Finland's Maarit Rossi, Global Teacher Prize nominee, is the founder and CEO of Paths to Math. The Finnish-American collaboration and online learning environment teaches math in innovative and creative ways.
In addition to her work in Paths to Math, Maarit is a teacher at Kartanonranta School in Kirkkonummi, Finland. Prior to this she was the principal at Kirkkoharju Upper Secondary School for fifteen years and has written a variety of mathematics textbooks.
Is the way we educate students fully preparing them for the future?
No, not well enough. In many subjects, math being one of them, methods are very limited. The way in which we approach math has not changed in the last 100 years, which is why we cannot fully prepare students for the workforce of the future.
It has been said that math is a creative subject. Can math answer open ended questions?
Yes, math can answer open ended questions and have open ended exercises as well as equations with just one possible answer. We develop a lot of exercises that involve discovery and exploration.
I remember how surprised some high school teachers were when they read a study conducted by ninth graders. In the study students shared their hypothesis and the methods used in finding their results. Students were able to work and research with things that interested them. This approach is something that is being used in math more and more, although it seems to frighten some people when there isn't an obvious answer to an equation. It is like using a new teaching method - you don't know what to expect at first. You have to be bold and take a leap of faith.
If teaching never changes it becomes very predictable. Math can be extremely creative and there's plenty of freedom to explore a variety of exercises with all kinds of possible answers.
What are the key challenges in teaching math in Finland and globally?
The challenges in teaching math are global ones - something I learned during the Global Teacher Prize Awards. Students aren't motivated, and in some cases they even hate math. I meet a lot of adults who tell me how much they dislike the subject. This means there is a lot to change in teaching math in Finland and globally.
On a positive note, we do see a lot of these changes happening in mathematics all around. What needs to change in addressing the motivation problems is the structure of the lessons. The lessons are too stiff and they always progress the same way. Often the lessons are too short to trial versatile teaching methods. Learning material might be limited and teaching methods narrow. Math needs to be more social, not just numbers, but relatable to the life of the students. We still have a lot of work to do.
Teachers are highly skilled, which is the wonderful aspect of it. It is possible to change the way we educate and for Finland to make the top list in the field yet again.
What kind of changes can teachers achieve with their teaching?
At this moment I am touched by how social and global young people today are. The fact that we can produce global citizens in Finnish schools is interesting to me. It is so important for students to understand the changes happening in the world and to be prepared to face challenges that may arise rather than fearing them.
In math, students may be able to research issues like recycling locally or globally - all as part of learning STEM. Students may be able to use the tools given to them to solve these issues for a good environment and make a change in the world.
What is the best motivation for teachers to develop themselves professionally?
My personal motivator is the pedagogical freedom us teachers have in Finland - we are trusted. I have been lucky to have had a superior who has trusted me. I have been able to produce my own learning material and trial it. There has never been any doubt if I’m following the national core curriculum or not. Parents have also had great faith in my work. These are the things that have really motivated me in my profession.
Another thing that motivates me is global education. As a young teacher I went to Hungary. I have been involved in international projects like Comenius. I don't think it's good to go in too deep in your own classroom, but rather be open to collaborate with colleagues and schools locally or internationally as a means to gather great educational ideas to apply in your own work. Everyone has something to give and to learn from others.
Do you think PISA is a good form of pupil assessment?
I think it is one point of view and I wouldn’t exclude it. From my experience of being a principal, PISA made the questions in assessment more versatile. I think it’s good, especially in math. We should be moving forward from mechanical exercises towards more creative options that students may be able to relate to. This is the versatility I think PISA in part has conceived.
That being said, if government education policy is based on PISA results, now that’s a dangerous road to be on.
How should assessment change?
In Finland, we are fortunate to not have the many tests or exams that schooling systems seem to have abroad - that’s where we stand out.
First of all, I want to point out self assessment, which became popularised in Finland in the early 2000s. I think it’s positive not to assess with grades, but rather have the student self assess. Students are very honest and they have very good insight when it comes to their skill level. Another is peer assessment in groups.
I would be extremely careful when adding a technological aspect to assessment in math. I think it’s a waste of time to use it to assess how fast the student can do math or how many answers are wrong or right. We should simply emphasize studying and learning. I prefer qualitative assessment - assessment can be developed when it’s qualitative.
