TRUST, BELIEVE AND LET GO

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If I know who I am, what I know or can and what I want, is it easier for me then to make a plan how to get there where I want to be? We assume that self-confident students know maybe better what they want but not necessarily how to get there. In schools we teachers believe that when we teach the students will learn. The students need guidance but also good experiences of success. We teach but do we encourage and give enough good feedback? Does our students get the feelings of good experiences and success often enough?

Trusting someone means that you need to know the person well enough. Do we as teachers know our students on secondary vocational school level well enough? I would say no, in that sense what is meant here. Trusting yourself to my mind means that you need to know yourself and you need to be somewhat self-confident. Trusting in your students means that you need to know them as persons. The vocational school reform in Finland is pushing teachers to a situation where the only possibility to teach or coach your students and make a personal plan for the student is to learn to know them personally. To learn to know them personally well enough.

Project learning, entrepreneurial methods and close co-operation with companies e.g. order from a company or working life partner are methods used. These kind of methods insist that the teacher knows whom to place where to do what. So that you can trust and believe that the order will be done succesfully. The working life is looking for the right person. I as a teacher must know my students well enough to be able to send the right students to the right places in working life. I must trust and not only trust but also believe that they will be able to take care and manage the given tasks.

Trusting and believing in someone means that as a teacher I give a chance for the students to do something concrete. Learning is a process. During the process there will be many different stages. In learning by doing e.g. I can follow the process and teach or coach the students from a closer distance. I learn to know them better that way. In the situations where learning is organized by creating concret authentic situations will it also be easier for the students to remember and understand. Finally when I know my students well enough I have the faith and courage to give them feedback. Doing something concret is important. It can and will be remembered and realized better than just hearing or reading it. Success will appear at some stages of the process. When I as teacher am closely involved in the projects I can learn to trust, believe and finally let go when the time is ripe.

bääbää let go

Trust – believe – let go is a slogan for me and my team of colleagues nowadays. Not easy at all but it has been a learning process for us teachers also during the time of changes in vocational education here in Finland. We are pioneers and we are proudly enjoying it. We trust and believe that we are doing something good and right for the future. Letting go is challenging but it gives us more than it takes.

Written and photos by Natascha Skog

 

Street style in vocational teaching in spring 2018

Street style in vocational teaching in spring 2018

Another season of fashion week is upon us—Spring 2018, to be exact. To be in, hip, you need to wear flashes of color – bright tangerine, shocking pink and tomato red.

To be a vocational teacher is also in fashion in Finland today. We survived the reform and now we just have to aspirate to the future. Vocational teachers need to be experts in teaching and learning among studying and exploring. They need to be experts in their sector specialism. Vocational teachers need to be trustworthy, team players, team teachers who respects others around. They need to have a good reflective ability and to be keen on evolving in that. They must be specialists on creating an atmosphere where collective aspiration can be set free and people are keen to learn from each other. They must be explorers who want to find out the best out of everyone. Very cleaver idea is to  complete the look with crazy ambitiousness.

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The new collection of 2018 consists of teachers who are gentle, kind and constructive. They must have passion to find success in learning, improving and opening up themselves to growth. The motivating concept behind the new collection, combines the continued professional development – and to maintain a healthy balanced work life for the teachers. In vocational education street style collection should be found learning new approaches to teaching, student assessment and new ways of using technology. Teachers should have utterly confident ways of combining students individual needs and need for skills in working life. Mix and match is very in.

There are various challenges teachers face in prioritizing continued professional development. The most important task on the way is personal growth. That is why we need teachers with reflective ability and good self-awareness that they can get the best out of their students. They must be aware of their own development tasks and they must be responsible for designing their own career development education, focused on the skills and knowledge they are lacking of. They must be able to pimp their own growth. Self-observation and self-evaluation are crucial in today’s fashion and that will lead to better self-awareness and confidence.

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Street style pros will get you out of your comfort zone,  they are dressed in their best, no matter the temperatures. Collecting information about yourself and your way of teaching, and by analyzing and evaluating this information, is very popular among street style pros. This will help you identify and explore your own practices and underlying beliefs. This will lead to changes and improvements in teaching. Healthy self confidence, which includes reflective ability is an iconic outfit in vocational teaching in 2018.

