Heavy topics, light listening – the ‘Tukevaa puhetta’ podcast series explores teaching support at Espoo’s schools

21.11.2022 12.00Updated: 23.11.2022 6.44
Picture of a classroom and the name of the podcast series "Tukevaa puhetta".

What does inclusion mean, and how is it realised at schools? How are pupils who need support taken into account? These are just some of the questions explored in the podcast series ‘Tukevaa puhetta’ by teachers from Espoo, which focuses on topical school-related matters. While primarily aimed at teachers, the episodes have plenty to offer for others interested in education as well, providing a different perspective on schools for guardians, for example. 

Teachers Johannes Ruoho, Taina Ek and Mirka Tuulisaari serve as teaching support developer teachers in Espoo. As developer teachers, they organise training, provide peer support and maintain a communications network through which teachers interested in the topic can share tips, engage in discussion and ask each other about issues weighing on their minds.

Working as a teacher means having to constantly develop your own expertise, and there are a variety of training courses, webinars and workshops available for doing just that. Usually, teachers will participate in these events at the end of the day, after their lessons. Recognising that these forms of training were quite heavy, the developer teachers wanted there to be some lighter options available alongside them, which is how the idea for the podcast was born.

“A podcast episode is something that you can listen to on your way to work in the morning or while walking your dog, for example. If you think of training courses as lunches, podcasts would be light snacks,” Ruoho describes. Ruoho is a language and culture groups teacher at Soukan koulu. As for the other teachers behind the podcast series, Ek works as a special education teacher at Ymmerstan koulu while Tuulisaari works as a class teacher at Lintulaakson koulu.

Episodes explore topical matters and practical experiences from schools

The trio’s idea received immediate support from other developer teachers. However, realising the podcast series in practice required all three of the developer teachers to learn some new skills.

“Turns out that there are quite a few stages to creating a podcast, from planning and script-writing to the actual recording and editing. These were all new to us. We did receive support for the implementation from the City’s communications department, however,” says Ruoho.

The podcast series will run for four episodes in the autumn. As for topics, the trio decided to centre each episode around topical themes that have raised discussion both among teachers and in the media.

The episodes also feature education experts working in Espoo as guests. The series premieres with an episode focusing on inclusion and cooperation between teachers and featuring the principal of Lintuvaaran koulu Birgit Paju, who talks about operating methods that have proved effective at her school. Inclusion is a topic that is also returned to in the fourth episode, in which class teacher Pirjo Peltola and special class teacher Mirva Hunsa-Äijälä discuss the role that co-teaching has played in the successful implementation of inclusion at Lintulaakson koulu.

The series also features discussion on in-class practices based on the peer mediation model developed by class teacher Liisa Holopainen and on the tackling of neuropsychiatric challenges in teaching, with the latter topic explored under the direction of special education teacher and neuropsychiatric coach Anni Koivu and school-based occupational therapist Anne Laitinen.

In the fourth episode of Tukevaa puhetta series, Johannes Ruoho and Mirka Tuulisaari discuss with teachers Pirjo Peltola and Mirva Hunsa-Äijälä about co-teaching and the implementation of inclusion at Lintulaakson koulu.

Content for education professionals and those interested in the everyday operations of school

While the podcast series is aimed at teachers, the hope is that it will also reach others interested in education.

“Hopefully the episodes will provide some food for thought! Ideally, people will listen to the episodes and then think about how the explored themes are reflected in the everyday operations of their school and how cooperation could be developed,” Ruoho explains.

The podcast series can provide a different perspective on schools for guardians as well.

Planning is already underway on the continuation of the podcast series beyond the initial four episodes, but the recording of new episodes has not started yet.

“There are so many brilliant professionals in Espoo that it would be great to get at least some of them to participate in the podcast as guests,” Ruoho says in closing.

The first episode of the ‘Tukevaa puhetta’ podcast series is now available on the City of Espoo’s Spotify(external link) and SoundCloud(external link) accounts. The rest of the episodes will be published during November and December.

  • Growth and Learning
  • Basic Education