“Eheyttävä” – a Finnish approach to education

The Finnish word “eheyttävä” means something like ‘making you whole’ (‘once again’). It has a connotation of ‘being healthy’ and ‘good for you’. Eheyttävä oppiminen (meaning ‘learning’) is more than just a holistic approach to education. It is integral in the same way that Finnish people relate to nature. 

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How to transform education? How do we know we are on the right track? Eheyttävä oppiminen has two guiding principles: from being separate to unity, and new understanding through wholeness. It offers these guidelines to assess whether or not an activity or a culture is bound to flourish.

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Learning happens best when people are given the freedom to choose and they are trusted to contribute to others. Breaking the conventional boundaries is often needed in order to see things from other perspectives. 

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But learning isn’t just free play. It is also a dialogue where others’ points of view are respected and sometimes challenged, too. The educator’s task is to open the doors for new possibilities, and to make sure that the perspectives of others are taken into account. 

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For centuries, Finnish people have lived under the rule of others. Nature has always given us shelter and nurture. Now that Finland is about to celebrate its 100th anniversary, it is time for us to give back to the world what we have taken in. The independence of Finland (and its education system) has given rise to Eheyttävä oppiminen. 

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Tommi Viljakainen – New Education (video on OPE TALKS)
Eheyttävä oppiminen (home page in Finnish)

Some thoughts on being

This time I thought it would be a good idea to write in English. It is the lingua franca that most people in the world understand. My native language, Finnish, covers only a tiny fraction of the possible readers this post might have. 
For some time I have considered writing about being and the way I perceive things now. I have had some doubts as to how it might be possible to write about the subject matter at hand. Anyway, sometimes it is good to let things happen at their own pace. And now is the time. 

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The truth as well as I can put it in words is that you are the world. And so am I in fact. How can this be understood and what implications could it have? First of all, it must be emphasised that this is not, primarily, conceptual or intellectual. It is more experiential and existential. Of course, one approach is to play with words and see if anything changes. Let’s try it. 

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You are not a person in the world. You are the world in a person. You are not a human being living a life. You are life being a human being. So, did anything change? Maybe something began to change. When you start to see this, there is a natural unfolding that follows. A little bit like a domino effect or a butterfly flapping its wings and making something unexpected happen, but in a good way. 

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For time to exist, there needs to be a beginning and an end. However, everything we see seems to come from somewhere, and all that ceases to exist, doesn’t in fact disappear, but turns into something else. The only thing that doesn’t exist anymore is the correlation between an idea and the current state of reality. 

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One without two. If I say: “You can have an apple and I’ll have the rest”, how much do I get? This isn’t a mathematical problem. There is more to it. Carl Sagan once said: “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” There is the context in which this can be understood. And yes, you can say that you are the universe. I am the universe. We are the universe. All that there is is the universe. And you are it. You are all. 

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Great! I am the universe! I am all! Now I can do anything that I want! But wait a minute. To what are you going to do it? And who in fact is the doer? And what is the doing that this presumed doer is going to do? Now, think about this for a while. 

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Great. I am the universe and there is nothing I can do. That is what I am saying (and the irony is to whom am I saying it to…?). Nevertheless, some thoughts can be written down about this, and if some people find it meaningful to them, then this text suits its purpose. 

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So, how do I go on with this insight? Some things drop away, because they are not really all that necessary, and new things come about, because there is more room for them. Are things going to be better? Is there something to gain here? When you realise this, you find that everything is, was and will be well, always and forever. If there are some benefits to this, they are there, not because we wanted them there, but because they were there all along, we just didn’t notice them. Being as you are, there is nothing you can do to become something more. Everything happens when you stop trying. Let it be. Let yourself be. And just in case you find this difficult, it happens anyway. You are. That’s the beauty of it! 🙂