Two middle school educators earned a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching fellowship. A Fulbright Finland Foundation inter-country travel grant provided the grantees with a unique opportunity to connect and collaborate at the University of Helsinki. Within this research, they described their inquiry experiences. The research included examining authentic student-centered learning continuums and phenomenon-based learning in Finland and teachers’ adaptability in relation to meeting the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse math classrooms in the Netherlands. This paper summarizes how cross-cultural dialogues, classroom observations, and informal interviews with educators, students, and thought leaders informed each grantee’s discovery of how student-centered learning is structured, delivered, and valued in Finland and the Netherlands. This article (1) describes how communication empowers middle school mathematics students, (2) analyzes the learning-to-learn framework, and (3) provides insights into how to utilize language diversity in a mathematics classroom.


student-centered mathematics, language diversity, learning-to-learn framework, phenomenon-based learning, teacher professional development, professional inquiry

ORCID Identifiers

Sabrina Goldberg: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0089-3294

Jana Dean: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7297-4985

Päivi Portaankorva-Koivisto: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1353-5963



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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