is Jyrki Välimäki. I’ve been the principal of Vasaramäki School in Turku since
offers basic education from the 1st grade
on to the
7 to 16. We also offer preparatory education classes to young students who have recently immigrated in Finland.
Another special feature is our
program for young athletes. We
and additional Physical Education lessons during the school day. The program is organized under
Sports Academy of Turku region.
All in all there are 670 pupils in Vasaramäki comprehensive school.
internationalization started in 1995 by
participating the Comenius program project meeting in Bonn, Germany.
my English language skills were very rusty. I managed to order my glass of beer and buy the train ticket, but discussing
professional issues was more than difficult. The situation was frustrating, because I felt that I had lots to give but
couldn’t make it.
My first personal learning objective was to refresh my school English and learn
So – from that point of view – year 2015 is the 20th anniversary to me: I have
Road to Europe for 20 years.
have four tools for carrying out the internalization and multiculturalization
in Vasaramäki school.
Next I’ll try to introduce those tools by showing some examples of our school projects.
fortunate with everything
European road. But nothing comes for free.
Everything we have accomplished has demanded lots of work.
co-operation isn’t a one-man’s-show. You
involved and committed in the process. And that’s a big challenge.
in 1995 we
letters our partners, sent faxes and made phone
convenient tools: the internet, e-mail and social media. Communication can take place on-line and face-time.
To keep up a network
takes its time. But our profession as school
principals or head teachers is more than just a job. At least for me it’s a way
Facebook is a place to discuss with
international and national colleagues, teachers and youth workers about professional themes:
School inclusion, development of the
school environment and school culture, empowerment of
young people, entrepreneurship
are very important themes.
Big and important professional topics,
but most important is to get to know each other, to obtain personal
relationships. To be able to ask: How are you, my Friend?
In this profession you feel very lonely
every now and then. It’s very meaningful to find out that you have friends
abroad dealing your challenges.
Eu-programmes – the current Erasmus+ and the previous programmes: Socrates, Socrates II and Lifelong
Learning Programme – have offered our school
possibilities to multilateral school projects between European schools and opportunities to in-service training to me and my staff.
Job-shadowing is in-service training.
In Belgium I was shadowing Mr. Johan Bossuyt who was working in Flanders as an advisor. We visited quite many schools. During that week the focus was on how classroom walls were utilized for learning.
That was very inspiring because I realized that in our school we’d covered the walls often without any deeper deliberation.
my colleague, Mr. Jeremy Hallum in Colchester, UK.
From these kind of mobilities you can build and strengthen your network for further co-operation on the institutional level and you can bring home many
school door sign is one of the best practices but
– in my school it made our
secondary level students aware of a current problem in our school.
and my staff - we have taken part in
European in-service training courses. These pictures are from an outdoor education -course in Scotland.
Experiences and course connections helped in
defining and creating our latest school project:
Fit, Fair and Successful
I have hosted and organized
study visit here in Turku and participated in three study visits: first in Germany, then
in Austria and latest in Southern France where
picture is from.
picture on the right
there’s me and my German colleague Marc. We
to a student’s business idea in a sort of simulation game.
Latest visit focused on entrepreneurship and initiative and for me that
an interesting topic, because we had just created in Vasaramäki School an alternative program
for those students who had to take an additional year of basic education before
attending future studies.
Our focus was in completing the formal education
co-operation with different stake-holders.
Empowerment of young people, the spirit
of initiative and entrepreneurial learning were key words in our
We have participated
in four Comenius –school projects since 1995. This picture was taken in Nicosia, Cyprus, during
a meeting of the Healthy lifestyle – jump for Europe –project.
, there are huge differences between teachers what it comes to teaching filosophy and parctices. And I think,
it’s more than just acceptable. But nobody can hide behind the pedagogigal freedom and say no to a whole
school project, when the decision to join in has
Finally – it’s up to me as a responsible adult and principal of the school that the pupils
situation. It’s not fair
part in the project, because his or her teacher doesn’t want to do join in.
hosting partner school are building a
garden on the school yard with the
help of the pupils’ parents.
example of children’s participation, parents’ involvement in the school life, group
and learning by doing, which all are
concepts in our new national curriculum 2016.
EU projects sharing among the participants is most important. That brings the added
EU-value to learning. Dissemination outside the school is very important as well.
a NGO of its
a sports and well-being club. Through this
association we have been involved in the Youth in Action program–activities.
We organized an exchange in Athens with a Greek
called Human City
in November 2011.
am grateful for that project for many reasons. Biggest achievement is that the student group really understands better than most Finnish people do what the situation is like and what kind of challenges ordinary Greek people meet now.
participated in several Youth in Action –training courses.
These courses have really inspired me
in my profession, because I really think that we need methods of non –formal learning
formal education in order to avoid drop out and early school leaving among our students.
What is actually difference between formal and non-formal learning?
in the north use a lot of methods which in some other countries are seen as methods of non-formal learning and
as extra-curricular activities.
It means that it has been difficult to us organize for example
exchange for pupils during the school days, because the day offs from formal education are not possible in
the partner school.
We have had a lot of visitors during last ten years; from other European countries, Japan, South-Korea, South-Africa, Australia, New Zealand and USA.
That’s obviously because of Finland’s good results in PISA-program.
me people visiting our school gives an opportunity to a self-evaluation and to evaluate the school. Visitors’ questions and thinking out loud
help me in that.
remember the time when we at our school could decide weather we are international or
to study. But times have changed now and every community, school and work place is international.
Internalization and multiculturalization are really
so in Vasaramäki School
at home in this
context means that we have a big number of pupils whose roots are somewhere else other than in Finland.
These pupils and their parents are a resource that we haven’t utilized enough, yet. This is our challenge.
project, Story of Anni and Fadumo, we have intended to create equal and mutual co-operation with two
African schools during the past two years. This project was coordinated and
funded by the Finnish National Board and Ministry of Education.
So far we have produced a movie about Anni and Fadumo. Anni is 15 years old student in Vasaramäki School and Fadumo goes to school in the school of Tubluk in Somaliland.
is to foster global