PhD Student, Department of Teacher Education, University of Helsinki
Kaisa Hahl began her career in the banking industry, but became a teacher after she had children. Now she trains teachers at the University of Helsinki, where she is also a PhD student. In particular, she is involved in developing an English-language program for training teachers, to accommodate the many international students who now want to train in Finland because of the great success of Finnish schools.
Kaisa's research focuses on the multicultural issues that arise when students from diverse backgrounds study together using English as their common language. "That's something very important for teachers of today," she says. "Our student base is now so multicultural—not only ethnic cultures but also social, linguistic, and religious backgrounds. So intercultural competences are an important skill for teachers to develop."
Kaisa is also studying ways to bridge another "intercultural" chasm—the one between the sciences and humanities. Her new program puts student teachers on both sides of the divide together for most of their courses. Her hope is that this leads to greater cooperation and more interdisciplinary teaching once the students move out into the schools.
By 2030, Kaisa hopes the educational system will do a better job of accommodating different kinds of learners. "That's something I see in my own children. They're all different learners, and teenage boys, especially, get so bored in school. I strongly believe there are things we can change so they can be better activated," she says.
In her free time, Kaisa likes to run. "There's nothing like the runner's high," she says. "That's when I get my own time, when I can clear my head."