|Finland has been applauded for its educational system and it has been a role model for a lot of countries desiring to increase the quality of education they provide their citizens with. One of the vital aspects that helped Finland rise above the others was the fact that students were respected not only as learners but also as individuals. Considering every single learner as an individual with unique needs, complex social histories, and different future aspirations helped Finnish teachers better understand them and approach them accordingly. Using data collected through classroom observations and individual interviews with teachers, this study investigates the way three teachers of English working at the same state school in Finland try to learn about the identities of their learners and the approach they develop towards their learners after learning about their identities. The findings indicated that all three teachers put a lot of effort in understanding who their learners truly are by investigating the socioeconomic context they come from, their educational background, and the educational institutions they had attended previously. Moreover, the teachers had individual interviews with students about whom they had insufficient data. In addition to their past, the teachers also administered surveys composed of questions about the learners’ future aspirations, needs, and objectives. Using what they learned from their students and their answers to the survey items, the teachers either adopted a new way of teaching in the classroom or arranged one-to-one teaching sessions with students with serious need of professional support.|
Studies investigating the relationship between the learning process and identity has gained a considerable amount of popularity in recent years. This paper presents a review of the literature pertaining to recent studies exploring identities of learners in their first year at a higher education institution with a particular focus on the changes learners go through during adolescence and transition to university. Our review of scholarly articles and reports showed that studies on this issue draws attention to (a) the dynamic, complex, and unpredictable nature of identity, (b) late-adolescence as a period of intense physical, biological, cognitive, and emotional change, and (c) the role of universities in supporting the well-being of learners and preparing them for future transition to working life. The majority of studies reviewed argue that identities are socially constructed and they have various dimensions that can be presented differently over time and space, possibly coexisting in contradictory ways in a single individual. In addition, another consistent finding within our review was that identity processes reach their most complex peak during late adolescence which oftentimes coincide with the period when most learners start their first year at university. We concluded that a deeper understanding of the relationship between the nature of learner identities and transition to higher education will be of paramount importance for both faculty members and administrative boards of universities.
|The present study aimed to explore the differences between the academic performance of repeat students and regular students at a private Turkish university and their attributions to success and failure. The study included 11 exams (3 quizzes, 3 mid-term exams, 2 reader exams, 3 practice tests for TOEFL ITP) and the number of test takers in these exams changed between 62 and 91. Also, a semi-structured interview was conducted with 5 students from each group, who were selected in accordance with their mean scores on the 11 exams. The findings indicated that although the learners in the two groups were in the same level of proficiency at the beginning of the semester (as decided by an official TOEFL ITP test), a significant difference was found between them in almost all of the exams throughout the semester with the repeat group performing significantly worse. The qualitative analysis of the interviews showed that while regular students attribute their high success levels to their self-confidence and desire to finish the preparatory school as soon as possible, repeat students attributed their low academic performance to anxiety, pressure from parents and friends, and fear of future failure. Lastly, although repeat students had a higher level of investment and spent more time to improve their language skills, their effort was not reflected in their academic performance.|
This study explores the characteristics of the teacher evaluation model in Finland. Highlighting the unique qualities of the Finnish case, we also compare these teacher evaluation practices with the increasingly applied value-added model (VAM) for teacher evaluation across the globe. Our analysis revealed that the Finnish Model prioritises teacher empowerment and professional development by carrying out bottom-up evaluation practices. With a clear focus on teacher empowerment and professional development, this framework substantially differs from accountability measures such as VAM, which emphasize rigid data collection procedures and the use of standardized test scores to hold teachers accountable based on their students’ academic performance. This study also revealed that professional development endeavours of teachers are highlighted as the key elements in Finnish teacher evaluation. Ongoing needs analyses for professional development also form the basis for assessing teachers in Finland.
Intending to acclaim teachers’ efforts and understand their needs for personal and professional development, teacher appraisals hold a critical part in evaluating teacher effectiveness and inquiring areas of further improvement. This paper describes the current research on teacher appraisal and develops the case for an appraisal scheme in which the feedback presented by the lecturers teaching English at a foundation university is used to make institutional changes at micro and mezzo levels. The paper gives details about (i) the data collection tools used to gather feedback from the lecturers, (ii) how the data were analyzed to explore the areas of improvement, (iii) how relevant authorities at the institution evaluate the findings, and (iv) how the institution utilizes these data to modify institutional practices. The paper also aims to discuss the possibilities for reconceptualizing teacher effectiveness and attaining institutional excellence through epistemological empowerment.