Inclusive teachers’ competence in the Finnish school context

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Inclusive teachers’ competences in the Finnish school context

In my presentation, I will discuss inclusive teachers’ competences due to the pressing need for teachers who are familiar with inclusive education. Upon graduation, all teachers should have the necessary attitudinal, educational and personal resources to engage diverse learners from different cultural backgrounds. They also should be able to recognize pupils’ individual needs and prerequisites, thus supporting individual and collaborative learning processes. This skill set requires teachers to be reflective practitioners who consciously construct professional knowledge and practice through self-study in inclusive learning contexts based on inclusive values.

All Finnish teachers complete a master’s degree in education studies, which includes both academic studies and practical experience at schools. This teacher education is based on research, a long tradition in Finland. As a key principle of teacher education, student teachers in the program should come to consider pedagogical studies, research studies and teaching practices to be interlinked. (cf. Kolb’s experimental learning theory). This perspective assists them in making the best use of their theoretical work, not only during their teaching practice but also in their future careers as qualified teachers.

At the University of Lapland, inclusive education is the thread running throughout the teacher education programme. In my presentation, I will shortly introduce the teacher education program at the University of Lapland while illustrating student teachers’ identity-building processes as reflective practitioners in inclusive learning environments. To this ends, I follow two research questions:

What is inclusive teachers’ competence?
How can we promote inclusive teachers’ competence in teacher education?

Previous studies suggest that high-quality teacher−pupil relationships and teachers’ socio-emotional competences enhance pupils’ learning outcomes, participation and welfare at school. As such, teachers should possess multiple competences, based on both cognition and motivational-affective dispositions (cf. Blömeke, Gustafsson and Shavelson 2015), a proposition that is demonstrated in the MAP-model developed by a Finnish teacher education project known as OVET - Student Selection to Teacher Education in Finland – Anticipatory Work for the Future. I will analyse inclusive teachers’ competences based on this MAP-model. I also will consider whether or not we should highlight the student teacher as an emotional person in teacher education. Would this help them later become educators who can not only teach but also encourage, appreciate and reassure their pupils? Korthagen (2017) certainly supports this idea when he claims that student teachers’ learning processes need to touch them emotionally. The ultimate aim of teacher education is for the student teacher’s practice to gradually become a praxis―an ethically justified practice guided by critical reflection in relation to their own activities as well as those by the school, a practice aligned with beliefs and traditions while remaining relevant in the wider social and global context. In this way, teachers become owners of their own work, catalysing change factors through their profession.

Keywords: teacher education, inclusive education, teachers’ competences, socio-emotional competence
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2019
MoEC publication typeNot Eligible
EventInternational Conference of Education, Research and Innovation : Enlightening Minds through Education - Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento, Sevilla, Spain
Duration: 11 Nov 201913 Nov 2019


ConferenceInternational Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Abbreviated titleICERI 2019
Internet address

Field of science

  • General education

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