University Curriculum in Special Teacher Education in Finland and Sweden
Keywords:curriculum, special teacher education, professional competence, inclusion
The education of special teachers’ is seldom studied, and when it is examined, it is compared primarily with general teacher education. The written academic curricula reflect scientific, professional, social, and ethical values, goals, and competences in education, school and society. This study analyses the special teacher education (STE) curricula from six Finnish and seven Swedish universities. The results show that Finnish STE curricula consists of 60 credits over one year , while the Swedish curricula comprises 90 credits over 1.5 years. Finnish STE can be called a “combo degree,” which addressed various learning difficulties, and Swedish STE transformed it into a specialization, with five different options. Teaching practice is essential in Finnish education, but does not exists as such in Sweden. Inclusive elements are somewhat present in the curricula, often in the form of co-operation. The core contents in these two countries are discussed and compared.
Ainscow, M., Booth, T., & Dyson, A. (2006). Improving schools: Developing inclusion. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203967157
Arnesen, A-L., & Lundahl, L. (2006). Still social and democratic? Inclusive education policies in the Nordic Welfare states. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 50(3), 285–300. https://doi.org/10.1080/003138306007433136
Bartlett, L. & Vavrus, F. (2017). Comparative Case Studies: An Innovative Approach, Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education, 1(1), 5-17. https://doi.org/10.7577/njcie.1929
Booth, T. & Ainscow, M. (2002). Index for Inclusion. Developing learning and participation in schools. Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education. Retrieved from https://www.eenet.org.uk/resources/docs/Index%20English.pdf
Bossaert, G.; Colpin, H.; Pijl, S. J. & Petry, K. 2011. Truly included? A literature study focusing on the social dimension of inclusion in education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 17(1), 60-79. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2011.580464
Botha, J., & Kourkoutas, E. (2016). A community of practice as an inclusive model to support children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties in school contexts. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 20, 784–799. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2015.1111448
Cobb, C. (2016). You can lose what you never had. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 20(1), 52–66. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2015.1073376
Cochran-Smith, M., & Dudley-Marling, C. (2012). Diversity in teacher education and special education: The issues that divide. Journal of Teacher Education, 63(4), 237–244. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0022487112446512
Da Fonte, M. A.; Barton-Arwood, S. M. (2017). Collaboration of General and Special Education Teachers: Perspectives and Strategies. Intervention in School and Clinic, 53(2), 99-106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053451217693370
Day, T. & Prunty, A. 2015. Responding to the Challenges of Inclusion in Irish Schools. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 30(2), 237-252. https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2015.1009701
Darling, S. M.; Dukes, C.; Hall, K. (2016). What Unites Us All: Establishing Special Education Teacher Education Universals. Teacher Education and Special Education, 39(3), 209-219. https://doi.org/10.1177/0888406416650729
Dovemark, M., & Erixon Arreman, I. (2017). The implications of school marketisation for students enrolled on introductory programmes in Swedish upper secondary education. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 12(1), 49–62. https://doi.org/10.1177/1746197916683466
Erguvan, D. (2014). Instructor's Perceptions towards the Use of an Online Instructional Tool in an Academic English Setting in Kuwait. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology - TOJET, 13(1), 115-130. Retrieved from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/153667/
European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education (2011). Teacher Education for Inclusion Across Europe – Challenges and Opportunities. Retrieved from https://www.european-agency.org/sites/default/files/te4i-synthesis-report-en.pdf
European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education. (2018). Promoting Common Values and Inclusive Education. Reflections and Messages. Retrieved from https://caldercenter.org/sites/default/files/CALDERWorkPaper_49.pdf
Feng, L., & Sass, T.R. (2013). What makes special-education teachers special? Teacher training and achievement of students with disabilities. Economics of Education Review, 36, 122–134. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2013.06.006
Finnish Council of State. (2004). Valtionneuvoston asetus yliopistojen tutkinnoista, 794/2004; § 19 [Statute of the degrees at the university]. Retrieved from https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2004/20040794
Finnish National Agency for Education. (2017). Education system: Equal opportunities to high-quality education. Retrieved from https://www.oph.fi/english/education_system
Forlin, C. (2013). Changing paradigms and future directions for implementing inclusive education in developing countries. Asian Journal of Inclusive Education, 1(2), 19–31. Retrieved from http://ajie-bd.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/chris_forlin_final.pdf
Göransson, K., Lindqvist, G., Klang, N., Magnusson, G., & Nilholm, C. (2015a). Speciella yrken? Specialpedagogers och speciallärares arbete och utbildning. En enkätstudie. [Special professions? Special Education and Special Education teachers: A survey study]. Karlstad: Karlstad University Studies.
