10 SES 04 E, Research on Teacher Educators
Our presentation will consist of the synthesis of two distinct research papers, which the presenters have been part of. Both of the papers addressed Finnish teacher education from different viewpoints.
In the first research, published in the International Journal of Social Pedagogy (Matikainen, Männistö & Fornaciari 2018) we studied the Critical Integrative Teacher Education [CITE] program in the University of Jyväskylä. CITE was studied because it can arguably be said to represent most socially aware and self-conscious teacher education in Finland (see Nikkola, Rautiainen & Räihä 2013). In the second article (Rautiainen, Männistö & Fornaciari forthcoming in 2019) we researched the state of education for democracy in Finnish teacher education on a national level. The connecting factor between the studies was the question, whether Finnish teacher education [TE] prepares teachers, who are able to educate students, whom have the ability to build socially equal and democratic world. Theoretical framework in the first paper consisted of critical educational theory and in the second of Council of Europe’s [CoE] Competences for Democratic Culture. We argue that through the synthesis of these two articles it is possible to provide some insights considering how Finnish teacher education as a whole educates future teachers to act as a force for a social change. This is an interesting and a highly contemporary topic since the Finnish TE and the whole Finnish school system are seen among the greatests in the world.
The data for the first article was gathered ethnographically from CITE education, during its meetings. The data was analysed in the framework of critical social pedagogy, focusing on the ideals of transformational teacher agency (see e.g. Biesta 2006; 2013; Brookfield 2005; Mezirow 1990; Mezirow & Taylor 2011). According to the research, CITE seems to struggle in transforming the students’ thinking and understanding into actions. Following, the feelings of inability, cynicism and a lacklustre ability to understand concretely how teachers could have an impact in the society through their profession prevent CITE from achieving a more complete transformation in the teacher students’ everyday modes of action (Matikainen et al. 2018). Based on the findings, we suggested a stronger community perspective, collaboration with institutions outside of teacher education, development of a more group-oriented action-culture and the provision of real-life experiences. We believe that this way CITE could better help to foster the future teachers’ agency towards a more transformational and socially connected one in reality. In the second article, the data consisted of in-service teacher educators’ intervention descriptions. The interventions were done during in-service teacher training, which was executed on a national level in Finnish TE. In this article, the data was analysed in the thematic framework of CoE’s Competences for Democratic Culture (see CoE 2016). According to the findings, democracy and human rights are seen as key values in teacher education, but still there are only few courses and staff members who deal directly with questions of democracy and human rights in Finland. Furthermore, commitment to these issues varied a lot between different faculties and personnel. In the interventions, the teacher educators focussed for the most parts on skills as well as on knowledge and critical understanding, while attitudes and values connected to education for democracy and human rights were mostly left untouched (Rautiainen, Männistö & Fornaciari forthcoming in 2019). The outcomes of the both of the research articles echo with a problematic message from the field of teacher education, if the goal of the education is to provide the future teachers with the ability and the understanding that allow them to educate students who are willing and able to act as a force of change so the world would become more sustainable and equal in the future.
In conclusion, we find in the light of these two researches that questions regarding Finnish TE’s ability to educate critical and socially aware teachers need to be asked. Following, we want to ask are the Finnish school system and teacher education concerned enough with themes like citizenship, democracy and ecosocial education in the era of ecological disaster and massive social inequality? Thus, in our presentation we aim to illustrate through the findings of these two researches some of the targets for development in TE in Finland, but also in other western developed societies.
References: Biesta, G. (2006). Beyond learning: Democratic education for a human future. London: Routledge. Biesta, G. (2013). Beautiful risk of education. London: Routledge. Brookfield, S. (2005). The Power of critical theory: Liberating adult learning and teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Council of Europe. (2016). Competences for democratic culture – Living together as equals in culturally diverse democratic societies 2016. Retrieved from: https://rm.coe.int/16806ccc07 Matikainen, M., Männistö, P., & Fornaciari, A. (2018). Fostering transformational teacher agency in Finnish teacher education. International Journal of Social Pedagogy, 7(1): 4. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.ijsp.2018.v7.1.004. Mezirow, J. (Ed.). (1990). Fostering critical reflection in adulthood: A guide to transformative and emancipatory learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Mezirow, J., & Taylor, E. W. (Eds.) (2011). Transformative learning in practice: insights from community. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons. Nikkola, T., Rautiainen, M., & Räihä, P. (2013). Toinen tapa käydä koulua. Kokemuksen, kielen ja tiedon suhde oppimisessa. Tampere: Vastapaino. Raiker, A., Rautiainen, M. and Saqipi, B. 2019 (eds.). Teacher Education and the Development of Democratic Citizenship in Europe. Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge.
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