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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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6. The development of the teacher personality

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6.1. Emphasis of academic subjects The curricula of the teaching training college of Tornio consists academ- ic subjects such as Didactics, Religion, Finnish language, Enviromental Studies, Maths and Helth Education. The textbooks used in the academic subjects instructed prospective students on organising teaching, knowl- edge of the subjects, and the use of various materials, on which reforms brought by the New School ideology also had an effect. Textbooks em- phasised different personal characteristics, such as following a calling and carrying out one’s work happily, taking initiative and working for the good of one’s pupils, living a simple life with a healthy lifestyle, being a teetotaller and physically active, and having a decent, clean personality. Teachers were not allowed to go dancing or to the theatre. Pietilä points out: “Teacher s´ decent activity included that the teacher abstains from go- ing to dancing or to theatre and acts in a teetotal and decent manner”. These demands covered teacher’s free time also because teachers were role models.199 Teachers also had to be decent during their free time. They had to be tactful, hard-working, and educated; speak in the manner of an educated person; dress neatly; and have flawless handwriting.200 Accord- ing to Salmela, teachers’ should be teachers during their free time also: “The teacher’s participation in the local spiritual occasions, temperance and juvenile work, and economic hobbies offers in many ways the best chance to create the connection of appreciation and sympathy between the home and school”201. 199 Pietilä 1928, 3...

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