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Teacher education in a postmodern society: an Estonian perspective


Ene - Silvia Sarv

(Shorter variation of this article is published as : Sarv, Ene-Silvia. 1999. Political and  Social Transformations – Analysis in the Estonian Context. In Moving Horizons in Education. International Transformations and Challenges of Democracy. Edited by Hannele Niemi. Helsinki University Press, Helsinki. Pp. 39 – 65.)


The processes of re-becoming capitalist after half-century process of "becoming socialist" for tens of national states are uniqueness of the time we are just in. These processes have different shape and speed and have up to now divided the so called post-communist world, quite homogenous up to end of eighties, into winners and losers. Coming times will show how firm are these positions and that kind of new qualities born out of these local changes in global context.

The deep and quick changes in post-communist countries have not given enough time-distance for deep and many-sided analysis. That differs these changes from Western ones is the rapidity and discontinuity/marginality of changes. Usually discussed issues as ownership, law-system, economics, monetary, rethinking of history those are in general the same for all Eastern-European post-communist countries.  For Estonia, as for a smallest of post-Soviet countries the special problem is the lack of people — often the same people have to be the initiators and actors as well as researchers of the same processes. Often they carry in themselves different roles and live in different narratives.

In this article I shall review changes in some aspects of Estonia's teacher education during the last ten years. That is  - during the time when Estonia regained its independence as a state and thoroughly reorganised its economy, changing from a Soviet socialist republic to a quickly developing capitalist state. This meant the radical change of ownership relations, re-division/re-distribution of common / society's / community's worth, creation of banking system,  ... For teachers it meant first of all change of their social and economical situation — from the quite well paid and socially secure middle group in the socialist republic teachers fell into lower strata of middle class — with salary under the medium and often attacked for their misdoing. In the last years several times teachers` organisations had to use radical means (even strike) to balance their salary. The last can be seen as totally new side of the life of teachers` professional community and as one aspect of informal learning or - as learning democracy.

I try to apply to these processes one of possible post-modernist models — look back and forward through post-modern filter.

In this study postmodernism is viewed as it is stated by Usher and Edwards in "Postmodernism and Education":

"To talk about postmodernity, postmodernism or the postmodern is not ... to designate some fixed and systematic "thing". Rather, it is to use a loose umbrella term under whose broad cover can be encompassed at one and the same time a condition, a set of practices, a cultural discourse, an attitude and a mode of analysis." (Usher, Edwards, 1996, 7) If we take, that "Postmodernity ... describes a world where people have to make their way without fixed referents and traditional anchoring points. It is a world of rapid change, of bewildering instability..." (Usher, Edwards, 1996, 10) — Estonia is postmodern. This society has jumped into capitalist postmodernity from socialist modernity during ten years. As result of 50-years isolated educational environment this society has missed several aspects and trends of  development and self-esteem. Due to authoritarian system and ideologically narrow prescriptions our society, people have not gone through, not experienced for example the era of psychoanalysis, missing is the experience of plurality, but there is the experience, that someone is out there who can decide and knows that is right, what is wrong, what is forbidden (religion, genetics, some books and films...). What follows is under-developed  reflective capacity  and weak capacity for  long-term projective view.  The steps in economics and social renewal from socialism to capitalism have created social problems as destruction of country-life and agriculture as cultural and economical phenomena, re-distribution of national worth so that it was concentrated mainly in the hands of "upper 20% ", etc. These are problems what could be prevented or softened by more sensitive social conscience and consciousness. 

If we speak about education — the term is used in Estonia  in different meanings[1], different the ones in English-speaking world, and is the issue of ongoing debates. In its wider meaning  education is seen as a part of culture and it includes institutionalised formal education as well as informal education. In Estonian the term usually is taken as the stage or level "of educatedness" or it is often taken as process of becoming educated, mainly in the school-system. In the context of this writing we understand education mostly as institutionalised life-long process or its result in the time under observation; the teacher education or teacher training in general means the teacher training in university or college level as well as in-service training through courses, distance learning, open university and open learning facilities. If the independent  self-education is meant, it is mentioned. Institutionalised means that the study-process ends with recognition by the state (certificate, diploma etc.). Teacher in-service training means mainly post-graduate learning parallel to work (2-3 days in year, weekly, evening etc. courses, courses  that can sometimes cover some years with 1-2 weekly sessions by year). 

