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Innovative Global Education: Insights from Vietnam, Brazil, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda

In connection to preparing for the Reimagining Teachers and Teacher Education for Our Futures conference hosted by the University of Helsinki and UNESCO, our founder Sanna Lukander had the pleasure of speaking with General Manager Thao Dao of TTD Education System from Vietnam, CEO Adriano Magalhaes of Fun Academy Brazil, and Deputy Head Mrs. Mhembere of Masaisai School from Zimbabwe. They share their experiences with the Fun Learning Framework (FLF) and its impact on their local educational ecosystems. Thank you all for sharing!

Sanna: Thao, could you start by telling us about your experience with the Fun Learning training model over the past six months?

Ms Dao: Certainly. I would like to express my special thanks to Fun Academy for creating the new hybrid model of the Fun Learning (FL) training. Over the past six months, with the support of this model, our teachers have had the chance to train directly with Finnish trainers. We have noticed several strengths in this model. The FL training course offers incredible adaptability and responsiveness to the needs of educators. It's a relevant system that manages to strike a good balance by providing valuable standardized Fun Learning training courses to educators worldwide, while also empowering each educator to tailor the training to local needs.

Sanna: That sounds impressive. Could you elaborate on how this model empowers teachers?

Ms Dao: This course empowers teachers by offering relevant professional development. Whether it's mastering engaging teaching methods through the Fun Learning Educator course, diving into specialized topics like inclusion and special needs, or quickly getting everyone on the same page with unified guidance on new initiatives, the blend of consistency and flexibility is truly remarkable. It ensures that every educator has access to the training they need to excel in their classrooms.

Sanna: Adriano, how do you see the continuous support of teachers through the Fun Learning approach impacting your local educational environment?

Mr Magalhaes: We believe that continuously supporting our teachers by giving them opportunities to develop professionally throughout their careers is crucial. Investing in teachers and creating a fun learning environment for them results in a joyful learning experience for our children. We view the Finnish approach as a guiding light and appreciate how the Fun Learning approach allows us to create a local adaptation of these foundational principles. While we need deep roots in our local context, we can certainly learn from some of the best in education.

Sanna: Can you talk about the systemic view of education that the Fun Learning approach promotes and how it integrates with your local system?

Mr Magalhaes: Finnish education, as well as Fun Learning, views the school systemically, connecting parents, students, and teachers in an interdependent manner and considering the importance of the environment to holistically enhance the individual. Cooperation in creating the best education for all our children is something we strive to be part of. The Fun Learning approach enables us to adapt these principles locally, ensuring our unique needs are met while benefiting from global best practices.

Sanna: Mrs. Mhembere, how has the Fun Learning Framework been received at Masaisai Fun Learning Kindergarten in Zimbabwe?

Mrs. Mhembere: As a new concept to us, the trainees have been working together in implementing the new concept of Fun Learning. The seven principles are helping us understand the new way of teaching infants, and we have started seeing the difference in the learning of children. So far, we have shared online lectures where we benefit from other trainees in group discussions. We haven't shared the real classroom situations yet since we have not established our zero to 3 class. Using the Fun Learning principles is helping us rethink our ways and methods of teaching. New setups are being done to accommodate the new way of teaching and learning.

Sanna: How has this new approach impacted you as a manager of teachers?

Mrs. Mhembere: As a manager of teachers, this course has been an eye-opener in the new teaching methodology. The course modules have so far addressed most specific needs in managing a Fun Learning environment. When teachers work as a team, they help each other to better understand the Fun Learning principles. As Masaisai teachers, we have benefited a lot from the online training. One benefit that is appreciated is the sharing of the new Fun Learning methods with the rest of the school. Teachers are being encouraged to share so that we can all benefit as Masaisai. The new principles have started to be considered by all and are being appreciated by all.

Sanna: It’s inspiring to hear how all of you are implementing and adapting the Fun Learning framework in your respective countries. Now, let me explain briefly the levels and iterative structure of such a hybrid training system.

The online training offers the framework, points to theory sources, and gives practical ideas to test while participants reflect in their context based on personal experiences. They then work in their local group or team, which helps with localization and connecting to the curriculum or lesson plans. Next, they write their portfolio assignments and implement what they learn immediately in the classroom—a very hands-on approach.

Participants can flag any needs or interests, prompting the start of a new training course. This invites ecosystem partners who are interested in the same areas to share and learn together remotely. Onsite focused training is also possible when specific needs for audits and support are identified. This model provides teachers with practical support, while the support and involvement of management ensure an open dialogue that works toward a better-supported and continuously trained staff. Teachers appreciate the practical "in-classroom" approach and peer support.

We are greatful to the designers and developers of The Campus Company for making the remote learning component so effective and easy to use. This online connection and content sharing has been something we have struggled with for so long, to get it right!

Ms Dao: Exactly, this comprehensive support system is what makes the Fun Learning Framework so effective.

Mr Magalhaes: I agree. The iterative and adaptable nature of the training ensures it remains relevant and impactful for our educators.

Sanna: Before we conclude, I would like to share a comment from Diane Gashumba, Ambassador of Rwanda to Finland and a pediatrician by training. She emphasizes the importance of innovative educational approaches in early childhood development. She said, "The Government of Rwanda sees human capital as a critical priority and has adopted the Early Childhood policy as a strong foundation of the education system. However, innovative ways and proven successes such as the Fun Learning approach are needed to ensure quality education is given at an early age, which is determinant for brain development."

Ms Dao: I completely agree with Ambassador Gashumba. Early childhood education is crucial, and innovative approaches like Fun Learning can make a significant difference.

Mr Magalhaes: Absolutely. Ensuring quality education from an early age sets the foundation for lifelong learning and development.

Sanna: Thank you all for sharing your insights. It's clear that the Fun Learning framework offers a robust support system that benefits both educators and students. We look forward to seeing how this model continues to evolve and impact education globally. We will be sharing another post about our experience at the Helsinki University & UNESCO conference. So do come back to check our blog 😁

P.S. The Campus Company whose remote learning platform we are using published a blog article about how Campus is working for the Masaisai teachers in Zimbabwe, please check out their practical insights.


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