Transcript #16 Dissect Phenomenon based Learning with Ilona Taimela (透視現象為本學習)

Ti-Fen (9s): Welcome to compass teachers show I’m your host Ti-Fen. My job is to interview teachers around the world and tease out their teaching tactics, education, research, or tools they use. Hopefully this show can offer ideas for you to experiments in your classroom. This episode is all about phenomenon based learning, according to Finnish education sites in phenomena based learning and teaching holistic real world phenomenon provides the starting point for learning the phenomenon started yes, complete entities in their real context and information and skills relate you to them all study by crossing the boundaries between subjects today, we are really lucky to have Ilona Taimela joining us, who is specialized in phenomenon based learning design thinking party’s about torturing processes and sustainability Ilana has seen over 25 years of experience from training teachers in Finland national wide, and now more internationally.

Ti-Fen (1m 17s): She’s the CEO of Helsinki education consulting group. She provides consulting services to these in schools, in implementing the new Finnish national curriculum with her long experience from being a classroom and subject teacher, a university researcher to an executive director and an administrator. She’s no doubt in engaging and energizing and sought after speaker. Now let’s enjoy our conversation with Ilona.

Ti-Fen: Ilona thank you to join me today.

Ilona: Thank you for inviting them. I’m very happy to be with you here. Talking about phenomenon based learning

Ti-Fen: Before we dive into phenomena based learning, could you give us a little bit of background? Why financial to use the ne this new way of learning in Finland?

Ilona: We have national curriculum for the basic education, and it’s always for 10 years, the new curriculum that we have started in 2016 and actually 2014 already. It was given from the education board in this basic curriculum. It was introduced that we need to have more of these holistic interdisciplinary study units. That is also because we need to be teaching our students about the world holistically in the curriculum It says, or there to be these interdisciplinary Units. And the phenomenon based learning itself is really from Helsinki kind of an initiative on the more kind of on the pedagogy and how to help implement this interdisciplinary.

Ti-Fen (3m 14s) Ilona. Why focuses on inter-disciplinary?

Ilona (3m 20s): Well, like, like a little bit, I was already saying that, that we, we have real world phenomenon and, and sometimes, you know, when the student goes, according to the timetable from, especially in those grades where, where there, there is different subject teachers also that you go from from one subject to another subject and so forth, you get to kind of maybe a narrow understanding of the, of the world, because we have at the moment, really big holistic and these kind of world, we get problems that we need to be able to as a, as a human kind that we need to be able to solve.

And they are all intertwined and connected to each other. And that’s why we also need to start teaching our students how the world functions and, and how these real world phenomenons are intertwined and how different subjects sort of support each other. And especially in Finland, we have very much autonomy for the teachers at school that they are able to, to, you know, sort of plan their plan, their own lessons. It means that if, if the curriculum wouldn’t in a way, even force them to collaborate, sometimes then they would just do their own planning and, and teach their own subjects and know nothing about what the other teachers are doing about.

So this sort of, in a way also forces the subject subject teachers to, to, to join the plan and then also implement the lessons together.

Ti-Fen (4m 54s): Got it. It sounds like we want more connection and relation between each subjects so we can provide more Holy stake experience for the students. So how do you define phenomenon based learning personally? What are the key ingredients there?

Ilona (5m 14s): The key ingredients is really this, this interdisciplinary. So sometimes, you know, I’ve been, I’ve been said that phenomenon based learning is like project based learning or problem based learning or inquiry based learning. I have been an IB teacher previously and IB, the international baccalaureate organization, which is world known almost in every country. There’s IB, IB schools, and IB is inquiry based. So, so that is something that, you know, the students have to inquire into the different kind of maybe phenomenons and so forth.

But, but these are done usually also by subject teachers on their own only IB has also started to, to, to say that there has to be these transdisciplinary units, project based learning. Then it can also be done only by, by one subject teacher on, on their own and even problem-based. So, so that, so the nominal based learning is really different from this that it always requires in the disciplinary planning and execution.