The main approach in this study is dwelling from Lyotard`s "incredulity towards metanarratives" (Lyotard, XXIV) as a defining, basic characteristic of postmodern. The processes of changes could be described as incredulity towards (meta)narratives and interpreted as changes of (meta)narratives. Another approach — the change of rules and game is as well widening from or application of the centrality of language to processes and phenomena in society, particularly in the "cloud of education.  "...The centrality of language is not merely a matter of philosophical assertions — it is echoed by changes in technology and moves towards a "post-industrial information society" where language clearly plays a central role" (Usher, Edwards, 1996,159). Lyotard and his interpretators turn the attention to grand narratives of legitimation of modern science what is "posited and reproduced as a specific set of relationships between "the state", "the people" and "the nation"." (ibid, 160). The main attribute for this reproduction is education.

In Estonia, "According to the constitution  ... the education provision in Estonia is supervised by the state. .... The Act of the Minister of Education works out the rules for carrying out the national supervision over the schooling activities... " (General Education..., 5) So the political power (re)creates the educational paradigm and influences indirectly the teacher education what has to provide teacher trainees and (via in-service training) working teachers with "adequate" competencies.  This sounds to the thought of Usher and Edwards: "...disciplinary power is not simply exercised through modern institutions but also over them, particularly if they are not seen to be effective in their role as disciplinary institutions" (Usher, Edwards, 114)

The relationships in the field  or "cloud" of education are only in the first sight concentrated on the general education level. With the situation changing so rapidly the "circle" of recreation, re-production of stereotype in education has to change into opening spiral (innovation mechanism) or even more — has to incorporate the flexible mechanism of inventions. This way of thinking brings in the new level or new game in pedagogical thinking — "work with futures", future perspectives, future scenarios as aspect of teacher preparation, re-training and practical work. This aspect might be seen as the "emerging narrative".

1.        The Estonian Educational renewal - change of paradigm, change of narratives - new game and paralogue

1.1. The transition period in Estonia — some aspects in the field of education

The events in 1987 — 1997 Estonia can be described using the following stages:

-    "... Achievement of political independence,

-    struggle for property, its re-distribution (our current stage),

-    the upcoming national self-determination.

The last stage should clarify Estonia's development perspectives, including education, and achieve its acceptation both as a social, nation-wide agreement, and on the Riigikogu (parliament) level. If we do not achieve national self-determination, we shall go bankrupt both as a state and as a people. Education is that one area where social, societal, national agreement is possible and (vitally) needed." (Sarv, 1997, p 9)  At the end of 1998 the second stage has nearly finished its first round and there are left only some big enterprises belonging to state what are in the process of privatisation. The selling of Estonian Energy, banks or media to foreign owners is the existential question, not purely economical. In the context of just owned independence it sounds for many people as the question of existence, of values, of justice. As these are lively important issues, the second stage overlaps with the third one — self-determination -  we have entered.

Period of transition is a complex and many-sided process just in progress. As it was mentioned earlier, all of its facets, especially those that took place in education, have not yet been thought through: a sufficient distance in time is lacking, knowledge changed quickly, and even more so because this small country's scientific community in the field of education has mostly been tackling practical and organisational problems of renewal. During these ten years a new state curriculum based on completely new principles was created and a great deal of corresponding literature (first of all textbooks), too. What is essential is that the foundations of this renewal did not emerge "from the centre", according to Soviet tradition -  from the party bosses', scientists' and officials' offices, but the emerging idea and first steps were, during the first stage, a predominantly joint effort, which embraced hundreds and thousands of those involved in the field of education.

If our future scenarios see the best future for Estonia's sustainability in becoming a Learning Estonia, in reality we have had this experience already. And this article can be seen one of the moments of reflection: what have we learned in education? In teacher training particularly? May be it is too early to find the answer...

