Goals for Teacher Education

Finnish teacher students’ views on the most important focal points of developing teacher education.


You’re currently holding Teacher Student Union of Finland SOOL’s Goals for Teacher Education program. The program was compiled in cooperation between the Tavoitteet (Goals) working committee, SOOL’s member organisations and the board of SOOL and was approved by SOOL’s general assembly in 2019. The goals include teacher students’ views on the most important focal points of developing teacher education.

Teacher students in teacher education units at universities and universities of applied sciences should be considered when developing the education. Developing teacher education develops the surrounding society and what kinds of skills and expertise workers are expected to have in the future. This is why the education field must be able to meet the challenges of the future and teacher education must provide future teachers with adequate working life knowledge and skills.

The goals adopt a stance on the content of teacher education and on factors related to the well-being and professional growth of teacher students. The purpose of these goals is to function as a cornerstone of education policy and assist SOOL’s member organisations and those responsible for developing teacher education. A member organisation can select a goal to work on during its term and naturally proceed to another when that goal is achieved. The board of SOOL continuously lobbies in order to reach the Goals.

In the future teachers face challenges, which require different kinds of skills to adapt and develop as a teacher. This means teacher education must be ahead of its time.


Research-based knowledge as a part of practical know-how

  • Teacher education is research-based and its goal is to educate critically thinking experts and pedagogues, whose practical know-how is based on the most recent research.
  • Teacher education should teach practical skills, which help the student to be able to apply scientific knowledge in practice.
  • The teaching personnel in teacher education, such as university professors and teaching practice supervisors, should cooperate to support the student’s scientific thinking and practical application of knowledge.

The special characteristics of teacher education must be taken into account when students apply to teacher studies

  • Students who want to become teachers should have the opportunity to apply to teacher studies by direct admission and select teacher studies from the beginning of their studies.
  • Aptitude tests for teacher education should remain a part of student admission and they should take into account the diversity of teacher education programs.
  • A quota based on exam results should be retained when students are called to aptitude tests. 

Practices are an irreplaceable part of teacher education

  • SOOL’s “Suositukset opetusharjoittelulle” (Recommendations for teaching practice) document should be the starting point when teaching practices are planned, executed and evaluated as well as when teaching practice supervisors are trained.
  • The student, with the support of their supervisor, should have the opportunity to decide which methods and pedagogic theories to use in their teaching practice.
  • In addition to content knowledge, the skill of seeing learners as individuals and the ability to act in changing situations should be emphasised in teaching practice.
  • The student should have the opportunity to perform teaching practices in versatile environments. 

Teacher education must offer a diverse selection of skills needed in the teaching profession

  • Sustainable development should be an integral part of teacher education as a whole, highlighting the teacher’s role as a role model when teaching a lifestyle that is compatible with sustainable development. 
  • Teacher education should give the student the skills to teach the following subjects related to being a societal actor:
    - emotional skills and communication skills
    - environment: combating climate change, sustainable development
    - equality: equality education, language awareness and cultural diversity, democratic education, sex education, gender awareness, social justice 
    - financial literacy: consumer and entrepreneurship education
    - multiliteracy
  • The aforementioned skills can also be developed through being active in organisations, which should be recognised and taken into account as a part of teacher education.
  • Teacher education should include studies in safety skills. Safety skills include creating a physically and mentally safe learning environment, being able to intervene in and prevent bullying, harassment and discrimination and being able to face different crises by improving first aid skills and the ability to respond to emergencies. Learning safety skills starts from developing the student’s own communication skills and emotional skills.
  • A graduated teacher should have a broad understanding of human development and development phases.  
  • Teacher education should provide the teacher student with skills to support the pupils’ learning and well-being.
  • Teacher education should correspond to the curriculum’s requirements for what the teaching should include and how it should be executed.

Sufficient skills to facilitate different learners

  • Teacher education should provide the student with pedagogical tools they can use in their future work. Teacher education should use different methods and equipment diversely and teach the student how to use them pedagogically.
  • Compulsory teacher education studies should include at least one course in special pedagogy. Teacher education should provide the students with skills to use special pedagogic knowledge in their own work.
  • Teacher education should include the opportunity to study different communication methods that support interaction and speech and alternative communication methods.
  • Teacher education should present the student with concrete examples of multi-disciplinary cooperation, such as cooperating and teaching with special education teachers.

Teacher studies must include sufficient support and guidance throughout

  • The student should have a tutor teacher, who provides the student with support and guidance throughout the student’s teacher studies. One tutor teacher should supervise a maximum of 20 first-year students or 50 students further into their studies.
  • The teacher student should have the opportunity to see an educational psychologist regularly throughout the academic year in any city with a teacher education unit.
  • Teacher students should receive personal and expert supervision when writing theses.
  • Teaching facilities should be barrier-free and different learners should be considered. A barrier-free physical, mental and social environment ensures the education’s accessibility and safety. There should be different options of how to complete a course. 

A competent personnel creates the basis for quality in teacher education

  • Anyone who educates teacher students should have completed pedagogical studies.  The teaching personnel should serve as the student’s role models of a good teacher.
  • The teacher education teaching personnel should possess skills to use information and communications technology pedagogically.
  • The teacher education teaching personnel should use current scientific knowledge as the basis of their teaching. 

Teacher education must be flexible and must consider the special characteristics of different fields

  • Teacher education includes studying a lot of educational tools and methods and pedagogy. The education’s structure should support the developing of teaching skills by offering a sufficient amount of small group teaching. The amount of small group teaching should be at least 14 h/credit, while taking special fields into consideration.
  • If the student so wishes, they should be able to complete their subject teacher’s pedagogical studies over a period of several academic years.
  • Subject teacher students should have the opportunity to write a thesis in their major from a pedagogical point of view and receive the same amount of credits as a thesis written from a different point of view in the same field would. 
  • All teacher education courses should include teaching connected to the student’s own field, which focuses on the special characteristics of that field.
  • The education sector should be made more attractive by encouraging and offering teacher students opportunities to improve their skills and to complete their studies flexibly e.g. through JOO-studies.
  • Anyone taking part in teacher education should receive a general view of the learners’ learning paths and understand the functions of different fields in a multi-professional network.

The cooperation between teacher education and working life must be solidified

  • Planning the teacher’s professional development should be started during teacher education.
  • Anyone graduating to be a teacher should have completed pedagogical studies.
  • Every teacher in early childhood education and care, basic education or upper secondary education should have a master’s degree.
  • The gap between working life and studies should be narrowed. Teacher education should prepare the student for the transition into working life with content that supports understanding one’s own expertise and includes information about a teacher’s/employee’s responsibilities, rights and the job search process.
  • Teacher education should emphasise multi-disciplinary and multi-professional cooperation, which is a significant part of a teacher’s work.
  • The teacher education unit should offer every teacher student the opportunity to be assigned a working mentor teacher during their studies. This helps the student strengthen their teacher identity and their connection to the education field as well as receive early career support, which is of paramount importance.

Jaa sivu somessa