What Are Teachers’ Professional Competencies?

10th June 2019 : 17:00 - 18:30

Category: Public Seminar

Speaker: Auli Toom, University of Helsinki

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Rooms G/H

Convener: Alis Oancea

This seminar is number seven in an eight-part public seminar series on ‘Future directions in teacher education research, practice and policy’, led by the Department of Education and convened by Diane Mayer (Professor of Education (Teacher Education)) and Alis Oancea (Professor of Philosophy of Education and Research Policy and Director of Research).

Events in the series are free to attend and aimed at academics, researchers, teachers, head teachers, government members, policy-makers and students, although anyone with an interest in the topic is welcome to attend.

Registration is required.


This public seminar series considers teacher education reforms around the world in order to tease out future directions and possibilities for the relationships between teacher education policy, research and practice.  The series marks 100 years since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. Join us this term as we mark the Oxford University Department of Education’s  100th anniversary through this series of public events that pay particular tribute to our contributions in the field of teacher education today.


Teacher competencies have been discussed relatively extensively in the literature, often linked in educational policy discourses, teacher standards, or even intended outcomes of teacher education. But what do teacher competencies actually mean, how they are related to the core of teacher’s work, teacher knowledge and action, and teacher learning in teacher education. This presentation will elaborate teacher competencies by focusing on teaching as a thinking practice (cf. Lampert, 1998), and teacher knowledge, behaviour and agency. Through this, the aim is to understand the complexity of teacher competencies both theoretically and empirically. By leaning on the empirical evidence, the presentation will try to answer to the question: what kinds of characteristics of teacher education cultivate student teacher learning in becoming competent and agentic teachers? And why should we be interested in them?


Auli Toom is Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Centre for University Teaching and Learning at University of Helsinki, Finland. She is a Visiting Professor at University of Tartu, Estonia. Dr. Toom is also the director of the doctoral programme PsyCo (Psychology, Learning and Communication). Dr. Toom is the Vice President of the Finnish Educational Research Association. Her research interests include teacher knowing, competence, expertise and agency among students and teachers. She investigates them in basic education, teacher education and higher education contexts. She leads several research projects on higher education and teacher education.


To view all events in this series see here.

To receive all our latest event notifications direct to you inbox, join our mailing list.

To discover more about our 100th anniversary see here.