Professional Teacher Education Student

Teacher competences

Study Guide 20-21

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 future and developing the teacher identity. Each of them are further divided into more specific skills and competences as illustrated on Figure 1. 

Teacher competences

Figure 1: Teacher competences

Facilitating learning

Facilitating learning skills consists of:  

  • teachers’ theoretical and 
  • philosophical understanding of learning.
  • ability to plan, implement and assess meaningful learning processes.
  • take into consideration the diversity of learners.

Learning environment skills refers to:

  • teachers’ ability to develop varied, motivating and accessible learning environments
  • ability to utilise different digital resources to support learning

Interaction skills refers to:

  • teachers’ capacity to work in different interactive relationships and partner networks in an ethically sound manner

Creating future

Future orientation refers to:

  • teachers begin involved in creating the future for VET learning, working life and society by investigating and critically analysing existing practices and structures.
  • the courage to rethink and support the development of social equality, democracy and human rights.

Developmental skills refers to:

  • teachers’ ability to further develop their own and their organisation’s practices in collaboration with others.
  • the ability to develop VET learning, working life and entrepreneurship at the regional, national and international levels by working in partner networks.

Developing Teacher Identity

Reflection skills means

  • teachers’ ability to recognise and critically assess their values, attitudes, ethical principles and work methods as a facilitator of learning.

Agency skills refers to

  • teachers’ proactive approach to set aims for their own professional development.
  • an ability to make appropriate and pedagogically sound decisions related to their work
  • an ability to participate in a joint knowledge building
  • working in partner networks to develop teachers’ and their organisation’s practices.

Pedagogical principles

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

  1. using meaningful learning tasks as a basis for learning
  2. building learning partnerships in order to create new knowledge
  3. utilising digital opportunities to support the two above-mentioned principles.

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

1. Learning tasks

The use of meaningful learning tasks as a source of learning is based on the principles of 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 tasks 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. Learning tasks develop learners’ proactive approach to their own learning, thereby enabling their ownership of learning.

2. Learning partnerships

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

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 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 understanding of humans, 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.