Think a cross-disciplinary way in Finnish vocational education

Think a cross-disciplinary way in Finnish vocational education

Harry Beck unlocked the most complicated problem in his time. He created London underground map to what we see today. Linear, color-coded diagram, map that is not actually a map anymore. Beck’s map was revolutionary in its simplicity. I love simple lines, good architecture and design and I have always been fascinated by London underground map. Beck has helped us to see multilayered, bustling and diverse London in simple, comprehensible form. By London underground map we get the feeling: I can manage this city!

Finnish vocational education has gone trough significant changes. People involved with vocational education are invited to a change. Even though the reform seems like the most complicated problem in this time, it´s possible.  We need people who want to see the result in different form that it has been.

I see reform as a possibility to create new map of education. Why not to follow Becks principles when creating new in vocational education.

  • Focus, who you are doing it for
  • Simplicity
  • Thinking a cross-disciplinary way

 

With these principles we can create a map that empowers the feeling I can manage this! Map of the Finnish vocational education and training looks like this at the moment. (minedu.fi)

OKM uusi ammatillinen koulutus englanti

The reform in Finnish vocational education will strengthen vocational competence in Finland. It will increase possibilities to study at workplaces and students´ individual competence needs can be met flexibly with the help of qualifications. Reform  promotes students’ access to employment and by offering high quality education for them it supports smooth transition to further studies.

Hop along to unlock the most complicated problem in this time and you´ll realize it is just a big wonderful challenge to create something new and revolutionary!

Text Annele Heikkilä

Photo provided by Pexels

New vocational education and training minedu.fi

 

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