01 SES 17 A, Ecosystems of Teacher Develoment Part 3
Symposium continued from 01 SES 16 A
The presentation introduces the Teacher Education Development Programme of Finland as an example of collective democratic will-formation through the lens of the discourse theory of justice by Jürgen Habermas. This theory can be regarded as a systemic approach to social practices; it formulates an ideal system of collective will-formation processes in terms of democracy, so as to achieve valid norms, finally encapsulated in the form of laws and law-like statutory regulations or guidelines. The theory highlights the agency and participation of all parties concerned in the democratic process. These ideas have been conceptualized in Habermas’ later work, especially in the Theory of Communicative Action (1984) and in the Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy (1996). In Finland, the participatory nature of teacher education provision is an area of considerable interest, and the focus of this presentation. How this participation has been constituted, involving engagement between different actors, including researchers, teacher union officials and policy makers, is an important part of this process. In 2015, the Ministry commissioned a national review of teacher education from the National Network for Teacher Induction, ‘Osaava Verme’, which included all the teacher education units in Finland. The review (Heikkinen, Aho & Korhonen 2015) recommended that policy makers should appoint a broad-based national body to secure the life-long continuum of teacher development. The Trade Union of Education in Finland developed also a parallel initiative for the reform. The Ministry appointed a National Forum for Teacher Education in early 2016 to reform teacher education. Nearly 200 experts worked together in the National Forum to outline strategic guidelines which took the form of the Teacher Education Development Programme launched in late 2016. Also, nearly two thousand experts in education, as well as students and teachers, participated in an on-line think-tank. The process looks like a textbook example of how practices of teacher education are reformed in an inclusive way. Despite the good intentions, however, it is always challenging to ensure that the process is truly inclusive. The theories of communicative action and the discourse theory of law, after all, offer ideal models for democratic will-formation, and the everyday ecosystems of teacher development have something more to do with competition and intrigue as well as struggle for power, recognition and prestige.
Habermas, J. (1984). The Theory of Communicative Action (Part I and II). John Wiley & Sons. Habermas, J. (1996). Between facts and norms: Contributions to a discourse theory of law and democracy. John Wiley & Sons. Heikkinen, H., Aho, J. & Korhonen, H. (2015). Ope ei saa oppia. Opettajankoulutuksen jatkumon kehittäminen. Jyväskylän yliopisto. Koulutuksen tutkimuslaitos. (Eng. Teacher learns not. Development of teacher education continuum.) Huttunen, R. & Heikkinen, H. (1998) Between facts and norms: Action research in the light of Jürgen Habermas's theory of communicative action and discourse theory of justice, Curriculum Studies, 6:3307-322. Ministry of Education and Culture. (2016).Teacher Education Development Programme. Helsinki: Ministry of Education and Culture.
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