Case: Kouvola supports peer-learning of its teachers

Tutor training for teachers fosters a team-oriented culture

The tutors and school principals employed by the City of Kouvola participated in a training programme tailored to the city’s specific needs. The programme develops teaching according to new pedagogic principles and the new curriculum, with the goal of creating a learning community that promotes learning, participation, well-being and a sustainable lifestyle among the pupils.

The tutor training programme developed by Edita’s Educode team in collaboration with Martti Hellström, PhD, was launched in the spring of 2017. The aim of the programme is to train tutors who foster a communal learning culture with their own example. Teachers who complete the course learn how to share their own competence with their colleagues in an interesting and effective way. Tutor training improves the teacher’s pedagogic and digital skills, encourages innovation and experimentation, and consolidates social skills and cooperation.

In the educational services of the City of Kouvola, tutor training functions as a development process for launching tutoring activities and implementing the new curricula through peer support.

”We are developing tutor activities together with teachers, principals and the managers of the service area”, says Miia Ojalainen, the City of Kouvola’s Service Area Manager of Basic Education.

Training tailored to individual needs

Every tutor training course is tailored to the customer’s requirements. In the programme implemented in Kouvola, the teachers received support for directing multidisciplinary learning modules and models for giving practical guidance to students. The ethical guidelines applied to practical guidance were addressed at the same time. Other goals of the training were to improve workplace dynamics and promote communal learning.

”Educode provided us with a suitable module, which we then fine-tuned with them”, says Miia Ojalainen, describing the training module development process.

One aspect of the tutor training programme is to shift school culture towards shared leadership. Kouvola’s programme included

a change management module for principals, which provided them with tools for leading change processes at schools and promoting the engagement of employees. The principal module also focused on the coaching and mentoring of teachers working as tutors.

”The objective was to clarify the role of tutors, improve their capabilities to mentor their peers and find guidance methods suitable for each tutor. To this end, we employed methods such as mentoring, coaching and team games to direct the course of the training”, Miia Ojalainen says.

Digital support and challenges in everyday work

Tutoring also promotes the meaningful utilisation of digitalisation. Trained tutors have the capabilities and skills to support other teachers in making use of technology.

”Educode has primarily focused the training on the themes of the new curriculum: a new culture, a new pedagogy and the appropriate use of digitalisation in teaching and learning”, says Development Manager Iiris Peura.

Continuous case work, in which the participant’s everyday tasks and challenges are tackled as a team, is also an essential part of the training.

New enthusiasm for the job

Kouvola has been extremely satisfied with the tutor training begun in 2017, and the training will continue in 2019, as the city wants to deepen and widen its competence base in this area.

”Tutor training and activities are some of the best development processes. The teachers and principals have enjoyed the training, since it has given them concrete ideas and models to apply to their work”, says Miia Ojalainen, describing the fruits of the programme.

Tutor training is suitable for all municipalities that want to improve their teachers’ tutoring capacities, regardless of their underlying education.

”I would recommend the training to everyone. It is inspiring and gives teachers new energy for their work”, Miia Ojalainen concludes