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The Historical Background of School System and Teacher Image in Finland

Merja Paksuniemi

The purpose of the book is to identify and describe the teacher image that was inherent at the teacher training colleges in Finland during 1921 to 1945. It also points out what kind of pedagogical philosophies influenced the foundation of the Finnish school system. The book provides a historical point of view of teaching at the teacher training colleges and introduces the pedagogical methods which were used. The focus is on a teacher training college for women, located in Northern Finland, Tornio.


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4. Teacher training colleges in Finland


4.1. Herbart-Zillerism as a pedagogical guideline The Herbart-Zillerist pedagogical approach, which had spread from Eu- rope to Finland, influenced the education at the teacher training colleges. In Herbartianism, teaching was defined as an activity for both educating a person and encouraging them toward decency and inspiring an enthusi- asm to try new things and gain more knowledge.133 As early as the 1890s, lecturers in pedagogy at Finnish colleges had begun to apply the Herbart- Ziller pedagogical approach and its methods134. Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776–1841) was a German philosopher, psy- chologist, and founder of pedagogy as an academic discipline135. In the early 19th century, he created a philosophical and pedagogical system that saw success in Germany beginning in the 1860s, thanks to Tuiskon Ziller (1817–1882). Ziller was a German scientist who further developed the educational method created by Herbart.136 As a result, this philosophy is known as Herbart-Zillerism. According to this method, the purpose of school was the development of a strong religious and decent nature in all students. Teachers were encouraged to utilise a diverse range of activi- ties. Teaching was based on a teacher-led approach, whereby the teacher was responsible for deciding what was taught in the classroom. As such, the teacher held an important role in the classroom. Religion, literature, and history were all seen as important. They created a cultural-historic foundation upon which teaching was gradually built.137 In the 1890s, the 133 Iisalo 1989, 152, 159–161. 134 Isosaari 1961, 150–152. See Lahdes 1961,...

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