Helsinki Link + Learn Study Tour

We travelled to Helsinki, exploring new thinking in learning environments and educational leadership.

Adelaide | Education + Laboratories | Studio News

2 July 2019

As our education portfolio continues to grow, staying abreast of pedagogical shifts is crucial for delivering high-quality, effective design outcomes. And this is why professional development opportunities are an integral part of what we do. Adelaide-based Director Wayne Dixon and colleague Jennifer Drake were fortunate to recently travel to Helsinki to learn more about Finland’s education system, considered one of the best in the world according to PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) Worldwide Ranking.

Organised by Catholic Education SA (CESA), Wayne and Jennifer travelled from 7 until 18 April 2019, with the objective to gain insight into how learning environments can better support contemporary pedagogies, and how professional educators can utilise their environments, in order to apply this thinking to future DesignInc projects. They visited four schools, attended talks by educational leaders, trainers and trainees and participated in workshops with CESA that were moderated by education consultant and facilitator Mikko Salonen.

For Wayne, there were many highlights. “Visiting Viherkallio School in Espoo City was especially memorable because of its highly inspirational principal,” he says. “And Opinmäki integrated campus for Years 1-9, also in Espoo, was compelling for its quality architectural outcome. It was also interesting to visit because of the variety of spaces the campus offers, including areas for socialising and quiet reflection.”

Many of the insights gained through the tour are translatable within an Australian context and Wayne was able to share these with colleagues upon his return. Ideas around student equity as a key objective were prominent, and the importance of autonomy at each level of school leadership will inform DesignInc’s thinking around designing for learning environments moving forward. As will pedagogies that enable a student-centric approach, which was one of the overwhelming similarities between Finland and Australia.

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