Dismantling contemporary colonialism in Finland – decolonizing basic education teacher training as a starting point
|Session Name||4.8 Research as reconciliation: What is the situation in Canada and the Nordic countries?|
|Author(s)||Michelle Francett-Hermes (University of Oulu, Finland)|
Structural ignorance on Sámi issues in Finnish society upholds contemporary colonialism and is regenerated through basic education. Basic education teacher training programs stand in a key role for creating social justice. This study takes teacher training as a starting point for a process of dismantling contemporary colonialism and disproportionate societal power relations. This study is empirically based on a pilot course for basic education teacher students where students are provided with knowledge on Sámi people and issues as well as tools for cultural sensitivity, and where teacher agency is evoked. Development together with Sámi people and execution of the course follows principles of participatory reflection and action to foreground power sharing and is done in acknowledgement of knowledge co-production. Through an asset-based approach teacher students’ attitudes and perceptions of Sámi people and issues are examined to identify needs for development in teacher training. Student reflection diaries and collective reflections are categorized and thematically analyzed in-case and cross-case, and further using methods of phenomenological and discourse analysis. The study draws from methodologies based on an indigenous framework while also taking use of Western based research methods that serve the purpose of the research. The study sheds light on contemporary colonialism and disproportionate power relations and proposes a possible means through basic education teacher training for deconstructing them and preventing them from being reproduced. The knowledge produced through this research aims to serve further development of the Finnish education apparatus and contribute to realizing social justice.