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LEARNING WHILE WORKING - FROM A PRE-SERVICE TEACHER´S POINT OF VIEW

M. Meriläinen1, M. Piispanen1, P. Valli2, R. Valli1

1Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius (FINLAND)
2Torkinmäki Training School (FINLAND)
My Own Class -practicum

My Own Class-practicum is the final (8 ECT-credits) practicum period in Kokkola University Con-sortiums Primary School Teacher Education training. This practicum provides an alternative to carry out the final practicum period while working at the same time as a half or the whole year substitute teacher in Finnish primary school. Adult students respect the possibility to study at their home residences this practicum period will make it happen.
The fact that pre-service teachers will place themselves all around Finland during the practicum, requires them more independent and more overall responsibility about planning and accomplishing learning situations. As a teacher you need to deeply consider classroom management to authentic classroom situations –these experiences are difficult to get during normal training periods in Finnish practicum schools.

During the final practicum, pre-service teachers will organize the curriculum around common learn-ing across disciplines. They chunk together the common leanings embedded in the disciplines to emphasize interdisciplinary skills and concepts. This phenomenon based learning or interdisciplinary integration is familiar to them in theory - this practicum gives every student a possibility to have a personal, supported and guided experience to put it in practice.

Even in Finland, where teachers have a full autonomy to accomplish the curriculum freely, a com-mon way to act is typically very analytic and the use of teaching methods is often very old-fashioned (see also Prashnig, 2011). The pre-service teachers meet this reality year after year –to bring their working environments to 21st century during this practicum, we guide, advice and sup-port them to experience interdisciplinary curriculum and to teach interdisciplinary skills through curriculum contents.

In Kokkola University Adult Teacher Training programme, the kind of learning, that will define the 21st century, will not take place in a classroom –at least not in today`s classroom. Rather it is hap-pening all around us, everywhere. Learning environment studies (Manninen & al. 2007, 33-34, 118-119; Piispanen 2008, 92-97) requires learning and studying to be much more than knowledge based, analytic, subject-centered working in classrooms. My Own Class –practicum will give pre-service teachers unique possibilities to connect latest learning theory to their daily practical work as a teacher –collaborating and reflecting and top of all supported by the university while already working as a teacher in their own classes.