Institutional change and learning: The case of Finnish basic education

Reijo Miettinen

in Innovation, Human Capabilities, and Democracy

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199692613
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191750762 | DOI:
Institutional change and learning: The case of Finnish basic education

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The chapter introduces an approach of studying institutional change and development based on cultural-historical activity theory. It is used to analyze the emergence and development of the Finnish comprehensive school and its special education system. The explanations presented for the success of Finnish 15-year-old students on PISA tests are reviewed. They include the decentralized, trust-based governance of the comprehensive school, the popularity and esteem enjoyed by the teaching profession, as well as a unique special education system. Research-based development of diagnostic and pedagogical tools constitutes the foundation for the professional expertise of the school communities. The chapter also analyses development of the forms of institutional learning within the school system. They include further education, national development projects and networks with participation of municipalities and schools, regional good-practice expositions, and network collaboration between schools across national boundaries.

Keywords: institutional change; cultural-historical activity theory; trust-based governance; diagnostic tools; PISA tests; special education; institutional learning

Chapter.  16842 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Innovation

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