Browsing by Subject "professional development"

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  • Gagnon, Joseph Calvin; Swank, Jacqueline M. (2021)
    A national study of clinical directors examined professional development (PD) focused on mental health provided to professionals in juvenile justice facilities for adjudicated youth. A total of 85 clinical directors responded to a mail survey (45% return rate). The survey questions related to (a) topics of staff training and the basis for choosing topics, (b) which professionals participated in each PD topic, (c) training format and frequency of PD, (d) recommended attributes of PD, (e) methods of evaluating PD, and (f) adequacy of PD and how can it be improved. For each topic, PD was typically provided once per year and face to face, rather than online. PD participation rates were commonly in the 30% and 40% ranges for professionals other than clinical directors and counselors, with teachers, correctional officers, administrators, and teaching assistants receiving PD the least. Rarely did PD include recommended attributes of PD, and it was commonly viewed as ineffective. Implications for research and practice related to PD and its relationship to youth reentry from juvenile justice facilities are discussed.
  • Hemmi, Kirsti; Krzywacki, Heidi; Liljeqvist, Yvonne (2019)
    In the current paper, we present an analysis of a case study in which we have followed Swedish primary teachers who voluntarily began using translated Finnish curriculum materials, i.e. a textbook and teacher guide, in order to reform their mathematics teaching. The multifaceted data, consisting of questionnaires, interviews, protocols from collegial meetings and classroom observations, were gathered during the period 2010-2014. The analysis of the interplay within this cross-cultural setting reveals the special characteristics and the challenges existing in practice. Both the experienced and inexperienced teachers offloaded a great deal of their agency to the materials in order to become familiar with the ideas they mediated. Yet, the lack of a clear rationale behind the organization of the materials, as well as the suggested activities connected to taken-for-granted features of the Finnish teaching tradition, made fruitful interaction problematic. The changes teachers made in their classroom practice were tightly connected to the support offered in the materials, without which the teachers abandoned their new classroom patterns. Based on the results of this study, we suggest a number of general aspects that we regard as important to consider when implementing curriculum materials developed within another cultural-educational context.
  • Weckström, Elina; Karlsson, Liisa; Pöllänen, Sinikka; Lastikka, Anna-Leena (2021)
    This study reports on critical participatory research in an early childhood education and care centre in Finland. The objective was to study which elements are critical in the development and construction of a culture of participation. The data comprise conversations, team meetings and educators' diaries. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. The results indicated that a culture of participation requires four elements: (a) a shared understanding of the image of the child, (b) a shared understanding of professional development, (c) leadership and (d) a shared we-narrative that enables the comprehensive understanding, promotion and maintenance of a culture of participation.
  • Fonsén, Elina; Ukkonen-Mikkola, Tuulikki (2019)
    Background: In recent years, early childhood education (ECE) has faced many reforms that have led to new requirements for pedagogy. Due to this evolution, there is, in turn, an increasing need to enhance the professional competence of ECE teachers through further training. Purpose: This article examines ECE teachers' interpretations of the changes in their pedagogical thinking during a further training course for ECE teachers in Finland. The aim of this qualitative research was to investigate the professional development that can be related to the further training. The context of the study was an 18-month long ECE teachers' further training course called 'Pedagogy of Early Childhood Education during Changing Practices'. Sample: The study involved 32 ECE teachers participating in the further training course. The data consisted of the written responses of the further training participants in respect of their interpretation of pedagogy. Design and methods: The research was carried out using a participatory action approach. The written data were collected from the teacher participants. Thematic analysis was firstly conducted inductively from the data. In the second phase, content analysis was applied using abductive reasoning. The theory-based content analysis was conducted using pedagogical leadership aspects of the theory of human capital. Results: The features of professional development that were identified were explored through the lens of pedagogical leadership and grouped into four dimensions: increased knowledge, awareness of the quality of previously implemented pedagogy, developmental skills, and ability to make the case for ECE pedagogy. Conclusions: The research identified connections and relationships between the further training and professional development in pedagogical leadership. The significance of and demand for a participatory action research approach to further training for ECE teachers are discussed.
  • Niemi, Hannele (2011)
    For decades, the Finnish orientation toward teacher education has committed itself to the development of an inquiry oriented and research-based professional culture. The aims of teacher education are to train students to find and analyse problems they may expect to face in their future work. This study consists of a survey of student teachers (n=545) in two universities in Finland. Web-based surveys with quantitative and qualitative questions were sent to all student teachers in the beginning of May 2010. Students assessed how teacher education had provided them with the competences they need in a high standard profession, what kinds of active learning experiences they had in their TE studies, and how research studies of teacher education had contributed to their professional development. The participants of the study assessed that they had achieved good skills in planning teaching and curricula. They were capable of using different teaching methods. They were aware of their own teaching philosophy and their responsibilities as professionals and life-long learners. They consider the research component of TE valuable to their independent and critical thinking. They were very engaged in studies. Finnish pre-service teacher education seems to function very well and to be effective in providing the skills teachers need to work as independent professionals. The results of the study show, however, that students also need more supervision and guidance on how to collaborate with parents and other stakeholders outside school, such as representatives of working life as well as partners in business life and culture.
