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In Teachers We Trust: Pasi Sahlberg, with foreword by Andy Hargreaves.

The American Dream

To me, the discussion about trust has been of great interest these days. It has to do with our willingness to comply with the strict rules the government has implemented regarding the third wave of the pandemic. The level of trust citizens have in their government has been decisive in how well the different countries are doing now. That and the amounts of vaccines of course. In Norway, we have a high level of trust.

Not only do we have more trust in our country compared to many others, but we also have a higher rate of social mobility. As Andy Hargreaves says in the forward to the book, if you want high social mobility and the opportunity to be very successful, your best chances of fulfilling the American dream are not in the USA, but in Norway, the Netherlands, Canada, or Finland.

Teachers We Trust presents a compelling vision, offering practical ideas for educators and school leaders wishing to develop teacher-powered education systems. It reveals why teachers in Finland hold high status and shows what the country’s trust-based school system looks like in action. Source: Pasi Salhberg

Even if the book claims to be essential reading for teachers, administrators, and parents in American schools, there are many details here for teachers and school leaders in other countries. That is why  I am listing some details I liked in Andy Hargreaves foreword here:

At the time when the US and the Uk went with testing and accountability measures, Finland decided to boost much-needed professionalism among its schools and to save money that it could then invest in high-quality teachers and in the conditions that would enable them to work effectively together.

It is easy to say we should trust people and professionals more, but doing so is not so easy. Hargreaves goes on to discuss trust and betrayal. How trust takes years to build, betrayal can happen in an instant. Betrayals are often not deliberate acts of cruelty or manipulation but thoughtless acts of neglect due to concentrating on other priorities or becoming overwhelmed. A big part of building trust is avoiding betrayal. You can read the article here; Teaching and Betrayal. 

My last takeaway is the example from the teacher’s staff lounge where the American teacher felt guilty participating in the conversations, instead of doing work for the students. It turns out these conversations build trust between teachers. And that is an investment for when they, later on, need to solve problems concerning their students. It is vital for professional development among teachers.  I feel a little guilty in that area!

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