Who am I?

My name is Marika Toivola and I’m awarded to be math teacher of the year 2019 in Finland. I'm working at a funded doctoral researcher position at Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki. My doctoral thesis focus on teacher’s agency and identity in Flipped learning and it contributes to existing research knowledge in two ways: On the one hand, it helps understand the process of conceptualization of the phenomenon of FL particularly from math teacher perspective. On the other, the study is contributing in particular to efforts at promoting a change in the teaching of mathematics. As a young researcher, I’m interested in new research and career opportunities. As a teacher trainer my passion is to fight for the homogenisation of both students and teachers.

I graduated both a trained physicist and a subject teacher in mathematics and physics in 1999. I didn’t fit in the traditional teacher role. After seeing Sir Ken Robinson's Changing Education Paradigms I had the courage to think things differently. In 2012, I made a radical change in my pedagogical practice, I stopped direct teaching, after which my development goal as teacher has been to see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers. At first, I flipped my math teaching at upper secondary school level. In 2015, I started to work at the lower secondary school in Teacher Trainer school at Turku University. In the very beginning of this position, I was sure that I need to start to develop formative assessment alongside flipped learning otherwise I would not be able to achieve a student centered learning culture. I have written with my colleague ten open-source math textbooks to guideline my students learning. The books follow Finnish lower secondary school curriculum and are made for the student centered learning culture without forgetting also to support the learning of the most advanced students. Everyone can load, use and edit the books for free.

These days I’m a mother of four school aged children, a well-known pioneer on flipped learning in Finland, and a sought-after trainer in formative assessment. In 2013, The Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation awarded me from the excellent work to develop the teaching of mathematics. The Finnish Trade Union of Education invited me to be one their keynote speakers in a national educational conference for teachers (Educa) in 2017. My article “Flipped learning and formative assessment in mathematics” is published in the Ministry of Education’s new book where they offer good examples about formative assessment in practice. I have been honored to present my thoughts about the change in education also in Austria, England, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Italy and Norway. The co-authored book Flipped learning in Finland, has got a huge popularity in Finland and is available also in English. My new book is Flipped Assessment - A Leap towards Assessment for Learning. Both of the books will be soon available in Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Feel free to email me at mrstoivola@gmail.com.

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