This project was funded with the support of the European Commission. This publication (communication) reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
TOY model and coaching
The TOY model is based on the Teampreneurship methodology developed by the Finnish Tiimiakatemia for Higher Education. The TOY model is an application of the methodology developed for Vocational Education and Training. The original developer of the method was Terhi Leppä, a teacher at one of the vocational colleges of SASKY Municipal Education and Training Consortium. In several successive national development projects, the method was fine-tuned and widely disseminated in Finland.
In the European context, the method is highly innovative, even if it has already been in use for 11 years in Finland. It combines team learning (the knowledge comes mostly from the team or study group), coaching (the teacher is substituted by a team coach, who preferably or ideally doesn’t say what is right or wrong), learning by doing real projects (students fulfil a real project during the course either for the real client or for open market), reading relevant books and teamwork, including reflecting on the learning in a dialogue circle. In Finland, the model also includes students making real money while carrying out the projects for clients, using the company form of a co-operative society as a learning environment, but that part has proven to be difficult to transfer to other countries.
The TOY methodology has many variations, all the components mentioned here are essential, but the combination pattern can be different. An essential element of learning the TOY methodology is developing your own application of the model matching your own needs. This is usually done under team coaching – the method is best learned by doing. The process of coaching a TOY course for learners is every time a bit different also, it is impossible to plan it in detail as the order of discussion of the different themes varies by every course depending on the challenges students are facing at that particular moment.