Original Research

From active joining to child-led participation: A new approach to examine participation in teaching practice

Reetta Niemi
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 9, No 1 | a663 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v9i1.663 | © 2019 Reetta Niemi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 May 2018 | Published: 23 April 2019

About the author(s)

Reetta Niemi, Viikki Teacher Training School, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; and, Centre for Education Practice Research, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Background: The new core curriculum for basic education in Finland emphasises the interrelation between learners’ participation and multidisciplinary learning. Each learner must be provided with an opportunity to join at least one multidisciplinary learning module each year. Hence, student teachers also implement a multidisciplinary learning module as part of their teaching practice at the University of Helsinki.

Aim: In this article, I describe how two multidisciplinary learning modules were implemented by four third-year student teachers in a teacher training school and how they were educated to analyse the different forms of participation in their teaching.

Setting: The research question of this article is as follows: How do different teaching practices used in multidisciplinary learning modules support learners’ participation?

Methods: The data of this study consist of two documentation forms: two semi-structured group interviews and a field note diary.

Results: The results showed that most of the practices used in multidisciplinary learning modules supported an active joining form of participation and a collaborative form of participation. In the multidisciplinary learning modules, a child-oriented form of participation was supported through practices that related to creating artistic learning outcomes; however, no practices supported a child-led form of participation.

Conclusion: In this study, the student teachers learned to analyse the different forms of participation in their teaching. Nevertheless, more data about the workability of the mentoring method in other contexts are needed.


learners’ participation; multidisciplinary learning modules; teaching practice; teacher training; practitioner research; teacher professional development


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Crossref Citations

1. Teachers’ practices mediate the association between teachers’ ideas and children’s perceived participation in early childhood education
Nadine Correia, Helena Carvalho, Margarida Fialho, Cecília Aguiar
Children and Youth Services Review  first page: 104668  year: 2019  
doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104668