Some things in Sweden are great and

some things stink and this stinks!

MCB sent me this link earlier today and quite frankly I am lost for words. I wonder what the Swedish politicians will say on this? Hopefully they will jump on this school harshly because this is incredible!

How any teacher can confiscate a little boys party invites is beyond me. I wonder if Josef Stalin runs the local Education authority down there?


4 Responses

  1. *argh* Sooooooo stupid! Was the same when the Swedish fans wanted to salute the swedish team with a “TIFO” before a friendly versus England a few years back. The response from the FA was, fine go ahead but you have to make one for the English too since it would be rude if they were left out 😦 IDIOTS!

  2. Having been in Sweden such a short time, your misunderstanding of this situation is forgiveable. This society is unofficially governed by the rules of jantelagen. I don’t particularly like this concept myself, but the British system is at least equally flawed. I challenge you to interview any teacher in a British high-school and any teacher in a Swedish high-school and find out which classroom environment is more conducive to learning. The horror stories I have heard from teachers in Britain would make your head swim. You won’t hear such stories coming out of Sweden. I teach at an international school in Stockholm and the emphasis on democracy, equality, and fairness that permeates every aspect of the classroom experience is very refreshing. I wish it had been that way when I went to school in the States.

    Concerning the school in Lund, the teacher was absolutely right to take the invitations since they violated the school’s policy. The school rules stated that if invitations for a party were to be handed out, there would be no discrimination: all students would be invited. That is a simple enough concept to understand. I remember horrible valentines days in my American elementary schools when some kids were left crying, devastated at having received no valentines. These were turning points in some of those kids’ lives that had long-lasting effects on their socialization and learning skills.

    Parents need to realize that their actions, their decisions, can have extreme consequences on the school environment and teachers are always left to pick up the pieces. The parents don’t need to deal with those consequences, but their kids do. Any actions that divide a school class into cliques are actions that should be reconsidered. It makes the learning environment that much more stressful for students and teachers. I think it is better that students be encouraged to be as cohesive as possible, helping each other and supporting each other’s learning. The social skills to be learned by working out differences this way are invaluable. Sure, the kids left out might have been bullying the birthday kid, and I would not want the bullies at my kid’s party. Fair enough. But then I would not pass out the invitations at the school.

    Next time you decide to send your kid to school with invitations to a party, make sure every kid is invited. Otherwise, don’t pass them out at school: mail them.

    /Samuel in Stockholm

  3. Samuel, thats quite a utopia you live in.

    I agree with you that the Swedish education system is probably far better than the British one but I think that is down to sheer numbers more than anything, 9 million v 60 million for example. We also have a lot more immigration than Sweden which of course affects the education and health system.

    In an ideal world it would be great for schools to have such a fair and free environment but on the other hand what happens when kids leave school and hit the real world. It would be a real culture shock for them, unfortunately it is dog eat dog whether we like it or not.

    I didnt get many valentine cards at school either but it taught me a valuable lesson, that you cant get everything you want in life but when something comes along that you wanted you can really appreciated. I would have been even more embarrassed at school if the pretty redhead I liked was forced by the teacher to make me a Valentines card.

  4. Excellent points, Shane. And I am well aware of them. But remember that any problems the “real world” throws at people when they leave the protection of school and family will be dealt with according to the learning they received in school. If we teach them to accept the ugly realities of today’s world as unchangeable, then nothing will change. By showing that there is another way to do things, other ways of thinking and approaching situations, better goals to strive for, then new ideas will develop.

    Concerning population, yes, that could be a factor. But the UK’s economy is massive compared to Sweden’s. Much of the UK’s educational system is privatized and therefore funded by those 60 million people. Ours is funded by 10 million citizens’ taxes. Surely England can create an education infrastructure as good as Sweden’s with all that capital? Plus, your teachers are paid twice what Swedish teachers are paid. Their classroom management skills should be pretty sharp.

    Immigration, well that is a sticky subject and you are right that it plays a role. However, Stockholm is filled to the gills with immigrants from all over the globe. Our company has 9 schools throughout the nation and they are considered among the very top schools in Sweden. Most of the 9 schools have a majority immigrant student body. Well over half of my students (320) are 2nd-generation immigrants whose parents arrived here within the past 15 years or so. We have Arabs, Africans, Asians, South Americans, East Europeans…the whole gamut. Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jews, even a Shinto student. Conflicts along these lines do flare up and we are always watchful, but without doubt, I am amazed at how well these students work together academically and socially. Clearly, I chalk it up to the way that classrooms are managed based on these democratic principles we are discussing. Not sure what it is like in the UK, but I think the Swedish school system, flawed as it is, is doing some really good things and these kids come out of school very open-minded and democratically inclined.


    And the Valentines day point was well taken.

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