1.2. Teachers and transition period

Educational renewal in Estonia started in 1987, in the "rush-time" of perestroika in the Soviet Union. This process had a wide emotionally overloaded democratic context and the movements took place that could not appear in a more stable situation. If on the state level there was a "singing revolution", then in education we had a "breaking of hierarchies" and a widely synergetic revolution. Today we see in those the characteristics of integration of "top-down" and "down-top" reforms. As the processes in society and economics general so the changes in education 1987 - 1997  have not been studied and analysed deeply. The first overviews and explanations of the processes have sometimes been given by people, experts, who had relatively limited recourses to study and who could not grasp the context of  a socialist country occupied for 50 years in all contradictions with their specifics in education.

Teacher training in the transition period education (without using the concept of transition) has been so far analysed mainly for rebuilding the  teacher training system. The courses, subjects of soviet curriculum have changed, ideological subjects (as the communist party history,  military education, political economy, Marxist-Leninist philosophy, atheism, etc.) were excluded and new courses included (such as economy, foundations of philosophy, management, foreign languages ....).The redesign of curriculum in all teacher training colleges and universities has brought this system outwardly to the "western" system of its credits and baccalaureate, masters and D.Ph. system instead Soviet "candidate or doctor of pedagogy. The in-service training system strictly guided by soviet state (even having  different structure in Estonia) has changed totally as well. Up to now it was not the question of deep change of paradigm. The problem of renewed study of teacher work, teacher education, question of assessment of teacher has been voiced in 1998. Some works published  in recent years (Krull, 1998, Ruus, 1997, Sarv 1996, 1997, 1998,) show the widening spectrum of interpretation of situation and change-processes and this can be seen as the sign of emerging new  approaches for analyse. The spectrum of interpretations has its polarity from  traditional analysis to postmodernist approaches, the last includes  legitimation and narratives, power and discourse, being, becoming and meaning ... to point some aspects.

The process of educational renewal in becoming newly independent Estonia can be divided into the following periods[2]:


1987 - 1989 - the renewal was based on enthusiasm and wide public participation and resulted in relative independence from Soviet educational institutions, an opportunity for different educational institutions for to a certain extent independent activity, self-determination in the field of curriculum and learning organisation - a large amount of school-level decisions, participation of thousands of people form educational circles in different forms of educational renewal; but also occasional misunderstandings and contradictions. With the help of the state teacher in-service training system the renewal process reached the grassroots level. In 1988 more than 20secondary schools (from 203) took the challenge to introduce "curriculum of branches" of variations and choices. Here we can speak of "spontaneous democratisation or self-democratisation" of great part of educational system. At the end of the period of the "renewal" of teacher in-service training and educational research system began.


1989 - 1992 - the period of certain stabilisation - an attempt to organise the whole system, first of all the leadership level, ... to create conditions for more or less stable functioning of the educational system and to prepare the necessary legislative acts; disintegration/demolition of socialist property, public relations and forms of activities, search for new relations. On the basis of the principles developed during the previous period the foundations were laid for independent Estonia's educational laws and curriculum. The private schools, incl. alternative schools emerged. Changes in teacher training were mostly connected with the excluding ideologically important subjects like history of communist party  and including  "new view of history"; rediscovery and acknowledge the foreign and Estonian Republic's (1920 - 1940) educational science and practice (e.g. Käis, Põld, Taba, etc.).


1992 - 1994 - the realisation of the actual independence and the derived from this search for new active relations on different levels of education and state leadership. It was attempted to tackle teacher training according to Western models - the transition from the Soviet time subject system to the system of academic credits took place, course titles were changed and, depending on the lecturers, partly the content as well. The system of academic grades and titles was also re-arranged according to the Western model(s). During 1989 — 1992 the Teacher training Centre as well as Institute of pedagogical research were liquidated. The well established system of methodical consultation was disrupted as well. Only a small group of researchers "survived" to go further with the curriculum development for general education.


1994 - 1996 - the striving to bring order to the education system, practical steps towards starting democratic mechanisms, direction towards forming an educational strategy as a public initiative; polarisation of governing education - attempts by the Ministry of Education to create a system of centralised directives, control and standardisation and delegating the responsibility to the lower levels. It can also be seen in the re-emergence of the mechanism of command economy. In 1996 a new state curriculum was stated by government and in 5 years all schools — Estonian and Russian working ones, have to introduce it throughout the all 12 classes. In the field of teacher training we can speak about shaping of different models in the higher educational vocational institutions (4 colleges) which provide pedagogical education, in Tartu University and Tallinn Pedagogical University.

