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How Educational Therapy Mirrors Finland's Approach

Updated: Feb 28

student getting personalized help from a teacher

In the early 2000s, the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) began assessing the academic performance of 15-year-olds globally. These tests in math, reading, and science aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of different educational systems. Against expectations, Finland emerged as a leading nation in education, consistently outperforming other countries for nine consecutive years. This achievement was particularly remarkable considering that in the 1960s, 89% of Finnish students did not progress past 9th grade.

Finland's approach to education is distinguished by its commitment to equality and individual attention. Recognizing that intelligence is multifaceted, Finland focused on providing personalized support, including one-on-one interventions as soon as a student began to struggle, alongside fostering each student's unique interests.

How Educational Therapy Mirrors Finland’s Approach

Educational therapy and Finland's educational model share several fundamental principles, notably in their approach to learning. Both prioritize individualized learning plans that cater to the unique strengths, educational, social, emotional, psychological, and neuropsychological needs of each student. This approach not only addresses academic challenges but also fosters self-esteem and motivation, with a focus on early detection and addressing issues proactively. Flexibility in teaching and therapeutic methods is also crucial, which helps to adapt to the needs of each student. Collaboration is another significant aspect, involving a network including families, educators, and specialists to support the student's learning journey. Additionally, both systems place a strong emphasis on social-emotional learning, recognizing its importance in developing resilience, empathy, and communication skills, which are critical for success both in academics and in life.

Individualized Learning Plans

At the core of both approaches is the development of personalized learning strategies. In Finland, this might manifest in customized lesson plans or targeted support in the classroom. In educational therapy, therapists assess each student's unique profile and craft a plan that addresses their specific educational, social, emotional, psychological, and neuropsychological needs. 

Quality Educators

The rigorous training and qualifications required to become an educational therapist closely mirror the high standards set for educators in Finland. To become an educational therapist, individuals must obtain relevant degrees in fields such as special education, education, or educational psychology. They are required to complete thousands of hours of direct service, providing them with extensive hands-on experience. This is accompanied by formal supervision under seasoned therapists, helping develop the skills necessary to support students and families effectively. Continuing education is mandatory, ensuring therapists stay current with the latest research and evidence-based practices. They must submit comprehensive case studies, demonstrating their ability to apply theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios. Finally, passing a written exam on ethical issues and best practices is required, ensuring a deep and comprehensive understanding of the field. This level of rigor and commitment to ongoing professional development parallels Finland's approach, where educators are also held to high standards, including the requirement for a Master's degree and continuous professional development, to ensure the highest quality of education.

teachers getting continued training

Multifaceted Roles

In both Finnish education and educational therapy, the roles of educators and therapists extend beyond traditional teaching. They embody the roles of mentors, coaches, and allies, building strong, personalized connections with each student. This approach ensures that students are not only educated but also feel deeply understood and supported. Collaboration is a cornerstone of both systems. In Finland, this collaborative spirit involves teachers, parents, and specialists jointly contributing to the student's educational journey. Similarly, educational therapists work closely with families, school teachers, and other professionals, forming a network of support. This collaborative approach is vital in creating an environment where each student receives the tailored support and guidance they need to thrive.

Strategic Learning Approaches

Both Finnish education and educational therapy are characterized by their adaptability in teaching methods and environments. Finnish schools stand out for their flexible teaching styles, specifically tailored to meet the diverse needs of students. In a similar vein, educational therapists customize their teaching methods and environments to align with each student's unique learning style and requirements.

In early education, Finland places a significant emphasis on play, nurturing a deep-rooted love for learning from a young age. Educational therapy echoes this approach, employing play and interest-based activities not only to reignite a student's passion for learning but also to develop effective personalized strategies for each child. Both systems give considerable importance to the development of social and emotional skills. This integration in the educational process equips students with vital skills like resilience, empathy, and effective communication, which are not only crucial for academic achievement but also for overall success and well-being in life.

girl playing with train

Bring Finland Home

In short, educational therapy can aid in results for your family. Similar to Finland’s quick turnaround after implementing the strategies that were proven to work, your family, home, and student can see results when you find the right strategies. At WeThrive Learning, we take all of the power punches that educational therapy has at its core, and we template them for your student’s needs. We are dedicated to making a difference in each child’s life, and with the system of educational therapy and our professional and trained coaches, your child will thrive (no pun intended, it just works). 

To find out more about us or to get started with our services today, visit our website Or, Click on this link to schedule a call with us to learn more about educational therapy and ADHD student coaching!

*Information regarding Finland’s educational system gathered from: 

Grant, A. (2023). Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things. Viking. ISBN 9780593653142 

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