The Finnish Education System (Upper-Intermediate ESL Lesson Plan)

Download the Lesson Plan on Education (ESL) here: Finnish-Education-UpperIntermediate-03062014.doc

Finnish Education System Lesson Plan (ESL): Upper-Intermediate

a student doing schoolwork

Lesson Plan on Education (ESL): Warm-Up

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

  1. What does this quotation mean? Do you think it’s true?
  2. Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? What did you like about him or her?
  3. Which teacher did you dislike? Why?
  4. Why do people go to school? Make a list of ideas with a partner.

Reading: The Finnish Education System

The education system in Finland is one of the best in the world. Here are some reasons why:


– Being a schoolteacher is one of the most prestigious professions in Finland.

– A three-year undergraduate degree plus a two-year Master’s degree are required to become a teacher.

The Teaching Method

– Children start receiving education at the age of seven, when they reach intellectual maturity.

– In the first 2 years, students attend school for 4-5 hours a day and get little homework.

– Until the sixth grade, children usually have the same teacher for most subjects.

– A number grading system is not used until the 5th grade, so there is little competition between students.

– Schools don’t give homework until students are teenagers. Learning is done in the classroom.

– The relationship with the teacher is very close; each class is limited to 20 students.

– Students spend time exploring, creating and experimenting, rather than learning by heart.

– Teachers take care of students who fall behind. Extra attention is also given to students who soar ahead.


– Each school has curriculum autonomy; individual teachers have classroom autonomy.

– Teachers and students are involved in educational planning.

– Finland has very few private schools.

Education Culture

– In Finland, 80% of families visit a library on the weekends.

– Parents generally believe they, rather than the school, are accountable for the education of their kids.

– Finns value discipline and effort as part of the Lutheran culture.

Education Policy

– In 2009, Finland spent 6.8% of its GDP on education.

Compulsory education is free. This includes classroom material and school transport.


Lesson Plan on Education (ESL): Follow-up & Comprehension Questions

  1. How many hours do students attend school in their first two years?
  2. What do students do in the classroom?
  3. True or False: Finland is famous for its private schools.
  4. What do parents believe about education in Finland?
  5. True or False: Finnish students don’t have to pay for textbooks.
  6. What information about the Finnish education system surprised you?
  7. How is the Finnish system different from the system in your country?

Lesson Plan on Education (ESL): Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the lesson plan.

1)     prestigious (adj)

2)     maturity (n)

3)     by heart (idiom)

4)     soar (v)

5)     autonomy (n)

6)     accountable (adj)

7)     discipline (n)

8)     compulsory (adj)

a)     freedom from external control or influence

b)     the stage of complete development

c)     required by law or a rule

d)     responsible

e)     the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior

f)      from memory

g)     respected; distinguished

h)     fly or rise high in the air

1g, 2b, 3f, 4h, 5a, 6d, 7e, 8c 

Homework: Circle the words that were new for you. Add them to your vocabulary notebook and make sentences for homework.

Lesson Plan on Education (ESL): Debate: Should University Be Free?

Some countries, such as Finland, believe that education should be free. In Finland, even university is free. In many countries, however, this is not the case.
Student A: You think education at public universities should be free. Think of reasons to support this idea. You will speak first. When the other student is ready, please tell him/her your opinion.
Student B: You don’t think education at public universities should be free. Think of reasons to support this opinion.

Lesson Plan on Education (ESL): Role-Play

Student A: You are a parent. Your son is not doing well in school. (Think of some problems) Today you will meet his teacher. Tell the teacher about the problems your son is having. You are very worried about him.

Student B: You are a teacher. Today you have to meet the parent of one of your students. Talk with him/her about his/her child.

Lesson Plan on Education (ESL): Presentation

If you were invited to give a presentation to a group of young students, what would you tell them? Prepare a short 2-5 minute presentation. Try to give them some helpful ideas about life.

Lesson Plan on Education (ESL): Discussion Questions

  1. Are teachers paid well in your home country?
  2. Should teachers give homework?
  3. Do you think competition is good or bad for students?
  4. Is the purpose of school to help students get a job?

Lesson Plan on Education (ESL) copyright Matthew Barton of

English Current recommends Grammarly as a learning tool to reduce English mistakes. If you found this page helpful, consider a donation to our hosting bill to show your support!

7 comments on “The Finnish Education System (Upper-Intermediate ESL Lesson Plan)

  1. Patty Mendoza (Posted on 6-23-2014 at 06:29) Reply

    Love it!! It get the students involved, and makes it easier for them to give their opinions!

  2. fairouz (Posted on 1-19-2015 at 14:39) Reply

    i like it

  3. Rohan (Posted on 2-24-2015 at 08:28) Reply

    Thanks again, brilliant.

  4. okan (Posted on 3-1-2015 at 10:48) Reply

    ı consider its good topic for ıntermadiate students. this topic will improve our english case

  5. Diego (Posted on 12-10-2017 at 22:53) Reply


  6. Juliya (Posted on 2-11-2020 at 03:42) Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing! It made me feel inspired!!!!

  7. Marham Jupri Hadi (Posted on 6-18-2021 at 03:03) Reply

    I am very excited with the ideas presented here. Thank a bunch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.