Impact Journal Logo

Back to the future: The Finnish ‘lab school’ and its role in research-based teacher education

Written by: Jennifer Chung
8 min read
Dr Jennifer Chung, University College London, UK Introduction Education in Finland has received worldwide attention since the release of the first Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores in 2001. Research into the reasons behind Finland’s high outcomes in PISA has uncovered the high quality of teachers and rigorous teacher education in the country. Despite the decline in Finland’s PISA scores in recent years, Finnish teacher education provides a model of research-based teacher education for English policymakers. All qualified teachers in Finland earn a master’s degree, and teacher education in the country is research- and theory-based, grounded in the study of educational science (Chung, 2022). Most practice periods for student teachers take place within a normaalikoulu, or a lab school, each affiliated with a university. The research basis of Finnish teacher education encourages teachers to apply research in practice, through pedagogical thinking and criti

Join us or sign in now to view the rest of this page

You're viewing this site as a guest, which only allows you to view a limited amount of content.

To view this page and get access to all our resources, join the Chartered College of Teaching (it's free for trainee teachers and half price for NQTs) or log in if you're already a member.

    • Chung J (2016) The (mis)use of the Finnish teacher education model: ‘Policy-based evidence-making’? Educational Research 58(2): 207–219.
    • Chung J (2022) The Impact of Finnish Teacher Education on International Policy: Understanding University Training Schools. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan.
    • Chung J (2023) Research-informed teacher education, teacher autonomy and teacher agency: The example of Finland. London Review of Education 21(1): Article 13.
    • Chung J, Atkin C and Moore J (2012) The rise and fall of the MTL: An example of European policy borrowing. European Journal of Teacher Education 35(3): 259–274.
    • Department for Education (DfE) (2010) The importance of teaching: The schools white paper 2010. Available at: (accessed 6 July 2023).
    • Furuhagen B, Holmén J and Säntti J (2019) The ideal teacher: Orientations of teacher education in Sweden and Finland after the Second World War. History of Education 48(6): 784–805.
    • Jyrhämä R (2006) The function of practical studies in teacher education. In: Jakku-Sihvonen R and Niemi H (eds) Research-Based Teacher Education in Finland – Reflections by Finnish Teacher Educators. Turku: Finnish Educational Research Association, pp. 51–69.
    • Jyrhämä R, Kynäslahti H, Krokfors L et al. (2008) The appreciation and realisation of research-based teacher education: Finnish students’ experiences of teacher education. European Journal of Teacher Education 31(1): 1–16.
    • Jyrhämä R and Maaranen K (2012) Research orientation in a teacher’s work. In: Niemi H, Toom A and Kallioniemi A (eds) Miracle of Education: The Principles and Practices of Teaching and Learning in Finnish Schools. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp. 97–112.
    • Kansanen P (2008) Distinctive highlights of Finnish teacher education. In: Loima J (ed) Facing the Future: Developing Teacher Education. Helsinki: Palmenia – Helsinki University Press, pp. 48–68.
    • Knight R (2015) Postgraduate student teachers’ developing conceptions of the place of theory in learning to teach: ‘More important to me now than when I started’. Journal of Education for Teaching: International Research and Pedagogy 42(2): 1–16.
    • Koski K and Pollari P (2011) Teacher training schools – the Finnish way of organising teacher training. In: Kontoniemi M and Salo O-P (eds) Educating Teachers in the PISA Paradise: Perspectives on Teacher Education at a Finnish University. Jyväskylä, Finland: University of Jyväskylä, pp. 13–18.
    • Kowalczuk-Walędziak M, Lopes A, Underwood J et al. (2019) Meaningful time for professional growth or a waste of time? A study in five countries on teachers’ experiences within master’s dissertation/thesis work. Teaching Education 31: 1–21.
    • Krokfors L, Jyrhämä R, Kynäslahti H et al. (2006) Working while teaching, learning while working: Students teaching in their own class. Journal of Education for Teaching 32(1): 21–36.
    • Krokfors L, Kynäslahti H, Stenberg K et al. (2011) Investigating Finnish Teacher educators’ views on research-based teacher education. Teaching Education 22(1): 1–13.
    • Maaranen K and Krokfors L (2007) Time to think? Primary school teacher students reflecting on their MA thesis research processes. Reflective Practice 8(3): 359–373.
    • Merchant G and Bubb S (2023) The master’s element in initial teacher training: What is its value? London Review of Education 21(1): Article 5.
    • Mouhu H (2011) Becoming a supervisor in the Finnish teacher education system. In: Kontoniemi M and Salo OP (Eds) Educating Teachers in the PISA Paradise: Perspectives on teacher education at a Finnish university. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä, pp. 157–83.
    • Säntti J, Puustinen M and Salminen J (2018) Theory and practice in Finnish teacher education: A rhetorical analysis of changing values from the 1960s to the present day. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice 24(1): 5–21.
    • Tirri K and Ubani M (2013) Education of Finnish student teachers for purposeful teaching. Journal of Education for Teaching 39(1): 21–29.
    0 0 votes
    Please Rate this content
    Notify of
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments

    From this issue

    Impact Articles on the same themes

    Author(s): Bill Lucas