Göransson, K., Lindqvist, G., & Nilholm, C. (2015b). Voices of special educators in Sweden: A total-population study. Educational Research, 57(3), 287–304. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131881.2015.1056642
Haegele, J. A. & Hodge, S. (2016). Disability Discourse: Overview and Critiques of the Medical and Social Models. Quest, 68(2), 193-206. https://doi.org/10.1080/00336297.2016.1143849
Hammerness, K. (2013). Examining features of teacher education in Norway. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 57(4), 400–419. https://doi.org/10.1080/00313831.2012.656285
Hausstätter, S. R. & Takala, M. 2008. The core of special teacher education: a Comparison of Finland and in Norway. European Journal of Special Education, 23 (2), 121-134. https://doi.org/10.1080/08856250801946251
Hausstätter, R.S. (2014). In support of unfinished inclusion. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 58(4), 424–434. https://doi.org/10.1080/00313831.2013.773553
Hornby, G. (2015). Inclusive Special Education: Development of a New Theory for the Education of Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. British Journal of Special Education, 42(3), 234-256. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8578.12101
Hotti, U. (2012). Akateeminen opetussuunnitelma innovaationa. [The Academic Curriculum as an innovation. Students’ assessments of the subject-teacher curriculum in 2005−2008 as a pedagogical environment from the point of view of becoming a professional]. Doctoral thesis. Faculty of Behavioral Sciences. University of Helsinki, research number 337. Retrieved from https://helda.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10138/32787/Akateemi.pdf?sequence=1
Hsieh, H.-F., & Shannon, S. E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research 15(9), 1277–1288. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732305276687
Jakku-Sihvonen, R. & Niemi, H. (2006). Research-based teacher education in Finland. Reflections by Finnish Teacher Educators. Finnish Educational Research Association, Turku.
Kao, C-P; Wu, Y-T. & Tsai, C-C. (2011). Elementary School Teachers' Motivation toward Web-Based Professional Development, and the Relationship with Internet Self-Efficacy and Belief about Web-Based Learning. Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, 27(2), 406-415. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2010.09.010
Kelly, A. V. (2004). The curriculum: Theory and practice (5th ed.). London: Sage Publications.
Kiuppis, F. (2014). Why (not) associate the principle of inclusion with disability? Tracing connections from the start of the ‘Salamanca Process’. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 18(7), 746–761. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2013.826289
Kondracki, N.L., Wellman, N. S., & Amudson, D. R. (2002). Content analysis: Review of methods and their applications in nutrition education. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 34(4), 224–230. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1499-4046(06)60097-3
Lawton, D. (1973). Social change, educational theory and curriculum planning. London: Hodden and
Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Lomazzi, N., Borisch, B., & Laaser, U. (2014). The millennium development goals: Experiences, achievements and what’s next. Global Health Action, 7, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.3402/gha.v7.23695
Lundahl, L. (2016). Equality, inclusion and marketization of Nordic education: Introductory notes. Research in Comparative & International Education, 11(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745499916631059
Luoto, L., & Lappalainen, M. (2006). Opetussuunnitelmaprosessit yliopistoissa. [Processes in curriculum design at the universities.] Finnish Education Evaluation Centre, publication no. 10. Retrieved from https://karvi.fi/app/uploads/2015/01/KKA_1006.pdf
Malinen, O.-P., Väisänen, P., & Savolainen, H. (2012). Teacher education in Finland: A review of a national effort for preparing teachers for the future. The Curriculum Journal, 23(4), 567–588. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585176.2012.731011
McCall, J. (2017). Continuity and Change in Teacher Education in Scotland--Back to the Future. European Journal of Teacher Education, 40(5), 601-615. https://doi.org/10.1080/02619768.2017.1385059.
Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research (3rd ed.). San Francisco: A Wiley Imprint.
Naukkarinen, A. (2010). From discrete to transformed? Developing inclusive primary school teacher education in a Finnish teacher education department. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 10(1), 185–196. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2010.01168.x
Niemi, H., & Jakku-Sihvonen, R. (2006). Research-based teacher education. In R. Jakku-Sihvonen & H. Niemi (Eds.), Research-based teacher education in Finland: Reflections by Finnish teacher educators (pp. 31–50). Painosalama: Turku.
Nilholm, C. (2007) .Perspektiv på specialpedagogik [Perspective on special education]. Studentlitteratur: Lund.
