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Teachers’ written school memories and the change to the comprehensive school system in Finland in the 1970s

Julkaisun tekijätMarjo Nieminen



JournalPaedagogica Historica

Tietokannassa oleva lehden nimiPaedagogica Historica




Lopetussivun numero276

Sivujen määrä24




Rinnakkaistallenteen osoite


This paper focuses on teachers’ written memories of Finland’s
comprehensive school reform in the 1970s and examines teachers’
reminiscences of this major change, when elementary (primary) schools
and lower secondary (grammar) schools were transformed into
comprehensive schools, thereby guaranteeing nine-year basic education
with a unified curriculum for all pupils. The teachers’ written memories
are part of the larger national collection of school memories arranged
in 2013 by two academic societies. This study’s focus lies in these
teachers’ highly sensitive, grass-roots level personal perspectives. The
teachers’ narratives comprised vivid and concrete memories in which
they recalled the past nostalgically and in detail. In the
reminiscences, the change in the education system was noted and even
analysed in a versatile way, but at the same time, the reform was viewed
as merely one episode occurring during these teachers’ individual life
paths. The writers emphasised the reform’s positive aspects and did not
interpret contradictions as overwhelming, although some narratives
included reminiscences in which the disputes from that period were
crystallised. The collective narrative in the accounts transformed from
uncertainty and contradictions at the beginning of the comprehensive
school reform to favourableness and positive attitudes toward the new
education system after the transition period.

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Last updated on 2022-07-04 at 15:59