Assets based community participation and place making

Authors: Kate Miller, Ronald McIntyre & Gary McKenna.

This paper discusses how processes of community development and community education tend to be dominated by a deficit discourse that is influenced by neoliberal political and economic forces. It provides an example of how a community outreach programme can turn the tide on these processes by implementing assets based approaches to place making and working with young people. Assets based approaches value the resources that exist in the community and build on the strengths and affordances of communities. We identify that there are a parallels between deficit models of community development and deficit or ‘banking models’ of education. We argue that a strong assets based approach that emphasises and values the experience of community members is an effective way to empower communities to make positive change.

Introduction

This paper arises from an Erasmus + project funded to share innovative practice of assets based approaches to community participation and develop collaborations across Higher Education Institutions and community groups across Europe. The University of the West of Scotland, in collaboration with our partners at Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Finland, University of Bologna in Italy, University of Maribor in Slovenia and The University of Southern Denmark have been working with community stakeholder groups that are implementing assets based approaches to working with communities. The work done by our community partners emphasises the importance of valuing the lived experiences of community members and also valuing community places and how these are made.

All of our partners have found that implementing an assets based approach is often working in opposition to a dominant narrative in community development and neoliberal policy discourses that emphasises a widely deficit view of communities. This deficit view extends beyond the purely economic aspects of community life. We argue that this deficit view of communities if not challenged can lead to the implementation of practices that accentuates the negative aspects of communities and can further disempower community members hindering the process of making positive change.

What we call a deficit model of place has been challenged on a number of levels, from the tendency to treat economic inclusion in the neoliberal economy as a proxy for inclusion more generally, and in particular from those working within participatory approaches to community development (Macintyre 2016; Shaw & Mayo 2016). There is a parallel between deficit models of community development and deficit or ‘banking models’ of education. Deficit models have been challenged with educators emphasising the need to move from viewing education as a matter of pouring knowledge in, to one recognising people as experts in their own lives.

Deficit Models of Place

This paper focuses on the UK, specifically Scotland, while Scotland has a degree of political autonomy within the UK as a devolved nation, political discourses within the “Public Sphere” are shaped at the UK level (e.g. Mooney & Scott 2016). As one of the first countries to industrialise, the UK then became one of the first to deindustrialise, the communities, which had built up around those industries suffered the loss of these jobs (Harvey 2006). Many of these industries were based in the West of Scotland, in Glasgow and its surrounding area.

The sense that these places were “left behind” as the economy moved on was further developed through the structure of programmes aimed at supporting the economic regeneration of these areas. These policies came to the fore in the UK under the Labour Government of Blair in 1997 through its work on Social Exclusion/Inclusion. Levitas et al. (2007) identified three main themes within social exclusion, the first theme relates to lack of resources, the second looks at social cultural aspects, and has been called the moral underclass discourse (MUD), the third embraced by Labour was the social integration discourse. It suggested that poverty in these communities was not so much a material problem relating to a lack of resources but a social one.

Deficit models of Education

Freire (2007) argued that mainstream education operates using the ‘banking model’ where learners are considered to be empty vessels and educators the providers of knowledge. Many young people in these ‘left behind’ communities struggle to succeed in mainstream education. In some places community outreach organisations (NGOs) are developing in order to provide alternative educational spaces that young people can access and where they can participate in dialogical and creative activities in ways that most mainstream educational contexts are not able to support.

Giroux (2005) argues that there is no such thing as a neutral educational process. Education either operates as a means to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes ”the practice of freedom,” the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. Freire always viewed history as possibility, ”recognizing that History is time filled with possibility and not inexorably determined,” (Freire 2000, 26). Communities change through place making processes that are connected to political and economic processes. It is important to draw attention to pedagogical practices that can empower communities to make positive change.

Place Making Through Arts Outreach

Below we provide an extract from an interview with a practitioner from an arts outreach programme situated in a community that has suffered effects of deindustrialisation. It illustrates how engagement that draws on the resources of the local community can challenge deficit models of communities and empower community members to make positive changes.

Researcher: How might thinking about your community identity help with your professional practice?

Community worker: A lot of the people we see will maybe have quite a low opinion of themselves, of their communities; their perception of the community might be that they are not the best place to be. I would actually completely turn that on its head. I do not see it that way at all. I see everywhere as an opportunity to be amazing places and I would really encourage folk (people) to think about where they are in those terms, because I think that these are communities that have got long histories of amazing people that have achieved incredible things that have been formally recognised… You know, that is where working with young people is an incredible thing because we can turn that on its head and say: well did you know that this is where the first edition of Robert Burns’ poems was published? You know which is an international and universal book that everybody knows you know “Auld Lang Syne” (meaning times long past). These songs were all published in this town. People think this town has a heavy industries background and it does, but it actually had a creative industries before it had a heavy industries background…We are about to move into a former school which we have taken on as a transfer and that school had two Nobel Peace Prize winners come out of it. The only school anywhere that had two Nobel Peace Prize winners out of it – I mean that is an incredible fact in itself .., it is not a coincidence.

Researcher: Is it about the potential of the community?

Community worker: It is about recognising the potential and it is about understanding where it came from and it is also about the whole thing about the potential of it becoming alive again, or well, it has always been alive and it has always been here. So it is about recognising that and then giving that place opportunity to think about it in those terms going forward and having no parameters at all – it is up to you. It is over to you guys actually you can decide how this goes, you have got that empowerment to take it forward (he is talking about the young people).

Researcher: What opportunities does this open or indeed close off for you as a practitioner?

Community worker: Speaking personally I think the amazing thing that we have done is some fantastic pieces of work with a community facing aspect. The Council and the Government had offered money for our participatory budgeting programme …and the young people were able to secure funding to run a small gallery space in the Burns Mall – which is the local shopping centre… That all came about from a family engagement workshop that I was running with families, a visual art workshop. .. the kids themselves secured the funds to make this happen….we had a gallery preview the way you would have in any gallery. The local press came along and gave us two pages. It was great publicity mothers and fathers; grandparents; and brothers and sisters all came to see it. We sold work and one of the young people created a book and we sold the whole edition and it was really exciting stuff. Drawings and paintings and a digital offer [we showed] all kinds of art. We had fashion and we had other pieces of work as well. So that was an example of how we could look at our community in a positive light and through our professionalism and through our practice we were able to engage with families. We have incredible opportunities to do that kind of a thing on a national scale. I would actually like to see it happening on an international scale. I think we should be having artists and musicians coming to see us from around the world because I think that suddenly becomes again about putting our place on a global map. We are a wee (small) town near to Glasgow and sometimes kids come here and this is the biggest place they have been to. They have never been to Glasgow….but it is about blowing all that out of the water and saying we are actually a town in Europe in the world and I think it is really crucial that we celebrate that. We always have been and we always will be – so why do we not just run with that? Instead of deciding that we have to think that we have to go somewhere else to be a creative person and we have to be somewhere else to be important.

Fig.1. Centerstage wall of strengths-based art produced by local youths as a way of giving them a voice.
Fig.2. Centerstage paper mache tree for pinning the leaves containing young children’s strengths and statements of what they have learned.

Towards a More Radical Approach to Assets Based Community Development

This paper suggests a strong parallel between deficit models in education and approaches to local economic development; this can be traced from the political rhetoric to how this is articulated through policy and practice on the ground. In both we see a tendency to treat people and places as “left behind”, as missing something, this something might be tangible assets such as modern school buildings or it might be intangible like confidence or social capital. We offer an alternative assets based approach, as implemented by the specific arts outreach programme discussed above, as a way of resisting dominant narratives (Negt, Kluge, ([1993] 2016) that treat places which have not been folded into neoliberal capitalism as left behind, and therefore lacking something. It resists a reading from ABCD light, where ideas around assets as commodities become folded into neoliberalism either through support to exploit them or through questions around how and why people are not exploiting them, which itself fits into a deficit model of place. We suggest a deeper more radical engagement with ABCD. This draws on our own work on participatory action research and design (Macintyre 2016), and our engagement with inclusive pedagogies in adult education (Cannell & Macintyre 2017). These approaches reject deficit models of education emphasising the need to recognise people as experts in their own lives and their own communities.

