In 2020, we reassessed and redefined our thematic priority areas of research: Education in society, Communities in education, and Learning, pedagogy and learning cultures.
We continued to develop our pre-award services. To help our academic staff apply for funding from the European Research Council (ERC), we set up an ERC group to offer long-term support to future applicants and develop a new collegial approach to preparing for the application of competitive research grants.
Our success in the Academy of Finland’s funding calls continued. A project titled Technological and Societal Innovations to Cultivate Critical Reading in the Internet Era (CRITICAL), which is coordinated by EDU and funded by the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council, was launched in late 2020.
A new professor of early education and Finland’s first professor of environmental education joined our Faculty in 2020. The funds for establishing the professorship in environmental education were donated by the City of Tampere.
As part of a strategic project to develop continuous learning, ee developed a digital module on special education pedagogics (25 credits) in cooperation with Tampere University of Applied Sciences. We maintained active collaborations in five multidisciplinary groups assigned to develop education and teaching, attended multiprofessional seminars and participated in the implementation of cross-institutional studies and flexible study paths.
The themes of environmental and climate education and sustainable development were incorporated into the 2021/24 curriculum for basic, intermediate and advanced studies in education. These themes were also included in the studies that students complete to earn teaching qualifications.
We expanded our collaboration working life in the contexts of early childhood education and teacher education. The network of day care centres with which we have a partnership includes 90 day care centres. In the autumn of 2020, three of these day care centres were assigned the status of a special development partner, meaning that they maintain close collaboration with our Faculty to develop research and on-the-job learning. In the OPTIMO pilot projects within the framework of the Continuous Learning programme, we continued to develop teacher mentoring activities and offer schoolteachers and degree students more opportunities for interaction in cooperation with the City of Tampere. This cooperation is coordinated by the OPTIMO network of partners.
Tampere University Teacher Training School
The Tampere University Teacher Training School offered its teachers more opportunities to pursue collaborations with staff at our Faculty’s Education Unit. The collaborative research, experimentation and development activities mainly focused on environmental education, sustainable development, digitalisation, learning facilities and transitions.
In the national spring admission cycle to secondary education, the upper secondary school at Tampere University Teacher Training School was once again the region’s most popular option among first-choice applicants, in proportion to the number of places available. The lowest GPA that guaranteed admission to the upper secondary school was 8.83 – the highest in the Tampere region and also the highest in the history of the upper secondary school. The factors that make the upper secondary school such an attractive choice include its close ties with Tampere University and working life, high-quality teaching and the central location of its campus.
EDU provides education that is in high international demand. Our transnational education project titled Supervising Teaching Practice developed for the Feevale University in Brazil progressed to the signatory stage. The project focuses on the creation of a supervised teaching practice programme and will be delivered fully online in cooperation with the Tampere University Teacher Training School. We also started negotiations with a partner based in Indonesia concerning the creation of a degree programme-based model for continuing education. In addition, we joined the internationalisation programme of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and took on a prominent role in the Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning in India, Africa and China.
Tampere University’s student union TREY presented the Teacher of the Year Award to Assistant Professor (tenure track) Maiju Paanenen. The University of Tampere Foundation and the Industrial Research Fund at Tampere University of Technology granted the Publisher of the Year Award to Academy Postdoctoral Researcher Inkeri Rissanen.
Professor Kirsti Karila received an award from the Ebeneser Foundation in recognition of her decades-long commitment to promoting the best interests and well-being of children.