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  1. Finland: No national tests The curriculum has only bigger concepts etc - every single teacher has a freedom to choose how they teach; as long as the teaching includes the stuff from national and city curriculum. In short; there is no external control; of course if you are doing a lousy job the principle will learn about it sooner or later. Seems to work here...
  2. It's pretty much the idea here in Finland, too. And yes, this survey did not test just the honor students - if you read how it's done, you'll see that it includes all the pupils in that age class (15 years old). That's before they leave the comprehensive school (something similar to your primary and secondary school) - which is mandatory to everyone... You are right in a way - we don't have the same high school system than you do (we've got an upper secondary school). Pupils will choose at the age of 16 whether they'll go to the upper secondary (a bit like high school - students are a year older and will probably (in average) study a bit further academic wise) OR vocational school (where you'll get a "trade"). Whether you choose the one or the other does not, however, "close any doors". If you choose the vocational school, you may still end up having a Ph D - the route would be just a bit different. (see the chart http://www.oph.fi/english/SubPage.asp?path=447,4699) About 50 % of the pupils will choose the upper secondary school; this of course means that there are less students in the upper secondary school that would slow down the others - it's not mandatory; if you don't dig it, you may leave. As I said, these surveys were done BEFORE the split to vocational training / upper secondary school - thus they include the whole age class.
  3. Yeah, I know - it's some what strange...
  4. In Finland the constitution states that all the citizens (among other rights) have right to "physical immunity" - that is, no one should be physically (in any way) harmed. There's also criminal law against physical violence. You become citizen when you are born; you stop being one when you die. No exceptions... People seems grow up to pretty decent adults anyway... (even without corporal punishment). Of course spanking happens in Finland, too. I'm not naive. The truth is though, that it's easier to act in the case of abusive parents when the law is clear and there is no "gray zone". I have a son and no, I have not spanked him. I don't normally even raise my voice that much - if I do (if he does something stupid and I get scared he hurts himself etc.) he really gets it - the tone and the volume will stop him at once. If you raise your voice all the time, the effect wears out - if you beat your children all the time... something similar to a degree, will happen. As someone said - excluding some of your basic rights from your most sensitive and defenceless citizen is a weird double standard. Trying to convince some one on this subject one way or the other is quite pointless though, the studies show that we are bound to are own childhood experiences - if you were beaten, you are likely to beat your own children and you will justify it. Of course this could be turned other way around; since I was not beaten, I won't beat my children. One could say that both ways work - they probably do. The real question is of course is: if the non-violent way works, why would you use the other one?
  5. No private schools (to speak of) in Finland... See the link: OECD Programme for International Student Assessment http://www.pisa.oecd.org/dataoecd/42/8/39700724.pdf Finland has been number one before as well (language and math skills) - this time they tested the science skills. Every now and then there's a post about the level of primary and secondary education in the USA. There's always a group of people that blame public education for the under the average performance (USA didn't do that well this time either). In Finland, all the schools are public ones (somewhere around 99 %) - even the hard line conservatives are not trying to change this; why fix something that's working so well... So - blaming the educational system being bad because it's public is BS... Of course one can have good private schools and good public schools - same applies other way around, too... I think it's safe to say (this is the third time they did this survey and Finland has been on the top one every single time) that the problems might just lay elsewhere than in matter of whether the schools are privately or publicly funded.
  6. Source: The Sun That'll sure teach those air gun criminals a lesson! Because the best way to stop criminals, is to punish the innocent. Hellos John! It would be a nice change to have a different country on your topic. Like: SWEDEN BANNED EVERYTHING or CHINA did this and that or South HonxBorough did this! or FINLAND: They go to public places w/o any clothes (saunas) It's just that this thing about you going always after the English (as in England) stuff is getting PRETTY boring. You could of course try to blame some other countries, but that would be too much of a change, would it not?
  7. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/03/070327-security-scanner.html http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/MAR07/Event/63809 http://www3.vtt.fi/uutta/2007/20070507.jsp The last link is in Finnish. Basically it's about the same thing. Also, the Finnish site says that they will have a working model up and running in 2008 after which they are looking forward to make commercial models. The scanner (as of now) works up to 30 feet and is about 1 by 2 meters in size (3 by 6 feet). The scanner is "passive" in a sense that it does not emit any rays etc. I wonder how much does the commercial version cost? If they start to sell them in thousands/10000 etc. the price will go down. I think that not in too distant future we'll have these "scanners" in a same manner as we have CCTVs... They are (VTT and NIST) are currently working on similar scanner for bomb etc.
