Teachers and Youth in Educational Reality

by Airi Liimets (Volume editor) Marika Veisson (Volume editor)
©2014 Edited Collection 201 Pages


The first seven articles of the book provide an overview of how Estonian educational scientists, collaborating with colleagues from Finland and Sweden on one of the articles, have empirically studied the quality of learning environment, teachers’ professionalism and their perceptions of their own teaching as well as their professional role and students’ coping at school. When dealing with the educational reality, a wholeness-centred educational thinking is represented. Therefore, one of the articles is devoted to the question of how to define youth and interpret the development of the concept of youth. One article deals with creativity in relation to the social field. The last article compares the semantics of the concepts Paideía and lifestyle as expressions of the wholeness-centred educational thinking.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the Author
  • About the Book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Introduction or How does the current book reflect on the concept of being a teacher
  • Conceptualizing Teachers’ Professionalism: the Case of Estonian Lower Secondary Teachers
  • Abstract
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Theoretical Framework: Professionalism, Professionality and Professionalization
  • 2.1 Professionalism
  • 2.2 Professionalization Perspectives
  • 2.3 Professionalism and Professionality
  • 3. Conceptualizing Teachers’ Professionalism: Professionalism in the TALIS 2008 Survey
  • 4. Differing Understandings of Professionality: Restricted and Extended
  • 4.1 Professionalism – the Professionality Dilemma
  • 5. Discussion
  • References
  • Estonian Mathematics Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching and Their Self-Reported Practices
  • Abstract
  • 1. Introduction
  • 1.1 Teachers’ pedagogical intentions and curriculum reform
  • 1.2 Teachers’ beliefs
  • 2. The problem of the study
  • 3. Methods, Instrument
  • Teachers’ general beliefs on teaching.
  • Teachers’ beliefs on teaching and learning in mathematics.
  • Teachers’ perceptions of their own teaching practice.
  • Participants
  • Data analysis
  • 4. Results
  • 4.1 The structure of teachers’ beliefs
  • 4.2 Teachers’ espoused beliefs and teaching practices
  • 4.3 The comparison of teachers from schools teaching on the basis of different languages
  • 5. Discussion and summary
  • References
  • Teachers’ Beliefs Regarding Effective Teaching: the Cornerstone of Curriculum Reform
  • Abstract
  • 1. Theoretical background
  • 2. Method
  • 3. Results
  • 4. Discussion
  • 5. Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendices
  • Teachers’ Beliefs Regarding their Professional Role
  • Abstract
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Teachers’ beliefs
  • 2.1 Metaphors in studying teachers’ beliefs
  • 3. Method
  • 4. Results
  • 4.1 Qualitative analysis of metaphors
  • 5. Discussion
  • 6. Conclusion
  • References
  • Teachers’ Beliefs about How Students Cope at School
  • Abstract
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Theoretical background
  • 3. Method and Participants
  • Materials.
  • Procedure.
  • 4. Results
  • 5. Discussion
  • 6. Conclusion
  • References
  • The Quality of the Learning Environment in Estonian Preschools
  • Abstract
  • 1. Theoretical background
  • 2. Methodology of Research
  • 2.1 Instrument
  • 2.2 Sample and Procedure
  • Data analysis.
  • 3. Results
  • 4. Discussion
  • References
  • The Influence of Leadership on the Professionalism of Preschool Teachers in Estonia, Sweden and Finland
  • Abstract
  • 1. Theoretical background
  • 2. Procedure and Method
  • The Study Design
  • Sampling
  • 3. Results
  • 3.1 Administrative leadership
  • 3.2 Pedagogical leadership
  • 3.3 Human resource management
  • 4. Discussion
  • How do preschool teachers and principals understand leadership in a preschool childcare institution?
  • How do teachers implement the curriculum of a preschool childcare institution?
  • What kinds of leadership skills are necessary in a teacher’s work?
  • How does leadership influence teachers’ professionalism in the Estonian, Swedish and Finnish preschool?
  • References
  • How do we define youth or what does the development of the concept of youth tell us?
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Definition of the young and youth until late-20th century
  • 3. Definitions of youth and the young in the early 21st century
  • 3.1 Young people positioned in the multiplicity of lifestyles and scenes
  • 3.2 Listening to music as a daily activity defining ’youths’
  • 4. Conclusion or quo vadis, youth and research on youth?
  • References
  • On Creativity in Relation to the Social Field
  • Abstract
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. The Socio-cultural Approach to Creativity
  • 3. Different Levels of Creativity
  • 4. Creative Work – Creative and Uncreative Products
  • 5. Creativity and School
  • 5.1 Manifestations of creativity in a social group
  • 6. Interest, passion, social openness – key characteristics of a creative personality
  • 7. Factors Hampering Creativity in the Social Context
  • 8. Conclusion
  • References
  • Paideía and ‘Lifestyle’ – On Wholeness-Centered Educational Thinking in Ancient Greece and in Estonia
  • Abstract
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Paideía as the Ancient Greek way of thinking about education.
  • 3. ‘Lifestyle’ as the core concept in the Estonian school of educational sociology.
  • 4. Conclusion
  • References
  • Authors

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Introduction or How does the current book reflect on the concept of being a teacher

Airi Liimets

If a potential reader asked me before reading, in which manner does this book reflect on teachers and being a teacher, then I could generalise and answer that broadly speaking in two ways.

