International Professional Teacher Education
1 Competence goals of professional teacher education

The basis of the development of expertise is competence in a professional field. This refers to the teacher student’s ability to utilise the skills and knowledge of their vocational field, updating them as the field develops, knowing the work culture and recognising the development needs of the field.

The expertise of a professional teacher combines this competence specific to a professional field with pedagogical understanding and knowledge. Together, these translate into a theoretical and practical teacher’s competence in various operational environments. Professional teacher education is built on professional competence and know-how. Professional teachers must have a command of the knowledge and skills required in their profession to be able to teach and guide vocational students. Professional teacher education is aimed at improving the basic pedagogical skills that teaching requires today.

Guidance of learning is at the core of a teacher’s work. Teachers must therefore possess theoretical knowledge on learning and the improvement of competence. Naturally, vocational education focuses on the learning of skills. Implementing teaching and guidance in various situations and operational environments – including virtual and international ones – requires a broad command of teaching and guidance skills. Teachers are increasingly using various digital solutions, which means skills in information and communication technology are a part of every teacher’s teaching and guidance skills. Each one of our students is different, and different cultural backgrounds contribute to the need for individualising teaching and guidance activities.

The need for good cooperation and interaction skills is emphasised in the work of a professional teacher, as their work includes continuous interaction with students as well as working with internal and external stakeholders and network partners. Skills in collaboration and dialogue focus on working in multiform networks as well as on the improvement of these networks. In order to respond to the changes in the labour market and the society at large, teachers need, in addition to cooperation skills, the ability to combine teaching with research and development activities in their field, which naturally occurs in various operational environments with other actors and stakeholders.

A teacher’s competence objectives are influenced by changes in the labour market, the structures of vocational education, and the society that together demonstrate the dynamic nature of a teacher's work. Working in the circumstances of constant change and in different environments emphasises the needs for skills at assessing and managing one’s own actions. Therefore, self-assessment skills are an integral part of developing teacher’s professional identity. Teachers constantly make choices based on values, and thus reflecting on professional ethics is part of a teacher's expertise. As society and the world of work change, teachers need to develop their expertise as well as to have an ability to learn and capabilities for renewing the activities as a part of the community.

Teaching and learning is in the process of change due to the phenomenon of digitalism in education. The pedagogical approach and methods need updating. This is due to the rapid change of learner’s expectation and needs in the field of education. Education can be provided through various channels and digitalisation provides new tools for teaching and learning. The current trend of using individual study paths in education can also be supported by different digital solutions. The need and demand for creative thinking is always present in education. Therefore, teacher students need new knowledge and skills in digitalisation for the future. The digitalisation is versatility benefitted in our professional teacher education programme.

1.1 Competence-based curriculum and developing as a teacher

The competence-based teacher education curriculum is formed of five modules: 1) Basic Studies in Education Sciences, 2) Teaching, Guidance and Assessment Competence, 3) Competence of Building a Learning Community, 4) Practical Teacher Training and 5) Developing Personal Expertise in Pedagogy. The modules’ learning outcomes describe the competences required in teaching work and are placed in the NQF system’s (National Qualifications Framework) reference levels six and seven.

At the beginning of their studies, the students assess their competence in relation to the modules’ competence objectives, reflecting specifically on the assessment criteria of the different modules’ themes. Based on the assessment of their competences, the students prepare a personal development plan (PDP). They will also keep a learning diary during their studies. The personal development plans are discussed with the tutor teacher at the beginning of studies.

1.2 Guidance in studies and support for learning

Guidance in studies and support for learning are based on holistic guidance provided to students. Teacher students themselves are key actors in their own professional growth. The responsibility for the progress of each teacher student in teacher education is assigned to a tutor teacher at the School of Professional Teacher Education. The teacher in question guides and assesses the student's development as a teacher in accordance with the objectives of the competence-based curriculum’s modules. The modules also feature specialist teachers who instruct the students in different thematic areas. Supervising teachers act as experts in the content of teaching and pedagogy during practical teacher training in education institutes.

Peer groups that support learning are formed within the student group of each tutor teacher. The aim of the peer groups is to encourage and support students in the progress of their studies during teacher education. Separate agreements are made in each peer group as concerns the specific methods used to support learning.

