What to expect from my teacher studies – busting a few myths

You, as a new student starting your teacher’s pedagogical studies (60 credits), are probably eagerly waiting for your actual studies to start. Perhaps you have visions of medieval grand lecture halls with hundreds of students dutifully making notes, the solemn lecturer filling the echoing space with his sonorous and mellifluous voice. You may anticipate the moment when you, as the fledgling teacher, will be gently uplifted by the all-encompassing authority figure, your teacher. Or you might imagine graduating faster than no-one has ever graduated! Wham-bam-thank-you-teacher!

Stop right there! It won’t be any of those things!

What REALLY happens, is that the first thing you have to do is to carefully assess what you currently know. And not just about any area but only and exactly those areas we care about. They are these (there are more):

  • Pedagogical Competence I
  • Pedagogical Competence II (Teaching Practice)
  • Competence in Special Pedagogy
  • Competence in Digital Pedagogy
  • Safety Competence
  • Competences in Working Life and Networks
  • International and Multicultural Competence
  • Value Competence

The list goes on a bit but you get the gist.

Why should you care about these matters? Because they, when lumped all together, make up our Curriculum, the Curriculum. When you prove to us that you are competent in all those areas (plus a few more, such as Basics of Educational Science, RDI and laws), then you have in effect graduated.

Is this first part of your studies painless and easy? You would imagine so! Just saying that “Yessirree, I know this area very well! I have been doing it for years now” is not at all enough. So, easy? Nothing is further from the truth! While we won’t expect blood, sweat, toil and tears, not quite, but there will be lots of hard work with the online sessions and your group.

First acronym (of many to come): the PSP

First you have to understand the contents of the aforementioned list. We call it creating your Personal Study Plan (the PSP).

The PSP is where you start to show your competence by writing it down. You may already have a great deal of competence or, in rare cases, you may have none at all. Be as it may, you have to tell us what you already know, so that you can learn those areas where your competence is lacking. The PSP language is not purposefully obtuse (although you may feel so!).

As an example, here is one of the areas (Special Pedagogy):

 

14. You understand the meanings of student welfare, need of special help and accessibility in vocational and higher education. – You examine student welfare and the need of special help in teaching and guiding in your own substance field.
– You consider how pedagogical, psychic, social and physical accessibility realize in education within your own field.
15. You teach or guide while considering the study materials, learning environments and the accessibility of the pedagogical solutions. – You acknowledge the students’ strengths and need for special help while teaching and guiding.
– You promote accessibility in teaching and guiding.
– You cooperate with other parties with the student’s benefit in mind.
16. In assessment, you acknowledge the student’s individuality and the need for support. – When assessing and giving feedback, you consider the student’s privacy and personal study plan.

It won’t be tolerated if you simply say “I do not know anything of these matters.”

Then again, we won’t say what we expect you to write! There are no right or wrong answers.

Making it visible

When you painfully have gotten past the first PSP hurdle, you have to start thinking how you are going to get the needed competences and then (hopefully) how to prove that you now possess the competences.

These are some of the common methods:

  • Verbalising, using words (your personal blog, usually)
  • Using your images
  • Using your video
  • Using testimonies and feedback
  • Participating the group work

How about reports and diplomas? Well, we all have stacked away in some dusty drawer numerous school reports, diplomas, qualifications, and certificates, all with signatures and impressive stamps on them. Could you use some of them to show your competence? How about your doctoral thesis on the “submissive/divisive echo locations of flux capacitance manoeuvres in spatially warped n-space”? I am afraid that if you are going down that road, what you present to us must be truly relevant. Otherwise it would be best to leave the documents in the drawer.

As for the actual studies, I won’t say much, not to ruin the surprise. It says on our web pages: “During the active online sessions, the students teach each other the various competence goals of the curriculum.” So, the students do nearly all the teaching. This is how you get the experience of what a teacher is and what a teacher does.

Finally, the whole process will be much more time consuming and much harder than you ever anticipated! No pain, no gain. But in the end, it will be worth it!

We, the teachers, urge you to peruse our webpages! You will find answers there.

Kirjoittaja

Juha Pousi

Lehtori

Oulun ammattikorkeakoulu

Ammatillinen opettajakorkeakoulu

More info:

https://www.oamk.fi/en/studies-and-applying/school-professional-teacher-education/professional-teacher-education/applying/teacher-education-programme/

Competence Based Learning (turn on the English subtitles)

https://youtu.be/9m3eGWpVM-c

Demonstrating Competence In Teacher’s Work (turn on the English subtitles)

https://youtu.be/ZF6gChLqYO8

The timetable for the sessions. Remember, this is only the tip of the iceberg!

https://www.oamk.fi/files/3215/4692/7488/2019_Oulu_UAS_Professional_Teacher_Educationa_timetable.pdf