Fellows of the Teachers’ Academy are pioneers in the development of learning environments and processes. Various methods, such as debate, drama, role play, learning workshops, extreme apprenticeships and team teaching, are in active use. To them, the flipped classroom, problem-based learning and game-based learning are natural teaching methods. The fellows are also comfortable using the latest educational technologies.
The members of the Academy meet regularly during the academic year to share their pedagogical innovations, to learn about the development of teaching and learning in other units, and to tackle important issues together. The Teachers’ Academy has a committee to provide joint statements by the Academy and to plan the Academy’s objectives and joint activities of its members. Besides the joint meetings, the fellows convene under various thematic groups. Such groups are for example:
The University’s teaching philosophy
- The group compiled the University of Helsinki’s teaching philosophy. The philosophy of teaching encapsulates the values and principles to which the University as a community is committed.
Constructive alignment in assessment and feedback
- The working group promotes the application and distribution of pedagogical research results in practical teaching, the development and implementation of new pedagogical and technological innovations as well as the creation of comprehensive learning environments. The group aims to organise workshops on teaching-related research with other pedagogical experts, and to publish and distribute its expertise at the University (e.g., by inviting well-known international experts as visitors).
International development of teaching
- The working group seeks to increase the quality and quantity of international teaching at the University of Helsinki. The group promotes the planning and provision of high-quality courses that meet the expectations of international students, creates permanent and active cooperation models together with international colleagues and universities, and spreads best practices both within the University and internationally. It also promotes international activities through various research, publications and visits.
Support and mentoring for teachers
- The members of the Teachers’ Academy launched a new form of peer mentoring for (young) teachers at the University. Peer mentoring is based on the idea that all those who teach can learn from each other. The members of peer mentoring groups share not only their experiences and expertise, but also the work-related challenges they have faced. Since the fall of 2015 this pilot project was established as normal practice concerning the whole university.
In addition to the active networks formed and the significant impact that the Academy members have had on the University community, the Academy has exerted considerable influence on the discipline, department and faculty levels. Based on the experiences of the Academy fellows and the research focused on the Academy itself, the greatest achievements and impacts of the Teachers’ Academy are the fellowships and grants for the disciplines, departments and faculties. The grants have helped to implement numerous collaborative teaching innovations, learning environments and methods, to significantly improve the preconditions for teaching and research at units, to enable various visits to universities abroad and to produce a wide range of learning materials and publications.