A3 Book chapter

Teacher Education in Finland and Future Directions

List of Authors: Mirjamaija Mikkilä-Erdmann, Anu Warinowski, Tuike Iiskala

Publication year: 2019

Book title *: The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education

ISBN: 978-0-19-026409-3

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.286


Finland has gained increasingly more global interest among
educationalists and politicians because of its excellent results on
large-scale international student assessments like the Programme for
International Student Assessment (PISA). An interesting question is how a
small country in the Global North with only 5 million inhabitants has
managed to develop a school system that has gone from undistinguished to
top-performing in two decades. The reasons for Finland’s successful and
egalitarian school system can be investigated from many perspectives.
One view regards teacher education, with the assumption that it has
special characteristics that contribute to the success of Finland’s
educational system. Factors include systematic selection, a progressive
curriculum design that supports teachers’ learning of content knowledge,
and the creation of teachers’ didactic skills. In addition, systematic
teaching practices in special schools, called training schools, are used
to help students integrate theoretical understanding and the practical
skills needed for the teaching profession, especially those related to
individual student learning in everyday classrooms. Furthermore, the
role of empirical research skills in facilitating the development of
teacher expertise is essential in Finnish teacher education. Generally,
the concept behind Finnish teacher education seems to work very well.
However, the system will face challenges in the future, such as how to
develop new research-based methods of student selection that are valid
and reliable. The educational path—from academic preservice teacher
education in a university context to in-service teacher education—is
developing and offers the newest research-based knowledge for all
teachers, but there is still a lot work to be done in order to link all
teachers within official continuous learning systems with universities
throughout their careers. Finland’s teaching profession offers a great
deal of autonomy and freedom, and the quality of school learning is
based on teachers’ evaluations, not standardized tests. Like other
countries, Finland is rapidly changing. Hopefully the most important
feature of the Finnish educational system, the transparent dialog
between the educational research community, the government, teachers,
and parents, will carry over into the future. Without dialogue,
educators cannot learn about the shared values supporting current and
future schools.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 11:20