Sunday, 4 September 2016

Finnish children role play in miniature city

"Dozens of Finnish sixth-graders are standing nervously in cubicles in a 6,000 square-foot space resembling a miniature city, equipped with its own city hall, grocery store, and bank...For weeks, these sixth-graders have prepared in their classrooms for this one-day visit, studying the topics of entrepreneurship, working life, citizenship, and the economy. In their cubicles, these 12- and 13-year-olds carefully review their daily schedules and professional responsibilities on iPads, as trained adults offer their assistance... "

"The first shift begins at 10:45 a.m., and the miniature city springs to life. The profit of every business is at stake, as is its reputation. Some children start with free time, in which they fetch their own bank cards, allowing them to purchase goods and services from the city’s other businesses. Most sixth-graders begin working: Bosses pay the salaries of employees (through a digital banking system) and establish contracts with the city’s energy and waste-management companies, while other professionals turn their attention to customer service. The place buzzes as the 80 children role-play..."

"Although Me & MyCity is already internationally recognised as innovative, this Finnish learning model was in part inspired by an American program called `BizTown,` started by an organization called Junior Achievement. According to Pasi Sahlberg, Finland has a habit of borrowing pedagogical ideas from the United States, developing them, and implementing them on a national scale..."

"Based on the results, Panu Kalmia professor of economics at Finland’s University of Vaasa and the author of the studyconcluded that participation in Me & MyCity was `clearly` associated with greater economic knowledge. Furthermore, more than 75 percent of sixth-graders reported that the program increased their interest in economic issues and saving money."

"Perhaps more than anything else, Me & MyCity has achieved impressive learning results in Finland because it offers young children a rare taste of working life, which makes this thing called `school` seem much more purposeful."

Role playing in preparation for working life, or something else?

Introducing 'Global Cities: The 2016 Report', by Knight Frank.

1 comment:


    From Benjamin Barber, Citiscope, September 5, 2016

    "It is a world of terrorism without borders, climate change without frontiers, immigration without documentation and inequality without precedent — and given that the 400-year-old idea of the nation state is in trouble, the challenge is daunting indeed. For with its stubborn commitment to an archaic idea of sovereign independence rooted in zero-sum international relations, the nation state has become increasingly dysfunctional."

    "In my 2014 book `If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities`, I proposed that cities may be to the future what nations were to the past — efficient and pragmatic problem-solving governance bodies that can address sustainability and security without surrendering liberty or equality. If, that is, they can work together across the old and obsolete national borders. And if they can assume some of the prerogatives of sovereignty necessary to collaboration."

    "In fact, cities are doing just this. A few years ago, the United Nations announced that a majority of the world’s population lives in cities, while economists recognize that 80 percent or more of global gross domestic product is being produced in cities. From the United Kingdom and China to the United States and Italy, authority is being devolved to cities."

    "Out of these developments has come the call for a Global Parliament of Mayors, a new body by, for and of cities to address the crisis in democratic governance. As I suggested in the book, it’s time to think about cities rather than nations, mayors rather than prime ministers. After all, their pragmatic capacity to solve problems and their inclination to transactional cooperation across borders makes cities more successful politically than any other extant political body. And their defining diversity makes them far more like the world to which they belong than the mono-cultural states through which they are governed."