The main lines of changes, of activities in general education  (K-12)  can be viewed as follows:

school-organisational (5-day school-week, 40-minute classes, trimesters, skiing break dates for the school itself to decide)

education-organisational (branch learning, subjects and courses for choice, optional and facultative ones, permission to abolish primary school for 6-year-olds, the so-called 0 classes for 6-year olds, etc.)

conceptual - new foundations of education, changing of the picture of man and educational goals, i.e. direction towards enabling paradigmatic changes

content - new subject blocks/programs, etc.

legislative - preparing the new law on education, etc.

All these changes had to do of teachers everyday work. Many of them were the result of teachers` and headmasters` initiative in 1987-1989. In later years the "bringing order in" process from the Ministry side or in schools themselves has nullified some of these changes.

As the changes were very quick and dramatic[3] everyone's participation was more or less active — it was a real process of co-learning, teacher training "in life". Today it is possible to interpret these ten years from different points of view. The new "epoch of interpretation and search for meaning" has just started. One way to do it is to turn to Lyotard`s model of great narratives and to try to identify, for example these in society and particularly in education.


1.3. The "postmodern condition" of Estonian education

In (general) education the main narratives of the transition period, especially in its beginning — 1987-1988 - can be very shortly described as follows:

·      Soviet international education is the shaper of Marxist and materialistic world-view and a harmoniously developed person(ality) Soviet Union-wide,  this is the most advanced and humane education in the world

·      The ideal for us in Estonia is the Estonian national school[4], national[5] education as the carrier of culture and shaper of personality, which was understood to be an essential guarantee/factor for the survival of a people/nation which included a more humanitarian, taking into consideration children's personality differences, centring more on the role of education as carrier of national and later - global culture, orientation on participatory democratic decision-making.

These two were the grand narratives in education during Soviet times. The first one was declared and followed openly, officially in all Soviet Union. The second one was carried silently and followed by the older teachers who had got their education and teacher preparation in "The Estonian Republic" (1920 — 1940). We shall later touch "the circling stereotype" of teaching in Estonia — the second narrative is the example of this — it turned to heredity of educational past what  influenced educational practice until sixties. It was enliven via researchers` and school-historians` works in eighties and had done its first steps of come-back via some courses in Teacher In-Service Training Institute in middle of eighties as Johannes Käis`[6] method of thematic centring. The last had influenced the primary education in Finland and preserved there. The growing contacts with Finnish teachers helped to re-discover it. The same effect appeared "from within" Estonia as the older teachers got the possibility and courage to speak about the issues what were forbidden during Soviet times. One of these was the content and meaning and traditions of  Estonian national education (what has its beginning more than 300 years ago). So — the second narrative was based on the ideal-pictures, voice and traditions of teachers from independent Estonia.

The following narratives appeared, sounded later in eighties:

·          a possibility for Estonia's independence (at first economic and educational, later political as well), release from the Soviet regime and emergence of a democratic order and mechanisms of consensus, including creation of independent education and curriculum

·    the impossibility of non-socialist development (in economic and social spheres), as well as the impossibility of non-Soviet, non-Marxist treatment of man, education and knowledge

·    considering local (Estonia, USSR) science, education, especially that acquired during Soviet time (including scientific degrees) as of no value, orientation towards and search for reliable basis in "foreign experience", "foreign experts" and "EU demands", "world standards"

·    unconditional rejection of orientation towards EU and the West (in economy, culture, as well as in science and education) and aspiration towards independence and/or nation-centring in economy, as well as in culture and education.

·    Last year with its growing social diversity is bringing out some more narratives - for example,  about "wrong democracy via political parties".

These were/are "grand things" for certain groups in our society - (meta)narratives with their cultural and political (ideological) background. Teachers and teachers` teachers were /are the bearers of all these narratives. All the transformation of meanings and values inside these narratives stream through teacher consciousness and unconsciousness.

