The Freinet school of Rauma
”A Pedagogy of Success: ’little by little, you will be able to accentuate in your classroom--and in your life-- the success that gives hope, drive and energy.’”--Freinet
Relevant in 21st Century
Interconnected, interactive, interdependent
In August of 2015 I was fortunate to be granted a sabbatical to visit Finland for three months and to research all I could about its education and to specifically examine teacher preparation at the University of Turku, Teacher Training, Rauma Unit. As a professor in a college of education in the U.S., I had been working for several years along with other colleagues to study exemplary methods to improve our own teacher education programs. I began to hear frequently about Finland, and was intrigued by such statements as ”Finland trusts its teachers to teach”. I wanted to learn about this trust and how this came to be.
When I arrived in Rauma, I had no idea there was, nearby the campus, the Rauman Freinetkoula. In fact, at that time, I had never heard of Celestin Freinet or Freinet Schools. As I began to speak with the teachers and students at all levels from early childhood to university, I shared my own philosophy and interests and my background in what I have called ”organic education”. Several colleagues began to say ”you must visit the Freinet School”! I contacted the director, Kati Nordman who invited me to visit. On September 24th, I arrived very early, walking down from my apartment at nearby Villa Jusoilla. When I entered through the gate several children, playing outside greeted me, and when I came into the building, all was quiet, and I noticed many students scattered about, working on a project. Several teachers began to arrive and then eventually I met Kati and came with her to the sixth class. I was immediately impressed by the independence and skill of the students. I soon learned about the Portfolios and the self-and group-evaluation, and the the Week System in whicih students self monitor to complete their history, maths, and portfolios. Kati’s style, asking questions and more of a guide than a traditional teacher was evident. So was the sense of ease and trust among the students with themselves and with Kati. I learned of the most amazing assessment, in which students created, produced and presented a play in which they made over 1400€ for the school, on the ”Middle Ages to the Renaissance”. Students had said, ”We should call it Freinetssance!” Seeing my delight in this kind of ”project approach” with authentic learning and assessment, I was then shown the video of their project on Natural Science- how to reduce the amount of garbage. Great humor and fun built into a serious topic! Then I was told of the assessment for the history exam which was replaced with a ”live radio broadcast” in which students took the lead in ”showing what they know” on the main theme of the ”Medieval Castle”. Kati explained, and these students described, how they could show much more of all they had learned by doing this than they could have on any exam! The amount of ongoing feedback students give is present in everything they do. I could not help think how John Dewey would have relished this school, a living example of ”learning by doing”. Moreover, the teachers clearly were more facilitators of learning, focusing on student strengths and interests and, yes, exhibiting a great deal of mutual trust.
In October, my undergraduate research assistant, Laura Geiman was able to come to visit during her Fall break. Again, Kati was gracious in inviting her to experience a day at the Freinet School. On this day was a field trip and Laura was able to go with the class. She is still remembering how the students were engaged, learning, in nature and during the coldest day of Laura’s life! The teacher and students kept offering more scarfs and hats and wraps to help keep her warm in the forest. What must be the most natural, meaningful experiences are actually most remarkable. This matter of trust is apparent far beyond the teachers, and include the whole community…the whole curriculum. I know Laura will never forget her time there; nor will I. I was lucky to be able to return in the Spring to complete the academic year in Rauma, and happened upon Kati working at the public library one day on the beautiful pages of the ”New Curriculum” laid out in TREES. Trees are such a vital part of life in Finland and what a perfect symbol and design for showing what students are learning! My research had taken me to Helsinki to meet several times with Irmeli Halinen, head of Curriculum for Finland. From her, I learned just how the curriculum was developed, with feedback from all stakeholders throughout the country, including especially students! All of this causes me to ponder how the context of Finland provides the perfect context for what Celestin Freinet had created in his pedagogy of success. While these schools are in other countries, it was apparent to me that Finland has the foundation present for the qualities and character of this pedagogy to grow and to thrive.
