University of Oulu

Making mistakes, no big deal! : how Finnish primary school teachers understand coping with ambiguity, uncertainty and risk

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Author: Tanaka, Junko1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
Pages: 75
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : J. Tanaka, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-08-19
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Paradis, Audrey
Reviewer: Paradis, Audrey
Vladimirova, Anna


This study focuses on how Finnish primary school teachers understand coping with ambiguity, uncertainty and risk, and how they react to students’ mistakes and their own mistakes. In the last few decades, Entrepreneurship education has become a bigger trend in Finland and other European Union member countries. I believe this can also have promises for other contexts like Japan, where I am from. Therefore, this research tries to examine from Entrepreneurship education context. There is a lack of primary school level research about Entrepreneurship education in Finland, also less about Finnish primary school teachers’ perspective about Entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurship competence. This research tries to fill the gap. In the theoretical framework, Finnish education system, teacher education, Entrepreneurship education and Entrepreneurship Competence Framework and making mistakes are introduced. I applied the well-known Entrepreneurship Competence Framework for the common concept of entrepreneurship in European Union countries, to examine the specific competence which is related to making mistakes.

Qualitative research approach is adopted, where I used thematic analysis as a method to interpret the data represented by interview transcripts. I conducted 15 interviews with Finnish primary school teachers. The data is collected through semi-structured interviews in English. It is mainly to ask how they react to coping with ambiguity, uncertainty and risks and general mistake making. The interviewees are found by snowball sampling, they live in the north part of Finland, they are coming from several different schools.

As findings, through the process of thematic analysis, three interconnected subthemes are formed which are Role, Behavior and Attitude. Then, the main theme, Teachers’ mindset consists of those subthemes. Through discussion of teachers’ own Role, Behavior and Attitude, teachers embrace and act to ambiguity, uncertainty and risk and they are trying to be open to them. Through discussion of teachers’ Behavior, it is easy to conclude that teachers’ overall reaction to making mistakes is accepting. They think mistakes are a part of life, learning from failure. Finally, this thesis contributes to the understanding of Finnish primary school teachers’ mindset in the context of Entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurship competences. It can be a steppingstone for further research in teachers’ perspective to these specific areas.

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