When I teach for a month or two in a classroom, that’s when I don’t need these kinds of measures. I know the students well and I know their skill levels. What technology does do is assist in teaching when I need to personalise the students’ learning.
What would an exciting learning environment be - digital or physical?
I would combine both in a third approach to learning environments. We have digital and physical learning environments, but also social learning environments - how the environment is socially constructed. I recently read an interesting article on the importance of the first school day and what the student sees when first stepping into the classroom.
I prefer teaching students in groups of two or four. Of course they sometimes work alone as well, but the main idea is social learning. Adolescent students come to school because their friends are there - they are rarely in school for school. We have to take into consideration that they want to be together, and so they should be given the possibility to learn together collaboratively. The classrooms must be modified for this need. If you visit a school, you can pretty quickly sense the school spirit - all you have to do is walk around for a bit, see what the classes are like and how students and teachers interact with each other.
Digital learning environments should of course be made use of. First I was confused as to why digital learning was integrated into primary schools, but now I understand why. I have seen how innovative teachers use technology to their advantage. In art, for example, they'll take a photo of the surrounding nature and then draw it to make it a bit different with their style of drawing. However, we are still expecting a breakthrough in how these technologies are used as a natural part of learning in secondary schools and higher education for example.
How learning happens is what's important. I often speak about social learning, hands-on learning and phenomenon based learning. Digitalization should be integrated with a pedagogical goal.
Whose responsibility do you think education is?
That is a really interesting question. When I met the world's best teachers in Dubai at the Top 50 Global Teacher Prize Awards, I was extremely surprised that according to their visions education is a political thing. As a teacher I have always thought that I'll do my best when I teach. I have never been too stressed when a term begins with a new parliament that it might affect the education system.
Our strength in Finland is that we aren’t too hasty. One of the key reasons for Finland’s success in education could be the fact that we do not rush changes. Although I do hope that there will be some changes in the way we teach math, but before that can be done we need to realise what the reasonable changes are going to be.
Currently in Finland the municipality is in charge of the education funding on a local level. Principals may be able to influence matters - it’s important for schools to have great leaders with vision and teachers that are passionate.
Do you have a favorite memory from your own formal education?
I'll tell you about a memory that ties into the present day.
I was asked in London recently about my teachers growing up. A particular teacher of mine came to mind - my religion teacher Rauno Heikkilä. He had very unorthodox methods that were modern in the 1960s.
I bring this up, because this Easter I recieved a letter from him and his wife saying that they are doing well and that they have been following my career. I almost teared up - the letter was so wonderful! Their message was: 'In Finland the mentality is that you always have to win or that Finland is a winning country, but Maarit, you are the winner in this.' It's a personal win that others can be happy about.
The next 100 years
The next 100 years of Finnish education should... produce students that have good self-esteem.
Weber vsWeber vs. Marx Essay
Weber destabilizes the relationship between base and superstructure that Marx had established. According to Weber, the concept of historical materialism is naïve and nonsense because superstructures are not mere reflections of the economic base. (“The Protestant Ethic” and “The Spirit of Capitalism (1904-5) Weber agrees that the economy is one of the most faithful forces in modern life. However there are other social and legal factors which exhibit power and thus influence society. These factors help define bureaucratic society or Weber’s concept of modern society which operates through the rational administration of labor. According to Weber, the condition of modern society is disenchantment, which, through rationalization (division of labor), worldly activity is no longer motivated by cultural or spiritual values (meaning) but is instead motivated by economic impulsion. Ironically though, Weber attributes religious aestheticism (meaning) to the root of rationalization, and once mechanism (capitalism) takes off on its own, that religious root is no longer needed to justify work. Thus, mechanized petrification emerges, leaving hardly any room for spontaneity, with a few exceptions. In establishing a definition of modern society, Weber, unlike Marx, acknowledges that certain ideas can have great influence on material conditions. He suggests a more complex, dynamic relationship between economy and superstructure. Human activity is motivated by reasons other than just capitalist consumption. For example, many people act based on meaning, such as religious or spiritual. Values shape how people live. Weber accuses Marx of being an economic determinist for believing that the mode of production is the only force that moves the base. Weber believes that social and legal factors such as status, class, party, and the division of social honor from economic order in addition to the economy influence modern society, which, according to Weber, is a bureaucracy organized through the rational administration of labor. Weber believes that human history has been the progressive rationalization of life (modernity). The increased rationalism (measuring/controlling the labor process, ie: assembly line) based on logic and calculations instead of traditions, heart, and feeling of modernity le.
