Thursday, September 22, 2011

Carl Linnaeus and Finnish and Swedish Education

I found the lecture on Carl Linnaeus very interesting and informative, because I didn't know very much about him other than that I could recognize his name and associate it with taxonomy. I didn't realize how much of an impact his work had, and how much recognition he gained during his lifetime. It was neat to see all of the different plants and flowers and examine Linnaeus' life through what he saw and experienced during his travels and comparing it to those same places today and how he is honored throughout Sweden.

When we compared and discussed the Finnish and Swedish school system versus education in the United States, I realized I would have preferred to have gone to school in Finland or Sweden! The emphasis on learning for the sake of learning and fostering a natural sense of curiosity was definitely not a big part of my education as a kid. There was constant grading and expectations right off the bat, and interaction with nature/the outdoors was minimal, and decreased significantly until it ended with a final P.E. class in the beginning of Freshman year (highschool). I think many students under this system might have felt the way I felt, extremely stressed about grades and "doing well" and probably not getting enough exercise at school or at home as there was only time for homework and studying. I can also say that I don't feel like I learned anything that stuck with me, it was always a process that included memorizing everything for an exam, and erasing that knowledge and repeat the process. The Finnish and Swedish students seem to have gained a more cumulative and well rounded knowledge of many aspects of life. I really enjoy the outdoors and wish it had been more incorporated into my education and I really admire the Scandinavian emphasis on learning about nature and getting the opportunity to explore it freely!

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