In professional teacher education, student counsellor is responsible for credit recognition and provide guidance in the planning of personal study paths. She also provides career counselling where needed. Student affairs secretary provides practical advice in study-related matters and issues official certificates related to studies.

For technical support and advice, contact HelpDesk at or by telephone at +358 (0)3 646 3000 (on weekdays 8.00 a.m - 4.00 p.m.). More detailed information on the guidance services are available on the HAMK website and on the first contact days at the start of studies.

1.3 Assessment of studies

Study performance assessment is based on the modules’ competence objectives and the thematic assessment criteria derived from them. The assessment criteria are used as the foundation of various assignments. Learning assignments include independent assignments, group assignments, plans, reports, group discussions, group tests, development assignments, various reflection and assessment assignments or activating assignments.

The assessment generates information for the teacher student on his or her achievement of the competence-based objectives of the modules of teacher education. The studies are assessed on the scale of pass / additional work required.

Based on recognition of prior competence and personal situation, competence can be demonstrated on a theme-by-theme basis. A demonstration of competence may cover an entire module’s worth of studies.

More specific guidelines concerning the practices of recognition and accreditation of prior learning or learning acquired elsewhere during studies (RPL) are provided on the website of the School of Professional Teacher Education, and possible accreditations are handled by the student counsellor and teachers. The student counsellor is responsible for credit transfers, and the teachers in charge of each theme are responsible for the demonstrations of competence.

1.4 Cooperation with educational institutions and supervising teachers

Practical teacher training, as a part of teacher education, has major significance for a student's development as a teacher, as the integration of theory and practice takes place through real-life assignments in accordance with the principles of integrative pedagogy. Themes addressed in the modules are applied in practical teacher training.

At the beginning of studies, the teacher student agrees on the practical teacher training period with an institution of vocational education and concludes a written agreement with the organisation. A supervising teacher, who must be pedagogically qualified as a teacher, is appointed for all teacher students undergoing practical teacher training. The task of the supervising teachers is to support, guide and assess the competence of the students and their development as professional teachers. The role of the supervising teacher as an expert in the field of education, in authentic learning environments and in the application of the theory of vocational pedagogy is central in promoting the learning of the student. The tasks of the supervising teacher are described in more detail in the practical teacher training agreement.

Instructions for the different stages and contents of practical teacher training are provided at the very beginning of studies. Placements for practical teacher training are available for example in the partnering institutions of the School of Professional Teacher Education. Contact information of these institutions can be found on the website of the School of Professional Teacher Education.

It is also possible to conduct your practical teacher training period abroad. We provide you with possibilities to teach e.g. in our strategic international partnering universities VIA University College in Denmark or Feevale University in Brazil.

2 Structure of studies

Under the government decree on polytechnics (1129/2014), studies in professional teacher education must include basic studies in educational sciences, studies in vocational pedagogy, practical teacher training and other studies. In the curriculum for teacher education at the HAMK School of Professional Teacher Education studies under the decree in question have been dimensioned as follows:
• Basic Studies in Education Sciences 13 ects
• Pedagogical Studies 1: Teaching, Guidance and Assessment Competence 17 ects
• Pedagogical Studies 2: Competence of Building a Learning Community 12 ects
• Practical Teacher Training 9 ects
• Developing Personal Expertise in Pedagogy 9 ects.

The scope of the studies (60 ects) translates into 1,600 hours of work by the student, out of which, in the case of multiform studies, 200 hours take place in the form of contact teaching.

International Professional Teacher Education60----
Basic Studies in Education Sciences13----
Education Sciences as a Discipline3X---
Learning in Different Developmental Phases2X---
Key Theories of Learning4XX--
Education as a Societal Function4X---
Pedagogical Studies29----
Teaching, Guidance and Assessment Competence17----
Planning of Teaching and Guidance5-X--
Learning Environments3-X--
Teaching and Guidance Methods5-X--
Competence of Building a Learning Community12----
Networks in the Field of Education3--X-
Practical Teacher Training9----
Orientation to Practical Teacher Training3-X--
Practical Teacher Training in an Education Institute6-XX-
Developing Personal Expertise in Pedagogy9----
Personal Professional Teaching Expertise3XXX-
Skills in Research, Development and Innovation Activities6-XX-
Click here to see your activities