Tampere University and Brazil’s Feevale University have agreed to set up a teacher-training model based on the Finnish practise of mentoring new teachers. The programme is the first of its kind in Brazil.
In Finland, all universities that offer teacher-training programmes are affiliated with pre-primary, primary or secondary schools where trainee teachers can practise their skills under the supervision of a mentor teacher. While these schools follow the same national curriculum as other schools in Finland, they’re different in that they are overseen by the university in question and that most of their teachers have mentor-teacher qualifications. It’s a model that Finland has been following since the 1970s.
Now, Finland University member Tampere University is bringing the model to Brazil through a partnership with Feevale University in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Originally founded in 1969, today Feevale University is home to some 18,000 students and 1,450 teachers.
The perfect training environment
“Feevale wants to be at the forefront of developing teacher training in Brazil,” says Finland University account manager Mirka Gustafsson. “They have both a teacher-training faculty and a fully-operational school on their campus that they want to develop further – so it’s the perfect environment for setting up this model.”
The partners expect to train some 80 Brazilian teachers and principals over the first 18 months. The team will comprise teacher educators from Tampere University’s faculty of education and from its affiliated Tampere University Teacher Training school. The Teacher Training school’s principal will also travel to Brazil to help train principals there.
“This will be phenomenal for education in Brazil,” says Gustafsson. “It's a project that really has the chance to make a difference and we hope that others will embrace the model after our pilot with Feevale.”
Transforming teachers’ identities
Tampere University senior lecturer Minna Mäkihonko is responsible for designing the programme. She’s a specialist in inclusive education and in training teachers for every life stage – from early childhood to adulthood. For the past 20 years, Mäkihonko has been focused on international teacher training, working in Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Latin American and the Balkans.
“To kick off the programme we have begun by collecting qualitative information from the teachers about what they're doing now and what they think about teacher training,” says Mäkihonko. “Then we will start to build the programme, first looking at the theory of mentorship and then providing the teachers with research-based practical tools for their identity development.”
“As you start to study education, you also change your identity. Supporting teachers in developing this identity is a fundamental part of the programme,” she says. When you are making decisions in the classroom, it's very important to know why you're making them. It's essential to reflect on your own work as a teacher.”
Additional information on the programme:
Mirka Gustafsson, Key Account Manager, Finland University, email@example.com
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