Professional Teacher Education Student

Teacher competences

Study Guide 21-22

The International Professional Teacher Education Studies for the Digital Era equips you with knowledge, skills and competences needed from the educational professionals in 21st century world. You will learn how to facilitate learning processes for different learners while developing your own expertise as well as your working community – all this with a proactive outlook to the future.

Digitalization, globalization, and changes in the landscape of work all around the world set new requirements for not only teachers but also other professionals in the world of work. They are also crosscutting issues across this study programme, and you will learn how to turn these phenomena into an asset in your work as an expert of learning.

In Finland, professional teacher education studies are regulated by the Finnish statue (Statute 1129/2014 § 6). The studies provide the graduates with the pedagogical qualification required of teachers at universities of applied sciences, vocational and professional education and training (VET), as well as, other educational levels.

Our curriculum is competence-based including three key competence areas: facilitating learning, creating the future and developing teacher identity. Each of them are further divided into more specific skills and competences as below. The skills within each competence area will be developed, deepened and assessed through different learning assignments.

Three key competence areas: facilitating learning, creating the future and developing teacher identity

Facilitating Learning

Professional pedagogical competence consists of a teacher's

  • theoretical, ethical and philosophical understanding of vocational competence and learning 
  • ability to support the development of professional knowledge and skills and learners’ self-regulation skills as required in their professional field and defined in the formal documents and regulations
  • ability to act in a critical, formative and creative manner in the pedagogical operating environments of their field. 

Interpersonal competence includes a teacher's

  • ability to deliberate learners’ personal learning aims and premises and support learner agency
  • competence in supporting learners in a sensitive manner considering their life and learning contexts
  • dialogical and ethically sound approach supporting the well-being of learners.

Facilitating and guiding learning processes involves a teacher's

  • collaborative approach and ability to planning, implementing, assessing and developing learning and guidance processes taking into consideration the diversity of learners
  • understanding of group processes and group phenomena in learning
  • employment of versatile and working life-oriented learning resources
  • ability to design, implement  and facilitate learning processes in digital environments in a pedagogically meaningful way

Creating the Future

Future orientation refers to a teacher’s

  • willingness and ability to contribute to the future of learning, work and society
  • ability to perceive societal, economic and social developments and to identify changes that take place in professional competences in their own field
  • inquiry-based approach to work and a critical but constructive attitude towards the existing operational methods and structures
  • courage to think creatively and change their ways of working in a new way to promote social equality, education and ethically sustainable development.

Development skills refer to a teacher's

  • ability to further develop their own and their organisation’s practices and operational culture in collaboration with others
  • willingness and ability to develop vocational learning, work and entrepreneurship at regional, national and international level
  • ability to acquire and justify information on the development needs of vocational learning and the world of work, in order to use it to promote learning
  • forming of relevant partnerships networks in an innovative and solution-oriented manner.

Developing a Teacher Identity

Reflection skills refer to a teacher's

  • ability to recognise and critically assess their own values, attitudes, ethical principles and work methods  
  • ability to adjust their actions based on the feedback received
  • realistically assessing their own learning and competence and setting  new goals as a facilitator of learning.

Agency refers to a teachers’

  • proactive approach to creating their own professional development path
  • ability to set goals for their professional development;
  • making creative, work-related decisions on the basis of professional pedagogical knowledge
  • capacity to manage their own work in an appropriate manner
  • participating in joint knowledge creation processes, and possessing the competence to work in diverse learning environments to further develop their own and the work community’s activities.

Pedagogical Principles

The pedagogical principles at the School of Teacher Education are based on three elements:

  1. creating learning through meaningful learning activities
  2. building learning partnerships in order to create new knowledge
  3. utilising digital technologies and environments to support these two above.

The first two principles create the methodological basis of learning and guidance, whereas various digital tools and resources support meaningful learning. Digital technology provides an opportunity for interaction and joint knowledge creation that is independent of time and place. Digital resources also provide an opportunity for more extensive, diverse and up-to-date information seeking.

1. Meaningful Learning Activities

The use of meaningful learning activities as a source of learning is based on constructivism. This gives learners the opportunity to be active in setting appropriate questions in terms of their own learning aims providing basis for active knowledge creation. The notion of knowledge is therefore dynamic.

The purpose of learning activities is to create new knowledge and understanding of phenomena being studied by integrating new ideas, information and concepts into learners’ existing knowledge structures. The learning tasks not only prompt the production of new knowledge but also the application in authentic contexts when possible. Through learning activities, learners develop a proactive approach and ownership of their own learning.

2. Learning partnerships

Social interaction plays a key role in boosting learning, creating shared understanding and the co-production and sharing of new knowledge.

Learning partnerships are based on an interactive relationship between an individual and their environment. Interactive relationships therefore play a key role in learning experiences. They are formed in the relationships between students, between teachers and students and between other social networks and communities that have common learning goals. These partnerships form a key basis in pedagogical activities.

The partnership between teachers and students is built on the principles of equality, transparency, mutual responsibility and mutual learning. Building common trust is a shared task for all partners.

In line with the humanistic approach, this curriculum understands humans having the potential for growth, development and self-realisation. However, the structures that affect the self are complex. Building and maintaining the current state of the self, identity and knowledge are key aims in all education.

3. Utilisation of digital opportunities

Digital technology is constantly changing our work, organisations, society and lives. These technologies enable many possibilities for communication between people as well as possibilities to find, create and use information in a new, innovative way.

It is essential that students are supported and prompted  in finding, learning and creating new information by using digital tools and resources. It is possible to get access to digital tools and resources practically everywhere, which makes it possible to create connections independent of time and place for creating and sharing ideas. Digital tools make it possible to provide continuous feedback and thereby support making learning and creating new information visible to all relevant parties.

The expansion of digitalisation is already transforming working life and society in that citizens are required have the ability to use digital tools and to adopt new ways of thinking.