The first seven articles of the book (i.e. from Krista Loogma to Tiina Peterson) reflect and talk about being a teacher as a profession, as a role in a formal institutional structure (either in school or kindergarten). This way of thinking in turn presumes that people who are taught, are seen as students, thus also according to their role in the institution. Students and teachers are bound together by teaching and learning as activities, which are expected to be as effective as possible. The whole process takes place in a surrounding environment. Described in this way the current approach to being a teacher can be reduced to a sequence of linearly positioned components ‘teacher – activity – student/surrounding environment’. Whereas each of the above mentioned components exists as if separately, on its own. Interaction between them occurs when the teacher shows up activity through influencing the student, either directly or through the surrounding environment. This approach is most similar to the behaviourist way of thinking, in which the subject/influencer is either set against a social object that is being influenced or the surrounding environment.

At the same time the above mentioned seven articles also contain a different way of thinking, according to which the teacher and the student, as well as the surrounding environment belong together (form an inseparable whole) thanks to conscious representations. This is particularly evident in those articles, which investigate teachers’ beliefs about teaching, students’ coping or one’s professional role as a teacher. In this case, the described could be reduced to the three-component model presented in philosopher Arthur C. Danto’s book “Connections to the World: the basic concepts of philosophy”: person/human being – conscious representation – world.

The difference from a behaviourist thinking lies mainly in the fact that person and the world are not opposing each other, but person belongs to the world, and the world is represented in person. The socio-cultural framework that surrounds a person, is not seen merely as an external environment, but is in constant motion and constitutes a reality that is recreated over and over again by different individualities, whereas in the form of conscious representations and through objectification processes the subjective reality also becomes the source ← 7 | 8 → of objective reality. In social and educational sciences this way of thinking is related to the constructivist understanding of learning and teaching, which is also often mentioned in the articles of the current book.

Both described ways of thinking could in the past decades often be seen in educational sciences, both in studies about teacher professionalism and subjective beliefs and conceptions. These areas of research have been covered by a wide range of authors around the world, thus it is really difficult to avoid reproducing certain stereotypes. Also the authors of the current articles have not managed it. Why then to study teacher professionalism or subjective beliefs and conceptions at all? Almost the only justification and reason could be the fact that empirical studies of a particular socio-cultural reality may support the applicability of research results and the projection of pedagogical reality in a particular and unique cultural area. It is certainly never possible to preclude the chance that these empirical studies might bring forth something that has been left unnoticed in the past and that through interpretation and generalizations they could become the source of renewal of certain theoretical models.

The last three articles in the current book are interlocked with the model of reality, which constitutes components such as ’person – conscious representation – the world’, and which strives to understand both the human being and the world in their entirety. Thereby, persons (functionally and formally teachers and students) are not associated only with the school as an institution, but are viewed in the light of the progress of human life, both in formal and informal realities, and in their symbiotic interaction. Hence it can be concluded, that for understanding the teacher and being a teacher, it is important to get to know the students and young people as such; as well as those phenomena, through which the activity that creates relationships between the teacher and the student becomes manifested.

Thus, the book also views, how the definitions of youth have changed over time and what important ideas can we find from the history of the concept to understand the young people of today. The penultimate article of the book analyses creativity as an activity, as a link that establishes integrity between a person and his reality. The last article of the book analyses wholeness-centered educational thinking, comparing the semantics surrounding the concept paideía originating from Ancient Greece, and ‘lifestyle’, the key concept of the educational sociological school created by Heino Liimets in modern Estonia. His approach understood ’lifestyle’ as a developmental psychological, sociological and pedagogical category, which implicitly reflects the regularities of human development, developmental conditions, as well as consciously created qualities. Lifestyle is a phenomenon and a construct that integrates young peoples’ school and extracurricular realities to a whole. ← 8 | 9 →

The first seven articles of the book have been completed thanks to the financial support of the European Social Fund’s program EDUKO. The above mentioned articles were written and studies were conducted in the framework of EDUKO’s project "Teacher’s Professional Development and its Support".

| 11 →

Conceptualizing Teachers’ Professionalism: the Case of Estonian Lower Secondary Teachers

Krista Loogma


The aim of this article is to analyze and conceptualize the professionalism of Estonian teachers and explain what consequences the educational changes during the last 20 years have brought about for teachers’ professionalism. The article explores teachers’ professionalism, the concept of which has two aspects: social (the standing and position of a profession in society) and individual (such as knowledge, skills, and professional/classroom practices), referred to as professionality. The article is based on a secondary analysis of Estonian data from the TALIS 2008 survey, and empirically identifies clusters of teachers according to their professionalism. The analysis shows that teachers, representing different types of professionalism, at the same time can have different professionality orientations as well. In some cases, professionalism and professionality are in harmony, while in others they are not.

Keywords: professionalism, professionality, professionalization, neo-liberalism, teachers’ work.

1. Introduction

Discussion on professionalism is evergreen, mainly because of the high dynamism of societal changes, and particularly changes in the world of work. Global trends, such as the influence of markets, managerialism and consumerism, and standardization tendencies are affecting the professional activity of all occupational fields. (Evetts, 2012).


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2014 (March)
Teacher's Professionalism Teacher's Beliefs Paideia Creativity Lifestyle Jugend Kreativität Concept of Youth
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 201 pp., 16 tables, 6 graphs

Biographical notes

Airi Liimets (Volume editor) Marika Veisson (Volume editor)

Airi Liimets is Professor of Philosophy and Sociology of Education and Head of the Centre for Philosophical and Pedagogical Anthropology at Tallinn University (Estonia). Marika Veisson is Professor and Head of the Department of Preschool Education and Head of the School for Doctoral Studies in Education at Tallinn University (Estonia).


Title: Teachers and Youth in Educational Reality
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206 pages