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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 25

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          Cultural Myths in the Making of a Teacher: Biography and Social Structure in Teacher Education

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            Employee emotions during organizational change—Towards a new research agenda

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              Transformative Learning Theory

               Edward Taylor (2017)

                Author and article information

                International Journal of Social Pedagogy
                Int. J. Soc. Pedagog.
                UCL Press
                28 September 2018
                : 7
                : 1
                [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.

                © 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:

                Page count
                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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