By: Christy Farr, Staff Writer

"SEAM Executive Board Members John Buys, Christy Farr, Katherine Spahr, and Ali Butler meet to discuss the upcoming screening of The Finland Phenomenon"

“SEAM Executive Board Members John Buys, Christy Farr, Katherine Spahr, and Ali Butler meet to discuss the upcoming screening of The Finland Phenomenon” (Photo by Christy Farr)

    The Student Education Association of Maine (SEAM) at The University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) is proud to announce the screening of Finland Phenomenon, Inside the World’s Most Surprising School System.

   Finland Phenomenon will be shown on the big screen May 2nd, 2013 in Thomas Auditorium, Preble Hall. The informational film will begin at 6:30pm and there will be a brief discussion to follow.  Various snacks and drinks will be provided for viewers.

   Finland is currently ranked number one in the world’s education system and many educators wonder what they are doing that is so special to achieve such high performance from their students.

   Finland Phenomenon is an inspiring documentary on Finland’s education system. The film discusses how Finland’s Education system is operated and how it contrasts to other countries.

   There are many differences in Finland’s education system from the U.S., including the ages of the students entering school, the amount of homework and the lack of sports teams. Finland still stands above when it comes to academics.

   Katherine Spahr, current vice president of UMF SEAM believes that “Finland is higher in education because their emphasis is not mainly put on testing,” said Spahr. “The emphasis is geared more towards gaining knowledge and not just regurgitating it.”

   The film provides viewers with a realistic approach to the methods that are being taught in Finland. Education majors will benefit greatly from the film. “It will provide UMF students with possible strategies that they can use in their future classroom,” said Spahr.

   Ali Butler, current secretary of UMF SEAM finds Finland to have interesting attributes.“Finland does a better job at having working relationships with their students,” said Butler. “Finland allows students more time to complete their work in a relaxed environment.”

   Students and Faculty are encouraged to spend the evening discussing hot topics in education. “Anyone interested in learning about Finland’s education and how they have thrived within the system should attend,” said Spahr.

   The discussion will be focused on feelings towards the U.S. education system and designing strategies that we can use to improve our classrooms. “We are hoping to get at least one member of the Maine Education Association to join us for questions after the screening,” said Spahr. “Student members will be attending to answer questions.”

   Anyone who is planning on attending the screening should come prepared with a notebook, a writing utensil, and should be ready to participate in professional conversation.

   SEAM is the student branch of the Maine Education Association and the National Education Association. Johnny Buys, the current President, said SEAM’s main goal is “to provide education majors and others interested in education with opportunities for professional development and advocacy for public education via political action and community service.”

   UMF SEAM is striving to make Finland Phenomenon a learning experience for all. The event will be SEAM’s last event of the spring semester.

   SEAM meets every Tuesday in the UMF Education Center at 7:00pm in room 110. For further questions about the event, email SEAM directly at or check the UMF SEAM Facebook page for updates.