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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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7. Process factors that strengthen the teacher image

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7.1. Practical training at the Training school The teacher was the most important motivator and keeper of the peace in the classroom. The kind of teaching he or she had received during teacher training, the place where the teaching was carried out, the size of the class, and curricula from which the teacher taught were all important factors relating to the success of the teaching. Discipline had to originate from the teacher himself, as he or she had to maintain strict and consistent self- discipline in either his or her presentation and own thoughts. The teacher had to ensure peace with his or her personality, calmness, and, most of all, his or her fair approach. A true teacher was considered to be a person who placed high expectations upon himself. A large factor was how well the teacher knew his or her pupils in order for him to be able to read the behav- iour of the pupils. The teacher had to have a diverse understanding of his or her pupils’ natures, tendencies, and habits. In addition, the teacher had to form his or her approach to discipline in accordance with each pupil’s nature; that is, he or she had to pay attention to individuality. This was not just applicable to the classroom; rather, the teacher also had to monitor the pupils during breaks and on excursions. Finnish teacher training institu- tions strove to teach these qualities to their prospective primary school teachers. This was the foundation from which pedagogy...

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