Why Finland become an education leader in the world

Finland has been attracting attention on global surveys of Newsweek, which ranked it number one in 2010. What’s more, Finland’s national education system has been receiving particular praise, because in recent years Finnish students have been turning in some of the highest test scores in the world.[1] It seems that Finland has become the most powerful country in education. After researching, I conclude some reasons for the phenomenon as follows.

Above all, in the matter of the educational system, the Finnish government would spend more money in it. Jeffery Sellers, a University of Southern California political scientist, found another key difference between US and Finland, Finland has much more powerful local governments than the US, and they’re tasked with executing the myriad functions of the welfare system, especially the educational system[2]. There is no doubt that the government would expend more money in the development of Finnish education.

Otherwise, authorities trust schools and political parties agree on the direction of educational reforms and the school administration in Finland is based on delegation and decentralization.[3] It means that the government has confidence in the measures of schools, and they would not intervene too much in school. In the case, schools can acquire ownership of teaching because they realize the requirements of students more than government. However in China, schools are subject to the arrangement from government in order that students would be taught a lot with socialist views no matter whether they want.

In the matter of students, Finnish students always study with fewer burdens than their peers in other countries. Finland has no standardized tests. The only exception is what’s called the National Matriculation Exam, which everyone takes at the end of a voluntary upper-secondary school, roughly the equivalent of American high school.[4]

In addition, they don’t need to pay more attention on their homework because they don’t have much homework. Compare with Finland, Chinese and America students need to pay more attention on test. “Education in the United States is too much defined by testing and data,” said Pasi Sahlberg, who is a famous Finnish educator and scholar. In China, students not only need to focus on various exams from many kinds of subjects but also need to concentrate on the heavy homework burden.

Furthermore, no matter clever or not, students would be taught in the same classroom. As a Chinese student, I would tell you that the grade really plays an important role to assess students in school. Students would be divided into gifted students and ordinary students. Besides, the evaluation standard is the grade the student got. If you get a high score and rank high in the final examination, you will be changed into the special class next term, otherwise you definitely will be kept in the regular class.

However, I don’t consider that is a great measure for students. The evaluation of a good student should focus on not only the grade, but also the students’ physical and mental quality, manipulative ability, innovation capability and so on. Therefore, I think the education measure in Finland is great, because we can’t divide students into different class by measuring their scores, which is disrespectful for students.

In the matter of teacher, teachers could receive more respect in Finland. Teacher is the one of most popular professions in Finland, which can be given extensive freedom in developing their own work with high welfare.

It is necessary that the requirement of a teacher in Finland is higher than other countries’. All teachers in Finland must have a master degree,[5] which shows the high standard of teaching. Besides, the teacher preparation institutions are highly selective owing to the requirement of high-quality teacher education. Only one of ten applicants would be accepted, based on multiple measures, including an essay, an entry test, an interview, and evidence of a high motivation to teach.[6]

In addition to studying liberal arts subjects and the subjects they will teach, future teachers study pedagogy, theory, and conduct research about education. It is necessary for them to learn how to teach students with disabilities, and treat students with their mental health. For becoming a teacher, they need to take at least five years to practice teaching. Only then may they become teachers. What I have mentioned above show that not only the teachers but also the government take the study of education seriously.

The next reason is what I really want in China—higher education is completely free. As a student who lives in a middle-class family, the cost of higher education especially takes up a large part of the household expenses.

However, Finland views education as a basic human right, and as such, free of cost to students. Thus, graduates of higher education in Finland don’t need to pay off the student debt so that they can receive as much education as they require without any cost, because it is good for the development of students. If student need to pay for the high cost of their education, there is no doubt that they would have to be busy with quite a few part-time jobs so that they could not spend much time in their study. Otherwise, they could receive more time in study or other extracurricular activities, and save more money for their family.

To sum up, the reasons that why Finland would be the education leader in the world are various, which can be divided into the aspects of education system, teachers, and students. There is an old Chinese saying:“reject the dross and assimilate the essence.” As far as I am concerned, the education of Finland should gained extensive attention from other counties, especially China. Only when the Chinese education gains more essence from other powerful education country, the Chinese national will become stronger, more independent and creative, which is beneficial for the development of China.

[1] theatlantic.com—What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success

[2] Kacper Pempel , The Secret to Finland’s Success With Schools, Moms, Kids[N] , Reuters, JUL 11, 2013

[3] cnn.com—Why Finland’s schools are top-notch

[4] theatlantic.com—What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success

[5] NYTimes.com—education from finland

[6] edutopia.org—Teacher Education in Finland

how does media influence belief

Generally speaking, medias, originating from Latin “ mediums”, refers to the tool which people use to deliver and gain message. People use newspaper, broadcast, television, internet, magazine and mobile phone to develop medium. Human live in a society that counts on information and communication to keep moving in the right decision and do our daily activities like job, entertainment as well as education.

