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Em1509

Help with history extended essay?

Hi everyone. My topic for my history extended essay is the Finnish education system. I am having some trouble deciding the focus of my research question and was hoping some of you could guide me in the right direction.

 

Here are two "rough draft" questions I formulated:

To what extent did the decentralization of the Finnish education system contribute to the development of the modern Finnish economy?

To what extent did the Finnish comprehensive school reform contribute to improvements in social equality throughout the nation?

 

I am very interested in Finland's education system, as you could probably assume. I would ideally want to analyze the effects of the comprehensive school reform or the system's decentralization, as exemplified by the two questions above, but I am willing to rethink :)

 

Anyway, any guidance as to an appropriately narrow topic would be much appreciated. And, if I'm headed in the totally wrong direction, please let me know, haha. Thank you!

Edited by Em1509

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I do think that both of your research questions are interesting. However, I'm willing to take a gander that they are not going to help you on your IB test (which is fine, my extended essay isn't either) and in my too narrow. What are some of the global impacts of the Finnish education system? I think it needs to go beyond Finland. I know that Finland has been doing very well in global education rankings. Maybe compare it to another Scandinavian country, or compare it to like Singapore, which also does very well. 

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Thanks for your response! I suppose I hadn't thought about the fact that my topic wouldn't contribute to studying for exams. I'm fine with that even though I guess I'm letting go of an opportunity!

I really like your suggestion of expanding beyond Finland. What if I focus on the contrast between Finland and Singapore in terms of education? I know the most noticeable difference between the two lies within teacher education.

 

What do you think about this question?

To what extent does the process of teacher selection in Finland promote higher educational achievement when compared to Singapore's process of teacher selection?

(I know this question is not clear, I will need to revise it..)

 

Or, to compare Norway and Finland:

To what extent does the comprehensive school system in Finland contribute to the higher educational achievement when compared to Norway's education system?

(ditto above)

 

Goodness, these questions need some work. Any basic feedback?

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Your questions are solid. The only feedback I would have is that your first one is too focused, and I think you'll have trouble finding enough sources for your essay. I would compare Finland's educational system as a whole to Singapore's system.

This is an awesome topic! I'm excited to see how your essay turns out.

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Yes, it's really all quite interesting.

 

I was thinking you could also investigate whether it is 1) Finnish teacher qualifications (they are well-educated, apparently) or 2) general respect for education among the population or  3) social class which counts more for success in the end. They've all been cited, anyway. 

 

I was reading a couple of years ago a paper by some Finnish professor which mentioned that reforms in the 1960s 70s on which the system is currently riding may be the biggest factor. It was a couple of years ago on this very thing, so I'm hazy but I remember the paper was very detailed and traced all the progress made way back then to what the rest of us in Europe are seeing now... resounding success  ... It was at the same time that I was reading Jared Diamond and his distinction between "Ultimate Causes" and "proximate causes" which helped stick this particular paper in my mind, because rather than concentrating on the recent and visible, this researcher/professor ascribed the phenomenal (relative) success to enlightened decisions made over 40 years ago... 

 

I'll see if I can find that paper if it helps. 

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