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the funding from the Erasmus + programme which made the project ‘Designing Collaborative Educational Resources (COERS) for Assets Based Community Participation (ABCP) across Europe’ (Assets com) (ref. 2016-1-UK01-KA203-024403) on which this paper is based possible. We would also like to acknowledge the work of our colleagues in our partner Higher Education Institutions and all of the community stakeholders participating in the project.

Authors

Kate Miller, The University of the West of Scotland, Lecturer in Education, PHD, kate.miller(at)uws.ac.uk

Ronald McIntyre, The Open University, Designer, Executive Masters in Business Studies, ronald.macintyre(at)open.ac.uk

Gary McKenna, The University of the West of Scotland, Research Fellow, PhD, gary.mckenna(at)uws.ac.uk


Cannell P. & Macintyre R. (2017). Free open online resources in workplace and community settings – a case study on overcoming barriers, Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 19(1), pp. 111–122.

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage, Rowman & Littlefield: London.

Freire, P. (2005). Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Continuum: London.

Freire, P. (2006). [1970] ”The banking model of education”. In Provenzo, Eugene F. Critical issues in education: an anthology of readings. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. pp. 105–117.

Freire, P. (2007). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.

Giroux, H. (2005). Border Crossings: Cultural Workers and the Politics of Education, Routledge.

Harvey D. (2006). Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Economic Development, Verso: London.

Levitas R., Pantazis C., Fahmy E., Gordon D., Lloyd E., & Patsios D. (2007). The Multidimensional analysis of social exclusion Project Report by Bristol Institute of Public Affairs for the Department of Communities and Local Government, http://roar.uel.ac.uk/1781/1/multidimensional.pdf last accessed 27th of August 2015.

Macintyre R. (2016). Approaching Participatory Design in ”Citizen Science”. In Design for Learning: 5th International Conference designing new learning ecologies, 18th -20th of May, Copenhagen. http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/46337

Mooney, G. & Scott, G. (2016). Welfare, equality and social justice: Scottish independence and the dominant imaginings of the ’New’ Scotland. Ethics and Social Welfare, 10(3) pp. 239–251.

Negt O. & Kluge A. ([1993] 2016) Public Sphere of Experience: Analysis of the Bourgeois and Proleterian Public Sphere. Verso: London.

Paton, K., McCall, V. & Mooney, G. (2017). Place revisited: Class, stigma, urban restructuring in the case of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games. Sociological Review, 65(4) pp. 578–594.

Shaw M. & Mayo M. (2016) Class Inequality and community development, Policy Press: Bristol.

Practitioner researchers’ current and future visions of education & learning

Authors: Marcelo Giglio, Mauri Kantola, Mervi Friman, Inneke Berghmans & Manuel Peixoto.

In this Special Issue The European Association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning (EAPRIL) joins forces with the Journal of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS Journal) to highlight practitioner-researchers’ visions of future education and learning. This is the second special issue reported by EAPRIL and UAS journal (see https://uasjournal.fi/arkisto/eapril/). EAPRIL and UAS Journal both focus on research and development in education. That is, on the one hand, UAS Journal focuses on the fields of practice-oriented higher education in Finland since 2011 and, on the other hand, EAPRIL focuses on practice-based research and bridging research and practice with the aim to improve learning, both in education and organisations.

From the point of view of the higher education research, the classification proposed by Teichler (1996) may serve a good basis to analyse the themes of the articles included in this special issue. As of the beginning of the millennium, Teichler’s classification proved to be an important model for structuring higher education research (Ahola & Hoffman 2012). In addition to the classification itself, Teichler’s four areas of research have thought to include links to the different knowledge interests in various fields of science.

Teichler (1996) has argued that research on the challenges in our demanding higher educational system has an integrative task on two important stages: firstly, it aims to stimulate the use of theories, paradigms and methods of the various disciplines, and secondly to integrate knowledge concepts in different disciplines. He has pointed out that if research on higher education tries to draw from single disciplines, paradigms and spheres of higher educational research, this might be only appropriate for a minority of themes. It could also lead to artificially narrowing the scope of the subject, which is not suitable for striking the balance between theoretical insight and a sufficiently complex understanding of the object of analysis (Teichler 1996). In this sense, the Teichlerian framework (Teichler 1996, 2000, 2003) also suits our purposes when studying the included articles of our special issue, as this special issue aims for a multidimensional approach, covering various paradigms and settings.

In this issue, the pedagogical research has been popular among authors. These themes have included questions that have otherwise also sparked plenty of discussion in the public platform. Workplace orientation towards the future of students, including workplace relations and employment, has not been a particularly common topic in this edition. The classification of the articles presents clearly the profile of EAPRIL, which promotes practice-based research on learning issues in the context of initial, formal, lifelong and organisational learning. EAPRIL’s mission is to bring together persons who are interested in the connections and reflections between research and practice. (https://www.eapril.org).

* * *

Last year, EAPRIL hosted its 12th annual conference under the theme ‘Inspired by the visions of future education and learning’ in Hämeenlinna, Finland, at the Häme University of Applied Sciences in close cooperation with the Federation of Universities of Applied Sciences (FUAS). This EAPRIL 2017 Conference proved to be a rich space for creative, innovative and reflexive exchanges between delegates. It has inspired the EAPRIL Executive Board to call for papers on this important topic, looking from the past to the present, but also anticipating the future visions of education and learning based on current views and expertise. This particular focus complies with the contemporary need of the world and, consequently, with the current need of all the levels of education and training. Starting this millennium, UNESCO promoted a humanistic vision of learning based on principles as respect for life, the human dignity, the cultural diversities, the social justice and international solidarity presented. It was reported in the two landmark publications by UNESCO ‘Learning to Be’ (Faure et al. 1972) and ‘Learning: The Treasure Within’ (Delors et al. 1996). Between 2010 and 2016 several informal and formal meetings of UNESCO served as platform opportunities to reflect and present frameworks for competencies and learning objectives for Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship Education on the future of education and skills programmed by OECD. Some of the conclusions were that education needs to aim at interdisciplinary learning and students’ competencies to solve problems through multiple lenses considering an uncertain and volatile world. The publication ’The Future of Education and Skills 2030’ (OECD 2018) offers a shared vision on the advice as need for new solutions in a rapidly changing world; need for broader education goals with individual and collective well-being; learner agency – navigating through a complex and uncertain world – ; need for a broad set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values in action; competencies to transform our society and shape our future; and design principles for moving toward an eco-systemic change. Giglio (2014) identifies five dimensions of educational and institutional creativity and innovation:

  • the purpose of the change as a challenge to the future,
  • the reaction to change by actors,
  • the creative action to improve the roles and skills of the actors,
  • the social interaction between individuals and partnerships, and
  • the forms of contribution to the future.

In this international context the contributions of this EAPRIL – UAS Journal Special Issue address practice-based research as a form of inquiry, to share visions, ideas and solutions that inspire the presence and future of education, while acknowledging historical-cultural backgrounds. In fact, different contributions and discussions organised at the EAPRIL 2017 Conference illustrate how our professional experiences and research are situated in this evolutional world. Step by step, we face new opportunities for human advancement in the future of education. Creating and following-up on these opportunities entail uncertain and unpredicted creativity and innovation of education and learning. However, current research can help to understand, reflect and anticipate some of these problems and/or to provide some tools and methods to improve learning. Looking back at the past years, we can sense the speediness of change experienced today. How can we consider this in the future of education and learning? How can we utilise current practitioner research as a doorway to the future? The universities of applied science have definitely a crucial role to serve in educational research. However, which designs, methods, tools and ideas are pivotal? What are (or should be) the roles of educators, developers and employees in evolutionary forms of thinking and acting of students and employees in a continued evolution of technologies?

