Tradition and Innovation in Education

by Airi Liimets (Volume editor) Marika Veisson (Volume editor) Pertti Kansanen (Volume editor) Edgar Krull (Volume editor)
©2015 Edited Collection 184 Pages


«Tradition and Innovation in Education» presents a number of articles that deal with topics as varied as outdoor education in Estonian kindergartens, student teacher lesson analysis skills, activities that bridge the theory-practice gap and the identity of academics in a changing university environment. In the light of PISA they also discuss how student awareness and the choice of different learning strategies explains the variation in reading proficiency. A user experience evaluation system is offered for pupils with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities, while living, learning and discovery learning is presented as an approach to violin studies for beginners. The volume takes a new look at creativity as being discussed too much and losing its meaning.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • The Use of Outdoor Learning from the Perspective of Preschool Teachers and Principals
  • One Approach to Developing Student Teacher Lesson Analysis Skills
  • Design Research Methodology for Teacher Educators’ Learning and Curriculum Innovation
  • Traditional and Advanced Learning Strategies Explaining the Reading Proficiency of Boys and Girls in Schools with Different Instructional Language
  • Constructions of Academic Identity at University: Processes ‘Taken-For-Granted’
  • Evaluating the User Experience of Learning Tools, with a Focus on Pupils with PIMD: Using the Taxonomy of Behavioral Categories and Expert Assessments
  • The Violin Studies for Beginners – in a Traditional Way or … ?
  • The Construct of Creativity – Lost in Meanings?
  • Authors

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Based on the ideas of Hans-Georg Gadamer, the creator of philosophical hermeneutics, tradition and innovation as well as renewal can be regarded as inevitable situations in human life resulting from the historical reality of being. Tradition is understood as a process in which a certain way of thinking, practice, or other “valuables” are passed on from one generation to another, while preserving the significance and value. Tradition is therefore the horizon for all kinds of thinking and interpretation. Therefore, through the process of understanding and (re)interpreting, man actually participates in the evolution of tradition and creates it, giving it the possibility for renewal. Keeping, maintaining and renewing tradition are also related to human values, and in their deeper undercurrents prove to be ethical questions. After all, for Edmund Husserl too, innovation is the key problem in ethics.

The texts in the current collection of scientific articles each represent their specific relationship with existing scientific tradition and thinking. In addition, efforts to express opinions about renewal and the creative processes of tradition have been made to various degrees – some more, some less. Therefore, one can say that the authors of each article represent a different level of scientific ethics.

The book contains eight articles by researchers from the universities of Tallinn and Tartu. All articles are peer reviewed by one Estonian and one foreign reviewer, and the publication of the volume was supported by the European Social Fund Programme – Doctoral School of Educational Sciences ESF project no. 1.2.0401.09-0070.

Lehte Tuuling, Tiia Õun and Aino Ugaste write that according to contemporary preschool pedagogy, it is important to create opportunities for indoor as well as outdoor learning to ensure varied and creative activities and good conditions for the socialization of children. The goal of the research was to explore the practices of outdoor education in Estonian kindergartens based on the evaluation of kindergarten teachers and principals. The findings of the study revealed that teachers’ and principals’ views about the possibilities for using outdoor learning in Estonian preschools differ. Principals rate the opportunities and the feasibility of using outdoor learning in preschools higher than teachers.

Kaja Oras, Sirje Sisask, Annela Liivat and Edgar Krull conclude that a large amount of research has dealt with the development of reflective thinking and lesson analysis skills among teachers; however, very few investigations have been based on a specific model of instruction. The aim of the study was to find ways ← 7 | 8 of developing student teacher lesson analysis skills using Gagné’s model, and improve their perception and understanding of critical lesson events. Using content analysis of lesson analysis reports revealed that the percentage of comments categorized as classroom management initially started to increase in the first training session and thereafter decreased, whereas the percentage of comments directly related to students’ individual learning processes gradually increased. The study also revealed that the students’ interpretative comments on lesson events became increasingly more relevant along with their participation as the training sessions progressed.

