Finnish Primary School Teachers Against the Background of Conditions of Inclusive Education

This paper presents partial results of a dissertation research that focused on the primary school teachers in inclusive education in Finland. The aim of the research was to create empirically based profiles of Finnish teachers with an emphasis on finding out what is behind the quality of inclusive education in Finland and how these findings can improve inclusive education and the teaching profession in general. The aim of a qualitative case study design was chosen.  Thematic analysis of sources and interview and observing became the main methods to secure data. For data processing, case studies of individual participants were used, which were subsequently supplemented by data obtained by axial coding. After that empirically based profiles of Finnish teachers were created. Finally, this profile was supplemented by offering further recommendations for the work of the teacher in the heterogeneous classroom. The results: the Finnish teacher has a positive attitude towards inclusive education; uses a variety of teaching strategies leading to active student engagement; develop the school as a community; uses individualisation; and is part of a multi-professional team. The discussion situates the findings within the issue of creating competency frameworks and standards with an explicit focus on values and attitudes.

Keywords: primary school teacher; inclusive education; professional competence; conditions for inclusive education; case study