Phenomenon Based Learning (PhenoBL) / Finnish curriculum
We are curriculum developers of Phenomenon based learning in India.
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The curriculum should be based on age-specific learning outcomes. Sensitive and appreciative teachers create a caring, secure space for little ones in “big school” for the first time. A space where multiple senses are sparked, investigations triggered into themes and topics, questions and discoveries welcomed with delight. Together, children and teachers reflect on the meaning of each activity and explore it thoroughly; in doing so, every child makes the experience authentic and the learning personal. Teachers attempt to understand the social and cultural contexts to which children belong, which gives clues to their emotional, cognitive and social needs. This helps teachers create a truly unique multicultural learning environment. Inventure Academy promotes an active partnership between the school and the parent community.
One novel thing is the addition of multidisciplinary learning modules, i.e. phenomenon-based learning. One of the most common misunderstandings is that phenomenon-based learning would replace subjects altogether. This is not true; schools are still maintaining subject lessons. However, on the side of the lessons, the Curriculum introduces multidisciplinary learning that bridges knowledge from various subjects.
What phenomenon-based teaching and learning means is multi-disciplinary projects in which students work on larger themes for a given time. According to the new Core Curriculum, there should be at least one such extended period within a school year. Objective, contents and implementation methods are decided on a local level. The National Core Curriculum states that the students are to be included in planning the projects.
Project themes can be almost anything: they range from the European Union to climate change to students’ family trees – the only requirement is that the content should mirror the school’s values and school culture. A good example is a project called ‘Family in the Society’ that combined social studies and health education for 9-graders. The project discussed vaccinations, health care and social security, among other things.
For students, learning about real-life issues makes learning more meaningful. Phenomenon-based modules enable students to link knowledge and skills from various fields, and to structure them into meaningful entities. Project work promotes application and communal building of knowledge through which students expand and structure their worldview. Phenomenon-based learning supports the development of transversal competences and 21st century skills, which both are in a vital role in the Core Curriculum.
It is a binding document that sets the overall goals of schooling, describes the principles of teaching and learning, and provides the guidelines for special education, well-being, support services and student assessment in schools. The concept of “phenomenon-based” teaching – a move away from “subjects” and towards inter-disciplinary topics – will have a central place in the new NCF. Integration of subjects and a holistic approach to teaching and learning are not new in Finland. Since the 1980s, Finnish schools have experimented with this approach and it has been part of the culture of teaching in many Finnish schools since then. This new reform will bring more changes to Finnish middle-school subject teachers who have traditionally worked more on their own subjects than together with their peers in school. Contact us for phenomenon based learning lesson plan development.
Instead of having discrete subjects like economics, geography or history, students will have different topics as subjects. These “subjects” will include all the related skills from various schools of thought. This transverse approach allows the student to learn mathematics, languages to serve foreign customers, as well as skills in writing and communication at the same time. In more general programs, we might consider a topic like “Asian Union”, which would mix elements of economics, history, languages and geography. The first data from schools that have adopted the cross-learning shows that students have benefited. About 70% of secondary school teachers in the city have been trained in this new teaching method.
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