Phenomenon-based learning in the eyes of Chinese and Finnish educationalists

8th webinar of the series ‘Dialogues on education and society’

Welcome to the eighth event of the webinar series “Dialogues on education and society”, co-organised by the GINTL and the Sino-Finnish Education Research Centre (SFERC) of Sino-Finnish Joint Learning Innovation Institute (JoLII). The webinar will feature Prof. Kirsti Lonka from the University of Helsinki and Prof. Mingquan Yang from Beijing Normal University as the speakers, and Sari Muhonen from the University of Helsinki Teacher Training School as the commentator.

Webinar recording

The presentation slides and a recording of the webinar will be available below.

Topics and speakers in this webinar

Phenomenon-based learning and broad-based competencies in a nutshell

Kirsti Lonka

Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki; Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University

Kirsti Lonka, PhD, has been a Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Educational Sciences since 2005. She has also held the title of Extraordinary Professor at Optentia Research Focus Area (North-West University) in South Africa from 2016 to date.

Lonka studied both at the University of Helsinki in Finland and at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (University of Toronto) in Canada. She earned her PhD in Psychology back at the University of Helsinki in 1997, but her research interests range from student learning, motivation and emotion to educational innovations. She has previously held positions as Professor of Medical Education at the Karolinska Insitutet in Sweden and as J.H. Bijtel honorary professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. In addition to these positions, she is regarded a popular keynote speaker around the world, and her name can be found under more than 150 peer-reviewed publications. Popular books include, for instance, “Phenomenal Learning from Finland” (2018), which is at this time available in seven languages. For more information, see kirstilonka.fi.

Lonka’s presentation for this event is titled “Phenomenon-based learning and broad-based competencies in a nutshell.” She will draw from her previous work to share her expertise on the topic.

Phenomenon-based learning from the perspective of Chinese educators

Mingquan Yang

Institute of International and Comparative Education, Beijing Normal University

Dr. Mingquan Yang is a professor at the Institute of International and Comparative Education, Beijing Normal University. His research interests include comparative education, curriculum and pedagogy as well as teacher education. He led a number of research projects and participated in several major reform projects sponsored by the Chinese government over the last few years. He published more than 10 books and nearly 100 papers in the last 20 years, such as “Policies and Practice of Internationalization in Basic Education: A Perspective of Comparative Study” (2021, book), “Indian Education Reform in the Process of Modernization” (2021, book), “Expounding the Basic Spirits of the Compulsory Education Curriculum New Revision” (2022, article), “On the Theoretical Orientations of Comparative Education: Discourse Contending and Transcending” (2022, article), and others.

Yang’s presentation will focus on the topic “Phenomenon-based learning from the perspective of Chinese educators”. As for phenomenon-based learning, Chinese educators are more accustomed to calling it “phenomenon-based teaching and learning”, which highlights the importance of teaching and the role of teachers. To illustrate this point, the presentation is divided into three parts:

  1. The proposed background of Phenomenon-based Teaching and Learning: Different countries, similar problems;
  2. Chinese scholars’ understanding of phenomenon-based teaching and learning;
  3. The practice of phenomenon-based teaching and learning in China.

In the last part, Yang will elaborate on the practical exploration of phenomenon-based teaching and learning in primary and middle schools in China, such as field trips and experiential education, labor education and field work, cross-subjects team learning, and more.

Phenomenon-based teaching
and learning: Combining theory and practice in the classroom

Sari Muhonen

Viikki Teacher Training School, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki

Dr. Sari Muhonen is a teacher educator from the University of Helsinki, Viikki Teacher Training School, where theory and practice go hand in hand every day. Muhonen has been working at all school grades, where multidisciplinary learning becomes reality in her classrooms. She has been actively working for the Finnish curriculum reform, written peer-reviewed articles as well as practical textbooks, teacher guides, and other teaching material for schools. Muhonen has lectured and given workshops in several countries as well as online. Since 2019, she has been coordinating the Finnish National Teacher Training Institutions’ eNorssi UNESCO network.

Muhonen will present in theory and through real-life examples how phenomenon-based teaching and learning becomes alive and real in her classrooms with the pupils, teacher students. The presentation will also demonstrate how the UNESCO network is tied to the aims of the Finnish National Core Curriculum.

About the webinar series ‘Dialogues on education and society’

The GINTL-JoLII webinar series ‘Dialogues on education and society’ engages leading experts in dialogues on Chinese and Finnish education and society with a comparative broader European and global perspective. The dialogues are in various formats, and they are targeted to researchers, policymakers, education practitioners, and administrators.

The webinar series is jointly organised by the Global Innovation Network of Teaching and Learning (GINTL) and the Sino-Finnish Education Research Centre (SFERC) of the Sino-Finnish Joint Learning Innovation Institute (JoLII).

Members of our network

We are a network of dedicated scholars and practitioners, who work jointly with our partners to co-create research-based solutions for local needs.

Together, we can spark cycles of learning for better education. 

Project coordinators

GINTL Finnish higher education institutions