Knowledge, working, research, teaching, and learning are never exhaustive and always evolutionary. Consequently, a future vision on education and learning cannot be but a part of the current and professional thinking and acting of educational practitioners and researchers.

This EAPRIL – UAS Journal Special Issue hopes to contribute to the development of education, curiosity, imagination, creativity and innovation by presenting ideas, perspectives and values of our contributors. Both ‘study cases’ and ‘research results’ are presented in this Special Issue, matching our aim to bridge practice and research. Both will demonstrate the important role of practice-based research as a form of inquiry, of creating and sharing visions, dreams, new ideas and innovative solutions, all with the aim to inspire both contemporary and future educational developments, while acknowledging historical-cultural backgrounds.

It was a pleasure to edit the articles of this Special Issue, which invited us to reflect and to (re)think our own understanding of education, today and tomorrow, generating new ideas on living, working, learning, teaching and research. We hope these articles can plant some seeds for new educational developments, covering our foremost aim of improving learning for the future.

Authors

Marcelo Giglio, HEP-BEJUNE, Switzerland & University of Neuchâtel
Mauri Kantola, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland
Mervi Friman, Häme University of Applied Sciences, Finland
Inneke Berghmans, University of Leuven/EAPRIL Project manager, Belgium
Manuel Peixoto, EAPRIL Board, Portugal


Ahola, S., & Hoffman, D. M. (2012). Higher education research in Finland – Emerging structures and contemporary issues. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylä University Press. Referred 21 May 2018: https://ktl.jyu.fi/julkaisut/julkaisuluettelo/julkaisut/2012/d103

Delors, J., Al Mufti, I., Amagi, I., Carneiro, R., Chung, F., Geremek, B., Gorham, W., Kornhauser, A., Manley, M., Padron Quero, M., Savane, M.-A., Singh, K., Stavenhagen, R., Won Suhr, M. & Nanzhao, Z. (1996). The treasure within. Report to UNESCO of the international commission on education for the twenty first century. UNESCO Publishing. Referred 25 June 2018: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0010/001095/109590eo.pdf

Faure, E., Herrera, F., Kaddoura, A.-R., Lopes, H., Petrovsky, A. V., Rahnema, M. & Champion Ward, F. (1972). Learning to be. The world of education today and tomorrow. UNESCO. Referred 25 June 2018: http://www.unesco.org/education/pdf/15_60.pdf

Giglio, M. (2014). Five dimensions to study teacher education change for improving musical creative learning. Journal for Educators, Teachers, & Trainers 5 (1), 80–89. Referred 21 May 2018: http://jett.labosfor.com/index.php/jett/article/view/172

OECD, (2018). The Future of Education and Skills 2030. Referred 25 June 2018: http://www.oecd.org/education/2030/E2030%20Position%20Paper%20(05.04.2018).pdf

Teichler, U. (1996). Comparative higher education studies: Potentials and limits. Higher Education 32 (4), 431–465. Referred 21 May 2018: http://euroac.ffri.hr/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Teichler1996-1.pdf

Teichler, U. (2000). Higher education research and its institutional basis. In S. Schwarz and U. Teichler (eds.), The institutional basis of higher education research – Experiences and perspectives. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 13–24.

Teichler, U. (2003). The future of higher education and the future of higher education research. Tertiary Education and Management, 9, 171–185.

Excellence in Teaching and Learning and how it is manifested in three countries

Author: Sharon Lierse.

Abstract

Excellence in education is a topic of global interest. Universities are in competition for the highest quality of research and top students. They are also ranked against each other in global university rankings. Moreover, universities have an increasingly important role in preparing students for the next generation workforce and lifelong learning; a responsibility that is undergoing significant transformation. Another indicator of excellence in education is the Programme for International Student Assessment better known as the PISA tests. The purpose of the research is to compare, and contrast Australian, South Korean and Finnish tertiary educational institutions in what is are characteristics of excellent teaching. Factors such as teaching philosophies, cultural influences and the role of the arts will be investigated. Through investigating these educational philosophies and practices will gain a greater understanding of what drives different countries to achieve excellence in learning and teaching.

Introduction

Excellence in higher education and how this is identified and measured is of global interest. Countries promote their universities and are in competition for the best students (Yedkevich, Altbach & Rumbley, 2016). There are also external organizations such as the Times Higher Education which rank universities against each other (Baker, 2017; Times, 2017). These global rankings have a great impact on how teaching and learning is conducted at universities and what is considered important for educating the future generation. Countries which have excellent universities are known for what these institutions do, but not how excellence is taught, achieved, and what is valued by students and lecturers in the process.

Another indicator of excellence in education is the Programme for International Student Assessment, better known as the PISA tests (OECD, 2017). This international test is given to a cross-section of students in The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries when they are aged fifteen. The PISA tests have highlighted how educational systems impact learning and teaching and how this may flow onto the quality of education in the tertiary sector. The PISA tests have shown that two countries which have consistently ranked highly are South Korea and Finland. They are vastly different in their geographic location, language, cultural practices and attitudes to education. In contrast, Australia is a Western country situated in Asia, which has ranked quite well in the tertiary global rankings and PISA. The aim of the research is to compare and contrast perceptions of excellence between these three select countries, and what can be learnt from them. In an increasingly globalised community, understanding what is valued between countries and how excellence is achieved may increase one’s understanding of society, and how to address current themes and issues within the education system. The key questions asked in the study are the following:

  1. What is excellence and success?
  2. How is competition regarded in the learning process?
  3. Is there a connection between excellence and altruism, empathy and equity in learning and teaching?
  4. Are there specific subjects or disciplines connected to excellence?

Data will be collected through surveys and interviews as well as investigating philosophies, culture and curricula. Themes of excellence, success and competition will be the focus as well as what is valued in society. Grounded theory will also be employed as an inductive theoretical approach after analysing the various forms of data.

Definitions

What is Excellence?

To achieve excellence, one first has to know what the term ‘excellence’ means. The difficulty with the term is that humans can identify excellence but when describing of verbalising what components are excellent or why, it becomes challenging. For a term widely used, finding a definition is difficult. The Collins English Dictionary (1979) defines ‘excellence’ as both a noun and a verb: “the state or quality of excelling or being exceptionally good; extreme merit; superiority” and “an action, characteristic, etc., in which a person excels” (p. 531). The Latin translation for excellence is ‘uirtus’ which look very similar to the word ‘virtue’. This is based on Plato’s philosophy that ‘excellence is virtue’. Hence, to be good at a task may have also been virtuous in its moral quality. For the purpose of the paper, excellence is defined as “exceptionally good and of superior quality”.

What is Success?

The term ‘success’ is often interchanged with ‘excellence’. The word ‘success’ stems from the Latin root ‘successus’, which means an outcome. The Collins English Dictionary (1979) defines ‘success’ as, “The favourable outcome of something attempted” (p. 1521). It was also described when a task has been completed and it becomes “obsolete”. ‘Excellence’ and ‘success’ are often interchanged but to be successful at a task does not necessarily imply that the quality is good, or of virtue. There is not necessarily a causal relationship between being excellence and success. Success here is when the task has been achieved and does not require further work.

What is Competition?

Competition occurs in many fields including sport, music and education. The premise of competition is that there will be a winner and loser with the individuals or groups pitted against each other. It has been defined as “rivalry”, or “the struggle between individuals of the same or different species” (Collins, 1979, p. 322).

