The University of Turku and Polar Partners Ltd. collaborate to develop online courses which encapsulate the Finnish educational expertise in an easily adoptable manner. The courses of the Top Teacher programme are aimed at teachers and education specialist around the world who wish to deepen their existing professional skills with the Finnish education model and know-how.
The online courses of the new Top Teacher programme are based on the Finnish expertise in education and teaching. They demonstrate how pedagogical solutions developed in Finland can inspire and benefit teachers around the world. Education specialists from the Turku Teacher Training School and the Faculty of Education of the University of Turku as well as from Polar Partners Ltd. have been involved in designing the high-quality content of the courses. The implementation of the courses responds to the growing demand for online training which has been prompted by the opportunities provided by new technologies and the sudden shift in daily lives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Collaboration with Polar Partners provides teacher trainers with a novel experience of cooperation with companies. It is also about the professional development of our personnel. Those involved in the courses gain more knowledge and experience in planning online education, multiculturalism and the functionality of different materials and pedagogical methods. Everything that is learned during this collaboration can be utilised in teacher training. It can provide teacher trainers with ideas and models for collaboration with companies as well as versatile opportunities to work as a teacher in different environments,” says the Administrative Principal of the Teacher Training School Vesa Valkila.
The new online courses are offered to both individuals and groups. The courses can be completed alongside work at a pace suitable for individual participants. Those who have registered and paid the course fee need only an access to a computer or a mobile device and a working internet connection to join the courses. The course materials and assignments have been designed to inspire and motivate. They include presentations, articles, quizzes, tests, games, videos and short video lessons from experienced educators. The course materials also include practical work-related assignments and ways for the participants to reflect on their own work. Every participant who completes a course receives a certificate.
The first course in the Top Teacher programme is already up and running and another one is currently in the development stages. The first course, titled Gain Top Results in Basic Education, is aimed to support the pedagogical competencies of teachers in basic education focusing on the learning, development and well-being of children. The course is organised around topics such as equal and inclusive education system, significance of school culture, learning environments and working methods, assessment to support learning, and possibilities provided by learning technologies. The second course is currently under development with the working title Become a 21st Century Teacher. It will explore some of the topics of the first course further as well as provide support in new areas, focusing more on providing the participants with concrete tools to plan and improve teaching.
The Gain Top Results in Basic Education course has been piloted in Chile over the summer 2022 and the results have been positive.
“The courses have received positive feedback from Chile. Teachers have found the content of the courses dynamic and pragmatic,” says Chief Marketing Officer Janita Relander from Polar Partners Ltd. “We are excited to collaborate with the University of Turku. We have spent a lot of time planning the content of the courses and the quality is very high.”
In addition to the courses already available and in development, the Top Teacher programme will be expanded further in the future.