10 SES 09 A, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
The paper presents some essential issues concerning the mobility of teachers in Finland. In Europe and in many other developed countries, a shortage of qualified teachers is already a reality. The teacher shortage will get worse because of the changing age structure and the retirement of teachers. In addition, the popularity of teaching profession appears to decline. Teachers are moving to other professions. Is this the vision of future which will happen in Finland too? Working life is changing rapidly and pedagogical skills are needed also in many other employment sectors than purely in education.
Mobility from teaching profession to other sectors of labor indicates that more quantitative and qualitative information is needed in future to evaluate the amounts of teacher education students. Especially within the first five years of graduation several teachers decide to change profession. This phenomenon is common in Europe and in America. For example about half of the teachers leave the field of education within five years of graduation in Northern America. (Bess 2007; Improving the Quality of Teacher Education 2007; Key topics in education in Europe 2004; Palmer 2007)
The function of the new teachers’ induction into their first school is to help them to construct a professional identity and professional practices suited for the realities of school and integrated into their own conception of good teaching (e.g. Devos, 2010). Teachers’ assessments of the practical competencies with which their teacher education had equipped them reveal that a newly qualified teacher has only limited knowledge of the students, the curricula, the school community, local action principles and practices. Besides having to cope with new situations, new teachers must deal with uncertainty and many problems on a daily basis as they engage in the multifaceted activity of teaching (Jokinen & Välijärvi, 2006). Nowadays teachers meet more diverse, open and complex environments than their earlier counterparts. They as professionals perceive this situation problematic and demanding on themselves.
Transitioning from the education field to the working world is always a challenge, but the step from initial education to teachers’ work seems to be even more demanding than in many other professions. In many fields, a career begins with only minor responsibilities, gradually acquiring more challenges and duties along its development path. Instead, for example in the Finnish teaching profession, full pedagogical and legal responsibility is given as soon as the teacher enters the school with a formal qualification (Tynjälä & Heikkinen 2011; Jokinen, Heikkinen & Morberg, in press). Tynjälä and Heikkinen (2011) have identified the following issues that new teachers encounter when moving from initial education to work: 1) threat of unemployment, 2) inadequate knowledge and skills, 3) decreased self-efficacy and increased stress, 4) early attrition, 5) role and position of newcomers in a work community, and 6) importance of workplace learning.
Bess, K. 2007. Gone after five years? Think again. Education Week 26 (41), 26-30. Improving the Quality of Teacher Education 2007. Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. Key topics in education in Europe. Vol. 3 (2004). The teaching profession in Europe: Profile, trends and concerns. Report IV: Keeping teaching attractive for the 21st century. General lower secondary education. Brussels: Eurydice, European Unit. Palmer, K. 2007. Why teachers quit? Teacher Magazine 18 (6), 45. Devos, A. (2010). New teachers, mentoring and the discursive formation of professional identity. Teaching and Teacher Education 26, 1219-1223. Jokinen, H,, Heikkinen, H.L.T. & Morberg, Å (2012) The Induction Phase as a Critical Transition for Newly Qualified Teachers. In P. Tynjälä, M-L Stenström & M. Saarnivaara (Eds.) Transitions and Transformations in Learning and Education. Springer. In press. Jokinen, H. & Välijärvi J. 2006. Making Mentoring a Tool for Supporting Teachers’ Professional development. In R. Jakku-Sihvonen & H. Niemi (Eds.) Research-based Teacher Education in Research in Educational Sciences. Turku. 89-101. Tynjälä, P. & Heikkinen, H.L.T. (2011) Beginning Teachers' Transition from Pre-Service Education to Working Life. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 14,1, 11-33.
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