“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)


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