Belief is conviction that we emphasize on. We could not realize our value without it. Belief develops from the heart and mind not from the religion or party. The religion and party play a part in accelerating it. It is individual conscious behavior. Thus, everyone will react differently when they deal with the same events or matters. Belief is the fundamental emotion of human beings, it is beyond reality. Belief is different from faith, the things you believe call “faith”. Belief is something that people put their soul. Morality is attached to human development. Belief decides on human morality fundamentally, it not only gives morality the nature of self-discipline and meaning, but also is people’s spiritual and moral choice of coordinates. Our beliefs on the other hand are assumptions that we make about the world. They grow from what we see, hear, experience, read and think about and they apply not only how we see ourselves but also how we see other people.  We tend not to question our beliefs because we are so certain about them and many of them stem from childhood.  Our beliefs can be changed or turned round by the ‘re-programming’ of our subconscious. Like values our beliefs can be split into two different types empowering beliefs and limiting beliefs.  Empowering beliefs help us to confidently make changes.  We use our empowering beliefs to make decisions in what can often be an ambiguous world. Limiting beliefs do the exact opposite and keep us rooted in particular positions.  Our limiting beliefs are often based on assumptions that are not true.  For example – saying you can’t learn a language. If you spend a lot of time saying that you can’t do something then for that time it will be true.

Common person in the city usually wake up, check the newspaper and watch their mobile phone while having breakfast or walking on their way to company as possible as they can. The get information on the media and make their decision. We have to be aware that our beliefs and values are based on what we know for a fact, our assumptions and our own experience. We usually know what we have to do based on our experience and beliefs. Unfortunately, we rely on the media to get the current news and facts about what is important and what we should be aware of .With the rapid development of technology, a large amount of new entertainment ways appear in our daily life, movie and television are two of them. In my opinion, there is no doubt that watching movies and television can influence people’s life in every aspect, both positive influence and negative affection. For instance, movies and television can broaden our horizon and provide us with more chances to learn useful knowledge. As for movies, we know that different country’s movies are based on their own culture. So we can watch American movies to feel American people’s passion; European movie’s romantic rhythm, and so on. These movies help overcome some prejudices and discover and rediscover the cultural identity. As for television, many programs like “Discovery” will not only teach us much knowledge but also show the nature beauty. So we can see all kinds of places of interest in the TV without going out. Besides, television brings us the latest news happened all over the world. We can know Libya was involved in a war. We can hear Obama’s speech in Washington. We will be informed of the coming disasters and take timely measures. Secondly, we can relax ourselves by watching movies or television. When we are tired of working or studying, when we have problems troubling our life, we can watch TV or movies to escape all of these for a while.  But I don’t mean we should hide from our life, I just think that after relaxing ourselves, maybe we will get a new attitude to our problems and solve them wisely. On the other hand, it is common for people to invite friends to go to cinema to watch the movies and our favorite stars become a new popular topic among us. Thirdly, movies and television can strengthen our good belief to the society or the life. Nowadays, many young people don’t have a faith. They think everyone considers himself and they can’t change the whole society. So they just fight for their personal profit no matter what method then should take. However, the themes of many movies change their wrong ideology. For example, Old Boy teaches us to insist on our dream, The Great Debaters tells us to fight for freedom,  I am a special soldier let us learn to be loyal to our country, Titanic makes us believe the immortal love,  All Quiet on the Western Front advocates peace to us.

In conclusion, we live in the world full of medium; the media shows us a lot of, we touch them and learn from them. As a result, our belief is influenced by that media’ advertising and the theme of a series of TV or movies.

What is a cultural norm? describe the concept in relation to your community.

This thesis focuses on the how people accept another cultural norm when they have to get into it. There are differences of norm exists in cultures and more and more people try to immigrant or study and teach overseas. When the cultures have crash, one or more parties of them need to change themselves to adopt the environment.