  • Byman, Reijo; Jyrhämä, Riitta; Stenberg, Katariina; Maaranen, Katriina; Sintonen, Sara; Kynäslahti, Heikki (2021)
    Education makes a difference and teacher educators are an important part of that circle. However, there is very little research done in Finland on teacher educators' professional development. The main purpose of this study was to develop and test the psychometric properties of three scales that measure the components of teacher educators' professional development, namely (a) developmental needs, (b) preferred ways of fulfiling those needs and (c) hindrances to fulfiling developmental needs. The differences between different occupational groups were also discussed. The survey was distributed in May 2019 to all eight Finnish universities that offer teacher education. The final sample size was 354. Using scale development techniques, we succeeded in generating items to all three inventories. We also tested the psychometric properties and the construct validity of the inventories. Our study revealed that teacher educators are not a homogenous group. Different occupational groups have different professional development interests.
  • Tuominen, Heta (Helsingfors universitet, 2002)
    The aim of this study was to investigate the connection between teachers' burn-out and professional development. In addition, the study aimed at clarifying teachers' conceptions of the significance of in-service training on work-related well-being. The theoretical starting points of the study were based on a model of burn-out (Kalimo & Toppinen1997) and a model of teachers' professional development (Niemi 1989). Present study can be seen as an independent follow-up study for a working ability project called "Uudistumisen eväät" that was followed through in Kuopio. The study was carried out in two phases. First, the connection between teachers' burn-out and professional development was charted with the help of a quantitative survey study. 131 teachers participated in the survey. Some of them were from schools that participated in the working ability project and the remainder were from other schools in Kuopio. The questionnaire consisted of self-constructed instruments of burn-out and professional development. According to the results, burn-out and professional development were strongly correlated with each other. Burn-out was summed up in three factors: emotional exhaustion, feelings of depersonalization and low feelings of personal accomplishment. Professional development was summed up in four factors: personality and pedagogical skills, learning-orientation, social skills and confronting change. Personality and pedagogical skills and skills of confronting change were correlated strongest with burn-out and its symptoms. A teacher, who has not found his/her own personal way of acting as a teacher and who considers change as something negative, is more likely to become exhausted than a teacher, who has developed his/her own pedagogical identity and who regards change more positively. In the second phase of this study, teachers' conceptions of the significance of in-service training on well-being was investigated with the help of group interviews (n=12). According to the results, the importance of in-service training was significant on the well-being of teachers. It appeared that in-service training promotes well-being by providing teachers with motivation, professional development and the possibility of taking a break from teaching and cooperating with other teachers. It has to be based on teachers' own needs. It has to be offered to teachers frequently and early enough. If teachers are already exhausted, they will neither have enough resources to participate in training, nor will they have the strength to make good use of it in practice. Both professional development and well-being are becoming more and more essential now that society is changing rapidly and the demands set on teachers are growing. Professional development can promote well-being, but are teachers too exhausted to develop themselves? Professional development demands resources and teachers may regard it as a threat and an additional strain. When the demands are so high that teachers cannot cope with them, they are likely to suffer stress and see reduction of commitment to their work and its development as a means to survive. If teachers stop caring about their work and their own development, how can we expect them to promote pupils' learning and development? It should be considered in the planning and implementation of in-service training and in arranging teachers' working conditions, that teachers have enough time and resources to develop themselves.
  • Tuomi, Marjo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This thesis studies the development of proficiency during apprenticeships in the context of tailoring. The research goal of this thesis is to describe, analyze, and interpret, how apprenticeship as an experience manifests in the narrative of tailors and what meanings are assigned to apprenticeship in terms of personal professional development. In the traditional model of apprenticeship, the apprentice assumes the craft culture exemplified by the master – learning is socialization into the surrounding culture (Syrjäläinen, 2003, 35). The research endeavored to describe the multiplicity of this socialization of craft culture, which is why the theoretical starting point was Wenger's (1998, 5) theory of social learning, emphasizing the comprehensiveness of learning and its social, identity-shaping and meaning-producing dimensions. Because the research considers subjective experiences, it is done with a narrative research approach, in which the descriptions and meanings assigned to personal experiences are of interest (Heikkinen, 2018). The narrative research material was gathered during a group interview held with three tailors. The group interview method was selected because the interviewees had many experiences in common: they had all worked in Helsinki under the master tailor Jouni Korhonen at the start of their careers. In the analysis phase themes were identified from the transcribed interview material with two different points of view, in order to acquire both descriptions of apprenticeship as an experience, and of the meanings ascribed to the apprenticeship in terms of personal professional development. The theme identification in this thesis was done by theory driven content analysis. Based on the results apprenticeship can be a rewarding alternative way to learn a profession, if additional knowledge is needed after or studying in school form is not suitable. The results highlight that apprenticeship affords insight into how a professional thinks and acts. During apprenticeship, in addition to actual technique, the apprentice learns about professional identity, relations to the professional community, and what is valuable and meaningful in the profession. The interviewees felt that their apprenticeship was a cornerstone in their professional development‚ from which their professional skills and self-image advanced.
