Planning my thesis – a comparative investigation of education and social equity in New Zealand and Finland

davI haven’t been updating this page over the Spring semester as I have wanted to focus on my studies and life in Oulu. I will write more frequently on here as I adventure into my thesis, the plan of which is mapped out in this very long post with reference to the complex field of comparative and international education research. Please feel free to comment, question, and critique. These are early days and I have much to learn! I hope that you can learn something from this too 🙂

x Min

 

If we study foreign systems of education thoroughly and sympathetically – and sympathy and thoroughness are both necessary for the task – I believe that the result on our minds will be to make us prize, as we have never prized before, the good things which we have at home, and also to make us realise how many things there are in our [own education systems] which need prompt and searching change.”

(Sadler, 1990, cited in Bray, 2014a, p. 40).

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Notes: Ethics & Education 2: The role of moral consciousness in identity and the “self”

Unfortunately I was unwell for the first seminar on this topic, but I was able to catch up on some of the ideas discussed in the Zhou and Biesta reading about Confucianism vs the Reflexive Project of the Self in lifelong learning was fascinating. In class we explored the ideas of good vs bad and the development of the moral consciousness, the relationship between professional/legal/personal ethics, action vs inaction, and global ethics.

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Notes: Ethics & Education 1: Intro – teaching is “moral by nature”

The notes I made for this introduction to the Ethics and Education course are brief because we spent some time looking at the course outline, which I’ve included in these notes (it’s so exciting!). Our discussions explored the idea of teaching as being “moral by its nature” and the range of ethical dilemmas and decisions we face daily in our roles. We also looked briefly at the Finnish education union’s ethical principles, which you can read yourself here.

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Notes: Comparisons of EdGlo countries’ education systems

The cultural knowledge and varied experiences brought by the international students is what makes this Education and Globalisation master’s programme so unique. While the programme itself is comprehensive and the lecturers are knowledgeable and thought-provoking, much of our learning comes from each other.

The 20 people in our class come from 19 very different countries:  Kurdistan with Finnish citizenship, the United States, United States-Taiwan, China (2x), South Korea, Australia, Australia-United Kingdom dual citizenship, Kenya, Germany, Italy, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Ghana, New Zealand (I’m the first Kiwi!), Canada, Finland, Iran and India.

Our common language is English, but only six of us are mother-tongue speakers. We range in age from about 23 – 53, and the majority of us have a background in teaching.

Last week’s assignment for the Orientation to Finnish Culture and Education Systems course was to present for 15 minutes about our own countries’ education systems. Two people presented on other international experiences they had – S from Kurdistan-Finland talked about immigrant language support in Finland and R from UK-Aus presented about his time teaching in the West Bank, Palestine.

It was fascinating to learn about the way education is valued and approached differently across the world. In many ways it made me even more grateful for the high quality of education we provide in New Zealand. The comparisons with regard to access, autonomy and corruption etc. made me see even more that my gripes with our system are very “first-world problems”, but at the same time they have made me more firm in my determination to help maintain and improve what we have so that we don’t regress into further inequalities.

I have pasted my notes from my classmates’ presentation sessions below. Because they’re just my notes I took down as they spoke, I don’t have the references for stats etc. that they referred to. If there’s anything you’re especially interested in I can ask for them and pass them on to you though. Some of the detail is anecdotal as it comes from my classmates’ experiences as students and teachers in their home countries. I hope you find this as interesting as we all do!

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Tervetuloa! Haere mai! Welcome!

min-the-finn
Four weeks in, lookin’ like a Finn

Whāia e koe te iti kahurangi: ki te tūohu koe, me he maunga teitei

Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain

I have said farewell to the land and people I love in Aotearoa New Zealand to seek the most valuable treasure of education in Oulu, northern Finland. There are no mountains here, but there will be many challenges. I hope that I am able to work through them and share this journey with you.

I moved to Finland in August to study a two year master’s programme in Education and Globalisation at the University of Oulu in northern Ostrobothnia. I’m the first New Zealander to do the EdGlo course, and as far as I can tell I’m the only Kiwi at the University and maybe even in the city!  I’m excited to be a student again after being a teacher, especially to study education in a country that values it so highly and delivers it so successfully. It’s a dream to have the dedicated time to read, think, discuss, research and write about such a fascinating and important subject in this supportive and stimulating learning environment.

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