“Cultural norm are the standard we lived by”. [1] (Including values, customs, and traditions)[2] “And the term ‘culture’ refers to attitudes and patterns of behavior in a given group. ‘Norm’ refers to attitudes and behaviors that are considered normal, typical or average within that group”. [3]. And people learn it from their families, friends and teachers, which form their value. You know what you suppose to do or not. In different cultural or even different group, they have various rules for themselves. And those rules are related to cultural norm. And they have different response for those rules. “Both the immediate social situation (source of the survey, attributes of the interviewer and interview situation) and cultural norms are likely to influence perceived desirability-undesirability of response. Socially desirable responding is more likely when confidentiality is low (e.g. face-to-face interviews), less likely when confidentiality is high (e.g. self-administered interviews, Krysan, et al., 1994). Respondents may find it embarrassing to admit not engaging in a desirable behavior, resulting in over-reporting of desirable behavior; they may find it embarrassing to admit engaging in undesirable behaviors, resulting in under-reporting of undesirable behavior.”[4]

The evidence of cultural norm

“Cultural norms include trivial daily activities, such as answering the phone with “hello,” using a medium-pitched tone of voice during conversations, wearing appropriate clothing and driving or walking on the right side of the road and sidewalk”[5]The influence of cultural norm are everywhere, finding it out and studying it is necessary. Though there are many culture and different cultural norms, their source of building it up have something in common.

“Gelfand and colleagues theorized that tightness and looseness are reflected at different levels within a culture that mutually support one another. They published their research in a Science article, ‘Differences between tight and loose cultures.’ In it, Gelfand’s team describes evidence for each of the following four levels:

Ecological & Historical Threats. Hostile neighbors, disease, and dense populations increase the need for coordinated and disciplined action from the population. More factors like these tighten the cultural norms. As the threats diminish, cultures loosen up.

Socio-Political Institutions. Culturally tight nations tend to have more autocratic governments, restricted media, stronger suppression of dissent, and more severe punishments for crime.

Everyday Social Situations. All kinds of interactions with fellow members of the culture are more formal in nations with tight cultural norms. These include situations at home, the workplace, school, places of worship, parks, and others. Loose cultures provide more room for individual discretion in such situations. A wider range of behavior is counted “appropriate.”

Psychological Adaptations. People’s minds become attuned to the different requirements of living in places with tight or loose cultural norms. Individual psychology then further supports the level of cultural tightness or looseness. People living in tight cultures become more focused on avoiding mistakes. They are more cautious in their own behavior, and more closely monitor themselves and others for norm violations.” [1]This imitate that if a person try to get into other culture, they can adopt the environment according those standards. If the psychological conception are misunderstand, they can learn more about their adaption.

Cultural Assimilation

“The internalization of roles in identities, which generates subjective commitments to objective positions in society, is liable to produce stability rather than change. Externally, institutions and concepts, such as sovereignty and the balance of power – which reward certain practices and punish others – inhibit change even when actors want it.” [6] It means that the cultural is uneasy to change, and when the people of other group get into it, he/she have to make a change to adopt this environment, because people have “Social Desirability”[4]. They will response for those cultural differences. They need to be recognized and to be identified as a person who can communicate with. Generally speaking, human being are social, so if persons who go to other places want to survived, they need to follow the local rules-kind of cultural norm.

Different degree for people to accept

“The cultural norm hypothesis predicts that individuals who are depressed display patterns of positive and negative emotional reactivity that differ from their culturally ideal ways of experiencing and expressing emotions.” [7] Different people have various patterns to deal with those positive and negative emotional recognition to a new cultural norm. For example, the research about European Americans and Asian Americans was studied Chentsova-Dutton. “He demonstrated that the effects of depression on negative emotional reactivity varied for European Americans and Asian Americans. Whereas European Americans who are depressed showed dampened negative emotional responses compared to healthy controls, Asian Americans who are depressed showed increased negative emotional responses compared to healthy controls. Similarly, the present study found that European Americans who are depressed showed dampened positive emotional responses compared to healthy controls, and Asian Americans who are depressed showed similar or even increased positive emotional responses compared to healthy controls.” [8]The study show different cultural norms affect different people, even though they are in the same environment, the cultural norm was still different. In addition, the cultural norm is influenced by all kinds of aspect. Different small groups also have their own values which means a kind of cultural norm.


[1]WINSTON SIECK, www.globalcognition.org

[2] Sherif, M. (1936). The psychology of social norms. NewYork: Harper.


[4] Ayse K. Uskul & Daphna Oyserman, Question Comprehension and Response: Implications of Individualism and Collectivism

[5] www.ask.com

[6]Shunji CUI, Beyond Rivalry? Sino-Japanese Relations and the Potential for a ‘Security Regime’ in Northeast Asia

[7] Chentsova-Dutton et al., 2007

[8] Yulia E. Chentsova-Dutton & Jeanne L. Tsai and Ian H. Gotlib, Further Evidence for the Cultural Norm Hypothesis: Positive Emotion in Depressed and Control European American and Asian American Women

How do the media influence your beliefs?

