Practical Teacher Training Abroad


This post tells about Elisabeth Erlholtz’s, a Finnish teacher student, experiences on her practical teacher training in Brazil, Paraíba. The training was part of Elisabeth’s professional teacher education (60 credits) at Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK). The training went very well and gave new ideas for co-operation in teacher education between Brazil and Finland in future. Elisabeth’s text is commented by her teacher educators Anne-Maria Korhonen from Finland and Alexandre D’Andrea from Brazil.

Practical Teacher Training Abroad (By Elisabeth Erholtz)

Professional teacher education include practical teacher training at educational institutions. To make my practical training in Brazil, instead of Finland, was possible because of the partnership between the State of Paraíba and Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK). The training lasted from from 31 August to 19 September 2017. My mentor in Brazil was Mr. Alèssio Trindade. I visited altogether 15 different schools in cities of João Pessoa, Campina Grande, Areia and Cabedelo. It was important to visit many cities and regions for understanding how the state-level education system works in Paraíba (Pbhoje 2017).

The State of Paraíba has a teaching network with 803 schools and 33 nurseries, about 22 thousand teachers serving with approximately 400 thousand students (Paraiba, 2015). State Secretary of Education (SEE) defines the implementation of the government policies in basic education and vocational education, aiming the improvement the living conditions of the population.

In practical teacher training we learn to plan, implement and assess learning, thus I had to make a detailed plan to my tutor teacher to Finland and mentor in Brazil. Planning my own teaching is a very important skill in future as being also a teacher who has an ability to develop own pedagogical expertise continuously.

When visiting in schools, I must say, I was especially impressed about creative studies I experiment in schools of Paraíba: music, dance, photography, making lively radio programs and publishing student and school journals!

During the teaching training in Paraíba I had the chance to develop my ability to teach in a new learning context. It has always been in my nature to be quite nervous and too intense and serious. When I started my teaching studies, I thought that for growing as a professional teacher, I must step outside of my comfort zone. Now, in Paraíba, I felt I that I acquired the confidence to lecture with ease and being convincing.

Another valuable lesson for me was that that I can teach by dialoguing with students. In Paraíba interaction with students was very open. People in Paraiba are genuinely present, willing to communicate and it was easy to dialogue.

A Teacher Educator’s Perspective (By Anne-Maria Korhonen)

HAMK School of Professional Teacher Education wants to give it’s teacher students new possibilities to implement practical teacher training globally and Elisabeth’s story of training in Brazil is one of these opportunities. HAMK is an active organization by building new openings for educational partnerships internationally. HAMK’ strategy is in align with education export strategies of Finnish National Board of Education (Opetushallitus 2017).

The Professional Teacher Education (60 credits) includes practical teacher training period that scores 9 credits (HAMK 2017). Teacher educators scaffold their student teachers as well as their mentor teachers during the training periods. The Team of Global Education negotiated international relations for the student teacher so that she had a chance to plan and implement practical training aboard.

I as a teacher educator, tried to guide, scaffold and encourage the student teacher for the practice period in all possible ways. Afterwards it has been admitted that both the student teacher and teacher educator were quite nervous before the flight to Brazil! However, being nervous was a waste of time; everything was planned and prepared to the student teacher very well!

Although our teacher students are studying to become a qualified teachers, they are often very capable to train and teach for example student-centered pedagogical models. Also our student teachers have a lot of experience in their own substance field and this might be interesting to our international partners as well.

As Finland is very eager to co-operate and co-develop in the field of education globally, it raises a question if there is a change to connect also teacher education of Finland into global programmes, for example by implementing practical teacher training in global learning environments.

Paraiba’s Point of View (By Alexandre D’Andrea)

From the point of view of the State of Paraíba, to host a student teacher from Häme University of Applied Sciences of Finland, offered many benefits:

  1. to present details of the state educational system and to share well succeeded initiatives of the Secretariat of Education of Paraíba, considering the new and modern approach adopted by the Paraíba State Government,
  2. to strengthen the links between Paraíba State and countries worldwide known for their remarkable success in educational development, such as Finland,
  3. to support the internationalization process of Paraíba Educational System, making visible the efforts to go beyond the limits of the regional and national boundaries and giving the opportunity for networking between teachers from several countries.

In the specific case of Elisabeth, efforts were made to give her the opportunity to visit 15 schools, including the Citizen School, a special kind of school where the curriculum is developed based on a student’s “life plan” to acquire skills and competences necessary for the professional life.

Also, the State of Paraíba has more co-operation going on with HAMK: a several years implementation of Gira Mundo Finlândia Professional Development Programme for Brazilian teachers, and this was also considered as a reference to Elisabeth.


Elisabeth Erholtz
Professional Teacher Graduated from Häme University of Applied Sciences
Supervisor at Sillankorva Service Center
City of Turku

Anne-Maria Korhonen
Senior Lecturer
School of Professional Teacher Education
Häme University of Applied Sciences

Dr. Alexandre D’Andrea
Teacher of Basic, Technical and Technological Education
Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Paraíba




Governo Da Paraìba (2017). Escolas Cidadãs e Prima chamam a atenção de professora finlandesa que visitou a Paraíba. Retrieved 8.10.2017 from following address

Governo Da Paraiba (2017). Professora finlandesa desenvolve projeto de mestrado em escolas da Rede Estadual da Paraíba. Retrieved 8.10.2017 from following address

HAMK (2017). Opinto-opas 2017 – 2018. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from

Instituto Federal (2017). Pesquisadora da Finlândia visita o IFPB Campus Cabedelo. Retrieved 8.10.2017 from following address

Opetushallitus (2017). Education Finland. Retrieved October, 15, .2018, from

Pbhoje (2017). Professora finlandesa desenvolve projeto de mestrado em escolas da Paraíba. Retrieved 8.10.2017 from following address

Static Paraíba (2015). Gerências regionais de educacào. Retrieved 8.10.2017 from following address




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