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Browsing by Author "Vähäaho, Sanna-Maria"

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  • Vähäaho, Sanna-Maria; Leino, Sanna (2018)
    The aim of our research was to map how teachers experience their work and their attitude to school development. In addition we were interested in how the teachers perceive the future of their role and that of the school. The material was collected by interviewing two primary and two secondary school teachers. We interviewed at the schools where we found interested teachers, so the divide between the primary and the secondary teachers was incidental. Our method of interviewing was the theme framed interview. This was chosen because it allows the interviewee a freedom to talk widely about the subject, but it still gives a structured framework for the interview. The themes of the research were subdivided into four categories: being a teacher; the teacher’s role; the planning of the curriculum in the school and the attitude of the teachers towards the development of the school. In addition we asked the teachers to write an essay about the future of the teachers’ work and their school. In analysing the material we could use the themes as our framework. The themes springing out of the interviews were being a teacher, the role of the teacher, reforms and the future. Three important issues affecting the work of today’s teachers came up in the interviews. These were the increasing problems of pupils, the lack of training and insufficient time to do one’s work. The raise in pupils’ problems in school can at least partially be blamed on the increasing use of alcohol and drugs amongst the young and socio-economic problems experienced by parents. Pedagogic subjects especially were deemed lacking in the teacher training programme. Too much time is devoted to train student teachers in the subject matters and not enough time is used honing the skills to tackle the pastoral issues. Time management was the problem both when implementing reforms and co-ordinating work with colleagues. Teachers’ attitudes towards the reforms were generally positive. Experience showed that initiatives developed locally by teachers were more meaningful than the nationwide ones, because the results of the changes could be seen more quickly. The increasing socio-economic problems of pupils were seen to change the work of a teacher and the role of the school towards managing pastoral issues. Accordingly, the role of a teacher would become more concerned with raising the young and supporting the parents. The change in society and the increasing amount of information available will change teaching, thus encouraging students to get skills to seek information independently. Cooperation inside school, between school and parents and international cooperation will increase in the future according to the teachers. The results of our research cannot be generalised, but they will help us to understand the teachers’ work and the demands made on them in society both today and in the future.