Teachers College Press









Finnish Lessons
What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?

Pasi Sahlberg
Foreword by Andy Hargreaves
series on school reform
Pub Date: November 2011, 192 pages

Paperback: $35.95, ISBN: 0807752576
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Table of ContentsIntroduction

As Seen in

The New York Times
Washington Post I / II / III
The NY Review of Books, I / II
The Atlantic
Dan Rather Reports
Daily Kos
Edutopia
Globe and Mail
Huffington Post, I / II
Truthout cartoon featuring Sahlberg
Listen to Pasi Sahlberg speak about the Global
Educational Reform Movement at TEDxEast

Listen to Cornel West’s interview with Arne Duncan on Public Radio International, including Pasi Sahlberg’s comments on educational systems, poverty, history, and nation-building.

• Winner, 2013 Grawemeyer Award in Education
• 2012 "Must-read book about K–12 education in the U.S.", Christian Science Monitor
• 2011 Upton Sinclair Award

“It is now time to break down the ideology of exceptionalism in the United States and other Anglo-American nations if we are to develop reforms that will truly inspire our teachers to improve learning for all our students—especially those who struggle the most. In that essential quest, Pasi Sahlberg is undoubtedly one of the very best teachers of all.”
—From the Foreword by Andy Hargreaves, Lynch School of Education, Boston College

Finnish Lessons is a first-hand, comprehensive account of how Finland built a world-class education system during the past three decades. The author traces the evolution of education policies in Finland and highlights how they differ from the United States and other industrialized countries. He shows how rather than relying on competition, choice, and external testing of students, education reforms in Finland focus on professionalizing teachers’ work, developing instructional leadership in schools, and enhancing trust in teachers and schools. This book details the complexity of educational change and encourages educators and policymakers to develop effective solutions for their own districts and schools.

Pasi Sahlberg is Director General of CIMO (Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation) at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

View author’s site

Acclaim for Finnish Lessons

“I know many reformers and politicians will not want to read this book because it will negate all the ‘reform’ that has been embraced by our country, but we will all miss out on some very important opportunities if they don’t. Neither the size of Finland nor the country's demographics should be used as an excuse by any state or by the United States not to pay attention to what works. This book will give hope, vision, and strategies to anyone who is sincere in bringing a great education to every child. Pick it up and read it.”
Education Week's BookMarks

“The story of Finland’s extraordinary educational reforms is one that should inform policymakers and educators around the world. No one tells this story more clearly and engagingly than Pasi Sahlberg. This book is a must read.”
Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University

“A terrific synthesis by a native Finn, a teacher, a researcher, and a policy analyst all rolled up into one excellent writer. Pasi Sahlberg teaches us a great deal about what we need to know before engaging in national educational reforms.”
David Berliner, Arizona State University

“This book is a wake-up call for the United States. Finland went from mediocre academic results to one of the top performers in the world. And they did it with unions, minimal testing, national collaboration, and elevating teaching to a high-status calling. This is the antidote to the NCLB paralysis.”
Henry M. Levin, Teachers College, Columbia University

“Pasi Sahlberg is the best education policy expert to share the Finnish experiences with the international community. This book confirms that he is not only a practitioner but also a visionary that we Finns need when searching for the solutions to our educational challenges.”
Erkki Aho, Director General (1973–1991), Finnish National Board of Education

“Pasi Sahlberg as an insider knows what has happened and as a researcher has an objective perspective on cause and effect relationships. This story makes sense to me.”
Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director, Finnish Broadcasting Company and former Minister of Education (1994–1999)

“Finland’s remarkable educational story, so well told in this book by Pasi Sahlberg, is both informative and inspiring because it shows that with appropriate effort sustained over time, a country can make huge improvements for its young people, something that all countries aspire to do.”
Ben Levin, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto


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