Nilsen, S. (2017). Special education and general education: Coordinated or separated? A study of curriculum planning for pupils with special educational needs. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 21(2), 205–217. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2016.1193564
Norwich, B. (2013). ‘How does the capability approach address current issues in special educational needs, disability and inclusive education field?’ Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 14(1), 16–21. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-3802.12012
OECD. (2016). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sweden country note: Key findings. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/pisa/PISA-2015-Sweden.pdf
OECD. (2017). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Finland. PISA 2015. Key findings for Finland. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/finland/pisa-2015-finland.htm
OSF. (2017). Official statistics of Finland. Special education. Retrieved from http://www.stat.fi/til/erop/index_en.html
Pickl, G., Holzinger, A., & Kopp-Sixt, S. (2016). The special education teacher between the priorities of inclusion and specialization. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 20(8), 828–843. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2015.1115559
Pijl, S. J. (2010). Preparing teachers for inclusive education: Some reflections from the Netherlands. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 10(1), 197–201. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2010.01165.x
Pijl, S. J. (2016). Fighting Segregation in Special Needs Education in the Netherlands: The Effects of Different Funding Models. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 37(4), 553-562. https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2015.1073020
Pulkkinen, J., & Jahnukainen, M. (2016). Finnish reform of the funding and provision of special education: The views of principals and municipal education administrators. Educational Review, 68(2), 171–188. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2015.1060586
Qvortrup, A. & Qvortrup, L. (2018). Inclusion: Dimensions of inclusion in education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 22(7), 803-817. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2017.1412506
Reindal, S. M. (2008). A social relational model of disability: A theoretical framework for special needs education? European Journal of Special Needs Education, 23(2), 135–146. https://doi.org/10.1080/08856250801947812
Ruppar, A. L.; Neeper, L. & Dalsen, J. (2016). Special Education Teachers' Perceptions of Preparedness to Teach Students with Severe Disabilities. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 41(4), 273-286. https://doi.org/10.1177/1540796916672843
Saraisky, N. G. (2015). Analyzing public discourse: Using media content analysis to understand the policy processes. Current Issues in Comparative Education, 18(1), 26–41.
Schwab, S.; Holzinger, A.; Krammer, M.; Gebhartdt, M. & Hessels, M. G. P. (2015). Teaching practices and beliefs about inclusion of general and special needs teachers in Austria. Learning Disabilities, 13(2), 237-254. https://doi.org/10.1080/01443410.2018.1516861
SOU 2008:109 En hållbar lärarutbildning [A sustainable teacher education]. Stockholm. Retrieved from www.regeringen.se
Stemler, S. (2001). An overview of content analysis. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(17). Electronic Journal retrieved from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=7&n=17.
Swedish Council for Higher Education. (2018). Anmälnings- och Studieavgifter [Announcement and study costs]. Retrieved from https://www.studera.nu/att-valja-utbildning/anmalan-och-antagning/anmalnings--och-studieavgifter/.
Swedish Higher Education Authority (2017). Higher education institutions. Retrieved from http://english.uka.se/facts-about-higher-education/higher-education-institutions-heis.html.
Swedish National Agency for Education (2017). This is the Swedish National Agency for Education. Retrieved from https://www.skolverket.se/om-skolverket/andra-sprak/in-english.
Takala, M. & Ahl, A. 2014. Special Education in Swedish and Finnish schools -Seeing the Forest or the Trees? British Journal of Special Education, 41 (1), 59-81. https://doi.org/10.1080/02619768.2011.654333
Takala, M., Pirttimaa, R. & Törmänen, M. 2009. Inclusive special education: the role of special education teachers in Finland. British Journal of Special Education, 36 (3), 162-173. https://doi-org.www.bibproxy.du.se/10.1111/j.1467-8578.2009.00432.x.
Thomazet, S. (2009). From integration to inclusive education: Does changing the terms improve practice? International Journal of Inclusive Education, 13(6), 553–563. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603110801923476
UNESCO. (1994). The Salamanca statement and framework for action on special needs education. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/education/pdf/SALAMA_E.PDF.
University Education. (2018). Yliopistot ja korkeakoulut [Universities and high schools]. Retrieved from https://www.yliopistokoulutus.fi/Yliopistot_ja_korkeakoulut__d3642.html.
University of Eastern Finland. (2017). Certificate program for special education teachers. Retrieved from http://www.uef.fi/web/kapsy/erityispedagogiikka/erilliset-erityisopettajan-opinnot.
University of Gothenburg. (2016). Special teacher education. Retrieved from http://ips.gu.se/utbildning/lararutbildning/speciallararprogrammet.
University of Helsinki. (2017). Studies for special education teachers. Retrieved from https://www.helsinki.fi/en/studying/how-to-apply/non-degree-programmes-for-teacher-qualifications.
