10 SES 11 C, Teachers' Perceptions and Insights
Transnational pressures are influencing national policies and practices in higher education institutions. However, based on national interpretations of EU policies, there are diverse programmes for teacher education in European countries (Zgaga 2013; Caena 2014). In Finland, pre-service education for primary-school teachers, namely the class teacher education, qualifies graduates to teach a class in grades 1 to 6 in basic education. Class teacher programmes have been taught at the master´s level, preceded by bachelor’s studies, since 1979 (Niemi 2013). PISA results suggest that master´s level teacher education is one factor behind the high quality of Finland’s basic education (Välijärvi et al. 2003).
School teachers have a high level of professional autonomy in Finland. Thus, a multi-faceted understanding and exercise of active responsibilities in pedagogy and education issues are expected from teachers individually and collectively in schools. Teachers’ autonomy, commitment, and responsibility are seen as some of the principal aims of teacher education (Niemi, 2013; Toom & Husu, 2012).
The development of students´ sense of responsibility has been incorporated into the bachelor´s and master´s level teacher-education programmes, as well as the operational culture of teacher-education institutions (e.g. JYU 2014). The development of professional responsibility is a multi-faceted process that students are expected to go through in teacher education. However, there is not enough research-based knowledge available on it. We are interested in examining how students understand and experience their responsibilities during the final phases of their two-level programme, when shifting from bachelor´s to master´s studies and from the master´s level to the classroom. The paper presents the findings of a sub-study focusing on how students felt about the programmes’ features at the end of their bachelor´s studies. The third and final year of a bachelor´s study programme (e.g. JYU 2014) includes study modules for teaching practice in school and writing a bachelor’s thesis. These studies require and encourage students to take more responsibility than during their earlier studies.
Caena, Francesca. 2014. Initial Teacher Education in Europe: an Overview of Policy Issues. European Commission. Edling, Silvia and Frelin, Anneli. 2013. “Doing Good? Interpreting Teachers’ Given and Felt Responsibilities for Pupils’ Well-Being in an Age of Measurement.” Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 19(4): 419–432. JYU 2014. Department of Teacher Education Curriculum Plans 2014-2017. University of Jyväskylä. https://www.jyu.fi/edu/laitokset/okl/opiskelu/luokanopettajakoulutus/luokanopettajakoulutus/Curriculum2014_English.pdf Niemi, Hannele. 2013. “The Finnish Teacher Education: Teachers for Equity and Professional Autonomy.” Revista Española de Educación Comparada, 22: 117–138. Patton, Michael Quinn. 2015. Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods. 4th ed. Los Angeles: Sage. Solbrekke, Tone Dyrdal. 2008. “Educating for Professional Responsibility – A Normative Dimension of Higher Education.” Utbildning och Demokrati, 17: 73–96. Solbrekke, Tone Dyrdal and Englund, Tomas. 2011. “Bringing Professional Responsibility Back in.” Studies in Higher Education, 36: 847–861. Solbrekke, Tone Dyrdal and Karseth, Berit. 2006. “Professional Responsibility: An Issue for Higher Education?” Higher Education, 52: 95–119. Solbrekke, Tone Dyrdal and Sugrue, Ciaran. 2012. “Learning from Conceptions of Professional Responsibility and Graduates Experiences in Becoming Novice Practitioners.” In Learning Trajectories, Innovation and Identity for Professional Development, edited by Anne McKee and Michael Eraut, 193–214. Dordrect: Springer. Toom, Auli and Husu, Jukka. 2012. “Finnish Teachers As ´Makers of the Many´: Balancing between Broad Pedagogical Freedom and Responsibility.” In Miracle of Education. The Principles and Practices of Teaching and Learning in Finnish Schools, edited by Hannele Niemi, Auli Toom and Arto Kallioniemi, 39–54. Rotterdam: Sense. Välijärvi, Jouni, Kupari, Pekka, Linnakylä, Pirjo, Reinikainen, Pasi, Sulkunen, Sari, Törnroos, Jukka and Arffman, Inga. 2003. The Finnish Success in Pisa – and Some Reasons Behind It. Institute for Educational Research. University of Jyväskylä. Zgaga, Pavel. 2013. “The Future of European Teacher Education in the Heavy Seas of Higher Education.” Teacher Development 17(3): 347–361.
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