Jyväskylä is situated approximately 300 km north of Helsinki, amidst the Finnish Lakeland and it has about 140 000 inhabitants. The university campus is vast. Apart from the traditional Finnish brick buildings, the campus also boasts a number of modern structures, where I was fortunate to hold my lectures. During the preparation of said lectures, I was already able to get an extensive overview of the various lecture halls via the following link: https://www.jyu.fi/fi/yliopistopalvelut/salit-tilavaraus/rakennukset/ruusupuisto#autotoc-item-autotoc-3
Getting a tour of the office spaces of teachers as well as administrative staff, was also very interesting. The communal offices and conference rooms as well as the consistent use of glass partitions, reminded me of Microsoft’s “new world of work” (https://www.microsoft.com/de-at/unternehmen/das-neue-arbeiten/videocorner.aspx?CollectionId=c41cbc5e-b4f2-48f2-b4ea-48ac93cf50c1)but also of our Future Learning Lab at the University College of Teacher Education Vienna (https://zli.phwien.ac.at/lernraeume/). Finnish colleagues however told me that these new communal offices set in motion an intense discussion regarding rules and regulations as to their use. Furthermore, I was told that there are not enough conference rooms at times and that people, in general, are not used to this open work environment. But since the head of the faculty also uses an open space office, there are no arguments for returning to the old model.
The university also offers distance learning among other things. If you want to find out more about the Finnish education system check out the following link https://www.avoin.jyu.fi/en/studies-offered/moocsusing the guest access.
During the course of my Erasmus+ mobility, I planned on exchanging views on the topic of “Global citizenship education in teacher education” with my Finnish colleagues. Even before my mobility started, we were already in contact via E-mail and I was given the names of relevant contacts.
I further held a seminar for elementary school students which was called “The role of active citizenship in the context of global education. Some practical considerations.” Among other things, we discussed various Austrian school projects. Also, we were analysing interesting aspects of participants’ experiences with their respective education system. Based on these findings, we further discussed the general requirements of teachers in the light of 21st century learning skills. Another workshop dealt with the question “How future teachers can be engaged into global citizenship education”. I was able to gain useful insights from all these courses which enable me to further develop my own teaching.
Another interesting event during my stay in Jyväskylä was the conference regarding the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030, which took place at about the same time. This conference was organised by students and teachers of the respective university for its students but of course also for guests from other universities. Participating in this conference, gave me a more detailed insight into the theoretical as well as practical approach of my Finnish colleagues than the mere exchange of views during my stay could have done. Students developed their own format for this event, however, they could draw from the experience of their teachers as well as their vast network. The opening of the conference was held in the form of a keynote which included four representatives; one from the Finnish ministry of education, one from the University of Stockholm, one from the University of Oulu and one from the University of Jyväskylä. Something that really impressed me, was the Learning Breakfast on the second day of the conference. Sustainable development goals (SDGs) and their implications for education were discussed in the form of a World Café. I really enjoyed the conversations with students as well as their critical thinking as regards this subject matter, which I find broadened my own mind. I would love to see more of these formats, which facilitate the exchange of views between teachers and students on such important topics, at our own University.Mag.a Ursula Mauric
Mag.a Ursula Mauric