01 SES 12 A, Mentoring of New Teachers in the Nordic Countries: Practices of professional learning as ecosystems. Part 2.
Symposium continued from 01 SES 11 A
In 2006, a wide national review of teacher education (Piesanen, Kiviniemi & Valkonen 2006) revealed that teachers lack support in the beginning of the teaching career. Similar findings were reported by the Trade Union of Education. Thereafter, Finnish Institute for Educational Research responded to these reviews by launching a set of research and development projects. The pilot studies originally started from the traditional one-to-one mentoring model. Gradually the approach was tuned more into the form of peer group mentoring. It was found out that teachers learn also from each other by sharing their challenges and experiences. Thus, the next step was to develop a peer group mentoring format more consciously in 2007-09 through a project called Verme. The project published a book (Heikkinen, Jokinen & Tynjälä 2010) where the PGM model was outlined and empirical experiences of the model were reported. Simultaneously, a national programme for teacher development (Osaava Ohjelma, 2010-17) was launched. Within this programme, the PGM model was scaled throughout Finland. However, the financial crisis hit the public sector at the very same time, and the municipalities had to cut costs. Thus, it was not a favorable moment to introduce any new tasks to the municipality employers. Quite the opposite, mentoring was often regarded as an extra cost. In some municipalities, however, PGM was implemented as an encompassing form of in-service education. When a national Teacher Education Development Programme was launched (2017-20) PGM was chosen as one of the instruments to develop teachers’ professional learning. However, simultaneously another big project, called the Tutor Teacher project, was also launched. Despite the fact the profiles of the models were intended to be different, in many municipalities the two projects were understood to serve the same purpose: peer learning of teachers. From an ecosystem perspective, the models were seen as competitors in the same ecological niche. In the future, there are a number of challenges to solve in the Finland. The profiles and the funding mechanisms of the two parallel and competitive models should be balanced, and the responsibilities of the stakeholders (municipality employers, schools, teachers’ union, universities providing teacher education) have to be clarified. Therefore, a broad based social deliberation is needed to find out solutions for the best ways to develop induction of new teachers in the Finnish ecosystem of education.
Geeraerts, K., Tynjälä, P., & Heikkinen, H. 2018. Inter-generational learning of teachers : what and how do teachers learn from older and younger colleagues? European Journal of Teacher Education, 41 (4), 479-495. Heikkinen, H., Jokinen, H. & Tynjälä, P. 2012. Teacher education and development as lifelong and lifewide learning. In: H. Heikkinen, H. Jokinen & P. Tynjälä (Eds.) Peer-Group Mentoring for Teacher Development. Milton Park: Routledge, 3-30. Heikkinen, H., Wilkinson, J., Aspfors, J., & Bristol, L. 2018. Understanding mentoring of new teachers: Communicative and strategic practices in Australia and Finland. Teaching and Teacher Education, 71, 1-11. Kemmis, S. & Heikkinen, H. 2012. Future perspectives: Peer-Group Mentoring and international practices for teacher development. In: H. Heikkinen, H. Jokinen & P. Tynjälä (Eds.) Peer-Group Mentoring for Teacher Development. Milton Park: Routledge, 144-170. Kemmis, S., Heikkinen, H., Aspfors, J., Fransson, G. & Edwards-Groves, C. 2014. Mentoring as Contested Practice: Support, Supervision and Collaborative Self-development. Teaching and Teacher Education 43, 154-164. Piesanen, E., Kiviniemi, U., & Valkonen, S. (2005). Opettajankoulutuksen kehittämisohjelman seuranta ja arviointi. Opettajien täydennyskoulutus, 1998-2005.
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