Global perspectives in teacher education: a comparative study of the perceptions of Finnish and Japanese student teachers

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Linnanmaa IT115 (Wetteri-hall)

Topic of the dissertation

Global perspectives in teacher education: a comparative study of the perceptions of Finnish and Japanese student teachers

Doctoral candidate

Master of Education Kiyoko Uematsu-Ervasti

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Education, Comparative education

Subject of study



Professor Eero Ropo, University of Tampere


Professor (emerita) Maria Järvelä, University of Oulu

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Students' views on increasing global citizenship in Finnish and Japanese teacher education

This comparative study examines the views of Finnish and Japanese student teachers on global perspectives (GP) in relation to their future profession. As global citizens, teachers should know, one, the cultural and historical backgrounds of pupils and their families, and two, how to teach interrelated themes and global issues. The research questions of this study are, ‘How do student teachers conceptualise global perspectives in relation to their future teaching, in Oulu and Hiroshima?’; ‘How do those students view the role and significance of GP in their future teaching?’; and, ‘How does teacher education support the development of GP?’ My theoretical framework rests on Gaudelli’s heuristic model of global citizenship education (2009) and on Hanvey’s five aims of GP (1982), enriched by principles of critical pedagogy (Giroux 2004, Freire 1985). The main body of empirical data was acquired through interviews with and questionnaires completed by students in the two contexts.

This study found differences and similarities in the Finnish and Japanese student teachers’ views of global perspectives. Those views, in many respects, reflect Hanvey’s model of five aims, ‘perspective consciousness’ and ‘cross-cultural awareness’ in particular. Views derived from critical pedagogy were less visible. Remarkable differences were evident in terms of Gaudelli’s ‘four orientations’ model. The Japanese student teachers expressed nationalistic tendencies more often than their Finnish counterparts, who stressed humanistic principles. Neo-liberalist and transformational orientations were more difficult to detect in the Japanese data.

In both cases, the student teachers saw GP as valuable for their future profession, referring to ‘cross-cultural awareness’ within a humanistic orientation. However, the Japanese student teachers stressed ‘perspective consciousness’ as part of a nationalistic orientation, while the Finns justified the teaching of GP in terms of ‘global dynamics’ in a transformational orientation. Both groups saw teacher education programmes as significant to the development of GP, expressing similar views on the importance of curricula and of professors’ knowledge. Yet, while the Finnish student teachers saw peer support and varied assignments as helpful in developing GP, the Japanese considered those factors to be less relevant.
Last updated: 1.3.2023