Re: OT: "Smart kids" tangent (was Re: [Nolug] Who usually shows up for meetings?)

From: Petri Laihonen <>
Date: Mon, 08 Dec 2008 11:38:15 -0600
Message-ID: <>

On Mon, Dec 08, 2008 at 11:24:49AM -0500, Mark A. Hershberger wrote:
Since this discussion has very little to do with Linux or New Orleans, I
guess you won't mind if I side-track it some more ;)
But not by much!
Linus Thorwalds was a product of educational system in Finland. At the time he attended the University of Helsinki, he probably paid hefty $300-$400 for a school year. (Currently University fees are about 500 Euros, so they've come up a bit.)

 It all has to do with what/how you learned growing up.

This is very good statement!

When I attended school in Finland, I remember us being taught first how to use our brains.....  to solve problems.....   Then we were given problems to solve.
We had very small amount of multiple choice tests. When I first attended university in US, it was very odd to me that the answers were provided for you to just do a simple elimination process. For me, personally it has always been by doing stuff, not by "study" studying. Naturally sometimes reading must be done (RTFM), no matter what.

BTW, I found a blog with discussion about the WSJ article. It had some other Finns commenting about it as well.

Though one comment in the blog
"Many of the elementary schools are ungraded, which allows children to accelerate."
That is something I have never heard of. I had grades and my nieces going to school currently have grades. Perhaps that has been in some sort of special schools...  (Steiner school, or something like that, though this schooling method produced lots of "waste".....  Not as good as it was thought to be....)


Also, if you speak to people from other countries about who has a better educational system, they'll usually point out some benefits to how we do things over here, including that our educational system is a lot more flexible than the ones where you have to pick your career at age 13. Many countries force students to declare a "major" at a very young age, which I think we can all agree is incredibly restrictive.

It has also been pointed out to me that most work environments in the US reward PERFORMANCE and PRODUCTION, not necessarily the number of degrees you have, which is apparently the prevailing practice in Europe (or at least France). This sort of speaks against your comment of the US' supposed preference of talent over results.


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