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Asko’s version of vocational teacher education

Asko’s version of vocational teacher education of Haaga-Helia 2015-2016 (a.k.a. portfolio)


Mandatory is your best muse…

A good year ago I was skeptical. I was forced to study in Haaga-Helia VTE. Previous experiences with primadonna-teachers had taught me that there’s a lot of conceptual talk, not so many things agreed upon, and very little action afterwards in a real life. Luckily, I’m always eager to learn and challenge my limited mind.

(A)A -team


“Hi, I’m Asko and I’m an alcoholic…err…senior lecturer!” That’s how the A-team was kicked off first time we met a year ago. That was a good team, with very versatile background. We had fun every time we worked together! Things started to get a bit promising…

Objectives? Talking to me?

So, I drafted my overall learning objective (3.1) to be simply “Developing pedagogical understanding and competence to be a better educator&coach.” For A-team objective was about “all digital, cross-discipline and cross-cultural”. I think they both worked fine and guided our path towards wisdom…

How do you spell it, peda…pedo..?


3.2. Basic studies in pedagogy, a few highlights. First, the most boring looking book “Educational sociology” had haunted me for a few months on my table, wanting to feel my gentle touch… Then I finally opened it in Copenhagen with a fat Cuban cigar (to alleviate the pain, just in case) but I surprisingly found it very interesting historical story. E.g. how farmers were against education just about 100 years ago in England – which somehow resembled to current discussion of devaluating education in Finland by the unnamed populistic party.

First interactive blog post ever, here comes a Quiz!

Question: From which book is this “learning theories in timeline” illustration from (below)?


Answer: If you remember, please tell me, I forgot it… But it’s a good summary isn’t it!

One highlight was the intensive week and hectic discussion online, you can watch the reflection report HERE, in Finnish (while doing the teacher exchange in Malaga).

Naturally we all loved dancing and flying around, thanks to Dancing English Teacher, Pia Kiviaho-Kallio.


Glass half-full of networks


3.3 Networking and community work. We decided boldly to create one: Copita.fi . Copita stands for “Community of Practice in Teacher Advancement”. (The brand and the name I originally created for wine bar, copita means a small glass of wine in Spanish. So we had to come up with sensible name for that acronym).


Marshmellow challenge we tested first time as well. Based on the noise levels and many mentioned it afterwards, so it seems that people had fun and learned a few things about Agile methodology as well.

asko mononen marshmellow  8
Other collaboration exercises coming to mind immediately are e.g. NYC taxi, football, water painting and socializing in own languages and making a dramatic short film in Russian HERE.

Practice make perfect?

3.4. Teaching practice I surprisingly had in my current job, living lab –type of project environment: Laurea StartUp Businesslab in “rural-metropolitan area”, in city of Lohja. See the introductory video made by my students HERE.
I also experimented (and was observed by fellow teacher comrades) especially the blending of digital tools into classroom environment. I even found a new genre and term for my postmodern socio-cultural/blended/flipped/project-and inquiry-based learning approach enhanced with digital shit that I’m into – it’s called “CONNECTIVISM”.

Seriously, I used e.g Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Skype for Business, Go-to-Meeting, Adobe Connect, Periscope (and short-lived Katch.me) and Eliademy for the first time for learning purposes.

(I have preached since 2000 that “learning, working, and information search will unite”… I think I can change a tape soon…).

Todo por la revolución?

3.5. R&D. Originally the plan was to develop eServices development –course (5 ects). So I did it in autumn 2015. Then, not to make it too easy for me (thanks David!), I was challenged to make another round of it. So I documented the participation into EU-project for curriculum development for DeDiWe – development of digital health and wellbeing (15+15 ects). I was heavily involved in one module development, “Digital service development and information management in health and welfare services” (yes, it’s a wide scope and challenging to squeeze all that into 5 ects-course). I will be piloting that after first modules (2H2016) in 1H2017.

Students as customers is a new black.

3.6. Advanced studies. I specsed and co-wrote an article for a book. It spinned of in teacher exchange in Lisbon, Portugal in spring 2015. “Wanna write something to this American book-to-be”? “Yeah, sure!”.


Easy to say – and obviously also easy to forget, until I was reminded few days after the deadline “so where is it?”… Oops… “Soon come”, like Jamaicans say. Well this time, it actually came pretty soon, couple of weeks of sleepless and painful nights later. Thanks to colleague Mika J. Kortelainen and alumni Anni Hellgrén for co-writing!


But now it’s out there!!! Oh yeah baby, who’s the daddy, ha? (I lost my academic writing virginity, if you didn’t notice that…)
So what is it about? Well, coming with business background I have seen a few organisations which start to live their own life, forgetting who are they working for at end of the day – customers! So, we thought of examining “Students as customers” building on concepts based on the real students’ experiences. The book details and ordering is HERE (Students as Customers, Nova Publishers 2016. Chapter 11, hopefully only one for me…) and the short intro video for the content is HERE.

Now thanks to You fellow VTE prisoners-came-game-changers! I got to know plenty of great people!


I was also very much positively surprised by the enthusiasm, positive attitude and the effort that Irmeli Pietilä and David Mauffret brought to every session! You introduced us a lot of ideology, fundamentals and bunch of methodology for face-to-face, groups and online. We grew as teachers and human beings, heads in the clouds and rubbers hit on the road…

So what next, after the summer adventures?

I didn’t tell yet I made an extra objective in my first PDP for 2017/2018. Hairy goal again: “Get internationally recognized as a practical modernizer of UAS business education (=get a job abroad).” A month ago, I set only two objectives in my personal development discussions: digitalization and education export. So, let’s see what happens. I am not in a hurry (even if I’m getting grey…) but the focus areas are pretty clear. Personally, it does not matter where do I live and who do I work for, as long as there’s good development-oriented people around me (or connected), I see the progress and impact of what I’m doing. Oogh.


In a hot summer night and mellow mood in Espoo, peace and love,
Asko Mononen

PS. To really get in the mellow mood I recommend THIS reggae-version of Adele’s Hello by Conkarah, Jamaica!

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