We came back from our last trip full of reflections and emotions about the first contact week of the vocational teacher training programme we started implementing in Uruguay. We are trying to put some order into the different aspects of this process: group dynamics, learning environment, the conversations with the local educational managers, their expectations, to name a few.
We export Haaga-Helia´s pedagogical methodology and tools based on the experiences and research that the staff of Haaga-Helia School of Vocational Teacher Education have accumulated over the years. Nevertheless, when we think about the conversations and interaction in which we were involved during the first contact week, we realize that there is more to it than a simple reproduction of the same practices. Teachers and managers have dreams and fears, they want to change the education system and are challenging traditions and the status quo without always having the clarity of the next steps. In spite of it all, they are very passionate about the change.
We are in fact in the middle of a very complex educational change process when we export our programmes. As facilitators, we have to listen carefully and focus our attention on all the dimensions and aspects of a demanding process. Indeed, many competences are required, not only pedagogical but also emotional, cultural and ethical. How can we avoid any “know- it-all” kind of attitude? We are supposed to cooperate with the local coordinators and are not merely the implementers of a product that was sold to a customer. We are building an interpersonal trust relationship, and we are also learning from the partners and participants. This is a very subtle process of understanding the complexity of an educational system unknown to us. The main point is to understand and accept that we are building together with our partners the possibilities for the best solution. In the end the final decisions fall in their hands and they have to decide which of the suggested methodologies, tools or pedagogical perspectives are the most suitable for them.
This is our first blog article. In the next ones, we will discuss the importance of culture and teamwork as we perceive that beside pedagogical competence, they are key factors of a successful implementation.
Productising Finnish Education for Export: The Barriers and Enablers of Internationalisation.
A Multiple Case Study: Fifteen Members of Future Learning
Finland Walid El Cheikh (2015) http://epub.lib.aalto.fi/fi/ethesis/pdf/14170/hse_ethesis_14170.pdf (30.04.2019)
Schatz, M. (2016) Engines without fuel? Empirical findings on Finnish higher education institutions as education exporters. Policy Futures in Education, 3, 14