Literature Review

There has been research into excellence in teaching at the tertiary level from a range of perspectives. To clarify, there has been a range of terms and definitions depending on philosophical understandings, geographic location and culture. Terms such as ‘outstanding’, ‘excellent’ and ‘successful’ are interchanged as well as ‘tertiary’, ‘university’ and ‘college’. ‘Lecturing’ and ‘teaching’ have also been interchanged (Andrews, Garriso & Magnusson, 1996; Cosh, 1999; Gibbs, 2006; Sherman et al., 1987; Yair, 2008). For the purpose of this study, ‘excellence’, ‘tertiary’ and ‘teaching’ will be used.

Historically, the topic of excellence has been research for over century in which one of the first publications was published in 1917 in The Journal of Educational Research (Breed, 1927). The characteristics identified were personal qualities, organization of the subject matter, knowledge, skill, university co-operation and professional development. Similar characteristics were found in studies by Brookfield (1990), Finkel (2000), Metcalfe and Game (2006), Weimar (1997); and Yair (2008). There was a discussion of whether excellence was a quality which was innate (Gosling & Hannan, 2007; Polanyi, 1966; Weimar, 1997; Yair, 2008) or whether it were techniques and skills which can be taught (Kane, Sandretto & Heath, 2004). The personality of the teacher was rated highly in some studies which traits such as approachability, passion and enthusiasm were at times considered more important than skills (Bain, 2004; Bain, 2012; Bentley-Davies, 2010; Boonshaft, 2010; Feldman, 1988; Gladwell, 2009; Lawler, Chen & Venso, 2007; Moore & Kuol, 2007; Saroyan & Amundsen, 2001). However, as students progressed though the higher levels of academia, skill and expertise were increasingly considered important (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1986; Chi, Glaser & Farr, 1998).

There are also excellent teachers who were focused on inspiring and transforming lives despite the bureaucracy and structure of the system. They may not necessarily be good administrators and therefore may miss out on recognition they duly deserve through not filling out the paperwork for promotions (Dunkin & Precians, 1992; Jones, 2010; Palmer & Collins, 2006; Skelton, 2005; Yair, 2008). They would work around policies and procedures in order to evoke the changes they considered necessary (Robinson, 2009). Some have also questioned the status quo and consequently become disruptors to the system.

A quality of excellent teachers was their ability to reflect (Brookfield, 1995; Cosh, 1999; Cowan, 2006; McAlphine & Westin, 2000; Schön, 1983). Reflection could come in many forms such critically reflecting their own practice to further improve their own teaching. Another form was to show understanding through empathy. This empathetic response would help students with their most pressing needs and in improving their learning. Other qualities are equity in which the concept of student bias or favouritism is negated to achieve the desired results.

At a systemic and national level, key cities throughout history have been known for excellence and advancing society. They have shown common traits of nurturing talent including those considered outsiders and having an altruistic attitude towards achievement (Weiner, 2016). Here, the strive for excellence was not competitive for individual gain, but rather collaborative for the greater good of humanity. The importance of altruism and empathy, and a more holistic approach to learning has been investigated (Fehr & Fischbacher, 2003; Sahlberg, 2015; Stephan & Finlay, 1999). Ironically, it is the countries that are known for excelling in global rankings which also have a strong philosophical educational foundation, value empathy and equality in education.

Methodology

The two methodologies used for the study were thematic analysis and grounded theory (Braun & Clarke, 2006; Charmaz, 2000; Charmaz, 2002; Glaser, 1998; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). These were selected as they were the most suitable for categorising cross-cultural information and for positing a new understanding of why excellence has developed in select countries. Data was collected through surveys, interviews, monographs and journal articles. Surveys have been used at select universities in South Korea and Australia to ascertain what are the characteristics of excellence. Themes such as lecturing styles, learning preferences and cultural influences were investigated. Following this was a series of interviews with academics and post-graduate researchers. Information on Finland was acquired through publications monographs, journals and papers at educational conferences. This was due to the focus on the country after being number one in the world in the PISA results. The data collected has been compared and contrasted to identify trends and themes.

Australia

Australia is situated in the Asia-Pacific and is the smallest continent on earth. Although an island, it is the sixth largest country and is known for its large cities found on its perimeter. There are approximately 25 million people living in a country comprising six States and two Territories. It is a young country, colonised by the British in the eighteenth century and based on Western cultural traditions. English is the spoken language, but there are over a hundred foreign languages spoken by migrants as well as Indigenous languages from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Australia, in its Western cultural development has relied on Britain, and more recently to the United States of America. Politically, Australia has strong ties with Britain, the United States of America, and more recently China due its geographic proximity, trade, and number of migrants Australia. Australia is a multi-cultural society with a highly regarded university system. An increasingly expanding and significant component of the higher education market are international students.

The education philosophy is similar to Britain’s due to its religious, historical and cultural foundations, however, it is difficult to identify. It is based on Plato‘s notion of an ideal curriculum where subjects are required to be studied to be a good citizen. Education is curriculum focused and regulated.

There is inbuilt competition in the education system in Australia. During school, the national tests such as the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy, better known as NAPLAN, tests students in year three, five, seven and nine. The score that students receive is whether they have met the required standards and where they are in relation to other students in their year level (https://www.nap.edu.au/results-and-reports/how-to-interpret). In their final year of schooling, they are given a mark for each subject, which is then standardised to be ranked against other students in their State or Territory. An issue with the peer ranking system is the amount of stress and anxiety it creates.

A study was conducted at an Australian university in 2014 to investigate the characteristics of outstanding university lecturers (Lierse, 2016). There was an anonymous survey sent to 70 students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate of University Learning and Teaching where they identified characteristics. From this, fourteen participated in semi-structured interviews, and five lecturers who were identified as outstanding were interviewed, as well. The five characteristics discovered from the study were; expertise, holistic approach to learning, engaging the student, open door policy and ambitious altruists. It was the last characteristic ‘ambitious altruists’ which was of surprise and interest. The study found that outstanding lecturers were ambitious and had purpose in their work. Ambition was from an altruistic foundation in which their students came first, rather than for their own ego. Their practices were often unconventional and they would often be criticised to the point of being isolated from their peers. As a result, many of these lecturers sacrificed their own career paths for the academy (Lierse, 2016, p. 9).

Their ambition was beyond ego and was for the good of humanity rather than for personal gain (Butler-Bowden, 2007). These lecturers would sometime sacrifice their own career paths or even jobs for their altruistic pursuits (Palmer, 1998).

South Korea

South Korea or the Republic of Korea is a country situated in East Asia with a population of approximately 51 million people. The country has had a turbulent political history with its neighbours, North Korea, China and Japan. It is known for its manufacturing as well as its education system. The language spoken is Korean.

South Korea’s education system came under the international spotlight after the students received high results in the PISA tests (OECD, 2017). Consequently, many educational researchers have visited South Korea to gain an understanding of the teaching system. What they discovered was the high value placed on rigorous learning and educational achievement (Ripley, 2013). One aspect of their system was the after-hours tutoring culture known as Hagwon.

A survey and a series of interview questions were designed to discover why South Korea had one of the best educational systems and how they perceived excellence. The research proposal went through ethics at the university and was approved. The survey was sent to lecturers and post-graduate students at a university in South Korea.

The second part of the research were interview questions for South Korean lecturers and post-graduate students who had a degree of English fluency. The questions were designed to trigger conversation and were semi-structured. The topics range from their own background, teaching styles and what is considered excellent. There were interview questions for university lecturers. The data was coded and interviews analysed to determine what the trends are in South Korea in relation to what is considered excellent.

The results revealed how much emphasis is placed on education and to do well. The pressure to succeed was from the family as well as society and it was not unusual for students to spend long hours studying. There was a clear progression from doing well at school to then go to a good university to then gain a good job. This was the key to success which would then make one happy. One respondent discussed how, “Many parents believe that it is the short cut to success.” Another respondent stated, “To have a successful life it is money, best university, good job, people to envy you is successful.” Lecturers were highly regarded and respected and any form of teaching was still seen as a good career choice.