University of Jyväskylä. (2017). Special teacher education. Retrieved from https://www.jyu.fi/edu/laitokset/eri/opiskelu/paaineopiskelijat/opetussuunnitelmat-ja-ohjelmat/ops-2014-2017.
University of Karlstad (2016). Special teacher education. Retrieved from https://www.kau.se/utbildning/program-och-kurser/program/LASPE-UTVS.
University of Linköping. (2016). Special teacher education. Retrieved from https://liu.se/utbildning/program/l9lsl.
University of Linneaus. (2016). Special teacher education. Retrieved from https://lnu.se/program/speciallararutbildning-ingar-i-lararlyftet-ii/specialisering-mot-sprak-skriv-och-lasutveckling-vaxjo-distans-deltid-ht/.
University of Oulu. (2017). Structure of special teacher education. Retrieved from http://www.oulu.fi/sites/default/files/content/Erityisopettajaopintojen_rakenne_lukuvuonna_2017-2018.pdf
University of Stockholm. (2017). Special teacher education. Retrieved from http://www.specped.su.se/utbildning/alla-program-kurser/speciallärarprogram/speciallärarprogrammet-90-hp-1.59815
University of Turku. (2017). Special teacher education. Retrieved from https://nettiopsu.utu.fi/opas/opintoKokonaisuus.htm?rid=26607&uiLang=fi&lang=fi&lvv=2016.
University of Vasa. (2017). Special education teacher studies. Retrieved from http://www.abo.fi/fakultet/studier_spi.
University of Umeå. (2016). Special teacher education. Retrieved from http://www.umu.se/sok/sok-utbildningsplan/utbildningsplan?id=147.
University of Uppsala. (2017). Special teacher education. Retrieved from https://www.uu.se/utbildning/utbildningar/selma/program/?pKod=USL2Y.
Uusitalo-Malmivaara, L. (Ed.). (2015). Positiivisen psykologian voima [The strength of positive psychology]. Bookwell: Juva.
Vitikka, E., Salminen, J., & Annevirta, T. (2012). Opetussuunnitelma opettajankoulutuksessa. Opetussuunnitelman käsittely opettajankoulutusten opetussuunnitelmissa. Tilannekatsaus 2012. [Curriculum in teacher education: Dealing with curriculum in teacher education]. Situation report 2012. Memorandum 2012: 4.
Von Ahlefeldt Nisser, D. (2014). Specialpedagogers och speciallärares olika roller och uppdrag – skilda föreställningar möts och möter en pedagogisk praktik. [Different roles and assignments of special educators and special teachers: Different performances meet and meet an educational internship] Nordic Studies in Education, 34(4), 246–264. Retrieved from http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A723034&dswid=-510
Watkins, A., & Donnelly, V. (2014). Core values as the basis for teacher education for inclusion. Global Education Review, 1(1), 76-92. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1055223.pdf
Waitoller, F. R. & Kozleski, E. B. (2015). No Stone Left Unturned: Exploring the Convergence of New Capitalism in Inclusive Education in the U.S. Education policy analysis archives, 23(37), 1-33. http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v23.1779
Webb, R. Vulliamy, G.; Hämäläinen, S.; Sarja, A.; Kimonen, E. & Nevelainen, R. (2004). A comparative analysis of primary teacher professionalism in England and Finland. Comparative Education, 40(1), 83-108. https://doi.org/10.1080/0305006042000184890
Wiborg, S. (2013). Neo-Liberalism and Universal State Education: The Cases of Denmark, Norway and Sweden 1980-2011. Comparative Education, 49(4), 407-423. https://doi.org/10.1080/03050068.2012.700436
Xin, J. F.; Accardo, A. L.; Shuff, M.; Cormier, M. & Doorman, D. (2016). Integrating Global Content Into Special Education Teacher Preparation Programs. Teacher Education and Special Education, 39(3) 165–175. https://doi.org/10.1177/0888406416631124
YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company) (2015). Yksityiskoulu vai tavallinen koulu? [Private or ordinary school?]. Retrieved from https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-6302305.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2019 Marjatta Takala
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Declaration on copyright
- The author/s will keep their copyright and right of reproduction of their own manuscript, with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License, but give the journal a permanent right to 1) present the manuscript to the public in the original form in which it was digitally published and 2) to be registered and cited as the first publication of the manuscript.
- The author itself must manage its financial reproduction rights in relation to any third-parties.
- The journal does not provide any financial or other remuneration for contributions submitted.
- Readers of the journal may print the manuscripts presented under the same conditions that apply to reproduction of a physical copy. This means that mass reproduction of physical copies or production of copies for commercial purposes is not permitted without the agreement of the author/s.