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Early literacy practices and the Finnish national core curriculum

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In 2004 the Finnish National Board of Education launched a new curriculum framework that includes principles, instructional aims, and a brief list of content by subject areas. The intent of this framework is that teachers should interpret the core curriculum at the local level and apply it in their own schools and classrooms. This approach encourages teachers to use their professional knowledge and take into account their students and the learning environment in applying and implementing the curriculum. This case study sought to understand how this core curriculum has been implemented by way of observations of language and literacy lessons in 8 grade 1 and grade 2 classrooms during a 2-month period. The observations and the analysis were guided by earlier research conducted in classroom identified as 'excellent' in the US. The resulting data, in turn, were compared with the core curriculum. The findings show that, although some of the principles and the content of the core curriculum were reflected in practice, there were inconsistencies between the instructional methods used in the classrooms and the principles set in the core curriculum. Although some areas of the core curriculum were well represented in classroom language and literacy practices, others were covered only in part or not at all during the observation period.

Keywords: Finland; core curriculum; instructional methods; literacy instruction; primary education

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220271003801959

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, FIN-90014 Oulu, Finland 2: Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Maryland, College Park, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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