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Transforming Education

Global Perspectives, Experiences and Implications

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Edited By Robert A. DeVillar, Binbin Jiang and Jim Cummins

This research-based volume presents a substantive, panoramic view of ways in which Australia and countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America engage in educational programs and practices to transform the learning processes and outcomes of their students. It reveals and analyzes national and global trajectories in key areas of educational development, and enhances readers’ understanding of the nature and complexity of educational transformation in a global context. The book’s comprehensive analysis of factors associated with transforming education within globally representative geographical, cultural, and political contexts contributes to critical scholarship; its discussion of individual country findings and cross-country patterns has significant implications for educational practitioners and leaders. The volume has direct practical relevance for educational practitioners and leaders, policymakers, and researchers, as nations remain in dire need of effective ways and means to transform their respective educational systems to (1) more ably realize educational equity, (2) make learning relevant to an increasingly diverse overall student populace, (3) ensure individual and general prosperity, and (4) promote substantive global collaboration in developing the new economy.
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CHAPTER FOUR: What Can We Do Even Better?: Research for Promoting Quality in Teacher Education in Finland: Hannele Niemi

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Hannele Niemi

The Case of Finland: A Web of Interrelated Factors in Educational Success

The Finnish educational system has received attention from all over the world because of the great success of Finnish 15-year-olds in the OECD’s PISA surveys in 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009 (e.g., OECD, 2006, 2010). The knowledge and skills of Finns in problem solving and in scientific, mathematical, and reading literacy are representative of the highest level of international standards. Only a very few Finnish students are in the lowest PISA categories. Likewise, the between-schools differences of learning outcomes are small. Many researchers as well as Finnish policymakers regard high-quality teachers and teacher education as major factors contributing to good learning outcomes.

This chapter aims to analyze the major features of teacher education in Finland and describe how these features are related to the wholeness of the educational system. A key issue is teachers’ professional role in the educational system and teacher education’s mission to prepare new teachers for this role. The chapter starts with a brief description of how the Finnish educational system has developed in the last decades and how teacher education has been part of the development process. A crucial policy-level principle has been a strong emphasis on equity throughout the system over the past 35 years. After presenting this contextual description, the chapter summarizes the major strengths and weaknesses of Finnish teacher education in light of recent research and evaluation findings. Also ← 87 | 88 → included are...

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