So that’s like, I think number one kind of key ingredients that is different from, from other, and then also in a way that the phenomenon based learning how we have now been starting to implement it in some of the schools, is that even the, the grade levels can be mixed up so that the students can be of different ages in the same study group. And, and they also, you know, work together so that it doesn’t have to be only, only like, you know, for one, for one grade.

And that is because also if you think about it, when the students come into to study phenomena, they, they might have different kinds of earlier understandings of, of, of what it is. And basically the phenomenon based learning starts from the student’s own question that what do I already know about it? And that is why, you know, there can be different age groups, students, because some people, some students might have other, other things that they know as some other things so that they can be also experts by themselves.

And then they start making it get going into the inquiry in a way as well. That, what do I want to know about this phenomenon based learning? It’s really more about the process and not really about the product so that the teacher and the students don’t really know what comes out of it after, because there needs to be the flexibility and openness of curiosity and creativity during the process, but that what comes out of it. And then they have learned really these kind of test firs or skills that will be talking about what other features that the student needs to know.

Ti-Fen (8m 18s): Would you mind sharing us one of your favorites and I’m the one face, their new project and you designed the score so that we can understand more how he looks

Ilona (8m 29s): It’s got to do with ethics. I used to be an ethics teacher a long, long time ago, because in Finland, we also have a compulsory religion that is being taught. So there was different religion teachers and me as an ethics teacher doing a project together with biology teacher and also like a health education teacher. The phenomenon was really about the kind of ethical dilemmas that we have in, in, in, in our society with, you know, that has kind of a biological or health angle.

Ilona (9m 4s): And the students were able to then start making their different kinds of, you know, inquiries into what are the kinds of ethical dilemmas that they know that exists. And what do they know about them already? And what do they want to then there was really, really excellent kind of studies made by the made by the students. And the thing is that we never would have been able to design the whole thing by teachers or, you know, by, by ourselves.

Ilona (9m 34s): So there needs to be this openness for, for student activity and creativity. And some of the students were more interested for example, about genetically modified foods, or some of the students were more interested in the designer, babies, the babies kind of DNA and everything is designed. And so these are the kinds of things that I think give much, much more to the students once they, once they start learning about, you know, the process and how then if, if somebody would be just telling them about it or, or if they were just reading about it in a textbook in one of the schools, cause I’ve worked on the school level much more on as an, when I wasn’t in the administration of the city of Helsinki, there was also one school that made, made an inquiry into all of the parents off the 500 plus students that they have, that if there is anybody in the parents that would be sort of willing to share their knowledge with the students when they’re doing the phenomenon based learning unit.

Ilona (10m 45s): And it’s amazing that how many parents also want to engage with the, with the students or invite them maybe to their own workplaces or come to the school and, and tell and show. So, so that is something that is really, really, I think the phenomenon based learning at least in Finland has, has given the school and kind of made a bit of bridge with the, with also with the parents.

Ti-Fen (11m 11s): So in these ethical dilemma projects, the first step is teachers to introduce this issue or phenomenon to students and the students, what would they do after that?

Ilona (11m 26s): Yeah. So how the phenomenon based learning it actually goes is that there needs to be kind of planning phase first with, among the different subject teachers. And if there, if it’s on the, on the grade level where there’s a classroom teacher, of course also the classroom teacher can, can plan it with, with other subject teachers. So the planning phase is really important in a way that that is when you, of course, you’re looking look into the content that is in the curriculum that has to be kind of studies during, during, during that phenomenon.

Ilona (11m 59s): But then it cannot be so much designed by the teachers that the teacher is sort of, because sometimes, you know, the teachers plan it too much, you know, whether they, they plan all these kinds of tasks and assignments that, that, that the students have to do. And that is then, you know, we are then taking, taking control from the students’ own learning path that they have to themselves design it. But then what did the teachers do in the planning phase is also to look at what are the transformational skills that actually the students need to learn during this phenomenon.

Ilona (12m 37s): In, in, in Finland, we have been ranked number one in, in the world to, to teach future skills. And the thing is that the future skills, what we have said that that are in, in our curriculum are for example, critical thinking, taking care of oneself. And then there’s this kind of cultural identity cultural aspects.

