The lack of competent teachers is a global challenge that has a major impact on the quality of education offered to students both young and old. In Finland, highly-trained and competent teachers form the foundation of education and a lot of effort is put into the initial training as well as in-service training of our educators. The KOULU Teacher Training Academy is a full teacher training programme based on the guiding principles and themes of Finnish education and culturally adjusted to meet the needs of local environments. With our international partners, we are creating world-class teacher training institutions. Our Teacher Training Academy programmes are targeted at all K-12 teachers as well as vocational education teachers.
To develop high-quality teachers that have the necessary knowledge and skills to inspire the best learning results in their students. We also aim to empower teachers to become continuous learners and learning developers.
Teachers have a key role in enhancing students’ performance and increasing the quality of their education. Teachers who keep developing their skills and come up with practical grass-root innovations adapted to their setting are of great value in creating effective educational systems.
The programme is based on themes that give teachers the knowledge and skills required to improve their performance. These themes are:
- From teachers to learning facilitators
We begin by taking a look at how learning is viewed in the world of today and how that affects the role of the teacher. This module sets the baseline for the training programme and its working methods by introducing the guiding principle behind quality teaching and student-centred learning approaches, the core of the Finnish education system.
- Lifelong Learning Skills as part of education
Teachers are not simply subject matter experts passing their knowledge onwards, but they also have a larger role in introducing lifelong learning skills to their students. These skills include social, group working, problem solving, research, digital and entrepreneurial skills. In this module, teachers gain an understanding of how to inspire the development of these skills in their students through pedagogical choices implemented in the classroom.
- Learning Design
In this practical module we work with teachers in developing the everyday, practical skills required for top work performance. A large part of the teacher’s work happens outside of the classroom in planning, preparing and designing courses and classes that ensure learning objectives are met. Teachers will learn how to manage their working days and plan lessons efficiently to maximise their performance. We also look at cooperation with the wider community outside of the school, i.e. how to work with parents and other key stakeholders. In TVET programmes, this includes working in partnership with private sector companies.
- The Pedagogical Toolbox of a Teacher
The main priority of a teacher’s work is to ensure that the students meet their learning objectives. Learning objectives vary, as do the students and the ways they learn. In order to be able to design engaging, motivating and performance-oriented learning opportunities, teachers need to be able to apply a multitude of pedagogical approaches in their work. These include i.e. learning environment design, various participatory learning methods, inquiry-based learning, project learning, and gamification. In this module, we work with teachers to give them a variety of approaches commonly used by Finland’s teachers in their everyday work.
- Teachers’ Tools in the Digital Era
Schools are not laboratories but active contributors to the world around them. Today, digital tools are rapidly changing the world and have a major impact in the world outside of schools. In addition to learning management systems and schools’ administration software, mobile devices, social media services and various applications form an essential part of a teacher’s toolbox. In this module, teachers learn how to integrate digital solutions and services into their teaching and how to assess existing services from a pedagogical perspective. We study the design and pedagogy of E-Learning, and also enable teachers to design and implement their own E-Learning activities.
- From testing to continuous assessment
It is well known that one feature of the Finnish education system is the limited amount of testing. Instead of exams at the end of the semester, teachers assess their students on a continuous basis which enables all students to enhance their performance throughout the school year. This approach, which aims for all students to be able to perform at their highest level, has a direct impact on the students’ learning results. Continuous assessment stems from the learner-centered teaching approach which is a foundation of the KOULU Teacher Training Academy.
- Teaching practice
During their studies, all teachers will need to implement the approaches and methodologies shared in the Academy in actual classroom settings, either as part of their regular teaching or during training practice sessions organised together with KOULU’s partner schools.