I am a fan of standardised testing but have we gone too far? Are we derailing the lifelong learning journey? As reflective practitioners, we should never shy away from examining the stories emerging about childhood anxiety and stress. The Guardian Australia has a very powerful article based on the observations of Pasi Sahlberg on his recent speaking tour of Australia. It seems he was deeply moved by what he saw and heard. Finland has some excellent educational outcomes as a nation but has carefully sought to guard the very children they are seeking to educate from some of the worst aspects of modern educational culture. A nation that refuses to countenance this emerging evidence is at risk of harming its future potential growth and economic wellbeing.
When the Finnish education expert Pasi Sahlberg went on a speaking tour around Australia last spring, he says he was left “heartbroken” by stories of young children cracking under the pressure of “stringent academic expectations”. “I heard some teachers telling how children are experiencing stress-related crying, vomiting and sleeplessness over the high-stakes standardised tests,” Sahlberg tells Guardian Australia.