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Finnish Teacher Education and PISA: Some Reflections

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Presentation on theme: "Finnish Teacher Education and PISA: Some Reflections"— Presentation transcript:

1 Finnish Teacher Education and PISA: Some Reflections
Eero Ropo Professor of Education School of Education

2 Development of Finnish Teacher Education
Primary teachers Primary teacher education started in 1863 at the Jyväskylä Teacher Seminar (currently University of Jyväskylä) Seminars were merged to universities in 1971 Primary teacher education became a MA degree in 1979 Secondary teachers Were educated at the universities since late 1800 until 1974 Pedagogical training was provided by the state owned Normal Schools after the degree during one academic year - until 1974 Normal schools merged to universities in 1974 Secondary teacher education was reformed in 1979 and Teachers’ Pedagogical Studies became a minor subject to MA and MSc degrees

3 Finnish Teacher Education in European Context
Teacher education is not legislated by the EU. However, EU gives recommendations for developing common basis for all education Some member states (e.g. Cyprus, Estonia, Slovenia, Germany and UK) make centralized decisions (ministry or other government bodies) on standards for teacher education In most EU countries (e.g. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden) competence requirements are outlined at national level, but are adapted or further defined at a lower level by the teacher education institutions In few other Member States (e.g. Finland, Czech Republic, Greece, and Malta) the competence requirements are only set by teacher education institutions. Those countries, where the decision is made at the national level, tend to have more explicit and detailed descriptions of the competences that teachers are required to possess. Finnish teacher education is not based on lists of competences

4 Basic Requirements for Becoming a Teacher
Master’s degree including or in addition to: Subject matter studies (min 60 ECTS ) in each subject that one aims to teach at school Credit for subject matter studies given by the university subject departments In primary teacher education subject matter is defined as “multidisciplinary studies” given by Schools or Faculties of Education Teacher’s Pedagogical Studies (60 ECTS), including teacher practice Studies are organized and credit given by Faculties or Schools of Education Teacher practice (minimum15 ECTS) takes mainly place at University Practice Schools

5 Graduating New Teachers Have Typically
Studied 5-6 years (Primary teachers) or 6-7 years (Secondary teachers) full or part-time Worked as substitute teachers in different schools during their studies On average ECTS in their Master’s degree (minimun 300) At least two, but in some cases three subjects (e.g. Math and Science) that they are qualified to teach in secondary education (min 60 ECTS) Primary teachers can also qualify to teach at secondary level by studying the subjects at the university subject departments (e.g. Math, English, Arts etc.)  Dual qualifications

6 Contents of Teacher Education Programs
In Finland teacher education courses and contents of the program are decided by the universities However, Ministry of Education and different stakeholders offer recommendations about the contents of the programs (e.g. inclusive education, ICT competences, multicultural education etc.) Contents of Master programs is based on multiple decision made by subject departments, faculties of education, and practice schools There are a few principles Finnish teacher education follows: Strong emphasis on knowing the subject matters to be taught Good theoretical knowledge on education, teaching and curriculum, and student learning As extensive teacher practice as possible within the time restrictions Individual growth to teacher identity and teacher career (reflection of experiences, portfolios evaluation, individual mentoring in the practice schools)

7 PISA Results and Finland
PISA = Program for International Student Assessment by OECD Overall, Finland has been among the three best countries in reading, mathematics and science results in 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009 PISA studies It is difficult to say what exactly is the reason for good performance in Finnish schools Nature of Finnish language? Length of school year or amount of practice are not the reasons At least Finnish students learn to answer the type of questions PISA includes

8 Suggested Reasons for PISA Success
Respect of Teachers in the society Nature of Finnish home education Overall Quality of Teachers and Teacher Education Only less than 10 percent of applicants are accepted into primary teacher education programs Secondary teacher students are selected from students enrolled already at the university Emphasis on acquiring pedagogically relevant scientific knowledge Professional, individual mentoring for students in the university practice schools Scientific Basis of Teacher Education Programs Theory as the basis for program (curriculum & learning theory, identity and autobiography) Every student involved in research (Master’s Thesis) Portfolio method as the way of evaluation and to enhance individual reflection Educational culture in the schools Trust to teachers’ work (no inspectors) No regular national testing (teachers design and administer their own exams) School-based curricula based on national curriculum framework; teachers participate in designing the curriculum

9 Teacher autonomy and responsibility is emphasized in the system
Developing teacher identity is one of the main focuses in the teacher education  Teachers focus more on educating students towards the educational goals than maximizing their test performance ”No child left behind” Inclusion is the main strategy in education; municipalities invest resources in helping student who have learning difficulties Still we know that Boys are not doing as well as girls in the school About 5 to 8 percent of primary school graduates do not continue their studies in secondary education after mandated 9 years There are social problems and problems in student well-being at school

10 Quality of Teachers and Schools
We know that “the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers” and that “the only way to improve outcomes is to improve instruction” (Barber and Mourshed, 2007) teacher quality is significantly and positively correlated with pupil attainment (e.g. Darling Hammond et al., 2005; Greenwald, Hedges and Laine, 1996; Rockoff, 2004); There are positive relations between in-service teacher training and student achievement (Angrist and Lavy, 2001; Bressoux,1996).

11 Thank you!

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