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.

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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

 

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

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

Teach them to know WHO YOU ARE

Teach them to know WHO YOU ARE

I deliberitely start with coaching though I´ve been a teacher now for 18,5 years. I am a economics, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial methods teacher/lecturer at secondary level Vocational Business School in Finland, Kokkola. As a background information to let you know that I´ve been coaching and instructing aerobics and other gymnastic groups since 1992. I have various kind of experience about coaching versus teaching. All my life I´ve been a coaching teacher and luckily it`s highly recommended today.

What a cliche? Coaching versus teaching. Very much discussed topic in the Finnish educational system lately. Something that Finland is worldwide known for, is the high level education and the whole educational system in general is very much admired. I won´t get into that now but maybe later. But change is constant. In my opinion we people in general need to have the ability to adapt in changing situations. Teachers are under such a hard pressure at the moment because of the huge changes. The whole world, surrounding society, working life, tasks and skills are changing. Life skills and work life competences are highly demanded skills. How to teach them? On the other hand how to learn them if you don´t know who you are, what you can and what you should be better at?

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The starting point for any human being to be educated should be to know yourself, who am I?  Who I am, what do I know, what are my strengths and in what skills would I like to develop? What are my own goals in whatever I do. The ownership of my own life skills, learning skills and doings are mine. No one elses but mine!

Coaching will turn into teaching with the methods used. It is a mixture of coaching and teaching. In my opinion the mixture is very challenging but interesting and giving. Coaching is challenging in a different way compared to teaching. It is much more personal way of having a contact with the students. Not through an assignment or a mark but straight to the person in an authentic situation. You yourself as coach need to know your own skills and abilities to be able to coach students in changing situations and environments. Many unexpeted things and questions can appear. Are you redy?

They will forget what you said
They will forget what you did
They will remember how you made them feel
YOU can succeed if YOU know who YOU are and what YOU want

Written by Natascha Skog

Teach them life skills! 

Teach them life skills! 

According to Finnish workplace employers, student coordinators and other workers teachers in vocational education should focus on teaching life skills and skills the future employees need in work life, work life competences. 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.

Critical thinking is skill that we all need to survive in this changing world. Todays and futures students need to be able to make clear, reasoned and well thought out judgements.

Teachers create learning opportunities for students. It is very important that the learning enviroment is surrounded positive and permissive atmosphere. To be able to practice critical thinking students need trust and belief in themselves. Teachers can make students understand the importance of having a positive attitude towards life and viewing all situations as learning opportunities. It must be emphasized that having developed reasoning skills and critical ability is what makes on successful in life.

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Students with good basic trust are more likely to think optimistic. Basic trust is build in early interaction with a child and their care giver. It is an implicit trust that what is optimal will happen and a person believes whatever happens will ultimately be fine. It is the confidence that reality is ultimate good, and all that exists, are by their very nature trustworthy. Basic trust gives an implicit orientation toward all circumstances and that allows students to relax and see situations as learning opportunities.

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As well as teachers creates optimistic learning atmosphere, they have huge impact on developing a basic trust if it´s needed. Basic trust can be developed in trustfull and respectfull relationship. Teachers can reflect security, build trust and create permissive learning atmosphere where students can relax, learn to act and be in securely attached in ways that are needed in life. The more teachers create basic trust, optimism in students lives, the more process of transforming and realizing and becoming flows more smoothly. Building the basic trust can lead students to feel that they are good, valuable, worthwhile and lovable. Quite powerful!

As well as basic trust can be developed, optimistic thinking is learnable. Teachers can develope optimism in students bahaviour by their own example. Motivate and spread optimism!

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We know that the mind can be trained into new habits of thoughts and that those who learn optimism can obtain all of the benefits associated with that attribution style. In order to cultivate an optimistic thinking habit, a person must work to change their pessimistic explanatory style to a more optimistic one.

Critical thinking is a process of skillfully conceptualizing, analyzing, evaluating and applying information gathered from, or generated by, experience, communication or reasoning (criticalthinking.org). The student with a good basic trust and optimistic thinking has disposition towards critical thinking. Student who have a high critical thinking ability and are encouraged to learn, to make mistakes create new skills and knowledge. They are more prepared to the life and their professions. Today it is important that we teach more life skills, increase basic trust and optimistic thinking. The optimistic thinking will encourage students to see learning task and work lives challenges now and in the future in a positive light.

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Experiencing basic trust and optimistic thinking does not imply that students don´t struggle with their circumstances. But it means they don´t have to struggle internally with themselves. It means accepting and allowing, learning that life is manageable and workable. They can relax and just let it be, learn.

Written by Annele Heikkilä
Photos Lia Heikkilä