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Teachers and Youth in Educational Reality

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Edited By Airi Liimets and Marika Veisson

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

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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.

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