Competition is a feature of the South Korean education system. Students are tested often and are ranked in class. From an early age, students know that they have to work hard and the end goal is to be accepted into a top university. “I think the education atmosphere is so competitive in South Korea…Students study very hard. Their motivation is very high, but sometimes their motivation is performance oriented. And they [are] influenced by other students because they compare each other.” Competition is a key factor in student achievement in South Korean education system. There is also a respect for the teachers and education.

Finland

Finland is a sovereign state in Northern Europe situated between Western countries and Russia. It has a relatively small population of five-and-a-half million people and is known for its cold winters. The language spoken is Finnish.

Finland has been featured in the media due to their PISA test results in which they have been ranked number one in the world. Even though this was a test in secondary schools, it reflected how excellence in teaching was practised in the university system to produce such impressive outcomes. A reason for this is that Finland has undergone a transformation in their society which has focussed on education. Sahlberg (2015) discussed how: “Diplomacy, cooperation, problem solving, and seeking consensus have thus become hallmarks of contemporary Finnish culture” (p. 17). Their system is based on the Aristotelian philosophy where ones’ purpose is to have a good and noble life. There is a focus on social skills, empathy and leadership (p. 199). There is surprisingly very little testing in schools. Finland only selects the best applicants to be a school teacher in which the minimum requirement to work in schools is a Master’s Degree. Due to their success of their education system, many teachers from different countries have visited Finland and observed teaching in schools to better understand the secret to their success. Sahlberg (2015) commented “Many teachers and administrators who have visited Finnish schools…are often stuck in the middle of excellence versus equity quandaries due to external demands and regulations in their own countries” (p. 66). The Finnish example of educational excellence has worked in Finland. This would be due to the congruence of support by the government, educational system and their society. However, this would be difficult to be replicated in other countries due to the complexity of cultural systems and understandings.

Discussion

The three countries are different in their geographically, linguistically and politically and their education systems are based on a philosophical foundation.

How excellence, success, perfection and failure are defined varies between countries which in turn impacts the teaching and learning in schools and universities. The role of competition in education is a driving factor in South Korea, and to an increasing extent in Australia, but is viewed negatively in Finland in favour of cooperation. The overriding philosophy in Finland is based on Aristotle’s of living to have a good and virtuous life. South Korean’s educational philosophy is based on Confucius in which there is an “I” with “self”, “others” and the universe and learning is a life-long process. Australia’s philosophy has been adopted from the United Kingdom and is based on Plato in which excellence is a virtue and a range of subjects are required in order to achieve this.

The results revealed that the philosophy and its beliefs of a country have a strong impact on education. The countries which excel in education during the formal academic schooling and for life-long learning have strong philosophical foundations, especially in the role of arts but also how education is practised varied widely. The other dimension of excellence, which has been explored, are the roles of empathy, equity and altruism. How a society can be sustained for life-long learning without their members working to their own potential, helping others and for the greater good of the community.

South Korea and Finland have excelled in PISA tests to the surprise of many countries. They are not known for their population size or being a dominant force in large global companies although they are global leaders in many niche industries. Politically, they have both been under constant threat from neighbouring countries and have a long history of warfare and being invaded. Finland has the global superpower Russia to the East and Sweden to the West, and they only received independence in 1917. South Korea is under constant threat from North Korea, has been invaded by Japan, and has the superpower China as a neighbour. Both countries do not have enough man power in their military to fight against neighbouring countries so have to exert their power in other ways. They cannot rely on primary resources such as farming and mining due to the land so they rely on themselves. Both of these countries have invested heavily in human capital in education to ensure that they will have a prosperous future.

To show their independence and autonomy, they have maintained their language and culture, which has been manifested through the arts. It is also the arts where they can learn their language and history through music, dance, art and drama. These also reinforce their patriotism, worthiness and sense of belonging. To remain relevant on a global level, it is these activities that bind these groups together, strengthen their loyalty to one another, and help to create empathy between each other. The arts form the fabric of their society and what it means to be part of the society.

Both South Korea and Finland show a great respect for the arts, especially Western art music. Their standard of performers is world class and there are opportunities for students at the school level to learn and music. This honour, respect and practice of the arts results in a high level of sophistication, development of emotions and empathy. These results were unexpected and the connection of excellence with empathy with the arts and through the arts is an area for future research.

Conclusion

The paper discusses how countries which are known for academic excellence have very strong philosophical foundations. However, it is the way excellence is practiced which differs widely and is often contradictory in its approaches. The research has shown that the role of the arts play an important role in the connection to excellence in education which is an area for future research. It is these new combinations of factors which may hold the key for sustained educational excellence throughout the life-span.

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank the Australia-Korea Foundation through the Australia-Korea Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for support in the “Teaching Excellence in South Korea and Australia: A Comparison” project.

Author

Dr Sharon Lierse, Lecturer in Education, Charles Darwin University, Melbourne, Australia


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Miksi pöytälaatikko-ideoista ei tule innovaatiota? 

Kirjoittaja: Kari Laasasenaho. Kuvateksti: Aika on kortilla. Tutkimuksen ja koulutuksen säästöt ovat vähentäneet epäsuorasti myös tutkijoiden käytössä olevaa aikaa.

On tärkeä huomata, että tutkimusrahoituksen leikkaukset ja tutkimuksen kaupallistaminen kulkevat käsikädessä – niin hyvässä kuin pahassa. Kyse on pohjimmiltaan tutkijoiden aikaresursseista: Mitä vähemmän aikaa ideoiden työstämiseen jää, sen vähemmän syntyy innovaatioita.

Viime aikoina on puhuttu paljon tutkimustulosten kaupallistamisesta. On hienoa ajatella, että tutkimustulokset voisivat jäädä tuottamaan kaupallistettuna rahaa yhteiskunnalle. Nykyiset tutkimus- ja koulutussäästöt ammattikorkeakouluilta ja yliopistoilta ovat kuitenkin uhka Suomen tulevaisuudelle, sillä ne hidastavat innovaatioiden syntyä. Erityisesti nuoret tutkijat ovat saaneet säästöjen seurauksena kylmää kyytiä. Mikä olisi tutkimuksen jatkuvuuden kannalta pahempaa kuin nuoren polven menetys?

Miten säästöt näkyvät käytännössä? Ensinnäkin leikkaukset ovat pienentäneet todennäköisyyttä saada rahaa. Tästä seuraa se, että rahoituksen hankkimiseen menee enemmän aikaa ja hakemuksia lähetetään useampiin paikkoihin. Tilanne haastaa erityisesti nuoria tutkijoita, sillä rahoitus menee tahoille, joilla on näyttöjä aiemmista tutkimuksista. Rahoitus menee konkareille, joilla on hyvät verkostot valmiina. Lisäksi tutkimusrahoituksen pieneneminen lyhentää myös tutkimushankkeiden kestoa ja monivuotiset hankkeet ovat harvinaisia. Lisääntynyt byrokratia pahentaa tilannetta korkeakouluissa.

Mitä siis tapahtuu, kun edellä kuvatut asiat käyvät toteen: Nuori tutkija kokee tilanteen hankalaksi, sillä hakemusten täyttäminen vie aikaa tutkimukselta. Tämä tarkoittaa esim. tohtorintutkinnoissa pidentynyttä opiskeluaikaa, mikä heijastuu myös välillisesti yliopistojen saamaan rahoitukseen. Kun opiskelija ei valmistu ajoissa, rahat jäävät tulematta yliopiston tilille. Koulutuksen leikkaukset kohdistuvat myös ammattikorkeakouluihin. Tämä on johtanut siihen, että työntekijöiden tulee osallistua esimerkiksi opetuksen ohella myös erilaisiin hankeisiin, mikä sekin haastaa ajankäytön. Työelämälähtöisten innovaatioiden edistäminen ja useat rinnakkaiset työtehtävät ovat huono yhtälö. Negatiivisen noidankehän korjaaminen voi viedä vuosia, jopa vuosikymmeniä.

