From teachers into multiply skilled persons: How was art education implemented at a Finnish teacher training college in 1921-1970?

2013 IJRSE – Volume 2 Issue 2


Paksuniemi, Merja
Institute of Migration, Finland (

Uusiautti, Satu*
Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, Finland (

Määttä, Kaarina
Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, Finland (


The purpose of the article is to describe education provided at the Teacher Training College of Tornio located in Northern Finland in 1921-1970. Teacher training was based on the educational trend of Herbart-Zillerism and the aim of education was to develop strong moral-religious character. In this study, the research approach was educational historical and the data were comprised of archival sources, annuals, and contemporary textbooks complemented by interview data in which nine former teacher students of the college reminisced their experiences. Art education at the teacher training colleges covered playing and singing, manual skills, and gymnastics, games, and sports. The results showed how teachers were expected to be able to accompany hymns, spiritual and patriotic songs, to solo sing, and to master a choir. Teachers had to be sportive and able to patch up and sew clothes to themselves and their families. In addition, teachers were expected to be diligent, even-tempered, brisk, careful, and handy. Teachers acted as role models for their pupils and set an example of model citizens. The role of art education both in teacher education and in school is speaking to people still today. Knowledge of the past makes a useful adjunct to the discourse.

Keywords: teacher education; art education; handicraft education; Herbart-Zillerism; history of education



*Corresponding Author