From Teacher to Team Coach Training – great communication and new ideas to take home

Picture by João Joaquim

Educators from Portugal learn how to become coaches in TAMK Proakatemia.

During 23-27th of May, TAMK hosted a group of educators from the Escola Superior de Technologia da Saúde de Coimbra (ESTESC) in Portugal. All together 20 educators from the Coimbra Health School joined From Teacher to Team Coach Training. The aim of this programme is to give the participants the necessary tools, tips, and modern coaching methods to apply to their own teaching.

Mixed feelings and learning stages

Traditionally with this training, the participants are given some practical information before their arrival, yet the programme itself is a surprise. This is meant to increase the uncertainty tolerance and open-mindedness of the participants and keep the doors open for flexibility.

“There are lots of mixed feelings in the air when a new group of educators and academics start their Teacher to Team Coach Training,” comments Hanna Saraketo, Senior Lecturer from the TAMK Proakatemia.

The training process includes five stages. Everything starts with ‘the Why’ question. Why are we here, why do we need change? The participants had clear goals: the need for pedagogical change, the ability to work in multidisciplinary teams, and the improvement of the communication with students and patients.

“Silence was strange in the beginning. Now I realize we needed silence to reflect and to truly listen to others. Otherwise, there is a danger we cause unnecessary pain to others,” commented one of the participating teachers.

The second stage was “confusion”. In TAMK Proakatemia there are no teachers, exams, or grading in the traditional sense. Instead, there are coaches, who support and encourage experimentation and hands-on learning. The learning outcomes are excellent, and the student satisfaction is extremely high. However, it can be confusing at first.

Naturally, the power of “teams” was an essential part of the process. The participants and coach worked through examples of teamwork and shared tips and tools that help teams work better.

The fourth stage was about us as individuals and our individual learning goals. At this stage, the group realized that they were not a group of teachers anymore and started to work as a team of learning professionals.

At last, it was time to wrap it all up into some concrete actions. The Coimbra team made creative souvenirs to take with them to their home university and continue this process.

Surely this training was a small step on the path of pedagogical change. We discussed the resistance that inevitably will be there. It will come from many directions; students, parents, colleagues, the system, and ourselves.

To overcome the obstacles, we need three things:

  • Knowledge – to learn more, to have a solid basis, to be able theoretically to defend your actions.
  • Team – to get support, ideas, and a mirror for your thoughts.
  • Network – to find inspiration, models, and courage to continue your chosen path.
Picture by Kirsi Jokipakka

“Together we shine more”

TAMK offered a chance to experience what it is like to learn in a team and to be coached. It is important that the participants’ feelings are recognized: the confusion, the perplexity, and the joy when it all makes sense. The feedback from the participants was overall very positive. It is obvious that this Coimbra group created something fantastic together.

“We are committed and motivated to change pedagogical practices. There will be more passion and love to help others shine,” crystallized one of the participants.

Work hard, play hard

The training included a day workshop at a cottage, “mökkipaja” as the TAMK Proakatemia people say. This is for opening one’s vulnerabilities to the team, sharing and creating trust. “Of course the cottage workshop included the sauna and lake experience,” said Krista Merikoski, International Coordinator from TAMK Global, who organized the cottage getaway.

The group worked hard during the days and spent the evenings enjoying the city. The participants had the pleasure to be in Tampere during the Ice Hockey World Championship 2022 and a few participants also attended a hockey game. What an adventure!

Learn more about the training here.

Hanna Saraketo, TAMK Proakatemia coach, Kirsi Jokipakka, Key Account Manager, and Krista Merikoski, International Coordinator from TAMK Global

William Isaacs 1999: Dialogue: The Art Of Thinking Together.
Peter Senge 2006: The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization.
Shawn Achor 2018: Big Potential. How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being.
Timo Nevalainen, Mikael Lindell and Ville Parkkila 2022. Operating Principles in TAMK Proakatemia

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