Teachers require, to ensure that the skills they coach to their students are in line with the needs of the workplaces. Skills need to be updated and this requires teachers’ work placement periods or that they will take the teaching and coaching to the workplaces. This will lead instant professional growth, the development of professional competence and expertise. Quality of teaching will change and improve immediately.

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Street style in vocational teaching in 2018 is all about taking the brave steps out of our comfort zone. There will be resistance, but when teachers will do that, it will

– increase teachers’ motivation and enthusiasm for one’s own work
– increase teachers’ will and courage to maintain contacts with the working life
– curricula and teaching are developed in a more working-life oriented direction
– increase workplaces’ knowledge of vocational education
– intensify co-operation between education providers and working life

(Guide for the Implementation of Vocational Teachers’ Work Placement Periods, Oph 2014).

So, what do you think, what should be found from every vocational teachers everyday wardrobe in spring 2018?

Photos Lia Heikkila

Written by Annele Heikkila

Vocational education is the new black

Vocational education is the new black

Finland is known worldwide for its high level education and actually the whole educational system in general is very much admired.

How do we make vocational education more attractive for people who are looking for an education. Maybe the money that students who choose vocational education begin to earn before their peers do, will tempt people to vocational studies. Along with the money, vocational education gives students skills and competences to earn the future they hope for.

If you know what you want in your future, if you know where you want to work at and you know that you want to become a skilled expert on that, vocational education is right for you. You will get the skilled knowledge that you need and you will start earning money already during your studies. In Finland you can continue your studies to college or university right after your graduation if you feel like going forward with your studies. The thing is, you can work and get payed as a professional during your postgraduate studies.

Today vocational education can be planned individually for every student and a huge part of the studies is done at the work place. Education providers in Finland work closely together with work places. Finnish vocational education aims to fulfill the need for skills in working life, hence it´s development education attentively together with education providers and working life representatives. Working life representatives express their opinions on the future trained workforce needs, while the education administration actively supports work on anticipating skill needs. We might say that vocational education supports economic and social development in Finnish society.

You can also say that in Finland we have open doors for vocational studies. Education may be one of the responses to avoidance of discrimination, which is a big problem in Finland. If we are able to invite people to vocational studies, we are able to influence Finnish society. Vocational education can provide reliable environment for people to learn, grow and attach to society.

Finnish vocational education can not relinquish the high quality it has received. It must focus on personal and professional growth and be provided equitably. Economic growth must be in the focus when planning the education and be linked with the labour market. Vocational education must meet the todays needs and aspirate for the future.

Vocational education is the new black. Suits you perfectly, makes you look good, makes you feel secured and everybody desires your company.

Why not to consider it as an option!

Photo Mikko Hankaniemi

Written by Annele Heikkilä

 

 

How to become more reflective teacher?

How to become more reflective teacher?

Reflective teaching means looking at what you do with your students, how you teach, why you do what you do, and thinking about if it works. It is a process of self-observation and self-evaluation and it will lead to better self-awareness and confidence. By collecting information about yourself and your way of teaching, and by analyzing and evaluating this information, it  helps you  identify and explore your own practices and underlying beliefs. This will lead to changes and improvements in teaching. Reflective teaching therefore means professional development which begins in a dialog with students and colleagues.

How to start, how to get a better picture of how you teach and interact with your students?

Invite a colleague to participate to your lesson. Or as we do, do team teaching! We have arranged different learning opportunities for students from different areas in vocational studies, for example we have mixed successfully business, media and healthcare studies.

Team teaching has been very good learning and developing opportunity for us. It has been refreshing to work with colleagues from different areas. Even though the teachable subject might have been out of our comfort zone, we have been able to focus on interaction and atmosphere, and of course we have learned from the subject!

Team teaching and envolving with your reflective ability demands trust, believing and respect between colleagues. It`s very important to create an atmosphere where collective aspiration can be set free and people are keen to learn from each other. Good, respectful relationship can engage teachers  to expand their thinking, to increase knowledge of  what they might be lacking of and to find out the best out of everyone. Envolving with reflective ability is based on loving truthful reflection and rational discourse.

