Even though I am a Finn and an introvert, I have experienced the power of teamwork so many times. The benefits of working with a group with my colleagues have been clear, we have solved many students’ learning related problems together. According to sociocultural theories of learning, the social environment has an influence on an individual’s cognitive development and other people have a strong role in the learning process. Working in the zone of proximal development means that with the help of the more advanced individual, I can master the task which I could not do on my own. Teacher, parent, or peer can be that more advanced individual for example. I think that working in small groups or teamwork can at it’s best mean working in the zone of proximal development for the students. The optimal teamwork would happen in a group in which students support each other with different tasks. And this same is possible for teachers as well. With my dear colleagues, I have had a chance to work in the zone of proximal development!
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people are forced to keep a social distance. For Finns, this not anything new. A nightmare for Finn would be if someone comes to sit next to you. And even more terrible would be if they start to talk with you. This describes Finnish culture well. We like to keep our social distance. We are not afraid to be alone and live in silence. Teaching as a profession suits well for the Finnish mentality, as teachers are independent and able to work alone.
Teachers have a long tradition of working alone in their classrooms. They have a strong autonomy for their work. They have to take lots of responsibility for students and their learning. Although teaching is a very social job, at the same time, it can be very lonely, even for a Finn. Although history lives on strongly in the school world, there is some kind of change going on at the moment. Teachers need to work more cooperatively all the time.