Finnish craft education in turbulence
Conflicting debates on the current National Core Curriculum
In this article, we investigated how craft curriculum enacted in 2016 was reflected in the current discussions of the stakeholders, that is, the craft teachers, the craft student teachers, the craft teacher educators, and the government employees. In the curriculum, textile craft and technical craft, previously perceived mainly as separate entities, were conjoined as an approach in which “multiple materials are used, and activities are based on craft expression, design, and technology” (FNBE, 2014). This caused confusion in the field about the goals and arrangements of craft education. The data consisted of craft teachers’ professional magazines, curriculum blog, and written statements. The discussions concerning the undertaking of the new craft curriculum were analysed by document analysis. Three emerging themes were found to be central in the debates: lesson hour distribution, multi-materiality, and technology education. The analysis revealed that there was a shared understanding about the lesson hour distribution not being enough to enable the proper fulfilment of the craft curriculum. Conflicting views were expressed about the implementation of multi-materiality and technology education. In general, many textile craft stakeholders were open to adapt a more multi-material approach, seeing it as bringing new opportunities to craft education. Many technical craft stakeholders believed that multi-materiality is an artificially-constructed concept, and they saw technology education as already being an essential part of technical craft teaching. Consequently, the curriculum reform has caused turbulence that is dividing the craft stakeholders and especially the craft teachers.
Keywords: craft education, sloyd, technology education, multi-materiality, curriculum reform, education in Finland
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