The postmodernism as "incredulity towards great narratives"  (Lyotard, XXIV) has its firm place in Estonia.

In these years there was (and it is still an ongoing process) a change of paradigms, that show itself in the mistrust towards grand narratives — especially towards the Soviet one, and "rebuilding of the first republic" and "Independent Estonia". If we try to interpret the changes of these years from the "grand-narrative" view, we have to see not only a linear or wavy process of change, but somewhere in this ribbon the "knots" are emerging. In Estonia's recent years one kind of a knot is seen in the assessment  and state-exam politics - being contradictory to the new educational, fixed in state curriculum (and societal) paradigm/narrative.

We can interpret it as new moves and rules in the game up to "a new game" and in several areas we can see the appearance of paralogue and as a result of it - the inventions.

All this describes processes in education and in teacher education as well.

In the work "Ten years of paradigmatic change" it has been shown that "the treatment of educational renewal has become wider; its interpretation, which during the first period - 1987-88 - took shape of a positivist widening of the Soviet view of education, in the 90-ies acquires a wider view as (self) democratisation of society through processes taking place in education" (Sarv, 1998, p. 18 -19).


Both in the compilations and articles[7] published in 1987 and in the Estonia's Educational Platform[8] comprised in 1988 incredulity towards narratives and new moves can be recognised. As it has been shown[9] for example  the content/meaning of the words humanisation, democratisation  changed substantially during these ten years. In 1987 - 1988 it was rather one-dimensional, played the role of a metaphor, concerning which its user had a vague ideal picture (because there was a general lack of actual democratic experience). But it quickly became wider and more full, owing this both to unrestricted access to Western literature and to, first and foremost, the co-operation, joint activities of many types for a wide range of people engaged this way or another in the area of education, during which a notable synergetic effect was achieved on many occasions. Today we would call this a grassroots level process. Thus, in 1987 - 1990 the humanisation and democratisation were not only keywords and aims - these were the aspects to be practised, the method for renewal. So they worked as metaphors and shaped the intrinsic motivation towards "re-education" for many teachers . As in this book we are speaking about teachers, I shall bring this aspect forward.

In education "the new moves" in 1970-ies and 1980-ies, during the Soviet regime, were the textbooks written in our language and by our authors - unique in USSR, also special, subject-biased classes, preservation of 11-classes secondary education (against the official 10 years in Russia and most of Soviet Republics) etc. The real wave of innovations rose in 1987-1989 - both in the structure and methods of school and educational renewal, and in the content of education as well. (Sarv, 1987, 106 - 109) But, still, it was predominantly taking place on the widening basis of the Marxist paradigm, using Marxist terminology. (ibid., 62)

These moves grew over into a new quality - paralogue - as a series of new moves in educational events: in 1987 - 1989 within the framework of the rules of the old regime and ideology as "new moves", and later as "new rules in the old game". The initiators of these "new moves" were groups of enthusiasts and specialists, and they were transformed into "new rules" by a small group of Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic's Ministry of Education officials, lead by the minister. Into the rule framework of "the old game" belonged, for example, creation of Estonian SSR's Education Committee in parallel with Soviet Union Education Committee, the decisions of Estonian Communist Party Central Committee's session dedicated to education in 1988, etc., which in the then society situation could have developed into understanders and supporters of "the new game". Had ECP Central Committee supported Ministry of Education's school renewal activities, its tempo and level could have been quite different today. To the same series belongs the long period - 1989 - 1990 - of not registering Estonian Education Council (the predecessor of today's non-governmental organisations, including Estonian Education Forum) - the old-fashioned rules actively opposed the new moves.

Even during the first half of the 90-ies the phenomena which Western states with developed democracy perceive as clearly outlined new moves, innovations, we can observe in the Estonian context as paralogues, as inventions or discoveries. ("...Moves, which try to replace/change the game rules, ... unforeseen moves", as J. - F. Lyotard says). In Estonian education and culture this role was played by non-governmental organisations, first of all these, which represented "interest groups" through delegated representatives and worked for the future perspectives of the whole society. Many such roof-organisations can be found in the field of education. The annual Education Forum (1995, 1996, 1997) is one of the most developed examples.

