Professor Pasi Sahlberg

Deputy Director - Research

Pasi Sahlberg is a Finnish educator, scholar, thought-leader and author. He has worked as a mathematics and science teacher, teacher-educator, researcher, and policy-maker in Finland, and studied education systems and advised education system reforms around the world. His international career includes senior specialist at the World Bank in Washington DC (2002-2007), lead education specialist at the European Training Foundation in Torino, Italy (2007-2009), and visiting professor at Harvard University (2014-2016). He also has extensive experience as an education policy expert to the OECD, European Commission, and the Finnish Government's Foreign Ministry.

Pasi has served as a commissioner at the Swedish School Commission, advisor to the Scottish Prime Minister and advisor to the Mayor of Reykjavik in Iceland, and as a member of the leadership council to the Minister of Education in Finland. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the ASCD (USA), chaired the Open Society Foundations' General Education Board, as a member of the Governing Board of the University of Oulu (Finland) and is a member of the board of directors of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI) and a member of the Advisory Board to the Center for International Education benchmarking (USA). 

Pasi has written widely about pedagogy, teacher and teaching, and education system change. He has published over 170 academic and professional articles and 22 books. He is a member of several editorial boards, and has supervised or examined 15 doctoral dissertations in Finland, England, Italy and the U.S. His most recent books include Finnish Lessons 2.0: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland (2015), Hard Questions on Global Educational Change (with Jonathan Hasak and Vanessa Rodriguez, 2016), Empowered Educators in Finland (with Karen Hammerness and Raisa Ahtiainen, 2017), FinnishED Leadership: Four big, inexpensive ideas to transform education (2018), and Let the Children Play! How more play will save our schools and help children thrive (with William Doyle, 2019).

He is the deputy director and research director of the Gonski Institute for Education. 


    Honours and Prizes

    • 2011: Upton Sinclair Award (United States)
    • 2012: Finnish Education Award (Finland)
    • 2013: Grawemeyer Award (United States)
    • 2013: First Class Knight of the White Rose of Finland (Finland)
    • 2014: The Robert Owen Award (Scotland)
    • 2015: Laureate of the International Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (United States) 
    • 2016: Lego Prize (Denmark)
    • 2017: Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Centre Research Residency (Italy)
    • 2019: Friend of Public Education Award, AEU 

