By: Shelby Barner
Throughout our time in Metsakartano we have participated in many fun, exciting activities. Some may say that we have been just playing around, and I have heard many questions of, “Where is the school piece playing a part?” Well, throughout all of these exciting activities we have all been finding the deeper message and understanding behind each of them. These activities are allowing us to truly “focus on the process and not the product,” and we are applying all the same qualities that we find in doing papers, projects, PowerPoints, etc., to what we are doing now. Also, I think we are far more engaged, from looking around at all of us.
As I took a step back, I remembered a man by the name of Tony Wagner, who we learned about during our time on campus. Tony Wagner “currently serves as an Expert In Residence at Harvard University’s new Innovation Lab and as a Senior Research Fellow at the Learning Policy Institute, founded by Linda Darling-Hammond in 2015. Prior to these appointments, Tony was the first Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, and the founder and co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for more than a decade. His previous work experience includes twelve years as a high school teacher, K-8 principal, university professor in teacher education, and founding executive director of Educators for Social Responsibility.” In short, he has participated in many educational positions that have allowed him to conduct research on how students will become successful in their everyday lives. He began this research by talking “with several hundred business, nonprofit, philanthropic, and educational leaders” in order to understand what “skills young people need” in their life (careers, jobs, etc.). He found throughout his research that “students need to master seven survival skills to thrive in the new world…And these skills are the same ones that will enable students to become productive citizens who contribute to solving some of the most pressing issues we face in the 21st century.”
When looking back on what Tony Wagner says, and what we have been doing throughout our time at Metsakartano, I thought I would explain how each one of our activities and the seven survival skills fit together.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Throughout life, critical thinking and problem solving are consistently used and practiced. People are trying to “continuously improve their products, processes, or services,” which results from “the ability to ask the right questions.” There is that constant improving and one has “to be rigorous: test…[ones] assumptions, don’t take things at face value,…[and] don’t go in with preconceived ideas that…[one is] trying to prove.” This thinking will allow people to be successful if they are always trying to achieve and grow. Throughout our time at Metsakartano, we used critical thinking and problem solving in many of the activities. For example, because we were able to go back to the felting and jewelry room this allowed us to continue improving on new or old projects. There were also times during these two activities that things wouldn’t go as planned, so there was the question of “What might you do now,” or “You think you’re done, or you know you’re done?” These questions, and being able to fix certain things with projects, really allowed critical thinking and problem solving to be put into play.
Collaboration and Leadership
There are many leaders that step up in life, and in those moments they need to know how to work well with others. In these instances, without people behind them, there would be no leader. Teamwork is also created in large group settings, and there is a common trust between each individual. The teamwork that is created can then lead to a common goal. During our stay, we had many leaders in every activity, as well as leaders in the group that would step up in different instances. Some individuals found their calling and then were able to help others too. By this I mean that people were able to step up in some situations and others in other situations because people have their strengths and weaknesses. Within the different activities that we participated in, the leaders “led by influence, rather than authority.” This is a huge benefit when in collaboration with a group because people will follow if they know and agree with the common goal. Our group is a big team and with everyone in this group there are a lot of different thoughts and ideas, but we work well together because we are all open and are working for common objectives throughout everything. Also, when people are invested in an activity then it allows the group to follow that investment and enjoy it. For example, Justin was hyped about every activity and because he achieved in many of the areas that we participated in he continuously helped us all. There were many other instances that this occurred with other individuals as they found their strengths throughout the activities.
Agility and Adaptability
Every day there are things that are continuously changing and in those moments you have the choice to continue to grow and push on, or to stop. One “has to think, be flexible, change, and use a variety of tools to solve new problems. We change what we do all the time.” This is a constant thing and valuable to be aware about. When we got to Metsakartano, there was a schedule, however as the days progressed, it changed based on many different factors. Also, throughout all of our lessons that we were teaching on different subjects, we as teachers continuously were having to adapt to what was occurring or the needs of the group. For instance, one of the days the power went out and the group that was presenting had to work without power and adjust their lesson. Also, when the weather was horrible another group had to bring their nature lesson inside.
Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
When looking up the definition of initiative, it states, “the ability to assess and initiate things independently; or the power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do.” When looking up the word entrepreneurialism, it is defined “as starting new businesses, or getting involved with new ventures or ideas.” In both of these there is that choice or decision to act and give of yourself. Obviously we aren’t creating businesses, however, we were making fires, there was self motivation for craft projects, volunteers to clean up our living space, and putting on a talent show and Club Metsakartano. Specifically, out of these, the talent show and Club Metsakartano was put on by our very own: Maddi, Kyla, and Emma. They took initiative to create these amazing activities for all of us. They didn’t have to do this, but they did, and everyone absolutely loved them! They created memories that would stay with us.
Effective Oral and Written Communication
Communication is a way of life. Every day results in communicating with other people, either oral or written. In Metsakartano, we had the opportunity to communicate with a few Finnish people (shout out to Teemu, Sauli, and Ville), our leaders, and our peers every day. When teaching lessons, doing hot seats, messaging in Viber, and participating in any activity communication was used. During our lessons, which were taught in pairs, the communication between the two had to be spot on in order to co-teach. Hot seat is another thing that we have been doing throughout the trip, which is where one person is in the “hot seat” and then everyone in the group is able to give them “I appreciate” and “I urge” statements without the person responding. This is wonderful communication for each individual because it allows us to take the feed back that we had received in order to grow, or continue doing what everyone appreciated.
Accessing and Analyzing Information
“There is so much information available that it is almost too much, and if people aren’t prepared to process the information effectively it almost freezes them in their steps.” People are being flooded with information left and right nowadays and if you aren’t retaining it and using it properly then people won’t be able to continue to grow and expand their knowledge in that field. Also, with too much information, people tend to not use it to the best of their ability. In Metsakartano, information was being thrown our way in all of the activities. We learned the step by step processes on felting, blacksmithing, jewelry making, whittling, and other activities. Within each of the activities there was information that we needed to follow and if you weren’t prepared to listen then it would be difficult to do the activity. Blacksmithing especially, there was an entire process that was needed and on top of it there were safety rules that needed to be followed.
Curiosity and Imagination
Throughout life people are continuously coming up with new, innovative products that are bumping the old way out and drawing people in with the new. This is a day to day thing, that we see in our lives. For example, commercials, products, etc. are being created in order to meet the public’s expectations. All of these different things are coming from individuals that are having to be curious and imaginative. When looking up the definition of curiosity, in Merriam-Webster Dictionary, I found, “the desire to learn or know more about something or someone; or something that is interesting because it is unusual.” Then I looked up the definition of imagination, which stated, “the ability to think of new things.” Both these definitions are very valuable because there is that genuine search and interest that is going into both these words. People are creating things “to be beautiful, unique, and meaningful.” During our time in Metsakartano we were challenged to become curious and imaginative in many different instances. When participating in felting, creating our own lessons, and jewelry making (naming only a few) we had to have our thinking caps on. They gave us the materials to succeed, but we had to figure out what we wanted to make. Our imaginations went flying. We were let loose to do what we wanted and there weren’t any restrictions.
In the end, we learned so many valuable things throughout our time in Metsakartano. Each activity pushed us to grow in many different ways and it taught us the true meaning of rigor. Instead of memorizing the information, putting it into practice, and then forgetting, we learned that process is the key. When you focus on the process and not the product then you are learning throughout the entire time rather than working towards an end goal.
 Ellen Kumata, consultant to Fortune 200 companies
 Teemu, Metsakartano staff member
 Mike Summers, Vice President for Global Talent Management at Dell
 Pink, D. (2005). A whole new mind: Moving from the information age to the conceptual age. New York: Riverhead Books, pp. 32-33.