Towards Competence-based Practices in Vocational Education – What Will the Process Require from Teacher Education and Teacher Identities?

  • Säde-Pirkko Nissilä
  • Asko Karjalainen
  • Marja Koukkari
  • Pirkko Kepanen
Keywords: attitude, cooperation, learning in work places, life-long and life-wide learning, professional development


Competence-based education refers to the integration of knowledge, skills, attitudes and interactivity as the intended outcomes of learning. It makes use of lifelong learning and lifelike tasks in realistic settings and requires the cooperation of teachers. This research was prompted by the desire to explain why collegial cooperation often seems to be problematic in schools and universities. Are there certain social structures or behavioural patterns that influence the cooperative culture in teacher communities? The research material was collected in 2013 and 2014 in Oulu, Finland. The target groups were both newly qualified and experienced vocational teachers at all educational levels (N=30). The data collection methods were open questions in interviews and questionnaires. The research approach and analysis methods were qualitative. The theoretical background is in humanistic-cognitive and experiential learning as well as in dynamic epistemic conceptions. The findings show that the prevailing model in teacher communities is individualistic, disciplinedivided and course-based, especially among older teachers. The obstacles refer to teachers’ self-image and a deeply rooted fear of criticism or revelation of incompetence. The promoters of cooperation were connected to the changing practices and desire of sharing with colleagues. 


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