Ilona (13m 7s): There’s also the communication skills and not only Lang writing or, or speaking or reading or these kinds of things, but also in the communication, it’s really important to look into the videos or, or the photographs and understanding that how they can be manipulated. And also there’s kind of skills for, of course, the ICT skills as well, but then also entrepreneurial skills in a way that how, how you are able to carry out a project, then there’s also skills on participation, how you participate and how you participate in to, in the society and how you are building sustainable future for, you know, these kind of what we call is the eco social skills.

Ilona (13m 57s): So these are the kinds of skills that the needs to be thought in every subject, but also in, in, in every phenomena. But they cannot be taught in, in every phenomena during that, you know, so that they have to be chosen that this particular phenomenon, this, this unit, maybe we choose two of them and we concentrate on that. And that is something that then the teacher has to facilitate. And, and to make, to tell that, to tell the students that when you are doing your own inquiry and you have, you are going to present, are you going to do some kind of a product afterwards?

Ilona (14m 34s): So these are the kinds of skills that you, you will be maybe also assessed because the assessment then it’s also, that is continuous as for formative assessment, what we talk about it. And so they can be a pre-assessment. What do you know already about the phenomena? What are the kinds of skills that you already have? And then what are the skills and the content that you’re learning during, during the whole, you know, the unit let’s say the unit is maybe about seven or eight weeks.

Ilona (15m 5s): So this is the planning phase then comes kind of a tuning in that you tune in to the phenomena or you, how would I say kind of motivate the teacher, the students into it. And that can be, you know, you visited museums or you read a book or you watch a video, or are you already, already in, that’s why you can already engage with an expert from outside. So it can be very, very many different ways of how to, how to motivate the students into, well, let, let’s look into this phenomena phenomena, what is it all about?

Ilona (15m 43s): And after that, then the students sort of come into this concept validation session that they have to think about it. What do I already know? They might do a mind map for example, and that can be a kind of a pre-assessment of it, or, or, you know, discussions or whatever, or even a quiz, if you want to give you an, a test so that the test, usually we give it as a summative test, but there could be a test already straight away.

Ilona (16m 16s): So what do you already know? And then after that, they can make the questions. What do I want to know? And you can make the students into groups of that kind of groups who have similar interests, and then they go into the inquiry and then they, you know, kind of ask other experts again about it, or make interviews or, or research, or, or visits to different places and so forth. What is required in order to, to, to get more information about the phenomena and worrying all this stuff that needs to be a lot of, a lot of talking discussion, formative assessment, the teachers are like facilitators.

Ilona (17m 3s): And then at the end, you know, sometimes we have no idea, like what comes out there can be a products. There can be presentations that can be even a play or, or, or, or a debate or whatever. I remember when I was a teacher also, you know, sometimes my, my students, they did some of them, they did even a Minecraft kind of a game or some of them, they did an animation. So, so there can be a lot of different things that they can teach, teach each other, even.

Ilona (17m 37s): And, and, and then at the end, you know, sometimes a lot of them schools also in Finland nowadays have, for example, open houses or exhibitions Or events where they then invite the parents or the even wider society to come and see what the students have been learning.

Ti-Fen (18m 2s): Let me review the process a little bit. So the planning phases would be first narrowed down the future skills you want to targeting in phenomena based learning and also the relevant topic. Right? And then after that, you would be planning the formative assessment along the way for different scales that align with the issue we are targeting. We are embedding in the phenomenon based learning. So the, I curious the first step, like narrowing down the scale with different subject teachers, how do you have any tips and tools that you would give for people who collaborate between different subject teachers and trying to narrow down the things they want to targeting? It?

Ilona (18m 58s): The thing is what I have been doing, because I’ve been teaching a lot of like on the school level, the, the teachers and, and so forth is that, of course, every, every school has their own kind of how they organize the whole school, the timetable, the, you know, the who teaches what and so forth. But the thing is that what usually I have been doing with them is really what I call, like mining the curriculum and mining the timetables and so forth.