  8. http://movies.apple.com/movies/us/apple/getamac_ads2/box_480x376.mov
  9. Now - that was funny... Not. To be honest - I'm a bit disappointed to your arguments Billvon. I guess I'm just used to get clear, rational answers from you. I just don't get what's the difference in this particular thread. To use your fine example: If you spank someone because of an adult S&M -session, you are right. It's perfectly legal. In fact there are thousands of people who love each other and S&M is just one way for them to show it to each other (I guess). Try spanking someone randomly in the supermarket or even better: Now. I don't know whether you are into S&M or not (neither do I care to know). Imagine (if you are not into S&M) that you spanked your partner all of the sudden (not necessarily while you are doing IT) - I don't think she would be to happy about it. Hit her so hard that she will start to cry. Try to explain that you did it because you love her... If you are lucky she will not call the police. Even though she is all grown up and everything this event will have an permanent impact on your relationship. Imagine doing this to an infant/toddler (0-2 years old). You spank them because you love them so much. Right. I'm sure that this much more fragile human being will understand your argument (if s/he can even yet understand the language) about love and everything... So - I haven't gotten clear answer from you: Would you spank your own child (0-2 years old)? If not, what's wrong with this law? PS. Did you look up those scientific articles about Early Childhood development and Corporal punishment? Or is it just that you know better than those academic nutheads? "This is common sense" - Right...
  10. So, what do you think about this ban on spanking then? I mean, it concerns children from 0-2 years old - I would call children at that age infants/toddlers. Are you still against it? If so, why?
  11. As I said - the law in hand concerns toddler and infants (0-2 years). If you [I]believe spanking will help (your) toddlers/infants to become better persons, fine. Since you are always so into to scientific data etc., I can point out couple of interesting scientific articles about this one. Or just look up your self: "early childhood development" AND "corporal punishment". I haven't (neither have any of my friends that I know have not received corporal punishment) burned/nearly killed/etc. myself/themselves. There are alternatives - spanking is a shortcut/easier way out. Most of the time we (as parents) act similarly to our own parents (in many situations - including corporal punishment). I'm just saying there is an alternative and it's not necessary to pass on all the family traditions down the line. The law in hand is about infants/toddlers (0-2 years old). Saying that this will lead to ever stricter laws may or may not be true. It's like the good old gun law debate... I just can not imagine raising my hand against a/an toddler/infant
  12. Exactly! Human beings are very adaptable mammals. Giving a spanking to a child under 3 years old won't stop that individual from growing up to a decent fellow. All the studies I have read do suggest, however, that this kind of behavior (spanking) will have a permanent effect on the child's personality - not necessary a big one (human being are, after all, quite different from each other - some are stronger, some are more fragile), but still... The child's sense of basic security will have a small breach (or bigger one, if the child is more sensitive). As an adult, it's possible, this child may have less emotional intelligence than w/o the infantile spanking. People with less emotional intelligence will try to rationalize things that are not meant to be rationalized. Now - someone might think this is a good change. I mean, who wants to foster a son who is "emotionally intelligent"? Harden him up, some might say. I say: -No thanks!
  13. I was thinking more in terms of spanking your wife/mother/sister/brother/friend for acting stupidly etc. S&M is a different story... I think it's a mixed breed - a bit over 100 lb (about 50 k's). The dog is very discipline - she told me that it has been made very clear to the dog that she and her husband (my brother) are the "alpha couple" so to speak and she does have quite strict rules how to behave when e.g. we go over there to visit them. We are not allowed to pay any attention to the dog when we get in before we have had time to properly greet her and my brother and take off our jackets etc. Also, we are not allowed to take any side steps (or dodge) the dog (even if we are about to step on it) but rather act as it was not there and even keep on walking straight and let the dog dodge before us. Only after all this can we pay attention to the dog, scratch him or what ever...
  14. ...you know... He does have a brother...