Sunday, September 25, 2011

Carl Linnaeus & Scandinavian Education

I thought the presentation on Carl Linnaeus was very interesting and detailed. In particular, I was unaware of his humanitarian and medical efforts. I thought it was interesting that in the 18th century a well educated individual on a tour of Scandinavia to see the wildlife primarily would take a great interest in the well being of the Sami people. It seemed very forward-thinking that Linnaeus made note of how the Sami were expected to conform to standards that did not fit their lifestyle nor living conditions. Additionally, the prestige of his medical practice which gained initial notoriety from treating STD's and went on to be the physician to the admiralty and the royal family was something I found particularly noteworthy.

After the class discussion and seeing the articles and videos online, I was really intrigued by the success of the Scandinavian school system because it appears to conflict on many levels with the American school system. Particularly the late start policy, which I think might be viewed as a hassle for parents in America who are eager for their children to read and write from very young ages. I did think the community responsibility associated with education, particularly in the Finnish School System video, was great. Families, and also international corporations, seem to take pride in educating children and watching them succeed. If education was a source of pride in America, students and family alike may take it more seriously.

The outdoor schools were the most unique, in my opinion. While I liked hearing about them and reading the article on the Danish schools, I doubt I would have liked that kind of education as a child and I think many Americans are far too worried about the dangers of the outdoors to support that type of education for their children. One of the primary differences that could make outdoor schools in America successful, in my opinion, would be higher education levels for teachers. Day care providers in America often lack the credentials that would make such a project successful. Though not outdoors, I think many small-scale American day cares, such as those found in private homes, also focus on developing team work and social skills through play and foster positive educational experiences for American children.

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