The Relationship between Finnish Student Teachers’ Practical Theories, Sources, and Teacher Education

Harri Pitkaniemi, Liisa Karlsson, Katariina Stenberg


The purpose of this research is two-fold: 1) to describe what kind of practical theories student teachers have in the Finnish class teacher education context and 2) to analyse their differences and similarities at the initial and final phase of teacher education. We further analyse the relationship between the practical theories and their sources. The data include an e-form questionnaire with 1052 self-reported practical theories collected from 180 student teachers. The analysis of these theories is based on Levin and He’s (2008) model which was modified by adding categories appropriate for the Finnish context of teacher education. The research results were obtained through quantitative analysis with an emphasis on categorical qualitative data. On the basis of the findings it can be concluded that the main contents – and especially the main sources of these theories – differ in the two student teacher groups examined, i.e. the initial-stage and the final-stage groups. The analyses concentrating on the theory-source relationship show that teacher education has the potential to affect the content of practical theories. The so-called ‘well-developed practical theories’ and the sources of these theories related to teacher education were detected more often in the data from the end of teacher education than in the data from the starting phase. 

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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