    Related News

    List of Selected Publications

    • Berry, J. and Sahlberg, P. (1996). Investigating pupils’ ideas of learning. Journal of Learning and Instruction, 1(6), 19-36.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2001). From non-formal education to lifelong learning. Lifelong Learning in Europe Journal, 1(6), 48-54.
    • Sahlberg, P. and Berry, J. (2002). One and one is sometimes three in small group mathematics learning. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 1(22), 82-94.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2004). Teaching and globalization. International Research Journal of Managing Global Transitions, 2(1), 65-83.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2006). Education reform for raising economic competitiveness. Journal of Educational Change, 7(4), 259-287.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2006). Subiendo el listón: ¿Como responde Finlandia al doble reto de la educación secundaria? Profesorado, 10(1), 1-26.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2007). Education policies for raising student learning: The Finnish approach. Journal of Education Policy, 22(2), 173-197.
    • Välijärvi, J. and Sahlberg, P. (2008). Should ‘failing students repeat a grade? Journal of Educational Change, 9(4), 385-389.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2009). Creativity and innovation through lifelong learning. Journal of Lifelong Learning in Europe, 14(1), 53-60.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2010). Rethinking accountability for a knowledge society. Journal of Educational Change, 11(1), 45-61.
    • Sahlberg, P. and Oldroyd, D. (2010). Pedagogy for economic competitiveness and sustainable development. European Journal of Education, 45(2), 280-299.
    • Sahlberg, P. and Boce, E. (2010). Are teachers teaching for a knowledge society? Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 16(1), 31-48.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2010). Hope of cooperative learning: Intentional talk in Albanian secondary school classrooms. Journal of Intercultural Education, 21(3), 205-218.
    • Hovhannisyan, A. and Sahlberg, P. (2010). Cooperative learning for educational reform in Armenia. Journal of Intercultural Education, 21(3), 229-242.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2011). Paradoxes of improving education: The Finland experience. Scottish Educational Review, 42(3), 3-22.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2011). The Fourth Way of Finland. Journal of Educational Change, 12(2), 173-184.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2011). PISA in Finland: An education miracle or an obstacle to change? Centre for Education Policy Journal, 1(3), 119-140.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2011). Cooperative learning and global competitiveness. Indian Journal of Experiments in Education, (July), 15-22.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2015). Un sistema escolar modelo. Finlandia demuestra que la equidad y la excelencia pueden coexistir en la educación. Pensamiento Educativo. Revista De Investigación Educacional Latinoamericana, 52(1), 136-145. In Spanish.
    • Murgatroyd, S. and Sahlberg, P. (2016). The two solitudes of educational policy and the challenge of development. Journal of Learning for Development, 3(3), 9-21.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2017). The global testing culture: shaping education policy, perceptions, and practice', Educational Review (69),135 - 137.
    • Schildkamp, K., Poortman, C., and Sahlberg, P. (2019). Data-based decision making in developing countries: Balancing accountability measures and improvement efforts. Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 4(2).
    • Sahlberg, P. (2002). Educational Change. In Guthrie, J. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Education (2nd edition). New York: Macmillan Reference, pp. 658-659.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2010). Educational change in Finland. In Hargreaves, A., Lieberman, A., Fullan, M., and Hopkins, D. (Eds.) Second International Handbook of Educational Change. New York: Springer, pp. 323-348.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2010). Piu parli, piu impari. Cosa occore per fare cooperative learning nelle scuole secondarie? In: Cobbo, F. (Ed.) Il cooperative learning nelle societa multiculturali. Una prospettiva critica. Milano: Edizioni Unicopli, pp. 69-98. In Italian.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2012). Finland: A Non-competitive Education for A Competitive Economy. In OECD, Lessons from PISA for Japan, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education. Paris: OECD Publishing, pp. 93-111.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2012). Becoming a teacher in Finland: Traditions, reforms and policies. In Darling-Hammond, L. and Lieberman, A. (Eds.) Teacher Education Around the World. Changing policies and practices. New York: Routledge, pp. 1-21.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2013). Fulfilling the Dream in Finland. In Malone, H.J. (Ed.) Leading Educational Change. Global issues, challenges, and lessons on whole-system reform. New York: Teachers College Press, pp.123-127.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2014). Finland: A Non-competitive Education for A Competitive Economy. In OECD, Lessons from PISA for Korea, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education. Paris: OECD Publishing, pp. 169-188.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2015). Developing Effective Teachers and School Leaders. In Darling-Hammond, L. (Ed.) Teaching in a Flat World. New York: Teachers College Press, pp. 30-44.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2015). Finnish Schools and the Global Educational Reform Movement. In Evers, J. and Kneyber, R. (Eds.) Flip the System. Changing education from the ground up. London: Routledge, pp. 162-174.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2016). Global Educational Reform Movement and its impact on teaching. In Mundy, K., Green, A., Lingard, R., and Verger, A. (Eds.) The Handbook of Global Policy and Policymaking in Education. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 128-144.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2016). The Finnish Paradox: Equitable public education within a competitive market economy. In Adamson, F., Åstrand, B., and Darling-Hammond, L. (Eds.) Global Education Reform. How privatization and public investment influence education outcomes. New York: Routledge, pp. 130-150.
    • Berliner, D. and Sahlberg, P. (2017). Foreword: PISA: A good servant but a bad master. In S. Sellar, G. Thompson, and D. Rutkowski, The Global Education Race: Taking the measure of PISA and international testing. Edmonton: Brush Education Inc., pp. vii-xii.
