Key Pedagogical Principles and Their Major Obstacles as Perceived by Comprehensive School Teachers

Jun. 01, 2011

Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 17, No. 3, June 2011, 273–288.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article discusses how teachers conceptualize their pedagogical principles which they perceive to be personally important.

The study addressed to the following research questions:
● What are the main pedagogical principles of teachers in comprehensive schools?
● What are the main obstacles to the implementation of these main pedagogical principles?
● How are the main principles related to the successfully experienced teachinglearning events?
● Are there differences in the main pedagogical principles, their obstacles, and successfully experienced teaching-learning events, as analyzed according to gender, class size, school level, and school subject?

Methods and procedures

The data was gathered in March and April 2007 by a questionnaire which was sent to the teachers of Finnish comprehensive schools.

A random sample of all Finnish schools was administered based on the probability-proportional-to-size (PPS) sample method.
In the second phase of sampling, teachers were selected from those schools, so that they represented primary and secondary levels of comprehensive school.
Altogether, 362 class teachers of the fourth grade and 1989 subject teachers of the seventh to ninth grade returned the questionnaire.


Pedagogical principles
The teachers’ descriptions of the important pedagogical principles focused on:
Teaching-learning arrangements and methods, when teachers emphasized the importance of paying attention to pupils’ individual needs and talents and preferred learning-by-doing and active, cooperative learning.

Relationship to pupils and learning environment, it was important for the teachers to treat pupils fairly, just and equally and to create a pleasant, joyful, open and peaceful learning environment.

Among the general educational principles, teachers stated that they promote versatile growth and the wholeness of cognitive and non-cognitive aims, and try to account their educational responsibility.
Furthermore, some teachers focused also on expected skills and attitudes, saying that they want pupils to become conscientious, to learn to work hard in order to acquire life skills, to develop practical skills, and to encourage their self-expression.

Obstacles to pedagogical principles

Teachers were also asked to describe the obstacles they had experienced to the principles’ implementation.
Teachers described obstacles which related to the various pre-requisites or requirements for learning or pedagogical work, obstacles related to the pupils and groups of pupils, and Obstacles related to teachers,’ pupils’ background.


The results of this study reflected the change from transmission to transaction pedagogy and shows that they have learned their lesson in the sense that both pupil-centeredness and constructivist learning preference are present in their pedagogical thinking and also action.

Updated: Nov. 19, 2012