Global Perspectives, Experiences and Implications
Edited By Robert A. DeVillar, Binbin Jiang and Jim Cummins
CHAPTER FOUR: What Can We Do Even Better?: Research for Promoting Quality in Teacher Education in Finland: 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...