Ilona (19m 29s): So that, so that it is a big, really big process to look at it first on a, on a big picture, that when we start in Finland, we start, the school will actually, tomorrow is the day in August. And then we start in August and then we go up to up to June, beginning of June. So you need to look at the whole year. Okay. And then during the whole year, how many different kinds of phenomenons do we have in some schools?

Ilona: They have maybe two in some schools, three, I know a school that has four or six during the whole year. So then you need to, you know, per student, if you look at it on a student level, and then, then you need to look at what are the kinds of skills and content that they need to learn during that particular year. And then you divide those, you look into the, you look into the curriculum, what are the kinds of subjects that go together?

Ilona (20m 30s): What are the kind of thematic phenomenons that come from different, different subjects together? And then they are making those plans on a, on a year, on a, on for the year. And then it’s easier to look into the whole, like one unit only you look it, okay, because these are the, these are the subjects teachers that are collaborating in this unit. Maybe in that next unit, it’s different. One can be more kind of cited on, on mathematics and science.

Ilona (21m 1s): The other unit can be more leaning towards former creative and artistic or, or these kinds of, so then of course, the skills that we have, these transformational skills for the future, we also then look at it, look it up so that what are the ones that are needed in that particular unit, or what is product more natural to learn during that particular unit? For example, in, in one phenomena, if they are looking into all kinds of, you know, leading things, and there may be growing, growing plants and making studies about the plants and, and about nature and so forth, then of course, they need to be learning more about these eco social skills and, and how to be, how to be more sustainable and, and so forth, and how, how, what kind of actions that they are doing in their own life actually build us a better future.

Ilona (22m 1s): So, so they really, they really go with the unit in a way that, you know, once you start looking at the whole bigger picture, then it’s easier to see that, okay, actually, these are these skill we need to do during this year. It goes automatically to two, one of the, one of the uterus, maybe coding goes into the one that has more mathematical mathematical skills and so forth. Great.

Ti-Fen (22m 26s): Could you give us a few examples that you have seen schools picked as their phenomenon topic, what phenomenon they picks

Ilona (22m 38s): Nowadays? And also like last year, there was more and more, these kinds of phenomenons that are very topical and which are, you know, kind of, you know, comes from, from our society. And we need to think about, so, so the climate change, sustainability, circular economy, you know, plastic in our oceans, these are the kind of things are, are, are all the time, very current. And, and of course now at the moment, what we’ve been having is, is the, the COVID 19 in the way that what are the pandemics and what are the kind of, you know, how do they start and how do they, so, so often these current phenomenons that are happening around us are something that are also triggers the curiosity of the students very easily.

Ilona (23m 31s): Or for example, the black lives matter movement that even from the USA came all the way up to Finland, we had even demonstration. So, so these are the kinds of things that the students are very motivated into, into researching. And thinking about that, how does it affect their life and what kind of a future we are building, because why the students are in the school in the first place, they are there in order to become active citizens later, later in their life, or you’re already during their school time.

Ilona (24m 5s): So, so we need to, you know, involve their kind of understanding of the world already. And, and, and, and that, that motivates them and also to research and, and to, to learn more about the different topics. Also the sustainable development goals that the United nations have set up for 2030, the SDGs, like we talk about them, the agenda 2030, it’s something that has a lot of different kinds of things that can be implemented in, in different phenomenons.

Ilona (24m 39s): And that is something that some of our schools have taken also like last, last year, I remember that some schools only looked into, into those and were looking at ’em and asking also that their, their students, about the phenomena in, in high schools, we also have schools that only, you know, sort of plan the phenomenons from the students so that their students are able to vote and, and kind of introduce the different phenomenons that they want to, they want to be studying it’s, it’s not, it doesn’t only come from like top down.

Ilona (25m 16s): It also needs to be involving the students and their own interests and curiosity.

