International Professional Teacher Education
1. Competence-based teacher education – Goals and Learning Outcomes

Vocational teachers mostly work in vocational education or universities of applied science. They have a high level of competence in their own professional field based on their own work experience and education.
A vocational teacher’s expertise combines competence in pedagogy and their own professional field with theoretical and practical teaching competence in different kinds of operating environments. A teacher student builds their competence as a vocational teacher on the foundation of their competence in their professional field. A vocational teacher has mastery of the knowledge and skill requirements of their professional field and thus is able to teach and supervise young people and adults studying for the same profession. Professional teacher education promotes the basic pedagogical skills of a vocational teacher that are currently required in a teacher’s work.
The competence of a vocational teacher is focused on planning, guidance, teaching and assessment. For this reason, a teacher must have sufficient theoretical knowledge of learning and competence development. In addition, modern working life emphasises cooperation and networking, development skills, and the support and maintenance of the well-being of oneself and one’s community.
Teaching and guidance skills are important in a teacher’s work. These skills place emphasis on the use of teaching technology, consideration of student diversity, and individualisation of teaching, all of which present challenges for the teacher’s work.
Cooperation and interaction skills are another core area in the work of a teacher. Interaction with students and network partners requires social competence and dialogue skills. Changes in society and the workplace require that a teacher be able to reform and renew the practice of teaching with the help of research development and innovation activities.
A teacher’s learning outcomes are influenced by changes in the labour market, the structures of vocational education and society as a whole, and these are emphasised in the dynamic nature of a teacher's work. Work characterised by continual change in the variety of working environments places an emphasis on the teacher’s ability to assess and adjust their own activities. Self-assessment skills are an essential part of developing one’s professional identity. A teacher is making value decisions all the time, which means that the consideration of questions of professional ethics is one of the professional skills needed. Change requires the development of expertise, the ability to learn, and also the ability to reform and renew the way things are done as part of a community.

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. You can also print a digitally signed document from Pakki-service. More details from our website.

For technical support and advice, contact ServiceDesk at or by telephone at +358 (0)3 646 3000 (on weekdays at 8.00 – 16.00 Finnish time). 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 Individualising studies in teacher education

At the beginning of their teacher education studies, the student takes a competence test. Students have a performance appraisal with their coordinating teacher, and on the basis of this their personal development plan is formed. This plan brings together the student’s own learning goals, the modules’ learning outcomes and the assessment criteria for the themes.

The personal development plan takes into account the student’s prior learning. Prior learning can be recognised either through credit transfer or skills demonstrations. A credit transfer can be applied for based on earlier equivalent studies and a skills demonstration can be applied for based on work experience. Competence can also be recognised in the modules on a theme-by-theme basis. The student counsellor is responsible for credit transfers, and the teachers are responsible for skills demonstrations. Guidelines on prior learning practices can be found on the webpages of the teacher education unit and are also provided in the early stages of the studies.

The personal development plan can also involve agreements on work-based learning of teaching work. At the beginning of the work-based learning process, the coordinating teacher and the teacher student assess whether the modules’ learning outcomes can be obtained through carrying out teaching work. A student who primarily carries out teaching work in vocational education or universities of applied sciences can acquire and demonstrate during their teacher education studies the competence required for the themes’ assessment criteria through their own teaching work.

If the teacher student has a need to speed up or delay their graduation, they can also draw up a personal study plan (PSP). The PSP is worked out together with the student counsellor.

1.5 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 from our website: > Studying > Practical teacher training

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
• Personal Professional Teaching Expertise 1: Teaching, Guidance and Assessment Competence 18 ects
• Personal Professional Teaching Expertise 2: Competence of Building a Learning Community 9 ects
• Practical Teacher Training 9 ects
• Development of Personal Expertise in Pedagogy 11 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 Discipline4X---
Education as a Societal Function4XX--
Learning in Different Developmental Phases2XX--
Key Theories of Learning3-X--
Pedagogical Studies27----
Teaching, Guidance and Assessment Competence18----
Personalisation and Guidance5-X--
Guidance Methods and Learning Solutions6-X--
Specific Support in Education3-X--
Competence of Building a Learning Community9----
Dialogue and Interaction3--X-
Interculturality and Multiculturality3--X-
Networks in the Field of Education3--X-
Practical Teacher Training9----
Orientation for Practical Teacher Training3-X--
Practical Teacher Training in an Educational Institution6-XX-
Developing Personal Expertise in Pedagogy11----
Personal Professional Teaching Expertise5XXX-
Skills in Research, Development and Innovation Activities6-XX-
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