It should be also taken into account that inventions have two clear tendencies of development: invention or paralogue(ness) could recede into innovation or - on the contrary, release a row of inventions ("invention avalanche"). Connecting into process and justified observation through the "game model" of the events that have been happening and are happening in Estonia's education is necessary, but this topic exceeds the goal limits of this treatment.

An original "move" in "postmodernism articles" on education in 1997 is the emergence of  new -  comb or cluster and  network -metaphors. (Vilu, Ruus, Sarv, 1997). The new movements and opportunities in teacher in-service education appeared as project  of organisational development for nearly hundred schools for some years carried by supported by G.Soros via Open Estonia Foundation. Today it is the real network of the most active part of these schools where new models of teacher in-service development are  found and shared.

2. Teacher development in the renewal period

During the first stages of educational renewal the teacher training process in higher schools and colleges was not influenced directly. The changes happened mostly as result of changing attitudes and growing freedom of lecturers. In-service training happened to be much more flexible.

Active involvement of teachers in working on forms and content of education was foreign to Soviet practice. There was a limited set of methodical innovations, mainly  subject to official approval from Moscow (usually by the central government), but no possibilities existed for teachers to create their own programs, different curricula for different regions, schools. It should also be noted that on the whole territory of the Soviet Union textbooks were identical, without any officially allowed differences. Estonia was an exception in this respect, because it was succeeded in acquiring in the 70-ies a permission for writing and using in local schools some original (written by Estonian authors) textbooks. In comparison to the rest of USSR Estonia was unique also in the fact that during the 60-ies and 70-ies a possibility was found for using curricula which somewhat differed from Union-wide standards - the so-called subject-biased classes (a larger proportion of real sciences' lessons and especially - of foreign languages, starting even from the first school-year). In Estonia in 1986 from 205 secondary schools 102 had one or another kind of  "specialisation" while in total Soviet Union this percentage was less than 1 %. (Eesti haridus 1986)

The participation of teachers (at least of some subjects) in the renewal process in 1987-89 was notable. It should not be overlooked that this process did not take place without conflict, resistance, especially from academic circles and certain groups of officials. If we look on this as on the sign of changing game, it is fully understandable.

Already in 1988-89 to characterise teachers' activity in connection with the renewal process the term "participation effect" was used. This phenomenon was worded in Estonia's Education Platform as follows:

"It is expedient to organise teacher in-service training in close integration with scientific programs of educational renewal. The processes of re-tuning and re-learning progress noticeably better if the participation effect is present: the pedagogue must be both the planner and the implementor of changes in his/her activities' forms and content. This means that opportunities should be created for participation in the re-organisation of the pedagogical process in accordance with one's abilities (working out the program, goals for subject teaching, learning sets and methods, but first and foremost - their constant improvement through consideration of the results of the actual learning and upbringing process)".  (Eestimaa haridusplatvorm, 1989,  25)

The beginning of school renewal with its brainstorming, thoughts- sharing, and other forms of group work gave in-service education new qualitative possibilities[10]. In essence, in many subject and other groups a unique form of additional self-education was implemented, when the teacher participated in reflecting upon previous practice, its analysis, evaluation based on different criteria and models, forecasting, comprehending and formulating present and future educational needs, raising/defining new educational goals and projecting ways and means of their implementation, as well as further experimenting and evaluating. Thus, simultaneously playing the parts of the planner and executor of essential educational activities, the teacher's activity became motivated, self-fulfilment became a creative learning process instead of the previous passive "receptive state". Participation in projects demanded from the teacher knowledge and abilities, that were yet to be acquired (both from the areas of theoretical pedagogy and psychology, subject, and about correctly planning, carrying out, analysing an experiment, evaluating a new textbook or work document, etc.)".

That is the essence of the participation effect - continuously achieving new quality, raising important (for society, group, participant, executor) goals, planning their implementation, results' evaluation and correction.

2.1. Participation-effect — an example 

As the example of the participation effect let us look into the development of one group of teachers in 1987-1989.