Reflection that will be given needs to be gentle, kind and constructive. When you have good reflective ability you will find success in learning and improving. The truth is, when you open up yourself to a growth it makes yourself more you. The challanges you meet won´t swallow you completely, instead you have the tools to deal with them.

One of our projects that we did, supported by team teaching, was Improving Young People’s Mental Health. Sorry the video is in Finnish, but focus on the feelings!

 

Video Students from Kpedu

Written by Annele Heikkilä

WHO AM I vol.2

WHO AM I vol.2

What do I gain from knowing myself? Why should I learn to know who I am?

According to my own experience as a teacher for 18,5 years now, I believe I know something about learning. It is easier for me if I admit it that my students won´t remember what I have taught them (what I have said). Does it mean that I am not a good teacher – could be, but I still have my doubts. Will they remember what I have done (no matter how much effort I put on updating my knowledge and making beautiful prezies or powerpoints)? I believe that they will and want to remember good experiences. If I succeed to create a feeling of prosperity and acceptance I have managed with something because they will remember the nice feelings they´ve had. This is something that has to do with me, knowing myself and knowing where I am standing professionally. I do care about what the student´s know and can do. The gap between my generation and the youth of today generation is big and growing. Among many other things this is why teaching right things in a right way is a interesting subject.

The employers are looking for the right person (and maybe suitable personality) and not necessarily the right competences or skills one has or might have. Work life competences are the skills one ought to possess. There we have the challenge to make it through and succeed as teachers in schools of today. We need to start teaching prosess by learning to know the life competences and learning to know who am I. What are those life competences then? To learn the student´s to know themselves. To find out who I am, what do I want, what do I know and what do I still need to learn. I need to have the ability to express myself. I need to have the ownership of my own learning as a student.

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How do I do that? I believe that the students capacity to find out who I am is not very good. It is not easy at all for a teenager all of a sudden at the age of 15 or 16 to answer a question about who I am or what are my strenghts, what can I do or what I am good at? Why is it so difficult? Because we are not tought to explain others about such things. This is something that needs to be tought at schools in Finland. We are lacking of self-confidence and encouragement for a stronger self-knowledge. Through stronger self-knowledge like knowing who I am and what do I want we will reach a stronger ownership in learning I believe. Attitude is a key word and solution for many problems, attitude fostering is important to invest at. Learning by doing gives a possibility to grip in that area.

 

We know what we are,
but know not what we may be.

William Shakespeare

Photos Mikko Hankaniemi Photos by Prince David & Luke Tanis on Unsplash

Written by Natascha Skog

After work discussions

After work discussions

We have found after work discussions very evolving. After work you are still inspired by the day but yet ready to lower the limit of awareness and quality of the conversations. You start to relax  and your creativity is able to take over. This Friday we invited our colleague  Laura Nikkanen to share some of her thoughts about her work. Laura is a Special needs teacher in our college. Why we are so inspired of her company is her beautiful heart towards her work with students and her sparkling personality. You probably agree.

 

Photo editing Mikko Hankaniemi

Written by Annele Heikkila

Design thinking as a mindset

Design thinking as a mindset

In Icebath we have an urge to be a part of creating a more desirable future. Design Thinking has inspired us to see teaching differently. We want our students to feel the confidence that they can be the best version of themselves that they are expected to be and that they can manage the difficult challenges that they will face during their studies and in the future work life. We think enacting thoughts and ideology from design thinking gives us optimism that is well needed in education.

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In teaching and learning we face challenges every single day that need new ways of thinking, design thinking. After the reform in vocational education in Finland new teaching requires new ways of thinking and design thinking offers us a great method.

Design thinking in a nut shell.  Teachers offer students learning opportunities the challenges, students find out the way they approach it and what they will learn from it. This way students are able to see opportunities and have the ownership on their tasks, they start thinking what they can create. The process continues, what do I think about this, what is my IDEA, how do I build it, I try, practice, practice, practice and I will evolve.

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The most important task on the way is personal growth. That is why we need teachers with reflective ability and good self awareness that they can get the best out of their students.

Photos Mikko Hankaniemi,  Craft your growht Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash Practice, Practice, practice, practice Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Written by Annele Heikkila