On tärkeä huomata, että tutkimusrahoituksen leikkaukset ja tutkimuksen kaupallistaminen kulkevat käsi kädessä. Kyse on pohjimmiltaan tutkijoiden aikaresursseista: Mitä vähemmän aikaa ideoiden työstämiseen jää, sen vähemmän syntyy innovaatioita. Kyse on siitä, miten lisääntyneen työtaakan alla voi kaupallistaa tutkimustuloksia? Tämä ei sovi yhteen pöytälaatikkoideoiden kanssa. Mikäli tutkimusrahaa ei ole, yrittäjäksi ryhtyminen on yksi vaihtoehto. Ongelmana on usein se, ettei yrittäjyyteen liittyvä riskinotto sovi kaikille. Lisäksi innovointi ei ole yksinkertaista joka tieteenalalla.

Suomi tunnetaan hyvästä koulutuksesta. Maine on hyvä, koska se on luotu ennen taloustaantumaa. Nykyiset säästöt tutkimukselta ja korkeakouluilta verottavat osansa kansainvälisestä maineesta, mutta vasta viiveellä. Miten tämä tulisi ratkaista? Olemme saaneet positiivisia uutisia Suomen talouden kohentumisesta. Voisiko hallitus sitoutua määrärahojen tuntuvaan lisäämiseen, jos julkinen talous alkaa elpyä? Voisiko positiivinen koulutuslupaus olla mahdollinen? Aika on inhimillinen resurssi, jota ei voi sivuuttaa, kun tehdään tutkimuksesta innovaatioita.

Kirjoittaja

Kari Laasasenaho, projektipäällikkö (SeAMK), tutkijakoulutettava (TTY), kari.laasasenaho(at)seamk.fi

Ylikulutus kuriin kiertotaloudella

Tänä vuonna ihmiskunta kulutti loppuun maapallon tuottamat uusiutuvat luonnonvarat elokuun 8. päivään mennessä. Tämä ns. ylikulutuspäivä perustuu Global Footprint Networkin tekemiin laskelmiin, joiden perusteella ihmiskunnan kulutus ylitti maapallon kapasiteetin ensimmäistä kertaa 1970-luvun alussa, ja tämän jälkeen ylikulutuspäivä on siirtynyt yhä aikaisemmaksi vuoden kulussa. (http://www.overshootday.org.)

Noin 80 prosenttia maapallon ihmisistä elää maissa, jotka kuluttavat luonnonvaroja enemmän kuin tuottavat. Ihmiskunta tarvitsisi noin 1,5 kertaisen maapallon, jotta kulutus ja biokapasiteetti vastaisivat toisiaan. Tosin suomalaisten elintasolla tämä ei riittäisi vielä mihinkään: jos maailmassa ei olisi kuin suomalaisia tarvittaisiin kolme maapalloa, ja rikkaiden Lähi-idän maiden elämäntyylillä neljäkään ei vielä riittäisi. (WWF 2014, 37)

Ihmiskunta tarvitsisi noin 1,5 kertaisen maapallon, jotta kulutus ja biokapasiteetti vastaisivat toisiaan.

Yksi keino vähentää tai jopa lopettaa tulevien sukupolvien kustannuksella eläminen on kiertotalouden kehittäminen. Perinteisesti talous on jatkumo, jossa hankitaan raaka-aineita, jalostetaan ne tuotteiksi ja myydään kuluttajalle. Kun tuote menee pois muodista tai rikkoutuu, se päätyy jätteenä hävitettäväksi. Kiertotaloudessa virta käännetään kierroksi, jossa yhden jäte on seuraavan raaka-aine. (ks. esim. Seppälä ym. 2016, 10-13)

Herääminen luonnonvarojen rajallisuuteen on Suomen kaltaiselle maalle sekä uhka että mahdollisuus. Sitran vuonna 2014 julkaiseman selvityksen mukaan kiertotalous tarjoaa Suomen taloudelle jopa 2,5 miljardin euron vuotuisen kasvupotentiaalin, ja globaalien markkinoiden arvoksi on laskettu yli 800 miljardia euroa.  (Sitra 2014, 1; 9-10 ja 63-64)

Lapin AMK on määritellyt luonnonvarojen älykkään käytön yhdeksi strategiseksi painopisteeksi, mihin kiertotalous kytkeytyy vaivattomasti. Rakennustekniikalla on annettavaa rakentamisen energiatehokkuuden lisäämiseen, materiaalitekniikassa painotetaan tuotteiden ja rakenteiden koko elinkaarta suunnittelusta uusiokäyttöön ja optisen mittaustekniikan ryhmä pyrkii parantamaan kaivosten raaka-ainetehokkuutta. Keskeisessä roolissa on myös luonnonvara-ala, jonka TKI –toiminta tukee jo nyt biomateriaalien tehokasta ja luontoa säästävää hyödyntämistä.

Kiertotalouden väljästä määrittelystä johtuen sen työllistävää vaikutusta on vaikea laskea. Suuntaa-antavina voi pitää Rooman klubin huhtikuussa 2015 julkaisemia lukuja, joiden mukaan Ruotsissa kiertotalous synnyttää noin 100 000 uutta työpaikkaa. (Sitra 2015) Tältä pohjalta voinee arvioida työllistävän vaikutuksen Suomessakin nousevan vähintään 50 000:een.

Kiertotalouden suuren työllistämispotentiaalin vuoksi Lapin AMK esitti uutena avauksena sopimuskaudelle 2017 – 2020 laajuudeltaan 60 opintopisteen ”Kiertotalous ja sivuvirrat” –koulutuksen aloittamista. Tavoitteena on tutustuttaa opiskelijat arktiseen kiertotalouteen markkinalähtöisesti.  Kasvualusta Lapissa on vahva: hiljattain julkistetun Suomen kiertotalouden tiekartan kärkihankkeista useampikin on merilappilaista tekoa, ja kiertotalouteen kytkeytyvän liiketoiminnan liikevaihto on alueella jo tällä hetkellä noin 200 miljoonaa euroa (Sitra 2016). Ja mikäli kiinalaistaustaisen Kaidin Kemiin suunnittelema biojalostamo toteutuu, niin aletaan painia eurooppalaisessakin vertailussa raskaassa sarjassa.

Kirjoittaja

Reijo Tolppi, HT, vararehtori, Lapin ammattikorkeakoulu, reijo.tolppi(at)lapinamk.fi

Painetut lähteet:

Seppälä, J., Sahimaa, O., Honkatukia, J., Valve, H., Antikainen, R., Kautto, P., Myllymaa, T., Mäenpää, I., Salmenperä, H., Alhola, K., Kauppila, J. & Salminen, J. Kiertotalous Suomessa – toimintaympäristö, ohjauskeinot ja mallinnetut vaikutukset vuoteen 2030. Valtioneuvoston selvitys- ja tutkimustoiminnan julkaisusarja 25/2016.

SITRA 2014: Kiertotalouden mahdollisuudet Suomelle. Helsinki: Sitra, 2014. Sitran selvityksiä 84/2016.

SITRA 2016: Suomen tiekartta kiertotalouteen 2016 – 2025. Helsinki: Sitra 2016. Sitran selvityksiä 117 / 2016.

WWF 2014: Living Planet Report 2014. Species and spacies, people and places. Switzerland: WWF, 2014.

Verkkolähteet:

Sitra 2015: Kiertotalous Euroopan teollisuuden kilpailukyvyn veturiksi. Sitra uutiset 20.7.2015. Haettu 22.6.2016.

www.overshootday.org. Haettu 22.6.2016.

