Kimmo Mustonen works at City of Helsinki Education Department as a Regional Manager in primary education. Since last autumn, Mustonen has been in charge of primary education in east and southeast Helsinki.
Soon after he started his new job, Mustonen’s supervisor recommended that he take part in a new program: The Diploma in Innovation in Education, which is co-organized by Aalto University Executive Education (Aalto EE) and the University of Helsinki Centre for Continuing Education (HY+). After looking into the curriculum Mustonen says he immediately decided to seize the opportunity.
“As a whole the study experience was very stimulating. The six-day program was intense, interesting, and innovative,” Mustonen asserts.
The program was filled with useful insight for professionals in the field of education. Mustonen brings up Lotta Uusitalo-Malmivaara’s session as an example: “Her notions about character strengths and strength-based pedagogy were fascinating. I will definitely be bringing this kind of thinking more strongly into my own work.”
Mustonen emphasizes that the international group of participants from various backgrounds also added to the learning experience.
“We were quite an international group with participants from all around the world. Sharing experiences and ideas on education was extremely motivating, and learning together was enjoyable,” Mustonen underlines.
Mustonen has seen many schools in his work, but nevertheless, he says the visit to Viherkallio school in Helsinki’s neighboring city Espoo was highly interesting.
“New perspective is always advantageous; I gained a great deal from the visit just comparing how things are done in Espoo and Helsinki – and I am certain our international participants gained even more. Familiarizing with the Finnish school system is indisputably thought-provoking for professionals in education coming from very different systems,” Mustonen ponders.
Mustonen says the final day of the program was the highlight of a great experience.
“We had Pekka Mattila’s invigorating introduction to leading change, which was followed by Kirsti Lonka and Esa Saarinen’s excellent session that wrapped together everything we had learned during the program. We heard such exciting ideas on digitalization and innovation – I left the program motivated and enthusiastic about the future of education,” Mustonen proclaims.
When asked to name the main benefits of the program, Mustonen does not hesitate in his praise:
“It gave me new insight into across-the-board innovative thinking that can be applied to developing the entire field of teaching – and which can also help individual schools to develop their operations into a more customer oriented, innovative direction,” he explains.
“All in all, the program broadened my understanding and opened new inspiring perspectives that I certainly will be able to utilize in my work,” he adds.
Mustonen confirms he is pleased to endorse the Diploma in Innovation in Education program:
“I recommend participating to everyone working in the field of education – if you want to boost your own work, you are founding a new school or making changes to one, or you work in any kind of position developing the educational field – then I would say that this is an excellent program to take part in.”