It was not until after my visits to the school while in Rauma that I was able to learn more about Celestin Freinet who reminded me so much of John Dewey, and other progressive educators over a hundred years ago in America. (These had been the key influences upon my own beginnings as a teacher, along with Sylvia Ashton-Warner in New Zealand and her ”organic reading” and ”organic writing” and then Marietta Johnson and the ”School of Organic Education” in Fairhope, Alabama I had written about in my Masters thesis. And now, here I was in Finland at a school where it was evident in each of the classrooms, throughout the school, where this ”natural learning” is happening at all levels! So, I began to delve into a study of the man, Freinet, and was fortunate to locate a book at the university kirjasto, perhaps the only book in English, on the CELESTIN FREINET (1896-1966) by Victor Acker. The more I read the more I appreciated and understood all I experienced with Kati and her students and all of the other teachers and students. Here is a Frenchman, who lived and worked his entire life toward just this kind of school. Remarkably, his pedagogy is as relevant now in the twenty-first century more than ever and especially, I must say, in my own country where there is such an evident lack of trust and more natural ways of learning and teaching. Freinet’s work is sorely needed in our own schools where now we are struggling to meet the demands of these uncertain times, filled with so much change and increased migration and diverse populations. What he brought forward emphasizing interconnection, interaction and interdependency lies right at the heart of our work today. I teach the graduate course ”Collaboration for Teachers” and it is becoming more and more evident that we must learn how these inter-weavings are essential to our learning to live and work in this world today.
Thank you, Rauman Freinetkoulu, and thank you Celestin Freinet! I will be back and I look forward to seeing how we may share more together. Let me know how I may support you and perhaps share books or anything we may have to offer. Your work is spreading much hope and encouragement as I continue to tell your story here, and learn more how Freinet’s own vision is most current now, here, in 2016.
Acker, V. (2007). The French Educator, Celestin Freinet (1896-1966). Lexington Books.
Freinetpedagogiikkaa kutsutaan todellisuuspedagogiikaksi
Célestin Freinet (1896-1966) oli ranskalainen pedagogi, joka kuuluu vuosisadan alun progressiivipedagogeihin. Hänen kasvatusnäkemyksensä perustana oli ajatus positiivisesta yksilöstä, jolla on luontainen innostus kaiken tutkimiseen.
Lähtökohtana oppimiselle on lasten senhetkinen todellisuus. Opetus lähtee liikkeelle niistä tiedoista ja taidoista, joita oppilaalla käsiteltävästä asiasta on (vrt. konstruktivistinen oppimiskäsitys).
Freinetpedagogiikka on käytännön toimintaa
Se on näkemys pedagogisesta asennoitumisesta koulutyöhön, lapseen oppilaana, ihmiseen yhteiskunnan jäsenenä, kouluun yhteiskunnan osana.
Koska älykkyyttä on monta lajia, arvoa annetaan yhtälailla mm. taiteelliselle työskentelylle kuin äidinkielen ja matematiikankin oppimiselle. Erityistä tukea annetaan lasten itseilmaisulle ja elämyksellisyydelle.
Lapsi haluaa oppia, toimia ja vaikuttaa
Kasvattajien ensimmäinen tavoite on saada lapsi kiinnostumaan työstään ja omasta elämästään. Kouluissa opettajan tehtävänä on ohjaajana, kannustajana ja uusiin asioihin innostajana järjestää tähän mahdollisuus. Käytännön koulutyö järjestetään niin, että mielekäs työnteko on arkipäivää.Työllä on hyvin suuri merkitys
Työnteon kautta syntyy arvoja ja ratkaistaan ongelmia. Oppimisen käsitteeseen liittyvät toiminnallisuus, omat kokemukset ja itsenäinen työnteko.
Freinet korosti yksilöiden välistä tasa-arvoa ja yhteiskunnan kehittämistä sopusointuisemmaksi.
Freinet kavahti puhdasoppisuutta. Hänen mukaansa koulun tulee suuntautua ympäristöönsä. Opetustilat, opetussuunnitelmat ja lukujärjestykset sekä työvälineet ja opetusmenetelmät on sopeutettava oman aikansa vaatimuksiin.