Via Education Week, an excellent article by my friend Tim Walker: Classroom Shock: What I Am Learning as a Teacher in Finland. (Free registration required.) Excerpt:
These days, people often ask if I'm experiencing culture shock. It's a legitimate question. Just a few months ago, my family and I moved from Boston to Helsinki, Finland. To be honest, the culture shock isn't so dramatic—especially since my wife is a Finn.
But I'm definitely experiencing classroom shock—a shifting of my pedagogical mindset—as I settle into my new job as a 5th grade teacher at a Finnish public school.
My family and I plan on living in Finland permanently, but I can't help but think about what I'd do differently if I returned to an American classroom. Talk about reverse-classroom shock! I've already identified three big shifts I'd make right away.
One key difference: classroom breaks at 45 minutes. I learned this the hard way in my 40 years of college teaching, and once it was routine practice in my courses, life and learning went far more smoothly. However convenient it may be administratively to keep kids' bums in seats for longer times, it's pedagogical poison—and toxic for the teacher as well as the students.