Ti-Fen (25m 34s): Also Ilona you mentioned about after the planning and the student, the teacher would tune into phenomenon by providing some media, or even invite experts to give a speech to the student, to introduce the phenomenon. And then the students will have to think about it and having a mind map. I’m curious what this mind map look like

Ilona (26m 11s): The mind map, of course, in the beginning, it’s really for the students to make a mind about off what they already know about the phenomena, because sometimes, you know, if we talk about, for example, the second world war or the, or the, the Holocaust, for example, of what happened to the Jewish people in, in Finnish curriculum, it comes in the eighth grade and that the students need to learn about these things. But then if we actually, you know, talking already about, let’s say, black lives matter for the sixth graders or seventh graders and so forth, they might be interested into, into looking at injustice in history or injustice in our society already previously.

Ilona (26m 57s): So they might start looking into it. And, and the thing is that, like, what do they already know about it before going into any kind of inquiry? So it’s kind of, kind of a test or something that they do the mind map without using any books or without, you know, reading, reading about more or, so forth. And that is, then that can be then taken again as a tool at the very end of the unit.:

Ilona: Let’s look into the mind map that you did six, seven weeks ago. What did you write on it? Or what did you draw on it that, what did you know about the phenomenon when you started the process? And then they realized that, Hey, I know so much more, and then you can maybe even take a different color and draw and write on it more than what have I learned during this phenomenon based learning unit. And it can be also digital, you know, there’s a lot of different digital tools to make, and these mind maps, and that’s kind of a one way of really showing that that, Hey, this is what you knew in the beginning without reading and without inquiry.

Ilona (28m 14s): And then this is the thing, something that you have been able to put on top and to show that how much you have learned after, or during the, during the unit.

Ti-Fen (28m 25s): So after the, mind map and teacher or student would group together with the same interests, and then they will do inquiry based learning in this phase, how teacher can guide them to do the inquiry based learning.

Ilona (28m 47s): It has to, again, come, they don’t go into the groups before they have actually done the questions that, what do I want to know about the phenomena? And then, then only that, that then they can go into the groups of similar interests, but it doesn’t necessarily always have to be even group, but they can also be individual or pairs or whatever it depends, but how does the teacher then go about it? Is that because they have the, the students have set their own questions, what do they want to know?

Ilona (29m 18s): And then the questions can be looked at on a class level or in the student group level, even anonymously in a whether these are the kinds of questions that came out. And, and then, you know, let’s look into the, what, which, which ones are kind of the ones that we go into and start doing the inquiry and research, or it can be, it doesn’t always have to be an inquiry. It can be a, a building of something, or try and trying out kind of a piloting of, of, of, of some kind of a construction.

Ilona (29m 49s): But then, then that is when the teacher, because she knows, and she has shown also, and told the students that while you are doing this inquiry or research, or, or construction or piloting or something experimentation, these are the skills that you have to be, you know, sort of learning. So these are the transformational skills, and that is where the objectives come out. That that is kind of also assisting so that the teacher becomes then a facilitator facilitating that kind of a process and assisting those students to go further and to, to, to be able to target those objectives, that they have to learn these particular skills during this process.

Ilona (30m 41s): And that is, you know, sort of pushing, pushing the students forward and what sometimes it’s called also also like scaffolding. And so the objectives always have to be there in order for the students to go further. Otherwise, you know, some, because I’ve had like, you know, teachers tell me that, well, how do they motivate the students to go for further? Or how do they assist them? But the thing is that when the inquiry questions and those kinds of research questions, or the experimentation ideas, they come out from the students themselves.

Ilona (31m 20s): So that already motivates them to go further, but then you need to be able to facilitate them to vote those skills, not all of the content, because often they, you know, they start only looking into the content, but they also need to be remembering that these are the skills that we at the same time learning during, during. So, like I said, phenomenon based learning. It’s more about the process, not so much about the product ending, kind of like how much content have you found out, or how much have you learned?

Ilona (31m 54s): It’s not that it’s not assessing kind of that so much because that comes automatically, but then it’s re really pushing towards learning new transformational skills, the skills for the future. And that is something that, you know, feeling that is proud about being number one in the world. And that is something that we need to be all the time pushing and showing the students that these are the skills we’re learning at the same time.

