Teachers as leaders? Finnish student teachers’ perceptions of participation in leadership in school

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School teachers’ work is increasingly associated with leadership. Teacher autonomy is exceptionally high in Finland, and newly qualified teachers are expected to take responsibility for and participate in leadership processes, both inside their classrooms and schoolwide. To develop these abilities, student teachers should recognise the leadership dimensions of their profession to be active agents: their opportunities to participate in and influence the development of pedagogical solutions and the operation of the school. This study explores how student teachers perceive their participation and agency in leadership in their future work. The data consist of student teachers’ (N = 68) empathy-based written stories describing either the promising future of a teacher or a future in which things went poorly. The data were analysed using a narrative approach. The results show that student teachers perceive leadership to be composed of individual professional skills and external factors that enable them to be active, such as opportunities provided by the principal and the general school culture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLeadership in educational contexts in Finland
Subtitle of host publicationTheoretical and empirical perspectives
EditorsRaisa Ahtiainen, Eija Hanhimäki, Jaana Leinonen, Mika Risku, Ann-Sofie Smeds-Nylund
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-37604-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-37603-0, 978-3-031-37606-1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

SeriesEducational Governance Research


  • student teachers
  • teacher leadership
  • participation
  • agency
  • teacher education

Field of science

  • Teacher Education
  • Administrative science


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