MAIJA ERIIKA RUOKANEN
Maija has taught in International Schools around the world for over 15 years. During her teaching career, she has worked with different age groups and nationalities and have seen how the learning environment can enhance the culture of learning in the classroom. Maija is an inquiry based teacher, facilitating self-efficacy and supporting self-directed learning with her students and teams. Learning spaces play a central role when students are engaged in discovery, research and inquiry. They can provide students with access to the learning in a whole new level, allowing students agency and control over the way they best learn.
Maija believes that it is paramount to the learning experience of today and future that students have opportunities to make connections to the world outside the school building and engage with the community around them. Learning spaces that provide opportunities to explore the environment and nature and access to make connections with outdoor learning can impact profoundly students’ engagement and ownership of learning. In her leadership roles, Maija has had a chance to promote similar respectful philosophy for learning as with her students and her teams have been empowered to make decisions about their learning. In her latest role as the Director of Professional Learning at NIST International School in Bangkok, Thailand, Maija has had a chance to promote lifelong learning and provide professional learning opportunities for teachers all over the South East Asian region through the Professional Learning Hub @ NIST. In this role, Maija has also engaged in learning space and furniture design and has been part of the six year renovation project of all learning spaces at NIST.
Maija is originally from Rovaniemi at the Arctic Circle in Finland and studied at University of Oulu, Finland in a special International Master of Education programme focusing on intercultural competencies in the field of education and learning in a multicultural classroom. Her multiple language skills have taken Maija around the world and she has taught at United Nations International School in Hanoi and New York in addition to her native Finland and latest commitment in Bangkok. She is currently studying for a Diploma of Interior Design and focusing on learning spaces throughout her studies at International School of Colour and Design in Melbourne, Australia. Maija is running workshops and professional development for students, teachers and parents about learning spaces and their impact on learning and is engaging in conversations about learning spaces with several schools across Asia Pacific region.