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. be used to promote one’s status. An influential politician, for example, has a lot of power not because he has money, but because his decisions impact society at large and play a very important role in governing the lives of others. Weber notes that although bureaucratic rationalization has disenchanted the world and its endurance seems inevitable, the spirit has not been completely eradicated. Weber believes that as an advanced society we cannot escape the pattern of rational rules and laws. However, he allows for the arrival of prophets or charismatic people from time to time, those who exhibit good rational administration skills as well as heart and passion. While offering no clear solution, Weber leaves us with an optimistic hope for the future and inspiration, perhaps, to emulate those extraordinary leaders of our time.
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Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Simmel: The Relationship between Society and the Individual - Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Simmel: The Relationship between Society and the Individual Each of the four classical theorists Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Simmel had different theories of the relationship between society and the individual. It is the objective of this paper to critically evaluate the sociological approaches of each theory to come to a better understanding of how each theorist perceived such a relationship and what it means for the nature of social reality. Karl Marx noted that society was highly stratified in that most of the individuals in society, those who worked the hardest, were also the ones who received the least from the benefits of their labor. [tags: Marx Weber Durkheim Simmel Sociology Essays]
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Weber vs. Marx Essay - Weber destabilizes the relationship between base and superstructure that Marx had established. According to Weber, the concept of historical materialism is naïve and nonsense because superstructures are not mere reflections of the economic base. (“The Protestant Ethic” and “The Spirit of Capitalism (1904-5) Weber agrees that the economy is one of the most faithful forces in modern life. However there are other social and legal factors which exhibit power and thus influence society. These factors help define bureaucratic society or Weber’s concept of modern society which operates through the rational administration of labor. [tags: essays research papers]
Marx & DurkheimLotsOfEssays.comMarx & Durkheim
A classless society would represent a social order with no economic base. Many doubt that a modern society that is classless can exist, as the failed experiment of the Soviets with communism demonstrates-not that social inequality between individuals ever ceased to exist in the former Soviet Union. Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim both wrote about the stratification of society into classes. Marx argues that the economic base of society has enormous impact on the shape of all aspects of culture and social structure. This includes race, gender, law, religion, education, and government. While Marx and Durkheim both deal with division of labor, they view it as resulting in different outcomes. Durkheim felt the inequalities of division of labor could be overcome its inherent conflicts through increased social consensus of norms. Marx felt it was through struggle only that these inequalities of class stratification could be righted. Still, both Marx and Durkheim felt that class stratification reinforced the status quo and exerted enormous influence on beliefs regarding race and gender. This analysis will compare and contrast the views of Marx and Durkheim with respect to class, race, and gender.
There are comparisons and contrasts we can make between Marx and Durkheim on a broad level. For example, Durkheim’s theories are more those of idealism, arguing social norms constitute society, than are those of Marx’s materialism that argues structures constitute society. Further, both Marx and Durkheim take a holistic as opposed to an individualistic view of society. Even while they do agree to view society from a holistic approach, they contrast in that Marx viewed society as a struggle between groups, “The key to history, Marx believed, is class conflict-the bitter struggle between those who own the means of producing wealth and those who do not” (Robertson 1987: 14). In contrast, Durkheim felt society consisted of dividing.More on Marx & Durkheim.
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Weber, Durkheim, Marx and how they account for religion EssayFree Essays Must Be Free! TMWeber Durkheim Marx And How They Account For Religion Essay
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Weber,Durkheim,Marx And How They Account For Religion
How do we account for religion - its origin, its development, and even its persistence in modern society? This is a question which has occupied many people in a variety.
