A1 Journal article (refereed)
‘The best guess for the future?’ : Teachers’ adaptation to open and flexible learning environments in Finland (2021)

Niemi, K. (2021). ‘The best guess for the future?’ : Teachers’ adaptation to open and flexible learning environments in Finland. Education Inquiry, 12(3), 282-300. https://doi.org/10.1080/20004508.2020.1816371

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Niemi, Kreeta

Journal or series: Education Inquiry

eISSN: 2000-4508

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 09/09/2020

Volume: 12

Issue number: 3

Pages range: 282-300

Publisher: Routledge

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/20004508.2020.1816371

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/71712


Finnish education has recently experienced reforms with respect to guidelines forming the curriculum framework for basic education and school architecture. Since 2016, all new schools incorporate open and flexible design, at least to some extent. The more open school design challenges the conventional organisation of space and pre-defined structures and interaction practices. This study investigates how teachers both adapt and are affected by new demands for pedagogy, team teaching and teacher-student relationships. Interview data of 21 teachers of six modern schools are reviewed through thematic analysis. The new school layouts provided some incongruence with the teachers’ aims and their preferred practices. Although many teachers were dissatisfied with the new or remodelled space solution, they felt that their school had developed as a learning community, with improved collegiality, and good experiences of team teaching had increased. Shared vision, open discussion, commitment and enough time for preparation had helped in adaptation. Lacking arguments behind school transformation and the dismissal of ideas of school design hindered adaptation. This study suggests that teachers should have a greater voice in the school design process, and the needs of learners should be carefully considered, ensuring optimal physical and pedagogical context for effective and collaborative learning.

Keywords: learning environment; school reform; adaptation (change); design (artistic creation); architecture; space planning; schools (educational institutions)

Free keywords: learning environment; school transform; teacher adaptation; school design; school architecture

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-14-09 at 12:05