My name is Carolina Carvalho. I´m a Brazilian university lecturer and I came to Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK) Finland for a year to study the pedagogical approach in the Finnish higher education system. In autumn 2017 I was invited to join as a facilitator to Gira Mundo Finlândia Paraíba – Professional Development Programme.
But, what is this programme? It is a 8-months teacher in-service training designed for teachers from Paraíba State, Brazil. The planning team includes both Finnish and Brazilian educators. The initiative and idea for the programme are from Paraíba State Governor Ricardo Coutinho and the Secretary of Educacion Alessio Trindade. They have a support team of educational experts Alexandre D’Andrea, Jamylle Ouverney-King and Petronio Medeiros. Gira Mundo Finlândia is part of the modern educational policies of Paraíba for considering the education as a driving force for changing the community for the better.
This programme had its start in 2016, and so far 54 Brazilian teachers have attended to the training from the basic and upper secondary education. The study contents are, for example, innovative learning methods, competency-based education and digitalisation as well as regional development in Paraíba. Since 2017 there are study groups also in Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK). I facilitated 24 Brazilian teachers’ learning community during their Finnish section of the programme at HAMK for two months.
And how was it to give support and facilitate the programme? It was an enriching experience. In addition to learning a lot about the contents myself, visiting Finnish schools and doing the learning activities, I could also observe both sides: the Brazilian teacher’s professional development and how Global Education -team in HAMK works.
About the Brazilian side, I was able to observe the growth and development of the Brazilian study group in many ways, but I will mention only the following three observations. I chose also three photos that represent to me these three observation, and show the Brazilian teachers´ happiness for having this opportunity.
The first one was the experience of living for two months in an absolutely new world (and I include myself) with a very different climate, culture, values and education. The Brazilian teachers were very strong and resilient to adapt to these changes.
The second obeervation was the motivation and enthusiasm to professional development that Brazilian teachers have demonstrated during this period, proving how important continuing education and lifelong learning is for teachers. The result of that is the empowered teachers, who are able to build up creative activities and innovative learning environments in their own working context in Brazil.
3. Student-Centered Approach
The third observation is the new knowledge and new pedagogical approaches acquired. Teachers have learned many different tools and methods to implement student-centered approach in learning.
My observations about Global Education -team of HAMK are many, but I will also mention three findings with three photos.
The first one is the trust principle, which can be seeing everywhere. For example, the first week was organized so that the Brazilian teachers could first get to know Finnish culture, learning context and people. This week was used to create a strong tie and trust between teacher educators and teacher students. This strategy made all the difference during the whole course.
2. Learning by Doing
The second observation is that the programme is based on the learning by doing principle. During the course, Global Education -team created plenty of learning activities that brought a lot of dynamism to the course and the approach proved to enhance learning substantially.
The third one is the connection to the learning community of Hämeenlinna: visits and working with basic education schools, vocational institutions and university degree programmes, the possibility to observe, discuss and plan how student-centered approach and pedagogical tools are used in practice and what their concrete results are. This was essential to consolidate the learning during the training.
For me it was a great experience and an honor to be able to participate in this programme. I have made a professional network and really nice friends. I am happy also because I already know that in this year we have two more groups arriving to Finland. This means a lot of learning, friends and network, movement, colors and Brazilians at HAMK. I am already anxious!
Ps. Check the video “What is Gira Mundo?” (54s.)
Carolina Correa de Carvalho
University teacher of Management Engineering
Federal University of ABC – UFABC, Brazil.
Carolina works also with the group responsible for KOPE Project (KOPE – korkeakoulupedagogiikkaa) at HAMK. The project is about pedagogical co-operation between universities and universities of applied sciences aiming to improve the quality of teaching, learning, student guidance and learning environments.