Before I delve into this tricky subject, I want to say that the process of struggling to figure out the Finnish understanding of pedagogy has been one of the most pivotal, meaningful, and personally shaping experiences of my entire time in Finland. Much of what I am learning about Finnish culture has been easy to see: they don't wear shoes in school, the education system is free, they love salmiakki etc... But this was a case of knowing that what I was observing was a new thing to me, but I couldn't make sense of it. I have been blessed with an advisor who is good at sitting and talking with me, and who has given me literally hours of her time. Most of our conversations have been fairly easy in that one of us asks the other about some aspect of our respective culture, and the other answers it. This topic, however, was different. I have come to understand that sometimes it is difficult to describe something about your culture when you are speaking as an insider, from a perspective where you're culture is all you know. It's like the questions being asked don't really make sense because you can't even see what the question is. What would the other option be? This was pedagogy for us. We were using the same word, but meaning very different things by it.
Let's see if I can walk you through some of this journey....
I wanted to create a resource guide for music educators based on what I observed in Finnish choral rehearsals. The main purpose of my time in Finland was to increase my skills as a conductor and choir teacher. I was also hoping to come back with a handy little guide full of new tools and techniques that teachers in the US could take into their classrooms. Chapters one and two were meant to be brief descriptions and chapter three was going to be the meat of my project.
We met again and Sanna suggested that I talk with a professor from the education department who was from England but has lived in Finland for 20 years. Sanna thought a native English speaker with an "outsiders" perspective may be able to help make sense of the confusion I was experiencing.