How do we account for religion - its origin, its development, and even its persistence in modern society? This is a question which has occupied many people in a variety of fields for quite a long time. At one point, the answers were framed in purely theological and religious terms, assuming the truth of Christian revelations and proceeding from there. In the 18th and 19th centuries, a more �naturalistic� approach developed. Instead of needing to believe in the truth of the religion, what was required was just the opposite: intellectual detachment and a suspension of belief. Three people who ended up doing just that were Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. Marx studied philosophy in Berlin under William Hegel. Hegel's philosophy had a decisive influence upon Marx's own thinking and theories. According to Marx, religion is an expression of material realities and economic injustice. Thus, problems in religion are ultimately problems in society. Religion is not the disease, but merely a symptom. It is used by oppressors to make people feel better about the distress they experience due to being poor and exploited. This is the origin of his comment that religion is the "opium of the people." �People do not have an objective view of the world ;they see it from the restricted point of view of their own positions.�(p.35) At times I may seem to be focusing more on economic rather than religious theory, but that is because Marx's basic stance is that everything is always about economics. According to Marx, humans - even from their earliest beginnings - are not motivated by grand ideas but instead by material concerns, like the need to eat and survive. This is the basic premise of a materialist view of history. At the beginning, people worked together in unity and it wasn't so bad. But eventually, humans developed agriculture and the concept of private property. These two facts created a division of labor and a separation of classes based upon power and wealth. This material organization of society is what Marx calls �class consciousness.� This, in turn, created the social conflict that drives society. All of this is made worse by capitalism which only increases the disparity between the wealthy classes and the labor classes. Confrontation between them is unavoidable because those classes are driven by historical forces beyond anyone's control. Capitalism also creates one new misery: exploitation of surplus value. For Marx, an ideal economic system would involve exchanges of equal value for equal value, where value is determined simply by the amount of work put into whatever is being produced. Capitalism interrupts this ideal by introducing a profit motive - a desire to produce an uneven exchange of lesser value for greater value. Profit is ultimately derived from the surplus value produced by workers in factories. A laborer might produce enough value to feed his family in two hours of work, but he keeps at the job for a full day - in Marx's time, that might be 12 or 14 hours. Those extra hours represent the surplus value produced by the worker. The owner of the factory did nothing to earn this, but exploits it nevertheless and keeps the difference as profit. Economics, then, are what constitute the base of all of human life and history - generating division of labor, class struggle, and all the social institutions which are supposed to maintain the status quo. Those social institutions are a superstructure built upon the base of economics, totally dependent upon material and economic realities but nothing else. All of the institutions which are prominent in our daily lives - marriage, church, government, arts, etc. - can only be truly understood when examined in relation to economic forces. It should be clear now that religion is one of those social institutions which are dependent upon the material and economic realities in a given society. It has no independent history but is instead the creature of productive forces. As Marx wrote, "The religious world is but the reflex of the real world." Marx asserts that religion is only dependent upon economics, nothing else - so much so that the actual doctrines of the religions are almost irrelevant. This is a functionalist interpretation of religion - understanding religion is not dependent upon the content of beliefs, but what social purpose religion itself serves. Marx believes that religion is an illusion whose chief purpose is to provide reasons and excuses to keep society functioning just as it is. Just as capitalism takes our productive labor and alienates us from its value, religion also takes our qualities - our highest ideals and aspirations - and alienates us from them, projecting them onto an alien and unknowable being called a god. Religion is meant to create illusory fantasies for the poor. Economic realities prevent them from finding true happiness in this life, so religion tells them that this is OK because they will find that true happiness in the next life. For Marx, the problem lies in the fact that just like an opiate drug fails to fix a physical injury - it merely helps you forget your pain and suffering, religion also does not fix the underlying causes of people's pain and suffering - instead, it helps them forget why they are suffering and get them to look forward to an imaginary future when the pain will cease instead of working to change circumstances now. Even worse, this "drug" of religion is being administered by the same oppressors who are ultimately responsible for the pain and suffering in the first place. Emile Durkheim continued with Marx�s theories in his book The Elementary forms of Religious Life that was published just a few years before his death, in 1912. As Marx had argued that every class had its own conscious view of reality, Durkheim went further to