he began a search for the secrets behind the successes of Finland’s education system. Highlighting specific strategies that support joyful K–12 classrooms and can be integrated with U.S. educational standards, this book, available in paperback for the first time, gathers what he learned and shows how any teacher can implement many of Finland's best practices. A new foreword by the author addresses the urgent questions of teaching, and living, in these pandemic times.

About the Author

Timothy D. Walker is an American teacher who taught in Finland for six of the eight years he lived there. He lives in Milford, Connecticut, and is author (with Pasi Sahlberg) of In Teachers We Trust: The Finnish Way to World-Class Schools.

Pasi Sahlberg is a Finnish educator who has worked as a schoolteacher, teacher-educator and policymaker in Finland and advised national education reforms around the world. Pasi has published over 100 articles and books about education and school improvement. His bestseller, Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? has contributed to better understanding Finland’s education system. He is a recipient of several education awards, including the 2013 Grawemeyer Award and the 2016 Lego Prize. Pasi is professor of education policy at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

Praise For…

[Walker] provides an engaging and eye-opening vision that does not pit America against Finland, but lets us see what we can learn from each other... For teachers and education advocates who would like to understand one instructor's reflective quest toward educational improvement.
— Library Journal

Walker was nevertheless able to identify 33 strategies that could be easily introduced into American educational systems… [Walker’s ideas] are geared toward the relaxed, flexible, welcoming atmosphere that works so well for both teachers and students in Finland. Teachers and parents will be intrigued.
— Booklist

Walker offers realistic tips on creating joyful schools, arranged according to five 'ingredients' of happiness: well-being, belonging, autonomy, mastery and mindset. . . . [T]he tips are prefaced with lively anecdotes from the author's own classroom experiences and often reveal how he overcame American biases to embrace them. . . . [T]hey all highlight how we can learn to value happiness more than achievement.
— BookPage

More joy in classrooms and less work for teachers as the way to improving student learning? Sounds incredible, but the Finns have figured it out, and Tim Walker explains how American educators can do the same in this engaging and important book. Teach Like Finland deserves to be widely read and discussed.

— Tony Wagner, author of The Global Achievement Gap and Creating Innovators

A few years ago, I spent my spring break visiting classrooms in and near Helsinki, trying to identify what the secrets of Finnish education were. Although the experience was enlightening, it turns out that all I had to do was read Tim Walker's book Teach Like Finland! Thanks to his American perspective, Tim was able to isolate the key differences in pedagogy, routines, beliefs, and purposes that will help teachers in all countries consciously make their classrooms more "Finnish." I highly recommend this book for all who aspire to be better teachers!

— Paul Solarz, 5th Grade Teacher and Author of Learn Like a PIRATE

Clear, thoughtful, and thought-provoking, this book actually does present 33 strategies that would, in fact, make teaching and learning both more joyful and more productive. My response in reading was never, "Where did that come from?" or "We could never do that!" Rather, I thought over and over, "Of course!" "How is it that so many of us have moved so far afield from what we know to be true?"
— Carol Ann Tomlinson, Ed.D., William Clay Parrish, Jr. Professor & Chair, Educational Leadership, Foundations, and Policy, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Tim Walker is one of the most thoughtful educators I've ever encountered. His observations as an American teacher working in Finnish classrooms will surprise many readers: Some traditional ideas we've pushed aside actually work well in Finland, some of Finland's most effective strategies originated in American schools. With refreshing clarity, Tim gets specific with daily interactions, policies, curriculum, procedures, faculty relationships, and student expectations. Including the voices of many Finnish educators, he answers the skeptics who question whether or not any of the Finnish schooling elements can be incorporated in America and elsewhere. There is substance here that adds to our important conversations about what works in schools. A gift to our professional selves and one to share with respected colleagues and any parents you know.
— Rick Wormeli, author of Fair Isn't Always Equal
Product Details
ISBN: 9781324052616
ISBN-10: 1324052619
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: June 13th, 2023
Pages: 256
Language: English