Ti-Fen (32m 22s): Wonderful. So I want to dive a little bit deeper around the facilitation, a process a teacher plays in, in this role. So I’m curious when you were a teacher, how do you facilitate the process, for example, would you like having one to one conversation with student regularly to make sure they’re developing the right track aligned with the skills learning objectives, or you would ask specific questions that can help them to think more deeply,

Ilona (33m 2s): Actually all, all of that and even more in a way that yeah, the, the teacher’s role is, is to be the person who is asking that kind of questions that make the students think further. And, and also to have the student ask more questions in a way, you know, too often in a classroom, the teacher asks, asks questions, or the exercise book asks the questions for content knowledge in a way that the students need to answer, what is the goal?

Ilona (33m 37s): What is the kind of the subject content? What is the knowledge or so forth, but, but this is not the case in phenomenon based learning. The thing is that you need to be making them think, making them think critically, and to understand where to find more knowledge sometimes for a teacher. You know, for example, when I was, I was ethics, but also civics and history teacher, of course, I have a lot of knowledge about history or civics and how the society works, but I can’t be telling them about it so much.

Ilona (34m 10s): I need to be showing an and guiding them to those sources that so that they themselves have the kind of aha moment that, you know, that they find the information. So the teacher needs to be knowledgeable about the sources of information that there is there’s libraries. So I would take, they take them to the libraries. I would take them to the museums. I would give them, you know, the experts on Skype or in writing, you know, also even asking the students themselves to, to contact experts or, you know, asking them to, to, to come and visit, or even asking the students themselves, to come up with an idea that way, where would they want to go and visit, and also in a way that the T the students themselves are teaching each other.

Ilona (35m 0s): And that is really important because what has been John had the, I don’t know if, you know, John Hattie from Australia has made this kind of meta analysis of different kinds of educational theories or, and research. And, and what has been found out is that, that when the student themselves, they are the ones telling about the phenomena, for example, that is when they are actually learning not to during the time that they are inquiring, but when they are and showing, presenting to other people.

Ilona (35m 41s): And, and that is why I often at the very end of the phenomenon based learning units, sort of even more step out and step on the side, giving them the space to teach each other and to show. And, and the students are more motivated to listen to their own friend telling something than, you know, just me talking in the front. So my, my expertise has to be in it to give them kind of maybe kind of checklists or showing them how different kind of issues I may be categorized, you know, kind of giving them the kind of tools for research or for, for finding out, you know, but, and also encouraging them in order to, to speak for themselves.

Ilona (36m 34s): And, and that’s something that then you can see that they, you know, they grow because they become more autonomous as well as, as, as learners. So they’re learning what has been found out by, but we have some PhD studies being made and that the students actually learn to learn. And that is something that they, it will carry with them for the, you know, for the rest of their lives that they learned to learn how, how learning happens.

Ti-Fen (37m 1s): Right. I’m a big fan of learn how to learn, right. So for teacher who wants to try out phenomenon based learning, what is one piece of advice you would give?

Ilona (37m 14s): Yeah, because I think this is kind of a, it’s a, it’s a big pedagogical DNA. I think that has to, has to kind of a little bit change in, in some more traditional teachers that they have to step aside. They have to step, but not total, like, because sometimes the teachers have been telling me that, Oh, so I’m not needed anymore. No you’re needed, but you need to be able to create space for curiosity and creativity. And the most important is that if you are able to have the students ask those two questions, what do I know already about it?

Ilona (37m 53s): And then somehow show it what they know. And then the second question, what do I want to know about it? So when they make that question, what do I want to know about it? And then, you know, sometimes the students have been asking, so can I ask any question? Is that they are like, baffled, like, so sometimes we don’t provide this space for the students enough, you know, we need to provide them space for, for, for, for curiosity. And what do I want to know about it?

