Monday, February 15, 2016

No Homework?

Day 16


Hello friends and family,

It is the start of Week 3. Cassidy, Lauren, and I are in our last week at Malmo International School.  Malmo International School is an IB program that host kids from all over the world. The school holds around 250 students ages 5 through 16. I work primarily with the the older students. I have had the privilege to get to know a lot of the students well! I hope to soon put up a few photos of the school and the classes (with their permission). Again, I will make a list of some of the observations I have hard or things I have learned being in the schools these past two weeks.

1. VERY little homework
Students in Sweden, not just in an international school, receive very little homework throughout the week. While I am not sure how accurate this is, the students are not allowed to receive homework on the weekends according to the teachers. GUYS! How different is this compared to America? The students are meant to be able to relax and have their own time with family and friends. I feel as if in America it is almost compulsory to give homework or at least lots of teachers feel this way. (As did I at times). Sweden is challenging my views on homework in wonderful ways.

2. Coffee and Play Breaks
Remember all those cool things you hear about European countries like Finland giving more breaks to their students to go outside and play? I mentioned this last week in the blog! (If not check it out: )
I have to mention them again because it just amazes me that American schools haven't caught on yet. Some are trying to bring this practice to our schools like my wonderful Kinesiology professor Dr. Rhea (check her out: ).  Students receive short breaks that allow them to get out some energy and fidgets then come back into school and refocus. This does wonders to students attention spans, achievement, and happiness.

3. Teachers are happy.
All the teachers I have had the opportunity to talk to have an upbeat and genuinely happy to be there attitude.  Teachers have a limited amount of their own time they are allowed to use outside of school hours to do work and they really don't go over it. Teachers also have their own breaks during the day to drink coffee, eat a long lunch, work on plans, grade, and enjoy each others company. WOW. When and wear do I sign up? It would be wonderful to see our education system move toward this model.

4. Student Centered Learning (students do a lot of their own learning)
In the older classes in particular, classes are very student centered and lead. For example, Thomas, a teacher I observe, assigned an essay and the students got to create the research question and topic, within an assigned subject (ie. WW1 consequences).  Students then do their own investigation and research eventually coming up with their essay. Student's do the work and Thomas acts as a guide pushing and challenging them to think more critically. A wonderful example of student led inquiry!

That is all for today folks,

(Copenhagen, Denmark) 
(stories and trip details coming soon)

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