Wednesday, August 1, 4:00-4:30, SUB Ballroom B, Theme: Community

Our presentation focuses on the ways rural teachers in Finland use local contents in their teaching. The Finnish national core curriculum, drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education, frames the objectives of different subjects and planning of the contents of teaching. It includes e.g. pupil assessment, the principles of good learning environment, pupil welfare, and educational guidance. National curriculum serves as a basis for the local curricula. The idea is to enhance equality in education throughout the country. The latest core curriculum for pre-primary and basic education was introduced in 2014. Since then, the municipalities have drawn up local curricula, which steer instruction and schoolwork in more detail, taking local needs and perspectives into consideration.

In rural municipalities, individual subject teachers are responsible for the local adjustments. Teachers are required to hold a master’s degree and they are allowed an extensive pedagogic freedom in their work. In our case study, we interviewed 21 rural teachers and asked them about their thoughts and reflections on using local contents in their teaching. Teachers’ role in implementing local contents is central. Their interest in the matters of local community is a key factor, but their background and the length of teaching experience also seem to influence the use of local contents. Teachers discussed the tension between implementing local contents and excluding children from the possibilities of the world. Balancing these two demands was considered a difficult task. Teachers’ workload does not always give an opportunity to use local contents in teaching.