  • Harju, Vilhelmiina; Niemi, Hannele (2020)
    This study investigates principals’ viewpoints on the support needs of newly qualified teachers. As pedagogic leaders, principals play a central role in organizing support activities for new teachers at local level and can offer insights into new teachers’ situation and support needs. On that basis, the authors investigated how Finnish principals (N = 104) prioritized and described the support needs of newly qualified teachers. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire that included both closed and open-ended questions. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and principal component analysis, and responses to open-ended question were analyzed using deductive content analysis. The study revealed that new teachers need particular support in working outside the classroom, cooperating with parents and colleagues and enhancing holistic support for students. The results contribute to knowledge of salient issues in planning and organizing school-based support for new teachers, as well as in initial teacher education.
  • Toom, Auli; Pyhältö, Kirsi; Pietarinen, Janne; Soini, Tiina (2021)
    Teacher’s professional competencies have been discussed extensively in the literature, often linked to educational policy discourses, teaching standards, student learning outcomes, or the intended outcomes of teacher education. Extensive, but fragmented and loosely theoretically or empirically based lists of teacher competencies are provided without much clarification of how, when, and why teachers learn and identify the competencies they need. Teacher competencies and how they are related to the core of their work as thinking practice have been discussed extensively by a range of stakeholders. However, what is actually needed in order to attain such competencies has been less studied. This paper contributes to the gap in the literature on active and intentional learning of teacher competencies by elaborating the relationship between teacher competencies and professional agency for learning. Through this, our aim in this article is to provide a better understanding of the topic, both theoretically and empirically. Drawing on earlier research, we have elaborated on the relationships between a teacher’s professional competencies and agency for learning among pre- and in-service teachers. We also aim to answer the question: what characteristics of teacher education lead to student teachers becoming competent and agentic? Why should we focus on those features during pre-service teacher education and as part of a teacher’s career?
  • Hahl, Kaisa; Mikulec, Erin (2018)
    This preliminary case study examines qualitatively the experiences of 20 participants enrolled in an international English-medium secondary teacher preparation program at a university in Finland and analyzes reflections on their teacher identity development. Multiple measures of data with triangulation were collected from course work, including reflection essays from 20 pre-service teachers and a focus group interview with four of the pre-service teachers. The data were analyzed with thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) in order to find categories of factors that influenced the pre-service teachers’ teacher identity development. The results indicate that the support especially from mentors and positive feedback from pupils during two teaching practicum periods, and the student teacher’s passion for their own subject, were incremental in building confidence in one’s teaching abilities. The participants also realized that they were in the beginning of their teacher identity development and were committed to lifelong learning.
  • Hahl, Kaisa (2021)
    This article explores teacher reflection that is done through a photo reflection report instead of a traditional written report in initial subject teacher education. Teacher reflection is considered an essential component of teacher development in teacher education programmes worldwide. As student teachers are often burdened with numerous writing assignments, a photo reflection report was invented as an innovative pedagogical tool that would offer student teachers a new approach to process and describe their feelings and considerations of their teacherhood. During teaching practice, student teachers are asked to compile a report with photos that are meaningful and that make visible important issues or aspects of their teacher identity and teacher development. The photo reflection report is inspired by the idea of Empowering Photography (Savolainen, 2009). This study examines student teachers’ experiences of using a photo reflection report in considering their emerging teacher identity and their teacher development during their one year of pedagogical studies.
  • Harju, Vilhelmiina; Niemi, Hannele (2018)
    Teachers operate amidst continuous societal changes that transform schools. In response, teachers must acquire wide-ranging professional competences to work in complex school situations while cooperating with numerous partners both within and outside the school. This study examines how teacher growth and the new demands of the teaching profession appear from the perspectives of school leaders and newly qualified teachers. The aim is to investigate in which professional competences new teachers require support at the beginning of their careers. After presenting various theoretical reflections, we analyse the empirical data of Finnish school leaders (N = 104) and new teachers (N = 145) using quantitative and qualitative methods. The results indicate that new teachers require support, for example, in order to provide holistic support for students’ learning and in working with partners, both within and outside the school community. The results provide important knowledge for the induction phase of teachers’ careers.
  • Harkoma, Sivi M.; Sajaniemi, Nina K.; Saha, Mari; Suhonen, Eira (2022)
    The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a pedagogical group sensitivity (PedaSens) intervention on early childhood professionals’ (ECPs) emotional availability (EA) in group interactions. A total of 61 ECPs and 264 children 1–6 years of age were included in the follow-up study. To measure the effects of the intervention, participants were randomized to intervention and control groups. The intervention consists of raising ECPs’ knowledge of PedaSens both with theoretical information and video observations collected from the study groups. The quality of interaction was assessed with the Emotional Availability Scales before the intervention and the following assessments were approximately 6 and 9 months after the first assessment. Statistical analyses were used to test the differences in EA between the study groups. According to the results, intervention had a positive effect on ECPs’ EA sensitivity and non-intrusiveness. The results suggest that PedaSens intervention is effective in supporting the emotional availability of ECPs. In-service training for ECP teams aiming to enhance interaction skills and reflective processes offer an effective way to improve the quality of early childhood education and care.