School in Norway

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When I went to school, homework did not take long. We did not have any subjects concerning life skills, which there are plenty of now. When I worked one year as a psychologist in the school system I was flabbergasted by how different school was today. When children are having their break they often watched educational videos on a big screens, and at lunch break games often were organized so that everybody could join in. Challenged kids with emotional issues often got an extra focus, and in class there were often discussion about social situation to help children develop empathy and problem solving. I liked this, that school was no longer just about facts. But, no system is flawless, and I want to highlight some issues with school in Norway today.

My partner has two children, who come home from school every day with lots of homework. I get that it’s important to teach children as much as possible, but time is precious and I know that they feel stressed by the share amount of what they must do, like many others in their class. Pupils report that they feel stressed by everything they have to do at schools. Teaching them life skills in addition to maths, reading, spelling and so on, also leads to pressure; There are even more things children must learn and understand. This pressure ironically makes it even harder to problem solve, since stress inhibits our ability to think outside the box and be creative. Creativity is stifled by rules, so introducing even more of our way of seeing things, can actually have a negative effect on preparing children for adulthood.

Now I’m curious; how is school organized in other countries and do you have any thoughts on the subject?

8 thoughts on “School in Norway

    skinnyhobbit said:
    November 18, 2019 at 09:09

    Schools in Singapore are highly stressful so we have kids killing themselves over poor grades. It comes up in the news periodically, and now our government is looking into youth mental health and considering scrapping some nation-wide aptitude testing. Children in Singapore are one of the most highly stressed students in the world, like Korea and Japan.

    We aren’t taught life skills at all…I actually wish I was! Special needs students go to special schools, there’s no inclusivity. Sometimes it’s a special needs school to institution pipeline, very bad for the youth. Friends who are special needs educators work long hours with little pay. Friends who are regular teachers report the same.

    My partner is a Norwegian teacher and I’m amazed by the education system, though I don’t like how there doesn’t seem to be stuff to cater to the highly intelligent who get bored by regular class. He teaches social sciences and I like how consent and healthy relationships are discussed!. I feel like the increase in homework stresses students too much, don’t follow what Singapore has done — good grades in international competitions don’t matter as much as students growing up well adjusted, I feel,

      mirrorgirl responded:
      November 18, 2019 at 09:30

      Thank you for this interesting comment, especially since I know so little about the school system in Asia. I know that Japan have high rates of suicidal though, and have heard how hard they study and how they also should excel at work. A friend of me in Norway thinks that we should opt for a better balance also when it comes to the emotional needs for kids. We are good at giving children with special needs tasks that are better adjusted to them (but, like you point out, that doesn’t necessarily happen for gifted pupils) but kids who have problems with impulsivity, for example should maybe have shorter periods where they have to sit still in class, for example (I know some schools where they are good at adjusting the school day for children who struggle with emotions). There is no one size fits all, also when it comes to how we handle emotions and social situations.

        skinnyhobbit said:
        November 18, 2019 at 09:35

        Honestly I feel schools often demand kids sit still for periods which even adults would struggle with! Whenever I’ve done training or night classes as an adult, my attention span definitely is lees than half an hour! Yet kids have to sit still for an hour or more, get a tiny break, then the next class starts.

        As for gifted students, I wonder if it’s Janteloven in play. My partner is gifted and he was bullied really heavily when he was a student. I believe Norway believes in inclusiveness and diversity, so I would definitely hope schools become more inclusive and equitable, not just equal.

        mirrorgirl responded:
        November 18, 2019 at 09:43

        Yes, most people actually feel restless after an hour sitting still, so strange that we don’t think more about that when it comes to kids and especially those finds it especially hard to concentrated and sit still. It’s the same for traumatized children,’it is nearly impossible to learn anything when the nervous system is at high alert.

        You might be right when it comes to Janteloven. It still lives on in so many ways, even when we don’t want it to and talk about it all the time. Changing attitudes and behaviors that fits them, takes time in every society.

        skinnyhobbit said:
        November 18, 2019 at 09:45

        Despite Janteloven, I’m definitely glad my partner has supportive and passionate colleagues, all of them doing their best to teach students! Maybe globally the trend will shift as we learn more about child psychology.

        mirrorgirl responded:
        November 18, 2019 at 09:48

        Lets cross our fingers for that. Fortunately many gifted students are able to find stimulation in other ways. I remember one kid at a school who was highly gifted and had ad/hd too, he luckily had a teacher who saw him and gave him work that stimulating him, and he was also free to roam around when he needed to. That only proves how important one individual teacher can be, they can certainly help children fulfill their potential!

        skinnyhobbit said:
        November 18, 2019 at 12:51

        Definitely ❤

    School in Norway — Mirrorgirl – Truth Troubles said:
    November 22, 2019 at 15:03

    […] via School in Norway — Mirrorgirl […]

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