    • Sahlberg, P. and Brown, J. (2017). Schooling and Globalization. In Aloni, N. and Weintrob, L. (Eds.) Beyond Bystanders: Educational Leadership for a Humane Culture in a Globalizing Reality. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
    • Fischman, G., Sahlberg, P., Silova. I. & Marcetti Topper, A. (2019). International Large-scale Student Assessments and Their Impact on National School Reforms. In: Larry Suter, L., Smith, E. & Denman, B. (Eds.) The Handbook of Comparative Studies in Education. New York: SAGE Publishing, 532-550.
    • Sahlberg, P. (1996). Kuka auttaisi opettajaa. Post-moderni näkökulma opetuksen muutokseen yhden kehittämisprojektin valossa. [Who would help a teacher – postmodern perspective on change in light of one school improvement project]. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylä Studies in Education, Psychology and Social Research 119.
    • Sahlberg, P. and Berry, J. (2003). Small group learning in school mathematics. Teachers’ and pupils’ ideas about groupwork in school. Turku: Finnish Educational Research Association.
    • Chakroun, B. and Sahlberg, P. (Eds.) (2008). Policy learning in action. ETF Yearbook 2008. Brussels: European Training Foundation.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2011). Finnish Lessons. What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? New York: Teachers College Press.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2015). Finnish Lessons 2.0. What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? (2nd edition) New York: Teachers College Press, (280 p.). Translated into 26 languages.
    • Sahlberg, P., Hasak, J., and Rodriguez, V. with associates (2016). Hard Questions on Global Educational Change. Policies, practices and the future. New York: Teachers College Press.
    • Hammerness, K., Ahtiainen, R., and Sahlberg, P. (2017). Empowered Educators in Finland. How high-performing systems shape teaching quality. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2018). FinnishEd Leadership: Four big, inexpensive ideas to transform education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
    • Sahlberg, P. and Doyle, W. (2019). Let the Children Play. How more play saves our schools and helps children thrive. New York: Oxford University Press.
    • Sahlberg, P. and Walker, T. (forthcoming). In Teachers We Trust. The Finnish way to world-class schools. New York, NY: Norton.
    • Sahlberg, P. and McRae, P. (forthcoming). Small data for Bog Change. New York: Routledge.
    • Sahlberg, P. (1999). Building bridges for learning. Recognition and value of non-formal education in youth activity. Brussels: European Youth Forum.
    • Dundar, H., Roberts-Schweitzer, E., Sahlberg, P. and Zafeirakou, A. (2005). Helping the poorest to learn. The rationale for investing in early childhood education in Europe and Central Asia. Washington, DC: World Bank.
    • Aho, E., Pitkänen, K. and Sahlberg, P. (2006). Policy development and reform principles of basic and secondary education in Finland since 1968. Washington, DC: World Bank.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2009). The role of international organisations in fighting education corruption. In Heyneman, S. (Ed.) Buying your way into heaven. Education and corruption in international perspective. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp. 135-154.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2009). Learning first: School accountability for a sustainable society. In Couture, J.-C., Gariepy, K.D., and Spencer, B. (Eds.) Educational Accountability: Professional Voices from the Field, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp. 1-22.
    • Hargreaves, A., Crocker, R., Davis, B., McEwen, L., Sahlberg, P., Shirley, D., and Sumara, D. (2009). The learning mosaic: A multiple perspectives review of the Alberta initiative for school improvement. Edmonton, AB, Canada: Alberta Education.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2010). The Secret to Finland’s Success: Educating Teachers. Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education – Research Brief, September, Stanford, CA: Stanford University.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2010). The role of education in promoting creativity: potential barriers and enabling factors. In Villalba, E. (Ed.) Measuring creativity. Luxemburg: OPOCE, pp. 337-344.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2011). Educational progress in Finland and what can we learn from it. In Kauste, J. (Ed.) The Best School in the World. Seven Finnish examples from the 21st century. Helsinki: Museum of Finnish Architecture, pp. 20-29.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2011). Lessons from Finland. American Educator, 35(2), 32-36.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2012). A Model lesson. Finland shows us how equal opportunity looks like. American Educator, 36(2), 20-27.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2012). Quality and equity in Finnish schools. School Administrator, September 2012, 27-30.
    • Sahlberg, P., Munn, P., and Furlong, J. (2012). Report of the International Review Panel on the Structure of Initial Teacher Education Provision in Ireland: Review Conducted on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills. Dublin: Department of Education and Skills.
    • Sahlberg, P., Broadfoot, P., Coolahan, J., Furlong, J., and Kirk, G. (2014). Aspiring to Excellence. Final Report of the International Review Panel on the Structure of Initial Teacher Education in Northern Ireland. Belfast, UK: Department of Employment and Learning.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2014). Il Modello Finlandia: Eguaglianza ed eccellenza. MicroMega, settembre, 7-19. In Italian.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2016). Education system where quality and equality go hand in hand. In Cagan, D. (Ed.) Nordic Ways. Washington, DC: Center for Transantlantic Relations, pp. 111-120.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2018). Good School for All: How teachers’ professional wisdom can improve equity in Australian schools? In D. Netolicky, J. Andrews & C. Paterson (Eds.) Flip the System Australia: What matters in education. London: Routledge.
    • Sahlberg, P. and Hyland, A. (2018). The Structure of Teacher Education in Ireland: Review of Progress in Implementing Reform. Department of Education and Skills of Ireland.
    • Sahlberg, P. (2018). Globaliseringens udfordringer til lærerrollen: Fra tilskuer til aktør. In: D. Sommer & J. Klitmøller (Eds.) (2018). Fremtidsparat: Hinsides PISA - nordiske pespektiver på uddannelse. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels.