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Finland has implemented a landmark education reform in the academic year of 2016-17. It has turned to topical learning or Phenomenon Based Learning methodology. This will be introduced along with the traditional subject based method and will be applicable to students in the age group 7-16 in all the basic schools of Finland.
This initiative of Finland is under the new National Curriculum Framework guidelines that seek to make the system of PhBL mandatory. Though the schools in Finland were following PhBl till now, it was not a compulsion. This announcement of Finland and its implementation will be monitored closely by other countries so that they too can make the shift.
PhBL is useful to improve collaboration and critical thinking
The optimism behind this method of delivering education stems from the fact that there are high chances of children accepting it over the traditional system. Moreover, there is urgent need to meet the challenges of the 21st century in a world that thrives on innovation, out of the box thinking and teamwork. Phenomenon Based Learning is expected to provide the impetus for achieving all that and more.
PhBl will demonstrate to the learner about the utility of understanding concepts holistically. It will encourage the learner to look at a problem from various angles and apply the information as well as skills learnt to solve it. When children begin to solve problems like this, the learning is retained for a long time and they become more interested in pursuing knowledge rather than just learn a subject by rote in order to gain good marks. Traditional learning depends a lot on the delivery of content through reading, listening. The topics too are abstract and therefore boring to children who quickly lose interest. There is hardly any scope to apply such learning immediately to problems and therefore such learning is not internalized and remains in short term memory only.
Phenomenon based learning promotes authenticity
PhBl has been proven to promote learning authenticity. This is a very key need for deeper learning and assimilation. The skills are put to immediate use in actual situations, making the learner confident about the knowledge he or she has gained.
Similarly, when learners are perceived as knowledge builders, using the information they have acquired to solve problems, others are encouraged to follow suit. The idea is to make relevant information as well as skills available to the children so that they are easily able to apply them through the process of inquiry, project learning methods.
Phenomenon based learning is great to build team spirit
When children get involved in project based learning, they also become good at involving others to work together and solve the issue at hand. This means better communication skills, tolerance for the opinions of others, collaborative approach to assignments. All these are essential ingredients in today’s world to become successful.
To summarize, phenomenon based learning depends on the concept of topical learning along with integration of multiple subjects that can contribute to better knowledge for solving problems.