A completely different type of education

Hungarian János Garay Primary School visited Viitaniemi School in Jyväskylä

The visiting group with Viitaniemi’s partner teachers Leena Kuorikoski and Anne Yliniemi. The board in the middle exhibits the results of the arts class – re-thinking Japanese influence on Finnish and Hungarian painting.

18 students and 6 teachers from the János Garay Primary School in Fót (Hungary) came to realize their Erasmus+ group mobility in Jyväskylä, coordinated by Experience Workshop. Their host school was the lower secondary Viitaniemi School, which has English-speaking classes as well.

The week started with the introduction by Swedish and English teacher Anne Yliniemi and by handing over nice Hungarian gifts to the principal Jouni Hokkanen and the teaching staff.



Job shadowing

During their job shadowing days, Hungarian teachers got to understand the Finnish school system better. They’ve had the chance to observe how close Finnish education goes to real life. In school, children learn handicrafts, knitting, felting, cooking and woodworks. On the other hand, they’ve less theoretical classes and only very little homework burden. The most discussed topic by teachers was discipline in the school. In Finland, teachers rarely behave in an authoritative way with students.

For a short workshop, Garay’s teachers have met STEAM researcher and Experience Workshop founder Kristof Fenyvesi at Crazy Town to discuss the most interesting issues of Finnish education and STEAM.

Handicrafts and woodworks

Hungarian students participated in the meantime regular classes. Many Finnish students volunteered to be their Hungarian peers’ guides. One of them had Hungarian family ties and spoke the language very well.

Students especially enjoyed those practice-orinated lessons, which are only few in the Hungarian curriculum. At the home economics class they baked Karelian pies and cinnamon rolls. The products of the handicrafts class were colorful felted characters.

Thanks to the technical skills class, everyone created their own favourite piece out of wood.

The sports classes are often held outside. Next to the school there is one of the professional skating rings of Jyväskylä. Music class means apart from singing, also practice with music instruments. Visitors were amazed by the vast collection of instruments they’ve encountered in the music class.

Sauna, skating, cross-country skiing, STEAM

What regards their out-of-school time, the Garay people exploited the possibilities offered by Finnish winter. Many of them visited the sauna for the first time in their life. In cross-country skiing almost no one had earlier experience, still, the entire group bravely made a 2-hour ski tour on the coldest day of the week (-10 degrees) on the hill Laajavuori. Skating on the lake Jyväsjärvi was another favourite.

Since the STEAM exhibition at the Art Museum of Jyväskylä is still open until April, we were keen on introducing it to the Garay school as well. On the remaining free afternoons there was time to visit the Museum of Natural History and the university library as well. 

Feedback by teachers

I found it interesting that in class, students and the teacher talked about current events (such as the elections or how students feel).

The happiness and wellbeing of students is more important than the learning material.

I understood the spirit of the Finnish school, its tolerance towards others. They raise independence and teach children practical knowledge.

Feedback by students

Their education system was completely different.

I learned that speaking English is not that difficult. It was an excellent opportunity to learn.




Photo credits: Nora Somlyody, Kristof Fenyvesi, Garay’s teachers and students

The student group mobility, the teacher trainings and the job shadowing mobilities were realized in the frameworks of the Erasmus+ KA122 programme.

Would you like to participate in a similar educational program?



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