The Future Competences for Working with Older People

The Future Competences for Working with Older People

Population ageing is a common issue around the Europe. The number of older people is growing and by the year 2030 every third person in the EU will be more than 60 years of age. (DART 2012). Ageing affects the entire society and it will also challenge social and health care services. The growing number of the oldest age groups will indicate increasing need for social and health care services in the future. Moreover, at the same time care services and environments are changing and becoming more diverse, there is an obvious need for new kind of social and health care expertise.

European level cooperation in developing competences in active ageing is undeniable. International cooperation in competence development is needed to enhance the quality of services and to improve the attractiveness of older people care. European collaboration related to ageing is also beneficial when aiming to increase the mobility of workforce in social and health care services. Sharing common competences and expertise in active ageing provides more opportunities for future professionals to work in different international environments.

ELLAN unites European higher education institutions

ELLAN (European Later Life Active Network) project connects Higher Education Institutions extensively around the Europe. The consortium includes 26 partners from 25 European countries. ELLAN project (2013–2016) is funded by the EU´s Lifelong Learning Programme and coordinated by Savonia University of Applied Sciences, School of Health Care (Finland).

ELLAN project promotes European collaboration and exchange of good practices related to working with ageing population. ELLAN reconstructs the diverse educational approaches by developing an agreed European Core Competences Framework (ECCF) for working with older people. During the project the educational network is also sharing innovations in teaching and learning as well as identifying factors that may influence students to choose to work with older people in the future.

Developing competencies through research

The development of the ECCF is based upon five studies which were carried out during the 1st and 2nd year of the project: (1) Literature review exploring competences required in working with older people; (2) Qualitative research focusing on older people’s perceptions about required competences of professionals; (3) Quantitative study exploring professionals’ views of competences needed to support older people; (4) Quantitative research of factors influencing health and social care students’ views of older people; (5) Identification of best practice and innovative teaching and learning methods encouraging students to choose to work with older people.

The aim of the literature review was to find out which competences of the social and health care professionals working with older people related to the CanMEDS roles are described in the literature. CanMeds model was chosen to be the basis for the competences of ECCF. CanMEDS framework was originally formulated to describe the abilities physicians have to have in order to meet the health care needs of the people they serve. These abilities are grouped thematically under seven roles. A competent physician seamlessly integrates the competences of all seven CanMEDS roles. The CanMEDS roles are Medical Expert (the integrating role), Communicator, Collaborator, Leader, Health Advocate, Scholar, and Professional. The overarching goal of CanMEDS is to improve patient care. The model has been adapted around the world, both within and outside the health professions (Frank et al. 2014). (Figure 1).

figure 1
Figure 1. CanMEDS roles

A total of 228 studies were found. According to the findings, found competences were in general directed to a particular healthcare worker with a wide variety of competences in the different roles. To get insight in the generic competences, a secondary analysis was conducted in which 38 studies were included. The research question was: which generic competences of health and social professionals related to the CanMEDS roles are described in the literature? The conclusion of the literature was that the care and support of older people is very complex. A multidisciplinary team approach is necessary. Collaboration and communication are essential competences to optimize the team approach but also to respond to the individual needs of older persons. Moreover, collaboration with the older person is important. Sometimes communication with older people requires special skills. The CanMEDS roles offers a framework for the needed competences. However, multicultural competences need to be added, and special attention has to be paid to technological competences and the recognition of older people abuse. (Roodbol & Dijkman 2016.)

Attitudes of health and social care students towards older people and also their perceptions of working with older people were examined in a survey. Undergraduate health and social care students (n=955) from five different European countries completed two widely used questionnaires: Attitudes towards Older People Scale (Kogan 1961) and Student´s Perception of Working with Older People Scale (Nolan et al. 2006). According to the results student´s attitudes were generally very positive towards older people. Those with least experience with older people displayed more negative attitudes. However, high reported experience with older people was not conclusively linked to positive attitudes. The main result of the study pointed out the apparent indecision among students to work with older people or choose careers of working with them in the future. (Coffey et al. 2015.)

Older people’s perceptions about the required competences of professionals working with older people were collected by interviews in six of the partner countries. The partners selected a convenience sample of 16 participants (N=96) and used semi-structured interviews for data collection. A common interview script was followed and data analysis was conducted using thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006). Four major themes were identified: (1) recognizing older people’s individuality as well as their personal and social background; (2) effective communication and positive relationships between professionals and older people; (3) technical competence and expertise as well as team work; (4) vocation, commitment and ethical recommendations. The development of these competencies has potential to improve the quality of care delivered by health and social care professionals to older people. (Soares 2015.)

International cooperation in competence development is needed to enhance the quality of services and to improve the attractiveness of older people care.

Social and health care professionals’ perspective to the competences related to older people was collected by a questionnaire in six partner countries (N=885). The quantitative method used was based on the modified Caring Nurse – Patient Interactions Scale (CNPI-70). The results showed that professionals perceive that it is important to encourage older people to believe in themselves, to motivate them, to acknowledge their potential, to give hope, help and support when needed. Professionalism in care of the older person was experienced as crucial. Health and social care professionals regard as important collaboration, risk assessment and the encouragement of autonomy. A central theme was accepting aging as a physiological process and not just a disease. (Felsmann & Andruszkiewicz 2015.)

A study to identify innovative good practices in education for gerontology was carried out in order to find learning approaches which could positively contribute students to choose a career in gerontology. A template was developed, based on the criteria for innovation and the Senses Framework as described by Nolan et al. (2002). The template was distributed to Higher Education Institutions providing education in Gerontology in five partner countries. Twenty-three templates were completed and analysed. According to the results, innovative teaching methods that take into account the needs of students were found and structured by Miller’s educational model for competence-based learning. The selected best practices will be disseminated throughout Europe. To conclude the study envisaged that the educational practices identified could positively influence students’ attitudes and decisions about working with older people. (Schoofs 2015.)

European Core Competences Framework (ECCF)

The European Core Competences Framework is based on the view that professionals are working in different roles while working with older people. The framework describes the minimum set of competences that constitutes a common baseline for all professionals in social and health care working with older people. The developed competences are described for the roles of CanMEDS model (Figure 1). The competences are formulated on the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) level 6 (Bachelor) and 7 (Master). The ECCF will be formulated by bringing together the results of the studies described above and verified by using Delphi technique, involving 24 experts from 8 countries in order to find consensus of the developed framework. Following the CanMeds model seven roles will be described: expert, communicator, collaborator, organizer, health and welfare advocate, scholar and professional. (Dijkman & Roodbol 2015.)

Conclusion

The ECCF can be used in developing curricula of social and health care professionals. The desired outcome of this project is improved quality of higher education of social and health care professionals working with older people. The ECCF will be presented at the 23rd Nordic Congress on Gerontology in Tampere, Finland, June 2016, and will be available at the project website after that.

Writers

Jukka Aho, Senior Lecturer, MNSc., Savonia University of Applied Sciences, jukka.aho(at)savonia.fi
Marjut Arola, Principal Lecturer, Lic.Soc.Sc., Karelia University of Applied Sciences, marjut.arola(at)karelia.fi
Irma Mikkonen, Principal Lecturer, PhD, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Irma.mikkonen(at)savonia.fi

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 3, 77-101.

Coffey, A., Buckley, C., Gaidys, U., Sansoni, J., Arola, M., Deimante-Hartmane, D., Corvo, E., Auer, S., Petersen-Ewert, C., & Tyrrell, M. (2015). Beliefs of students about growing older and perceptions of working in gerontology. Nursing older people. The journal for professionals working in gerontological care 27 (1), 33-37.

DART – Declining, Ageing and Regional Transformation 2012. Final report. http://www.dart-project.eu/fileadmin/OrdnerRedakteure/0103_Achievements/DART_final_report_web.pdf. Accessed 23.2.2016.