Ilona (38m 24s): And these are the most, if, if a teacher is able to do this, then it will carry on because then, then, you know, you won’t be able to, in a way, stop it anymore. You won’t be able to say that, no, no, you’re not allowed to go and go and research or anymore. Cause then, then the children will because the children are curious, you know, when they come, if you think about a very young child, three years old, or four years old or five, you know, they’re all about questions. They’re only about questions. Like, how does that work?

Ilona (38m 55s): And what is this like, and why does it, why does that person do this? Or, you know, they’re all about questions. And then suddenly when they come to school, you know, do we kill that curiosity? And that is something that we can’t kill it. We cannot kill the curiosity in the child and the child, and the students need to be curious about the world. How does it function? You know, what makes the world go around? And I remember my, my own son who is nowadays 13, but almost 14, but he was maybe five or six and he was sitting on a table and he asked me a question that the earth can, can it be, can it be counted and measured?

Ilona (39m 38s): How, how, you know, why it is it and, and so forth. And I was like, wow, this is a fantastic question from a little boy thinking about that. First of all, that there’s a kind of a, you know, round ball the earth and can it be measured and so forth. And it’s fascinating that they can think, you know, they think so widely. And so we need to give space. And I think that’s number one thing for the teacher to be able to do that. There are this holistic phenomena in the world, give space for the students to sink.

Ilona (40m 12s): What do they know and what do they want to know, and then give space for them to, to make their own research. And it will be fascinating to see like what they come up with and what I’ve also been, you know, because my husband is a doctor in, you know, men in medicine and, and they’re in surgery. And luckily teachers really don’t, we are not in surgery. We are not in brain surgeons. You know, we’re not surgery, we’re not going deep into the flesh.

Ilona (40m 47s): So in a way that we cannot make that kind of mistakes with the children, if we give them more space for, for curiosity, it can, it cannot harm. Then it will give them more joy and, and it can be more playful and, you know, more creative. So, so if, if there’s nothing bad, you know, if you’re six, seven weeks off the one whole year, if you make this kind of a phenomenon based learning unit and that after that you are thinking about it, what came out of it, even though nothing, no productive came out, but I’m sure that there was more joy and more creative things.

Ilona (41m 29s): And the students were able to learn how to learn and that it will help, you know, the rest of the year as well.

Ti-Fen (41m 36s): Yeah. Wonderful. So to you personally, what is your core value in teaching and learning or education?

Ilona (41m 46s): Well, I think I’ve, I’ve, I’ve said quite a lot already. And, and my, my core value is, is that the students are in the school in order to become, you know, active citizens. And what kind of active said, active citizens. We ha we need in our society are the kind of student, you know, S see the sense that, that have an understanding how the world works and can be critical about things, because what was really concerning for me in the, in the last piece of results of the always CD is that one out of 10 of the eighth graders were able to actually distinguish between fact and fiction and a, you know, kind of fake.

Ilona (42m 36s): And in fact, that is something that if you are more critical and if you do research and you are, you’re able to understand that there is that you are able to also manipulate information, you’re able to even yourself go into Wikipedia, right? It that’s something that I’ve done also with my students. Sometimes they go themselves or write it, not only to take it, but they go on, you know, log in the thing is that we need curious minds, we need critical minds, and we need people who are able to build us sustainable future.

Ilona (43m 11s): So that is something that is really, really, you know, school is, is an education is in a, kind of a critical role of what kind of a society and a world we are, we are building.

Ti-Fen (43m 22s): So if people wants to learn more about your work, how they can find you online,

Ilona (43m 29s): Well, they can find me, for example, is Helsinki So our website, and then my email is, is also Ilana dot time, a lot at, and So that’s very easy to, to then contact me or, you know, some people have also contact me through Twitter or Facebook messenger or different. So I’m in a different on LinkedIn. So, yeah.

Ti-Fen (43m 57s): Okay. I will make sure they are on including in the shirt show now, so people can find you and also go to your Helsinki education consulting group, to know more about the word shop around. Not only phenomenon based learning but other great materials. All right. Thank you so much. You will now thank you for listening. We will put the things mentioned in the interview to the show notes. If you enjoy our show, welcome to share and don’t forget to subscribe.

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