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Smiling is Universal

22nd July 2015 0 comment
Brazilian teachers find Finnish teaching methods intriguing. The main goal for them is to bring new value back home. How did they experience the results and the quality of 21st Century Educators?

Bruno Pereira Garcês is an expert of his field. He is an educator at Federal University of Mato Grosso but had not received any teacher education during his 8-year long career. Joelma Kremer is an educator at Federal University of Santa Catarina. She is an established woman but eager to learn more.

Both participated in TAMK’s 21st Century Educators program and shared similar first reactions on the day of arrival.

– It was cold outside but we were warmly welcomed. The first reaction was surprise. The whole campus environment was decorated with attractive colors. Our universities are not as distinctive, recalls Pereira Garcês.

“TAMK provided several contact persons to give us support.”

Kremer agrees and adds:

– The learning environment is different, but I was happy to learn that the teachers are using the same information sources that we have.

Their expectations for the programme were to obtain more competence, to get ideas how to add cooperation with labor market, and to learn new methods of teaching. Both teachers sum up that the digital tools should be utilized more in Brazilian education.

Observations were made during the lessons.

– Students and teachers are equal, both are respected but the role division is still distinctive. Finland has a student-centered way of teaching. More responsibility is given to students, tells Pereira Garcês.

Functional support system

When describing the quality of the programme, Kremer and Pereira Garcês admit their satisfaction.

– We received a learning journal, questionnaires, surveys as well as a quality insurance document. TAMK provided several contact persons to give us support. We followed a schedule but had spare time to do our own research. During our visits outside the campus, people were friendly and offered a lot of advice.

Both teachers point out the importance of collecting feedback from the participants of the programme after returning to Brazil. Part of providing good quality is to maintain good relations by paying attention on how the learning outcomes were utilized. TAMK researches the end results after completing the programme – in order to collect all the necessary information for the final report.

As their stay approaches to an end; would Kremer and Pereira Garcês like to give any special greetings?

– I have heard that Finns complain about the financial cuts and low budget in education; actually Brazil spends more money on education but still does not reach the same results. This is a beautiful country and I felt grateful to be here. Remember, smiling is a universal language, Kremer says.

Pereira Garcês summarizes:

– Come to Brazil, see our reality, our education. I am sure you have something to learn from us in return – for example the consideration of children with special needs is in better shape in Brazil. Let’s learn from each other!



Principal Lecturer Sisko Mällinen from the School of Vocational Teacher Education has worked with several teacher groups in TAMK’s 21st Century Educators programme. She wants to thank TAMK staff for participating and providing great service to the groups.

The goal of 21st Century Educators is to introduce new ways of teaching. Sisko Mällinen guides the group.

– After receiving an application, the quality process starts with a candidate interview. We ensure that the facts are completely understood. All attendees are assigned a contact person who works in a similar field to their own, either from TAMK or another institute. The group’s expectations are examined and taken into account.

Group’s expectations are examined and taken into account.

A quality control document guides the process. Feedback is collected frequently in a group or individual discussion as well as through web-based surveys. Mällinen meets the group often to ensure their satisfaction. Feedback follows every phase, from the first steps to final completion.  Once the programme is over, TAMK creates a report on all the feedback as input for the next round.

We ensure that our guest teachers are comfortable and happy with the education. Personally I am pleased with the outcome and want to thank the teachers and our staff for such a great experience!