Dijkman, B. & Roodbol, P. (2015). European Competence Framework for working with older persons by professional´s health and social care. Report draft.

ELLAN – European Later Life Active Network. Accessed 23.2.2016 http://ellan.savonia.fi/

Felsmann, M. & Andruszkiewicz, A. (2016). The opinions of health and social care professionals on important competencies in caring for older people. Report draft.

Frank, J.R., Snell, L.S. & Sherbino J. (eds.) (2014). Draft CanMEDS 2015 Physician Competency Framework – Series III. Ottawa: The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; 2014 September. Accessed 6.4.2016 http://www.royalcollege.ca/portal/page/portal/rc/common/documents/canmeds/framework/canmeds2015_framework_series_III_e.pdf

Kogan, N. (1961). Attitudes toward old people: the development of a scale and an examination of correlates. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 63, 44-54.

Nolan, M.R., Brown, J., Davies, S., Nolan, J. & Keady, J. (2006). The Senses Framework: improving care for older people through a relationship-centered approach. Getting research in Practice (GRiP) Report No 2. Accessed 3.4.2016 http://shura.shu.ac.uk/280/

Roodbol, P.F. & Dijkman, B. L. (2016). Generic competences for health and social workers working with older persons. Literature Review: A secondary analysis. Report draft.

Schoofs, G. (2015). Motivating Health and Social Care students to choose a career in Gerontology through innovative education. Report draft.

Soares, C. (2015). Older people’s views on professional competences. Report draft.

Education Technology Transfer to Developing Countries

Education Technology Transfer to Developing Countries

Education Technology Transfer to Developing Countries

Introduction

Many companies and educational organisations in Finland are interested in the possibilities of exporting education to new countries. The Finnish school system has a good reputation all over the world. In this article, we will concentrate on India, as one of the authors is originally from India and he is currently working in the education sector. Professor Adaikalam represents the Loyola College Chennai, faculty of social work, and he addresses the topic from the Indian culture’s point of view.

India has rapidly become a major player in world economics. Nowadays, it is one of the largest economies in the world, and over the past two decades it has seen millions of people rise to higher socioeconomic classes. Development steps have also been taken, especially in the health and well-being sectors. India is a developing economy. Two-thirds of the population still live in rural areas, which poses challenges especially for vulnerable groups, regarding people’s access to services.

India has put a lot of effort into developing its school system. The entire school system in India is under a digitalization process, which means that schools of all levels need new kinds of technology and tools, but also an understanding of new needs of learning. It is possible that digital education technologies will eventually revolutionize the way we learn and teach. The problem in India is that best educational practices haven’t been scaled nationally, or the scaling is happening too slowly. One example of this is the fact that 1/5 of Indian children in fifth grade are not able to read simple words. Despite massive investments in developing the education system, learning results have not improved. Pritchett talks about the learning crisis, which he sees as a barrier to economic growth in developing countries (Pritchett 2013).

Challenges

The population of India has grown quickly, and India has a large amount of young people. India is considered to be one of the world’s fastest growing Internet markets, and it will reach over 300 million Internet users by 2017.  Today, there are more households in developing countries with a mobile phone than with access to clean water. One year ago, the Indian government launched a program to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledgeable economy. The purpose of the government’s Digital India initiative is to make government services better available to citizens electronically by improving the online infrastructure and increasing Internet connectivity. At the same time, western countries are exporting their business such as digital learning platforms to the Indian markets. The country’s growing GDP and business opportunities especially in the healthcare and wellbeing markets attract many Finnish companies.

The effects of technology and its productivity expansion for the poor and the middle class, as well as the spreading of accountable governance, have so far been less than expected. Inequality is increasing, as better educated, well connected and more capable people have received most of the benefits. It has been noticed that the utilization of ICT-related products, services and research results from high-income environments entails challenges, especially in remote and low-income communities. An example of this is a project implemented in Peru, where all students of rural schools received computing equipment, but this did not bring any evidence of increasing learning skills in maths or languages. Hardware-centric educational technology projects planned and implemented in highly developed environments for use in developing countries without paying sufficient attention to local contexts are difficult to execute successfully. (World Bank group 2016.)

[easy-tweet tweet=”There are more households in developing countries with a mobile phone than with access to clean water. ” hashtags=”uasjournal, digitalization”]

The worst scenario regarding the export of education would be that citizens in developing countries become disappointed with the education system. At present, people already feel that education wastes their time and lecturers do not offer them access to working life. Another challenge is the quality of studies – there might be a lack of good pedagogical methods or not enough interest in investing teaching. Degree studies take time, and this is time that students could spend working and earning money for the family.

It is extremely important to carefully plan the digital transfer related to learning environments and education. The Indian school system consists of schools of different levels: At one level, schools are completely managed by government agencies. Another level is funded by the government but managed by foundations in a non-profit way. The third level consists of schools both funded and run by foundations on their own. Evidence shows that the mushroomed economic growth in India has concentrated on private schools and colleges and certain regions in an urban-centric way. The quality of education is the top priority, especially in remote areas and among the socially disadvantaged. Technology penetration is particularly crucial in these areas, and western countries have to take responsibility for exporting products in a sustainable way.

Possibilities

Digital tools and platforms in education could offer benefits for developing countries. The Indian government and the states of India have ranked education as one of their priorities and the education system has expanded a lot. Investments in the education sector need to be made to guarantee a skilled and professional workforce. The Government has launched programmes and initiatives to reduce gender inequality, promote girls’ schooling and improve the standard of education. The Indian education sector consists of a number of actors representing the central government, state and regional bodies, as well as private-sector operators.

Indians are well aware of Finland’s high performance in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey, and this offers good opportunities for cooperation in the education sector. Cooperation between educational organizations and businesses opens up prospects for companies to cooperate with each other. Especially digital learning solutions have great potential in Indian markets. When it comes to exporting education, the most important aspect to take into consideration is to understand that products need to be transformed in a suitable way to the specific society and culture.

A good way of exporting the digital education system to developing countries would be to use existing technology, which is available in the local environment and familiar for the local people. In addition to the successful export of digital education and ICT tools, it would be important to motivate and guide teachers and other key persons to use the exported technology in beneficial ways in the future. Supporting teachers and paying attention to pedagogical methods and curriculum material would offer a framework and understanding for the importance and possibilities of new technology. (World Bank Group 2016.) As Finland is boosting its educational export and many companies are planning to expand their business to developing countries, the authors of this article would like to emphasise the importance of paying attention to local environments and local citizens’ ways of living and behaving in those environments. Conducting user-centric surveys before expanding a business idea is not always enough, but extensive research implemented in collaboration with local people would support digital exports, even though it takes extra time, because this enables large-scale business transactions that benefit local people as well.

Conclusion

Education export should be based on understanding the needs of India’s ecosystems. A holistic perspective might be a good approach for looking at these ecosystems. A holistic approach to humans and societal development consists of essential elements such as the participation, agency and empowerment of people and enterprises, and these elements could help with the exploitation of digital tools. According to the OECD’s approach, holistic wellbeing includes physical, mental, emotional and social factors, as well as happiness and life satisfaction (OECD 2015). Without these elements, any digital products exported to developing countries will not scale and be implemented in practice successfully.

Writers

Sanna Juvonen, Senior Lecturer, RDI, M.Sc. (Education), Laurea University of Applied Sciences, sanna.juvonen(at)laurea.fi
Päivi Marjanen, Principal Lecturer, RDI, Ph.D. (Education), Laurea University of Applied Sciences, paivi.marjanen(at)laurea.fi
Francis Adaikalam, Assistant Professor, M.Phil. Social Medicine and Community Health, Loyola College Chennai, India, francis(at)loyolacollege.edu

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