4.5 The Fifth School: Muuramen Lukio, Muurame, Finland
Only 20% of learning comes from the school; 80% comes from outside. In other times, the relationship was 30/70. Most of the learning comes from outside the school, such as, friends, home, networks and hobbies. We try to support the development of skills from outside the school.
Our focus nor, in 2018, for a three-year period, is 21st century skills: digital abilities, teamwork, internal leadership, critical thinking, entrepreneurial thinking. Our international project with Erasmus + (a European Union program) is called Future Makers with the Dutch people.
To promote learning by doing, sustainability, teamwork, and leadership the school has a 1-day-1-night forest retreat camp. The school rents the tents from the army and Voluntary defense training program in Finland works in co-operation with the students and teachers alike in planning and implementing this camp that is referred to as Forest Camp. The students also learn from firemen how to put out a fire, and all kinds of other tasks. Each tent houses 14 to 16 students and one or two teachers, and each tent-group has a student leader. The teachers in each tent also follow the student leaders. That is how the school teaches leadership. The principal said:
They don’t learn to lead if they don’t lead. We teach and promote leadership in all aspects of the school: teacher leadership, student leadership, cooks’ leadership and workers’ leadership. How? By giving them responsibility and trust. We rely on them. If we trust them they do their best. We also put them in situations when they face new challenges and problems.
Most of the time we do academic work, go to classes and study subjects because we want to pass the matriculation exams and go to university.
We are a normal lukio with an entrepreneurship twist, a sustainability focus and a technological environment based on mobiles, tablets and a good enough WiFi network.”
There is no one way of teaching. Traditional or modern ways of arranging the physical learning environment inside the classroom can work very well.
In double (90 minutes) lessons, the students have to stand up, do some exercise, walk through the corridors or go outside for a few minutes, and our student tutors promote games like basketball, floorball, football, or all kind of physical funny games. There is a group of students that get trained about the exercises and they lead other students into it. Last Fall, for example, we organized our school own Olympics, with groups of students representing different countries with country uniforms and national anthems.
Entrepreneurial thinking, team working and project learning. We have a student-oriented system at the school, with many virtual reality devices, lots of company collaboration, and godfather companies. Every group has a godfather company.
· The new curriculum for lukio became effective this academic year (2016). The first important change is that schools should do phenomenon-based learning, but we have been doing that for 20 years. So, it is not a big change for us. Here the phenomenon is: Entrepreneurship. In sustainability studies we do mostly same things, based on phenomenon learning. Both areas cover many topics, like written, oral, creativity and presenting skills. They also connect with communities outside the school. They take classes with two teachers in these two subjects. One plus one is three, because teachers inspire each others
· Learning in school should be connected to the life of the students. We also have been doing this for many years.
· Big change: evaluation. Peer to peer, self-evaluation, observation and constant feedback to students. Section by section, during the six-week sessions and during the whole academic year. Each section lasts more or less six weeks. And maybe some kind of parents’ surveys.
· Then, the local (kunta and school curriculum) within the framework of the national curriculum will also have some changes:
o Phenomenon-based learning in entrepreneurship and sustainability studies.
o Teaching leadership of all kinds (student, teacher, staff). We also collaborate a lot with companies.
o Trust people, respect the teachers and the students.
Several ways: Two subjects in one course together. Several subjects in one theme, like the forest project: How to build a forest camp with 200 students and 20 teachers? Collaboration with the army, the firemen, other groups; communication with staff, students, radio, TV, written press; branding the school; marketing for the school and products. We have also tailor-made a course from two subjects: Biology and chemistry. This will help students to get skills and knowledge to apply for medical programs. We are planning another integration course: Physics and ICT. In these integrated courses, we have two teachers teaching the class at the same time. Next year, in 2019, the subject will change to cybersecurity and social studies. The cybersecurity comes from the university mostly. The new curriculum forces the lukios to have some collaboration with the universities. In Artificial Intelligence we will collaborate with a military higher education center in Helsinki where they train officers for the Finnish military.
The entrepreneurship course takes two six-week long periods or sections in Autumn. Last year I gave a task of marketing the school to get more students to register. In Spring, we also run two six-week long courses and then can do different projects
Students still have to take 75 courses to graduate, so little change here. Students come at 8.30 in the morning and leave 5 minutes after 4 pm. Lessons last 45 minutes each, but some lessons last 90 minutes. There is the free lunch break for 55 minutes, and one or two 10 of five minutes’ breaks so they can change classrooms.
What is missing in schools in Finland?
More resources. Although in this school we have been allocated extra money to run the entrepreneurship program but we are always in need for more money especially now that the economy is tight in general in Finland. We always think there is lack of money, so we say, “do something” not only complain. Discover project, and if one has good ideas, the money will come.
Principal Aki Puustinen, Muuramen lukio Teacher Merjo Hakkarainen
 On February 13, 2017, I received, by email, corrections from the principal Aki Puustinen and one of the teachers, Merjo Hakkarainen, I interviewed. The corrections were included. Updates were made on May 21, 2018, with the principal in his office at the lukio.
 Point raised by Elisa Heimovaara in an exchange of email communications on April 25, 2017.