The study trip was tailored to the group by Stella Yuxing Ikonen, Senior Adviser of Internationalisation and Business Operations from TAMK together with faculty members of the University of Wyoming. The group consisted of 10 people: faculty members of the University of Wyoming, school counsellors, school district superintendents who manage headmasters within their district and students who are soon to become teachers.
Throughout the entire week the group visited a primary school, a kindergarten, an upper secondary school, a vocational school and the Tampere University of Applied Sciences where they learnt more about the Finnish education, talked to Finnish teachers, students and staff, and experienced the different learning environment and culture.
Inspiration and autonomy
The week initiated with a visit to Hatanpää Upper Secondary School. Musical Theatre and Music students offered a tour and presented the learning environments, culture and regulations of the school. Visiting the school from the learner’s perspective was an eye-opening experience for the group. Everyone was impressed by how confident and mature the Finnish upper secondary school students are, and how much trust is given to students in Finnish education.
The group also visited Lempäälä, a municipality in Tampere region. Ari Perälä, Vice Rector of Lempoinen Primary School, presented the Finnish primary education and special needs education. The group visited the school facilities and observed classes. They were amazed that the Finnish primary school teachers teach multiple subjects, where in the USA the primary school teachers are usually specialised in a specific subject. Lempäälä and Lempoinen Primary School visit was impactful because the size of the municipality and school are very comparable to the reality in Wyoming.
Next, the group visited the Tampere Vocational College Tredu. Besides the range of courses Tredu offers, they were also introduced to the services for immigrants and the close cooperation with working life.
In TAMK Proakatemia the group was introduced the collaborative teaching-learning itinerary at TAMK Proakatemia with core concepts such as community, dialogical communication, and coaching teams. In TAMK Proakatemia the students get to start their business and venture and learn by doing with the help of coaches. At TAMK Proakatemia the group got to try and experiment a typical training session following Proakatemia’s dialogical approach led by their host.
The group had the opportunity to meet students and alumni of the Master’s Programme in Educational Leadership during the Melposium 2022 event. They exchanged ideas and experiences in leadership in education, collaboration and change implementation and humour as a tool to the classroom routine.
New thoughts and ideas
TAMK created the perfect setting for the group from Wyoming to reflect upon significant issues and solutions to everyday question in today’s education. Even the social activities sowed seeds that lead to understanding that the learning environment must provide a safe dialogical space for learners to share, experiment and trust each other and the educational agents who surround them.
The Wyoming group saw the “system at play” and learnt that experienced cooperation and sustainability are agents in the continuous change that is needed on designing new learning journeys.
Text: Stella Yuxing Ikonen and Jamylle Rebouças Ouverney
Pictures: Stella Yuxing Ikonen