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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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Teachers’ Beliefs Regarding their Professional Role

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Katrin Poom-Valickis, Tuuli Oder, Kirsti Kislenko, Leida Talts, Tiina Elvisto, Madis Lepik

Abstract

This paper describes a study of teachers’ beliefs and conceptions about their professional role investigated through metaphors. Estonian lower secondary school subject and class teachers (n=658) were asked to find a metaphor that best characterizes the teacher’s role and to explain the content of this specific metaphor. Teachers’ metaphors were analyzed using the dimensions of the teacher identity model developed by Beijaard, Verloop and Vermunt (2000). The majority of the teachers’ metaphors were coded as hybrids, which shows that teachers have rather complex understandings about their role. Most do not see themselves only as subject specialists but also value pedagogical and didactical expertise highly. Some significant differences were found between the teacher groups participating in the study. The analysis of metaphor affective connotations showed that approximately one-third of teachers are not satisfied with either their role or their working conditions and this could be an indicator of teacher ‘burn-out’. At the same time, there was no relationship found between role conceptions and teachers’ age and length of teaching practice.

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