Teacher’s Working Environment (8 cr)

This course introduces you to the national educational system, and institutional steering and planning systems within vocational education and vocational higher education as well as relevant legislation.  You will become aware of internal, regional and international co-operation in educational institutions.

The course is done through the online learning tasks in the Optima learning environment, or by showing competence assessment and recognition of prior learning.

You can complete this course by completing the online course, or by applying for the transfer of credits from previous studies. To be eligible for transfer of credits you need to obtain prior studies in educational administration and have work experience in the educational management field.

If you wish to apply for recognition of prior learning, you need to complete the application form and send it with supporting materials to your tutor for evaluation.

Learning outcomes

Student is familiar with the Finnish education system, the steering and planning systems of vocational education and vocational higher education and the national and institutional framework of administration, regulations and the principles and obligations that apply to them. He/she is aware of the impacts of international agreements and procedures on the national steering system. He/she is also aware of international research, development, and innovation (RDI) work in educational institutions and methods of how to develop it further. He/she is aware of roles, rights and responsibilities of teachers and other staff members as members of their organisation and work community. Student understands the meaning of collaboration and networking and is able to act accordingly.

Content

  • the Finnish education system and the national and institution-specific steering and planning systems of vocational and higher education, as well as their management and administration from an internal perspective
  • legislation for educational institutions
  • national and international RDI activities
  • development of the quality of education and  principles of assessment
  • strategic aspects of internationalization
  • educational establishments as organisations and work communities
  • networking within, and between educational organisations

Assessment material

  • learning assignments

Assessment criteria

In this course, the learning assignments will assess your contextual skills and reflection skills

Required Skills
Contextual skills
  • you are familiar with the Finnish educational system and the national and organisational specific guidance, planning and administration strategy
  • you are familiar with the laws related to vocational education and understand how it effects your work as a teacher and the practises of educational providers
  • you are aware of the principles of quality assurance and development procedures
  • you understand that regional and international development work is part of a teacher’s role
Reflection skills
  • you are able to realistically assess one’s own learning and  sets new development targets

 

Assessment  scale

Pass/Fail

 

   Learning Assignments

There are four learning assignments on this course:

  1. Familiarising yourself with steering systems and administration of education
  2. Familiarising yourself with legislation of education
  3. Challenges of the international dimension in education
  4. Educational institution as a work community

   1. Familiarising yourself with steering systems and administration of education (Learning circle)

Familiarise yourself with the Development Plan of Education and Research 2011-2016. Pay attention to the essential emphasises and consider what they mean in practice. Also, get acquainted with the website of the Ministry of Education (www.minedu.fi) in order to get an extensive view of Finnish education policy, education systems, funding and different planning and strategy documents. Furthermore, the websites of the National Board of Education (www.oph.fi) and Opintoluotsi (ww.opintoluotsi.fi, only in Finnish) provide a clear description of the Finnish education system.

Discuss steering systems and administration of education in your learning circle group. Also, consider what every teacher must know about their own organisation’s administration, basic tasks, vision, strategies, economy and rules and norms. Give reasons why teachers must be familiar with them.

As a group make a brief summary of the theme which you can use later in the interview. Also, formulate questions for interviewing your educational institutions’ rector, vice-rector or head of programme. Find out how the matters you have read about and discussed are taken into account and are implemented in practice.

   2. Familiarising yourself with legislation of education (Individual task):

Legislation forms the framework for the work of educational institutions. You can find education related legislation at the website of FINLEX data bank (www.finlex.fi). Also, the website of the Ministry of Education provides links to the statutes. Plenty of changes have taken place in all education statutes; therefore, note that you should always find the updated statutes because they include all the changes after the first date of enactment.

Get acquainted with the legislation and its implementation. Interview your educational institution’s rector, vice-rector or head of programme in order to get a good picture of how legislation is implemented. Write an essay (3 – 6 pages) in which you discuss at least the following topics:

1) Explore which matters concerning a student are brought up in laws and decrees.  Consider what they mean to your work as a teacher.

Get acquainted with the legislation of education that is relevant to you. For example: Teachers in Universities of Applied Sciences ->Polytechnics Act (351/2003) and Polytechnics Decree (352/2003), Vocational school teachers -> Vocational Education and Training Act (630/1998) and Vocational Education and Training Decree (811/1998), Basic school teachers -> Basic Education Act (628/1998) and Basic Education Decree (852/1998).

2) Explore what the Acts contain concerning the evaluation of education (Basic Education Act, General Upper Secondary Schools Act, Vocational Education and Training Act, Vocational Adult Education Act, Polytechnics Act and Universities Act).  Also, the websites of the Ministry of Education and Board of Education provide useful information about the implementation of external evaluation.

In your writing discuss what the Acts mean in practice – how internal and external evaluation and quality assurance are implemented in you educational institution.

3) Explore the Acts in order to find out what the qualification requirements of teachers are. In addition, find out what the Acts fully define the tasks of teachers to be. Discuss practical examples of tasks as well as qualifications.

   3. Challenges of the international dimension in education (individual task):

In this task you will approach the international dimension in education from three perspectives. Get acquainted with international matters of your educational institution and the challenges they bring to teachers’ work.

a)     The organisation’s point of view

  • What is the organisation’s international strategy like?
  • What are the most important development areas of internationalization?
  • What kind of international projects does the organisation implement?
  • How does the international dimension manifest itself in every day practice?

b) Recognition and international comparability of degrees / qualifications

Get acquainted with the theme with the help of the website of the National Board of Education.

c) Your personal point of view regarding internationalization

  •  How you are involved or want to be involved in developing internationalization of your educational institution?

Write a brief essay (altogether 2-3 pages) about the topics.

    4. Educational institution as a work community (Learning circle):

Find materials (articles, websites, books etc.) concerning the following themes:

  • Organisation culture of schools
  • Organisations and work communities in change
  • Action and tasks of a work community
  • Well-being at work

With the help of the materials consider the following issues:

  • What are the tasks of your organisation?
  • What is your work community action like?
  • What is the role of a work community?
  • What is organization culture?
  • How would you describe your organization culture?
  • What are the changes that have taken place in your educational institution?
  • What are the impacts of the changes?
  • How does cooperation work and what are the main difficulties in it?
  • How do power relationships appear in practice?
  • What are the basic elements of a good work community?
  • What are the impacts of poor action, an ineffective and unwell work community?
  • How can you make a change?
  • What are the signs of work stress?
  • How you can identify your stress level?
  • What are your means of coping with your work?
  • How can you develop your work taking into account well-being at work?

Discuss the themes and matters which are important to your educational institutions and its development point of view. Write a short report about the main issues that you find, citing the resources you use.

   Literature:

  • Ministry of Education Strategy 2015
  • Regional Development Strategy 2003-2008
  • Education and Research 2007-2013.
  • Ministry of Education.