Friday, May 30, 2008

Global: Are you smarter than a Finnish 5th Grader?

Global: Are you smarter than a Finnish 5th Grader?

This article attributes the intelligence of Finnish school children to the fact that they are generally shoeless in the classroom.

I only spent three days in Finland, but I absolutely loved that country.

6 comments:

richyrich said...

Good posting here. I can easily believe that children (and probably adults too) work better when shoeless, after all they would be less tense. I find that when I go shoeless at home it has the effect of making me feel more relexed all round as well as keeping the floors cleaner.

As far as children removing shoes in school go, it takes me back to when I was at primary school in the U.K. back in the late 1970's. After we moved to a new school building there was a rule that we had to take off our outdoor shoes if it was muddy outside. They were quite strict about enforcing the rule, if the weather was bad, one teacher in particular would sometimes stand by the classroom entrance when we came back in after break and ask to look at the soles of our shoes, if she was of the opinion that they were too dirty, we would be told in no uncertain terms to take them off immediately, no argument allowed! If we happened to have some pumps in the school that we kept for our P.E. lessons, we would be allowed to change into those, otherwise we had to just be in our stockinged feet. On days when it was muddy and wet, it was commonplace to see rows of dirty shoes outside classrooms and inside most of the children sitting or walking around in their socks. For the most part we the children accepted the rule and eventually would take off our shoes without being asked if they were somewhat wet or dirty. The rule persisted for the rest of my time in the school which was several years.

Since then I haven't come across or heard of another school in the U.K. where such a rule exists to such an extent. What about others? Indeed I very much doubt that headteachers would dare to introduce such a rule now (although I have little doubt that many would like to do so!)because of the fear of excessive health and safety legislation (fears that children might slip etc) and that some parents might tried to sue the school. It is ironic that this rule is now less likely to be introduced in schools now that it was all those years ago while it is becoming more commonplace in homes.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I think doing PE barefoot when indoors is quite common.

Also, removing shoes for assemblies in gym halls is not unusual, I dont think.

mab44 said...

Yes I agree.I had a similar experience at school in the UK 1970s.We had a new school building and shoes had to be removed if the weather was bad.We either had to wear
plimsoles or our slippers from home.Once again there was no arguement.I do disagree though about wearing just socks in the classroom or even at home.There are many foot related infections that are easily passed on by going barefoot or in socks.Alternative Health guru Michael Van Stratten believes that slippers or indoors shoes should be worn in homes/establishments where there is a no shoes policy.My wife and I strictly enforce a shoes off at the door rule and as a family we leave our slippers by the door and put them straight on.My wife also prefers us to take of our socks asap just keep out nasty smells.And its just more comfortable to pad around the house in soft slippers.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Mab44, thanks for commenting.

I am afraid I have to disagree with you about foot infections. I posted on this subject:

Athlete's Foot

The risk of catching a foot infection from a floor that is not damp is extremely minimal. You are probably more at risk of a catching a cold from shaking somebody's hand.

God Bless

Matthew

mab44 said...

Hi there
Sorry to press the subject re foot infections but there are many more foot related germs and infections than athletes foot.Also to suggest that there is a link between academic
achievement and going without shoes is rather tenuous at best and i must say its a somewhat bizarre assertion.
There really is not any academic evidence whatsoever to back up this hypothesis.I spent many years researching the nature,nurture arguement.I too have been to Finland and its very very cold for most of the year.I remember at school in winter when we didnt have shoes on as stated in my last post, i found my cold feet was a barrier not an incentive to expanding my mind.
Sorry to be contentious, i think your blog is excellent on the whole.Perhaps this story was simply
meant to amuse rather than be educational or informative.
Many thanks and keep up the good work.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Mab44
"i think your blog is excellent on the whole."

Thankyou!

"Perhaps this story was simply
meant to amuse rather than be educational or informative."

Correct.

I think there are a lot of cultural differences and differences with the education system that would explain the changes.

"I remember at school in winter when we didnt have shoes on as stated in my last post, i found my cold feet was a barrier not an incentive to expanding my mind."

Some British people in Finland have complained that it is excessively hot indoors in Finland because of heating systems. Maybe that is just in homes.

"Sorry to press the subject re foot infections but there are many more foot related germs and infections than athletes foot."

There always risks. I think the risk of most foot infections is minimal.

You can't enjoy life without taking some risks.

Feet are designed for walking and most people seem to like going barefoot when the floor is not cold or dirty.

Those of us who advocate shoes-off are all different. Some of us like to go barefoot, some of us like to wear cosy slippers. Some of us think carpets are disgusting, others love the softness of a shag.

God Bless

Matthew