Claudia and I are just back from a whistle-stop-tour in Helsinki.We were there to further scope out and develop our plans for Helsinki Learning Festival 2014.
The idea came into fruition after multiple meetings with the Finnish Institute in London to develop international education programmes focusing on sharing best practice in global education. It was at the end of 2012 when we had organised London Festival of Education and the Finnish Institute had organised Open Knowledge Festival we knew that the time was right to set our ambitions on a large education event in Finland.
Finland, a relatively sparsely populated country, constantly has it’s numbers boosted by droves of international ‘education tourists’ who flock to discover the secrets of Finland’s edu-successes. Finland can indeed be extremely proud of their educational system which is based on trust, autonomy and respect of their ‘highly educated’ teachers. Check out this article tweeted by Sir Ken Robinson only yesterday which features an interview with Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education’s Center for International Mobility and author of the book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?
Sahlberg also points out that whilst many people are keen to learn from Finland that it’s paramount that those within Finland are also looking out and learning from and with their global colleagues. (We’ve heard this notion paraphrased again and again via multiple sources.) It was this idea as well as the successes of our respective festivals that meant we and the Finnish Institute were very keen to develop an international learning event that happens within Finland, for Finnish educators but also for teachers from across the world.
We want to design an amazing professional development opportunity for teachers who can be inspired by brilliant keynote speakers, take part in workshops, lead sessions, network with and learn from their peers in a relaxed informal environment. For the festival goers to be entertained, to debate, to challenge and to collaborate.
But! First thing’s first, we had to ensure that a learning festival was of genuine interest to those within Finland. To do this we organised a ‘roundtable’ event and invited key educational experts, teachers, professors, policy makers and cultural and business leaders. This, thanks to the lovely people at British Council Finland, happened at Hub Helsinki yesterday.
We have to say that we were really blown away by the enthusiasm and ideas the esteemed crowd shared with us regarding the festival. It was felt that not only was there a real interest in helping us make this happen but also it was reported there is a genuine need for a festival like this. The group clearly sparked off one another and each brought fresh ideas and unique perspectives to the discussion. There was a buzz and energy in the room that made it obvious that this idea is a goer.
Kiitos paljon to all who came to the meeting yesterday!
Watch this space…and get in touch if you want to be part of Helsinki Learning Festival 2014
(Our working dates for the 2 day festival is 11th & 12th April 2014… so we’re very much hoping to see YOU in Helsinki a year today:)