The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World's Most Surprising School System

  • Oct 12, 2013 · 1:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

Finland's education system has consistently ranked among the best in the world for more than a decade. The puzzle is, why Finland? Documentary filmmaker, Bob Compton, along with Harvard researcher, Dr. Tony Wagner, decided to find out. The result of their research is captured in a new film, "The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World's Most Surprising School System". In the 60-minute film, Dr. Wagner guides the viewer through an inside look at the world's finest secondary education system. A life-long educator and author of the best-selling book "The Global Achievement Gap," Dr. Wagner is uniquely qualified to explore and explain Finland's success. From within classrooms and through interviews with students, teachers, parents, administrators and government officials, Dr. Wagner reveals the surprising factors accounting for Finland's rank as the #1 education system in the world. 

Director: Sean Faust, 2011, 60 mins


- Ice breaking
- Screening @ 2 pm
- Talk about the film and related issues

We may go to a nearby eatery to continue conversation.

Get off at the last stop of N/Q train on Ditmars Blvd. The venue is on 31st Street, opposite of Immaculate Conception Church.


Some background reading:

Why Are Finland's Schools Successful?

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success?

From Finland, an Intriguing School-Reform Model

Education in Finland

Finland has an education system the US should envy – and learn from

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  • Yen

    Many thanks to Mizan for taking his time to organize this event. Very informative documentary and discussion afterwards.

    I would prefer Finland's "trust-based" vs. "compliance-based" education system and a more collaborative society if public servants will catch and punish those who attempts to violate our trust and those who will attempt displace their load onto others and lessen their responsibility over several generations.

    I was also fascinated by Mizan's education experience in Sweden...If my children more like Brad Pitt than Jackie Chan, I would consider sending my children to Finland or Sweden for their education! :D

    October 14, 2013

  • Sky

    This documentary was so provocative, not only as an examination of the school system in and of itself but the impact of politics, social values, social divisions, capitalism, elitism, the ideas of individualism vs. collectivism; individuality vs. conformity and many other factors that influence the role/agenda in public education. The most basic questions that should drive every other educational decision: How do people learn? What is necessary to create ENGAGEMENT? Is school stimulating the fundamental drive for learning, CURIOSITY? Is knowledge made concrete enough to help students solve REAL world problems?

    Finland’s Educational System has successfully strived to answer these questions as fundamental to all they do. The emphasis is on celebrating the essential nature of Humanity. Which brings us to ask, What is OUR standard of Humanity?

    2 · October 14, 2013

  • charles b.

    the list of attendees is inaccurate. there were less than 15 people at the meeting.

    October 13, 2013

  • charles b.

    book on the subject: the smartest kids in the world

    1 · October 13, 2013

  • Mizan

    Finnish education system - no high stakes tests...start school later in little homework...developed a national consensus about its public schools...has few private schools... not only do not have tests, they do not have an inspectorate...trusting people leads to them being accountable for themselves...don't have incredibly thick collections of national become a teacher is difficult...teachers are well trained, well supported, and given time to reflect about what they are doing...meaningful technical education...almost no teacher dropout...teachers are hot to date!

    1 · October 12, 2013

  • Miguel G.

    I have a family birthday at 2:00 on the same day :-(
    Can't make it to the screening, but I hope I can at least find this documentary online. It seems really interesting and peaks at the interest of education

    October 10, 2013

  • Sky

    As a mother of a school-age child, this documentary is vital. Understanding the conditions under which students learn best and teachers are best able to teach is one phenomenon, as an American in a failing school system, I can't afford to miss.

    2 · October 8, 2013

    • Mizan

      great point!

      October 9, 2013

  • Yen

    Sir Ken Robinson's TED Talk: Changing Education Paradigms.

    Seth Godin's TED Talk: Stop Stealing Dreams.

    1 · October 9, 2013

  • Tom P.

    I heard the school runners never lose because they always reach the Finish Lines.

    October 7, 2013

  • charles b.

    nothing new as long as the interests of teachers and students are not the same.

    September 16, 2013

  • Nimira

    Waiting for Superman - A powerful and alarming documentary about America's failing public school system.

    2 · September 16, 2013

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