“The theme for the week is (Re)connecting professional networks. It was chosen because we recognized that after Covid-19 there is such a big need to meet and establish contacts, both new and old ones,” says Kirsi Jokipakka, Head of Support Services for Learning and Wellbeing and Event Manager of Eye on TAMK.
Jokipakka has coordinated TAMK’s international weeks since they began in 2010. Throughout the years the international weeks have grown both in size and significance. This year, the event is bigger than ever with 250 international guests. Many are from TAMK’s partner universities in Europe. However, this year’s event is truly global as there are also guests coming from Australia, China, Palestine, Rwanda, USA and Uruguay.
Unlike previous years with tracks for each field of study, Eye on TAMK 2023 only offers two tracks: one for teachers and non-teaching staff and the other for educational leaders.
“The Teaching / Education track offers content to all fields of study. We wanted to build a programme with topics broad enough to interest teachers and students of all fields, for example media, business and nursing,” explains Henri Annala, Senior Lecturer from the School of Pedagogic Innovations and Culture and head coordinator of the Teaching & Education track.
Not only will all fields of study be brought together but Eye on TAMK 2023 also brings together the educational leaders to the same event.
“The Educational Leadership track stems from the Educational Leadership Forum we arranged last year. Very good collaborations started from that event for example in Latin America. I’m eager to see what will happen this year when we bring the leaders and policy makers together with the teachers,” says Virpi Heinonen, Team Leader for Latin America and Caribbean in TAMK’s Global Education and head coordinator of the Educational Leadership track.
Speed networking, top speakers and school visits
Another novelty is the speed networking event on the opening day.
“With speed networking so early on in the programme, we want to help the participants to truly establish connections that can be deepened during the week,” explains Jokipakka.
The seminar programme on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings is common to all and has high-level speakers, such as Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto and Mikko Dufva from Sitra.
In the afternoons and on Thursday the programmes are separate for the two tracks. There is a myriad of lectures, open classes, workshops, panel discussions, posters and other content provided by the participants to choose from.
“I truly hope that many of our own staff and students would also seize the opportunity the week brings,” says Jokipakka.
“There are so many ways you can take part; attend the seminars, open your lesson for others, participate in the workshops or network with the guests in the lounge area specifically built for the event,” adds Annala.
The participants of the Educational Leadership track will also visit Finnish schools.
“We will visit all levels: preschool, comprehensive school and upper secondary schools. Finnish education is very highly regarded and meeting with teachers and children seems to be one of the highlights for our leadership guests,” Heinonen tells.
All the participants will also have good opportunities to meet TAMK students as this year students are very much involved in the event: catering guests, hosting seminars, photographing and taking care of the technique during the event.
Social programme with a Finnish touch
Apart from a general interest in Finland and its education system, TAMK’s reputation also draws participants. Many earlier guests will return and new ones attend because a good word has been put for the event.
“We have built a good reputation at TAMK. We have high-quality content and we pay attention to creating a laid-back atmosphere with a sense of community and openness. No-one is left alone. And then, of course, we always arrange good social programme with some Finnish specialties,” says Annala.
In addition to the usual receptions and city sightseeing, the guests can this year experience the Finnish sauna, have a morning swim in a frozen lake and take a yoga class.
It looks like a busy week for everybody. A week that will hopefully bring lots of new contacts, new partnerships and collaborations across countries and continents and lots of learning from one another.
Kirsi Jokipakka, Head of Support Services for Learning and Wellbeing, Event Manager of Eye on TAMK, firstname.lastname@example.org
Henri Annala, Senior Lecturer of English, International Coordinator, Digimentor, School of Pedagogical Innovations and Culture – Head Coordinator, Eye on TAMK, Teaching / Education Track, email@example.com
Virpi Heinonen, Team Leader, Latin America and the Caribbean, Global Education – Head Coordinator, Eye on TAMK, Educational Leadership Track, firstname.lastname@example.org
Text: Helena Pekkarinen
Photo: Saara Lehtonen