Craft education in finland: Definitions, rationales, and the future

Elizabeth Garber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The status, content, and social factors influencing craft education in Rnland, a standard subject in comprehensive schools, were examined during interviews with craft teachers, craft teacher preparers, and educational administrators. In this paper, the following areas are examined: How are crafts defined? What rationales and cultural and social factors keep craft education robust and what factors threaten it? What is perceived as the future of craft education?Definitions of crafts in schooling varied among interviewees, with some arguing to maintain traditional divisions between art and craft, and between craft subjects of textiles and technical work, and others noting distinction in these subjects only in the materials and techniques used. Some interviewees associated art teaching with self-expression and craft with skill, materials, and techniques. The context for craft education affected by Rnland's rapid change, after World War II, from a rural agrarian society to an urban and highly technological one, is understood as putting pressure on craft education to remain meaningful. Rationales given by interviewees forteaching craft in schools fell into five categories: craft provides 1) cognitive development in several dimensions, 2) learning about living in the world, 3) Rnnish traditions and culture, 4)social and individual growth, and 5)abreakfrom the demands of academic subjects. All interviewees seemed to agree that teaching crafts in Rnland is changing in terms of how teachers are prepared, who writes curriculum, the content of the curriculum, and the configuration of craft in the comprehensive school curriculum. Some interviewees portended adecline in craft education in public schooling, while others embraced change as part of nation building.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-145
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Art and Design Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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