Starting from the summer of 1987 an original process began to renovate teaching of physics in Estonia. During the first round it included 25 physics teachers from Russian language-speaking schools (June, 1987, III stage of in-service courses) and during the second - over 150 physics teachers from Southern Estonia and a researcher from Tartu State University (August, 1987, Tartu). From these two separate experience and ideas exchange events grew the process of physics teaching renewal in Estonian education, where the main force became the school teacher and his/her requests towards the researcher. More than 150 physics teachers and coursemates from Southern Estonia delegated in August, 1987 around 50 teachers, researchers, specialists on methods of instruction, etc., to develop a new concept of school physics and the corresponding study materials[11]. The process took shape of a series of thought sharing meetings, coupled with writing new textbooks at home, testing them at school, scientific research of the suitability of the texts, etc. From these activists grew Estonian School Physics Union, which organised the work of creating new school physics (conceptual foundations of textbooks, experimental materials, of school physics as a whole, organisation of scientifico-methodological expert evaluation of comprised materials, collective evaluation, testing of the materials in schools, organisation of in-service training courses, etc.)

The activity of School Physics Union was accompanied by attempts to establish working relations with subject specialists and the frequent failure of such attempts. The source of contradictions was first of all the humanist, child-centred theory (concept) and practice of school physics which started to take shape during the work of the Union, reaching the stage of new textbooks, a result of the collective effort of working teachers. The new approach was in conflict with the previous one (paradigm) - positivist and Marxist, completely subject-centred. I see the second source of contradiction to be the new danger present for every subject, not only physics, - to be left without the monopolistic state when comprising study materials, workbooks, etc., and translating the then coming from Moscow and obligatory textbooks. The third problem I perceive to be the so-called "syndrome of hierarchical competency" - every person who is on a higher level of bureaucracy or science is wiser and more competent than those on lower levels. Thus, the new teachers' movement was an intrusion from the classrooms into "higher spheres", threatening to destroy the existing system of values and, because of that, meeting with strong resistance in numerous subject, scientific, expert, and other councils." (Sarv, 1997, p. 76)

Today we would speak about the change of discourse of quite a large number of teachers.

Earlier we mentioned, that in the state curricula the goals are wide. They include as the individuality-development, competencies development so the subject-learning and bring in the integration of subjects and areas as one of main means in school-based education. It is not the same in teacher training. The curricula state mostly the distribution of credits for different subjects and courses. Part of these are optional, part — essential. In Educational sciences, for example, in Tallinn Pedagogical university the baccalaureate course  is 4 years and has a core subjects for all students and side-subjects to specialise as teacher (pre- and primary school teacher, class-teacher, compulsory-level/school teacher), as andragog (adults-teacher), special pedagogy (for children with special needs), social-pedagogy. It is said in the curricula, that through the common/core subjects (philosophy, overview on psychology, on sociology, informatics, foreign language, oral and written speech, pedagogical ethics, communication-training)  are created the possibilities for students "to develop themselves as learners and  future pedagogues, for  communication in scientific, professional and speciality areas.


3. Estonia's future scenarios - what does education mean in this context in connection with the teacher and the learner?

In the "New thinking for a new millennium" James Dator says: "At the present time the public, the electorate, our clients, our boss all generally seem to want predictive certainty about the future, or else they want to hear no information about the future whatsoever." (Dator, in New thinking…, 1996, 110) …

In Estonian society the idea of the country's sustainability became leading. But as the Dator`s quotation says, it does not mean, that the forces at power and even nation as whole is ready to understand the practical ways to acquire the long-term sustainability. In Estonia the long-term foresight and alternative scenarios are named by some politicians - "foam"[12]. Some ten or fifteen years ago idea of sustainability rose to the forefront of Estonian society as the striving to preserve the nature and natural resources, stand against the pollution caused by the Soviet Army and the large economic facilities which were mainly under Moscow's control. By today, in the eyes of some public figures and scientists, sustainability has the meaning of society's and economy's long-term and successful development as a whole. "What can and should be done, in contrast, is to place foresight, planning, and decision-making within an ongoing, multiple, "alternative futures"  context" (Dator, 1996, 110) "… That also means, that that not only the elite  but all marginalized persons should participate fairly, fully and frequently" (Dator, 111). This is in touch of teacher education and in-service education first of all, because in rapidly changing world (what Estonia has so extremely experienced in last ten years) the new approach, consciousness and knowledge of "tomorrow" as futures is important to plant into education of today's children. The way to this is via teacher.