demonstrate that even the most basic social ideas as time, space and God can be seen as creations of society. Durkheim suggests that there is not one reality but many and that this reality only exists because of the symbolic creations of humans and their rituals. Durkheim studied the aboriginal tribes of Australia in an effort to understand religion. He concluded that religion always involves a distinction between things that are sacred and things that are profane. Durkheim uses the example of the totem pole that functions to hold the tribe together. The totemic animal, Durkheim believed, was the original focus of religious activity because it was the emblem for a social group, the clan. He thought that the function of religion was to make people willing to put the interests of society ahead of their own desires. All members of the tribe gather together to perform periodic totem rituals, it is these rituals that set the rules for social order. It is forbidden to kill or harm the totem animal and it is therefor forbidden to kill or harm one�s fellow tribesmen who name themselves after the totem. In the modern Christian religion, Durkeim argues that the moral commandments such as The Golden Rule and The Ten Commandments are primarily social rules. These rules regulate human�s behavior toward eachother and serve to maintain a sense of social unity. People do not follow these rules out of their fear for heaven or hell but for their desire to be accepted by society. If they participate in the religious rituals they will feel a sense of belonging, whereas those who break the rules and avoid the rituals suffer from social isolation. To Durkheim, God is merely a symbol of society. Max Weber's sociology is the foundation of scientific sociology of religion in a sense of typological and objective understanding. Rejecting Karl Marx's evolutionary law of class society, or Emile Durkheim's sustained law of moral society, Weber established the understanding sociology of the subjective meaning of religious action or inaction. He argued that the transformation of religion allowed for social changes where people could now work together to gain economic wealth. In a primitive society there were many gods, those kinsmen who worshipped the same household god as you could be trusted but those strangers who worshipped a different god were �aliens� and could not be trusted. The rise of the great world religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, separated the idea of the natural world from the idea of the spiritual world. Instead of gods and spirits, people become widely concerned with the idea of heaven and hell. Weber argues that the idea of a universal God allowed for laws based on consistent general principles. Religion itself can also develop in new directions. (P.133) In primitive religions one prays to the gods to make his crops grow or kill off enemies. In the event of a natural disaster the kinsmen would believe that the gods were angry with them and continue to hold ceremonial sacrifices until the weather was better. It was this fear of the gods that kept the primitive kinsmen from trusting anyone else. In this new spiritual realm, the righteous individual who follows all the rituals and laws of his religion can still hope for salvation even if his has bad fortune. �The ideas of good and evil can develop separately from the ideas of worldly success and failure.�(P.134) In Weber�s writing The Protestant Ethic he discusses the role that religion played in the rise of capitalism. This new religious breakthrough �opened many of the doors to industrialization: laying the basis for a moral community of trust underlying peaceful commerce ;rationalizing the legal system ;motivating people to remake political, social, and economic institutions in keeping with an imperative to transform the world more closely to the ideal.�(P.134) Religion was now responsible for uniting and enlarging a community who could live together in peace with the same moral and ethical code of conduct. Weber believed that the Protestant ethic broke the hold of tradition while it encouraged men to apply themselves rationally to their work. Calvinism, he found, had developed a set of beliefs around the concept of predestination. Followers of Calvin believed that one could not do good works or perform acts of faith to assure your place in heaven. You were either among the "elect" (in which case you were in) or you were not. However, wealth was taken as a sign by you and your neighbors that you were one of the Gods elect, thereby providing encouragement for people to acquire wealth. The Protestant ethic therefore provided religious sanctions that fostered a spirit of rigorous discipline, encouraging men to apply themselves rationally to acquire wealth. This naturalistic approach to religion represented a fundamental paradigm shift in how religion was to be viewed. Instead of requiring clergy in order to understand religion, the requirement became facts and information and research. Whether you agree with the evaluation of the social function of religion as Marx did, that religion was the �opium of the people�, as Durkheim did that religion was what made moral society hold together, or with Weber�s The Protestant ethic, it is obvious that religion played a key role in the development of society. Bibliography 1- Collins, Makowisky ;The Discovery of Society 2- www.brittanica.com 3- www.exp.com Danielle Russo Sociology 116 Midterm Assignment How do we account for religion - its origin, its development, and even its persistence in modern society? This is a question which has occupied many people in a variety of fields for quite a long time. At one point, the answers were framed in purely theological and religious terms, assuming the truth
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