“Teaching and assessing transversal competences in formal and informal learning environments” is a teacher education development project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and one of the government’s priority projects that began in 2018. It aims to establish a national network devoted to the study and implementation of transversal skills in teacher education in the contexts of formal teaching and informal learning as well as to develop a definition of transversal skills, based on international research literature, that complements the 2014 Finnish Basic Education Curriculum objectives. In addition, the concrete goal is to train (pre-service and in-service) teachers to integrate and assess transversal skills in formal teaching and informal learning environments.
The project is implemented as a collaboration between Tampere University, the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Helsinki.
The team in Jyväskylä (Kristof Fenyvesi, Tiina Mäkelä and Marja Kankaanranta) are responsible for development of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) pedagogy in the project, primarily from the perspective of arts and crafts. STEAM pedagogy is utilized in the courses implemented at the University of Jyväskylä and in the 10 ECTS course of the Tampere University. STEAM workshops present and test the possibilities to apply STEAM pedagogy in formal and informal learning environments.
The University of Helsinki’s working group focuses on mapping the possibilities of informal learning and developing related technology in teacher education. Exhibitions, museums, science centres, national parks and cultural institutions have been utilized as informal teaching environments in teacher training. Models of informal learning science centre pedagogy have been tested and applied to the context of school education. Teachers’ own experiments and multidisciplinary study modules have been used in Espoo and Helsinki.
10 ECTS course
A 10 ECTS course “Teaching and assessing transversal competences” is developed at the Faculty of Education and Culture of Tampere University for Master’s level teacher education students. The course has already been implemented once in the spring of 2020 and will be held again in spring 2021 and fall 2021. The course presents transversal competences from the perspective of the national curriculum and research literature, with the aim to develop versatile teaching and assessment practices related to different subjects. The course incorporates team learning as an educational approach, and implements practical methods from science centre pedagogy, entrepreneurship education and thinking skills interventions.
The digital learning environment, Laatuska, is being developed as part of the project. Its purpose is to help teachers assess transversal skills according to the Finnish basic education curriculum, in both subject-specific teaching and multidisciplinary learning modules. Laatuska is a gamified way for students to reflect on their own strengths and areas of improvement, taking into account their own level of development. Students can think about and set goals for themselves that relate to knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and their own willingness to act. In addition, the teacher can set goals for the development of the student’s knowledge and skills. The learning environment makes assessment transparent and helps students understand what will be practiced and assessed at any given time and why. A phrasebank is also being developed in connection to Laatuska. It consists of subject-specific criteria from the Finnish basic education curriculum, which transforms the transversal skills objectives into a more visible form.
Since the aim for this project is to have a lasting impact even after it ends, the project focuses on the development of an open access material bank. The material bank contains expert videos and lectures on transversal skills and corresponding theoretical frameworks. In addition to the videos, the material bank includes a compilation of popular texts to support the understanding and teaching of transversal competences, as well as suggestions for literature on various aspects of transversal skills.
book of transversal competences
At the end of the project, a peer-reviewed book on the teaching of transversal competences was published. The work consists of articles about the theoretical background, history and future outlooks of transversal competences, teaching and assessment of transversal competences and how transversal competences are reflected in curricula at different levels of education.