With the acceleration of economy and technology development, the media become more and more powerful. First there was the telegraph, then the radio, the newspaper, magazines, television and now the internet. Medium plays a significant role in every individual’s life. People need to acquire information in all directions. While Medium is a way to spread information to billions of people throughout the world. It brings a variety of knowledge and entertainment for human beings. Medium exists in our daily life. We come into contact with it in every moment.

What’s more, medium has powerful impacts which have been discussed a lot. On the one hand, media is a great platform for us to convey our emotions, opinions and information to others, to the whole world no matter where we are, if we want to do it, we can finish it immediately, anybody else can see it clearly. On the other hand, the media affect the whole society because it has great impacts on the public opinion because we believe what we read, see and hear in the media. We haven’t affirmed the media message true or false but we might choose to believe many of the media messages, even about events, people, places and ideas that we have never encountered before.

Following paragraphs will show you how the media influence our beliefs in three aspects and we will have a conclusion eventually.

First of all, medium plays an important role which is one of the basic things we make any decisions in our daily life. We live in a society that depends on information and communication to keep moving in the right direction and do our daily activities like work, entertainment, education, travel or anything else that we have to do. As ordinary people, we wake up to read news or newspaper, go to work, make a few phone calls, eat with our family when possible and make our decisions based on the information that we have get from friends, family and all kinds of media. In our daily lives we rely on the media to get the current news and facts about what is important and what we should be aware of. We have put our trust on the media to make decisions.

Secondly, there are numerous ads on media. According to introductions of advertisings, we can buy what we are told to be good, we can make our decisions based on what we saw on Internet, televisions, newspapers or magazines to know which product we can trust. Besides, we can also select the product based on other people that we know is buying and their decisions are also based on the media. However, the ad of the product on media is not always true. For example, a girl bought a dress on Taobao. Before payment, she had read all the information on the website, and she thought the size must be suitable for her. But to her surprise, the size and the quality of the goods are not the same. The girl was disappointed and did not trust online shopping any more.

Besides, falsified news could create a negative impact on people, affecting minds and altering views. Nowadays, Internet has taken over mainstream media. Things are rapidly changing all over the world especially the way of news delivery. People have a chance to voice their opinions on particular news and their personal thoughts through blogs and personal websites on the internet, which means that people have expressive freedom. However, with this “expressive freedom”, there is a serious problem which will cause false information or Conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories mean false polish had have been added to a real story, the writer aims to sell his opinion on a particular subject using manipulative words in a way that the readers unconsciously lean towards the writer’s take on the story. Crimson Politics a Republican blogging site states the bitter truth in the simplest way, “We are all victims of this infection. There really are no exceptions, even if we think of ourselves as realists and skeptics, there are conspiracies that even we believe in somewhat”. (“Conspiracy Theories an Infection”, Crimson Politics).

Within days, thousands of people have already viewed it, if the news is controversial, then people tend to act on it if it is something they immensely believe in. Hence, distorted news could create a negative impact on people. Even though the readers understand that the content may not be accurate, yet the possibility of believing in them would seem hard to resist. People believe that unless they are provided with evidence relating to the story – “that contextual features and background characteristics reflect the real world” (“The Effects of Fictional Media on Real World Beliefs in Conspiracy Theories”, allacademics.com, 2009)

For example, there is a news in 2011, an destructive earthquake happened in Japan. This earthquake caused a nuclear power plant explosion, which bring a panic for Chinese who live in coastal areas. Most people was afraid of eating polluted salt so try to buy a lot of salt as soon as possible. Meanwhile, salt was out of stock in some place. Why this kind of event would happen? Obviously, it is because of some rumors on Internet and people’s panic to some extent. Even though understanding the news may not be accurate, but it is just hard to resist. The readers believe that unless they are provided with evidence relating to the story – “that contextual features and background characteristics reflect the real world” (“The Effects of Fictional Media on\Real World Beliefs in Conspiracy Theories”, allacademics.com, 2009)

Above all, there are some conclusions. Firstly, what people need to be aware is that most of our decisions, beliefs and values are based on what people know for a fact, people’s assumptions and experience instead of only the idea of media. Secondly, people should buy things rationally and think over what they exactly need instead believe the ads shown on media completely because not all ads are true and most of them are exaggerated. Thirdly, people should not believe the rumors and unconfirmed theories easily even the information on media. Hence, people should selectively and rationally believe in the messages of media.


How modern media influence our beliefs