Inge Timoštšuk and Maarja Tinn find that student teachers are often critical of their initial teacher education. Most criticism is directed at the weak links between theory and practice. The aim of this study is to design activities that bridge the theory-practice gap in order to adapt the teacher education curricula to better support professional learning among teachers and teacher educators. The results of the study indicate the participants’ ability to see links between theory and practice as design issues. Learning for teacher educators was described more as a meaning-making process. Learning as doing or as belonging or even as becoming was mentioned less. Nevertheless, new learning activities were developed as practical instructional tasks rather than tasks for meaning making, identity building and belonging.

Ülle Säälik and Jaan Mikk write that reading is considered an important life skill, and therefore, it is highly relevant to monitor how learners cope with it. Traditional ways of learning such as memorizing or control strategies might have their uses, but more complicated reading tasks demand more advanced approaches. The advanced thinking and learning skills, known as metacognition, have been proven to promote reading proficiency. The aim of the paper was to discover how student awareness and choice of different learning strategies explains the variation in reading proficiency in the PISA 2009 study. The two-level modeling method was used with separate intercepts for the subgroups (boys and girls in schools with different instructional language) to examine the effect of each learning strategy for each subgroup. Advanced metacognitive learning strategies explained the variation in student reading test results more than other strategies (by up to 23%), and this was the case in all subgroups both in Finland and Estonia. The traditional approaches to learning, such as memorization, had no explanatory power.

Kristiina Krabi focuses on the discursive construction of the identity of academics in the context of the changing university environment. Positioning theory is used as a framework to examine identity constructions and implications. Results are presented from a qualitative study involving 20 academics from ← 8 | 9 Tallinn University. The analysis suggests that academics use various, conflicting and available (traditional) discourses to construct their identities. Theoretical and practical reflection on identity construction is needed for academics in order to support their adjustment, development and overall (innovative) practices at the university.

Jana Kadastik’s study is part of a design research aimed to solve the problem of learning tools for pupils with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD). The aim of this study was to develop a user experience evaluation system for pupils with PIMD. Three pupils (9–14 years old) with PIMD were observed. The results were compared to data from interviews with parents and teachers. Using objects from an exhibition was evaluated with the help of behavioral indicators and interviews with teachers (every pupil was accompanied by a teacher). Assessment using mixed methods was used, and the results of the interviews with teachers and parents were similar to the results of the video observation. Positive reactions appeared for activities that allowed the active involvement of the pupils. The results indicate that a taxonomy of behavioral categories can be used as part of evaluating the user experience in regard to learning tools for PIMD.

Laine Sepp and Airi Liimets present living learning and discovery learning (designed inquiry science) as an approach to violin studies for beginners. Based on the description of flaws in traditional violin studies and different violin schools in the world, a three-part action research was designed and conducted confirming that integrated violin and solfeggio teaching, an activity-based approach and group work are effective in violin studies for beginners, and they motivate students. The action research was conducted by one of the authors, violin teacher Laine Sepp with her students at the Kuressaare Music School.

Lilian Reinmets writes that creativity is nowadays discussed too much, and this has caused the term to become quite vague. Due to its overuse in all possible contexts, creativity is losing its meaning. The key questions in the article, based on her theoretical analyses, are the following: 1) Is creativity related primarily to the process of activity or its outcome? 2) To what extent is creativity related to individuality and to sociability? 3) Where is the boundary between the small c (or everyday) creativity and big C creativity? 4) Is creativity primarily a domain-specific or domain-general phenomenon?

We thank our language editor Michael Haagesen and formatting specialist Heino Heinla for their outstanding work.

Marika Veisson, Airi Liimets, Pertti Kansanen, Edgar Krull

Tallinn, 30 May 2015
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ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2015 (September)
tradition innovation kindergarten school university
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 184 pp., 16 b/w fig.

Biographical notes

Airi Liimets (Volume editor) Marika Veisson (Volume editor) Pertti Kansanen (Volume editor) Edgar Krull (Volume editor)

Marika Veisson is Professor of Early Childhood Education and the Head of the Doctoral School at Tallinn University, Estonia. Airi Liimets is Professor of Philosophy and Sociology of Education at Tallinn University, Estonia. Pertti Kansanen is Professor Emeritus of Educational Science at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Edgar Krull is Professor of General Pedagogy at the Institute of Education, University of Tartu, Estonia.


Title: Tradition and Innovation in Education
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184 pages