Photo: Rhinoceros Oy

Phenomenon-based learning tried out at Helsinki schools

Helsinki comprehensive schools will be working on new curricula during this autumn, to be adopted stepwise from August 2016 onwards. Many schools will be trying out phenomenon-based learning even earlier, during the school year 2015– 2016.

“The new school curricula will emphasize broad-based skills rather than learning facts in subject studies,” says Marjo Kyllönen, a manager at the City of Helsinki Education Department

Learning will be tied to real-life phenomena, and subject studies will be tied to real-life environments. Evaluations of learning will stress the process of learning rather than end results.

The new school-based curricula will be based on Helsinki’s municipal curriculum, which will be produced on the principles of the School of the Future. Students will be encouraged to exchange views and ask questions. All environments will be learning environments, and technology will be part of them.

Programmable legos and cultural courses

Students at Helsinki comprehensive schools will study in no less than two phenomenon-based, extended programmes during a school year. The phenomenon-based programmes will focus on real-life phenomena on a multidisciplinary basis.

Helsinki schools will experiment with and develop new types of learning environments and pedagogy during the school year 2015–2016. Nearly 20 schools will adopt programmable legos used to support phenomenon-based learning and technology education. This study programme will culminate in a grand “Lego Robot Battle” in the spring term, in which schools will compete with robots built by themselves.

Phenomena X cultural courses will be implemented in cooperation with the Annantalo Cultural Centre. In these courses, students will focus on phenomena chosen by themselves. By looking at phenomena by means of art, students can work with Helsinki art and cultural institutions, and artists come to schools.

Students and parents join curriculum development

The new Helsinki school curriculum will be based on views of students and parents for the values that the curriculum should promote. Students will join the development of the curriculum through student bodies and the Ruuti democratic participation process. School boards will participate in curriculum workshops in September.

The new curriculum will emphasize cooperation between schools and homes as part of a new community-based culture. Various operation models to this end will be tested. For example, the Tapanila Comprehensive School’s Lower Stage will launch a project for a digital school in the autumn, involving parents in the use of information technology at school.