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Fostering transformational teacher agency in Finnish teacher education

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      In this article, we studied how well teacher education in Finland is able to answer the changing needs of the contemporary world. More precisely, we focussed on the question of how well an alternative teacher education model guides teacher students’ agency towards a transformational view of the teaching profession, making it possible for schools to enable social change. This question was studied in the framework of critical social pedagogy. The data for this article was collected ethnographically by observing meetings in the Critical Integrative Teacher Education (CITE) programme at the University of Jyväskylä in 2015–2017.

      The analysis is based on a theoretical background in which we outline two different discourses on the concept of teachers’ agency. The first promotes schools’ role in conservation; teachers are expected to educate obedient and uncritical citizens to maintain steady economic growth. The second discourse is defined as critical and emancipatory, where the education pursues transformation in students’ underlying attitudes and a deeper understanding of education and society.

      The results showed that the CITE model fosters teacher students’ critical self-reflection and understanding of group phenomena considering education. The students’ ability to understand schools in a social context also develops. However, CITE seems to struggle in transforming the students’ thinking and understanding into actions. According to the data, feelings of inability, cynicism and a lacklustre ability to understand concretely how teachers can have an impact on society through their profession prevent a more complete transformation in the students’ everyday modes of action. A stronger community perspective, collaboration with institutions outside teacher education, the enabling of group-oriented action and the provision of real-life experiences regarding the transformation could better help to develop future teachers’ agency towards transformational views.

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      Most cited references 27

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          Social Pedagogical Eyes in the Midst of Diverse Understandings, Conceptualisations and Activities

           Juha Hämäläinen (corresponding) (2012)
          The concept of social pedagogy consists of two parts. The principal term is ‘pedagogy’ and the qualifying one is ‘social’. The word ‘social’ is used in different ways and contexts. Therefore, there are also many kinds of semantic interpretations of the concept of social pedagogy. This paper discusses discrepancies of the concept of social pedagogy, paying attention especially to different uses of the qualifying attribute ‘social’. Attention is paid to varieties of theoretical self-conceptions of social pedagogy within the history of the concept.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Department of Teacher Education, University of Jyväskylä, Iltarannantie 3A 3, 40520 Jyväskylä, Finland
            [2 ]Department of Teacher Education, University of Jyväskylä, Aatoksenkatu 8D 73, 40720 Jyväskylä, Finland; Perttu.mannisto@
            [3 ]Department of Teacher Education, University of Jyväskylä, Viljapellontie 9, 33820 Tampere, Finland; Aleksi.fornaciari@
            Author notes

            Matikainen and Männistö have contributed equally to the creation of this article.

            International Journal of Social Pedagogy
            Int. J. Soc. Pedagog.
            UCL Press
            28 September 2018
            : 7
            : 1
            10.14324/111.444.ijsp.2018.v7.1.004 IJSP-7-4
            © 2018, Minni Matikainen, Perttu Männistö and Aleksi Fornaciari.

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited • DOI:

            Pages: 14
            Custom metadata
            Matikainen, M., Männistö, P., & Fornaciari, A. (2018). Fostering transformational teacher agency in Finnish teacher education. International Journal of Social Pedagogy, 7( 1): 4. DOI:


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