Panel discussion: Pedagogical implications based on JustEd research findings

JustEd panel discussion Nordic conference on teacher education Vaasa

Elsa Eiríksdóttir (University of Iceland), Ylva Odenbring (University of Gothenburg), Fritjof Sahlström (Åbo Akademi University), Anna Slotte (University of Helsinki), Jenni Helakorpi (University of Helsinki) and Pia Mikander (University of Helsinki).

JustEd researchers from Iceland, Sweden and Finland took part in a panel discussion at this week’s Nordic conference on teacher education in Vaasa, Finland. The panel addressed policies and practices in teaching from a Nordic perspective, and presented research findings from several studies focusing on gender equality, inclusion/exclusion, multiplicity, teaching approaches and classroom interaction.

The panel was chaired by Anna Slotte (University of Helsinki), who in the very end asked the panellists to point out the most important pedagogical implications based on their JustEd research findings so far. The panellists approached the question from multiple angles, showing the complexity of the topic.

JustEd researcher Fritjof Sahlström (Åbo Akademi University) pointed out that the Nordic comprehensive school was designed in the 40s and 50s, when diversity looked very different: “The solutions that we designed then, need to be redesigned now. And we’re not going to look at Pisa results for answers, we need to find the answers ourselves and we need to do it now”.

Jenni Helakorpi (University of Helsinki) raised the question about the narratives given in school: “How do we present different nations, who we are, who are part of the nations, how the nations have historically treated minority groups and disabled? In the classrooms, we need to take a critical look at the knowledge production in educational sciences. How can we make more space for people, more voices, more representatives to create justice in education – we need to give more people the opportunity to act and influence”.

Ylva Odenbring (University of Gothenburg) highlighted alarming reports on students’ mental health issues in Sweden, such as increasing dropouts and high levels of stress. She also addressed the need for more critical studies focusing on the influence of the students’ social background: “Teacher educators and researchers need to collaborate – we need to integrate practice with research”.

According to Elsa Eiríksdóttir (University of Iceland), there is no “one size fits all model” in pedagogical practices – in general and vocational education there are different value and skill sets. “We need to see education as a democratic institution in itself, producing citizens that are an active part of our society.”

Pia Mikander (University of Helsinki) gave attention to recognizing the privileged positions of teachers and giving them the skills to think about diversity and justice: “Teachers often see themselves as completely neutral, but that is not the case – teachers confirm some student identities but not others. There is a need for teachers to acknowledge which identities they confirm and disentangle solving racism from teaching Swedish manners”.

justed panel 1

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About the Author

About the Author: Charlotta Järf is in charge of the communications and marketing activities for JustEd, The Nordic Centre of Excellence, an international research network with 14 partner universities in 8 countries. With ten years of professional experience in Communications and Marketing, and five years as a TV, radio and newspaper journalist, Charlotta has a practical set of skills in strategical communications, PR, social media, graphic design, video and content production. .


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