April 18, 2018

”Research doesn’t help me think” – Rethinking the past and present of research-based teacher education in Finland

April 18th, 2018, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Ponderosa Commons Oak House (PCOH) 2012

One of the factors through which the high quality of education in Finland has been explained is Finnish teacher education being research-based and, consequently, training its future teachers as researchers. In this talk, I historicize the presence of research in current curricular discourses of Finnish teacher education, making visible how different – even contradictory – notions of research are mobilized in the fabrication of the researching teacher as an autonomous, empowered professional. Yet I argue that the insertion of research into the curriculum of Finnish teacher education can be seen as a way of regulating teacher autonomy and binding the making of the teacher to the idea(l) of the nation. In an effort to complicate conversations on teacher education in Finland and elsewhere, I consider how the presence of research in teacher education might come to confine teacher thinking to what has already been established as the ‘truth’ of Finnish education. The talk will conclude with a discussion of Finnish exceptionalism as an educational truth that forecloses critique, thus making some critical questions and conversations unintelligible and difficult, if not impossible.

Bio: Dr. Johanna Sitomaniemi-San is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. She completed her dissertation, Fabricating the Teacher-as-Researcher: A Genealogy of Academic Teacher Education in Finland, in 2015 at the University of Oulu, Finland. Her current research project, funded by the Finnish Foundations’ Post Doc Pool, is a cultural history of ‘curiosity’ as a Western educational notion. The project draws from genealogical, discursive, affective and (post)colonial perspectives to consider the making of curious subjects and objects as entwined in cultures of exploration, theories of learning, and psychologies of the child.