For several years a group of researchers and experts has been working to preview the future development of Estonia. So the scenarios "Estonia 2010" were published in the fall 1997. In its English version on the Internet it is stated :

"During last years the rise of public participation methodology has seemed quite important for involving people in local democracy. Planning is becoming a public thing where people and their interest groups are not only criticising but are closely working together with planners.

If previous planning was based in a great deal on the gathering of huge amount of data then new planning is based more on the quality of thinking and deeper analysis. Former methods like the mechanical analyse of data no longer work in such a turbulent situation. Much more important now are agreements between different interest groups in society; not creating a detailed plan, which has strong legal power, but has quite often nothing to do with real life and real problems in real situations with real people." (, 08.09.1998)

This statement reflects the deep change in the thinking paradigm.  The source of it is stated as follows.

"In Estonia, the collapse of the old system was so dramatic that during years since 1990 all planning activities have been dead: people just live for today. Because of the relative macroeconomical stability of 1994, the importance of future-related thinking and planning as such (as a "rudiment" of the Soviet time, which has been forgotten during the past 4-5 years) grows significantly. Academic, public and also business structures and their leaders could breathe much more freely after the prolonged fireworks of the past few years and give more attention to questions connected with strategies and future options."

Scenarios "Estonia 2010" had to be compiled to see the environmental future of Estonia - but the scenario-team very soon found it to be impossible to work with futures of environment outside the geopolitical and technological conditions. So the main driving forces were developed out of ten essential influencing factors that speak about less or more "information-technologizaised" Estonia and less or more geopolitically  opened Estonia.[13]

Estonia's Education 2015 scenarios[14] have been compiled with a goal to promote a discussion in the society about the future of Estonia's education and to support the educational strategies what are/will be worked out by Ministry of Education - to ensure participation of different interest groups in this process. The main driving forces in these scenarios are two characteristics of the society - the innovative ability/innovativeness and inclusiveness. On this basis four future visions of Estonia's society and education have been created:

A: "Nation-centred Estonia" of "Estonia of Public Schools",

B: "Corporative Estonia" of "Estonia of Permanently Launched Education Reforms",

C: "Estonia of the Rich and the Poor" of "Estonia of Market Education and Elite Schools", and

D: "Interactive, sustainable  Estonia" or "Learning Estonia"

Both in "Estonia 2010" and in "Education 2015" the most desirable future we see for Estonia is "Learning Estonia". In Learning Estonia the meaning of learner-teacher and learning-teaching itself has to change. Surely this change will be more radical than it was in eighties and up to now.

The basic premises of the education scenarios 2015  were considered as follows

1. Estonia will certainly be an information society in 2015.

2. The use of computers has become usual/habitual; the entire society has been "networked": a large part of the people's everyday communication happens via telecommunications networks; schools and educational organisations of all levels will be networked electronically; besides the "physical" network of schools there is a virtual training network .

4. The present "campus"-type universities have been linked to global information networks or have developed into virtual learning environments.

5. In the formal education system, the integration patterns in the relations with the informal education system have changed; the emergence of new strata or levels can be expected in the university and postgraduate education.

7. The development of open societies in the world and the accompanying globalization processes are taking place in the world.

"It was clear, that the key factors (basic factors) that have the greatest impact on education, should not be sought from the education itself, but from among the forces determining the development of the entire society in a longer time perspective" (Eesti Haridusstsenaariumid 2015, p.  4).

"Estonian Education Scenarios 2015" has been compiled considering the combined influence of the two key factors determining the nature of the society. There are

1) the cohesiveness of the society, its integrativeness, and,

2) the innovative capability of the society, the quality and intensity of the social striving.

1. The cohesiveness, integrativeness of the society:

society works by uniting or disuniting the people and groups (various communities, groups, circles), by involving or rejecting their input.

2. The society's ability of innovation, innovativeness:  is characterised by innovativeness and the level of strivings - whether it orients at the implementation of new ideas, technologies, skills and maximum use of global opportunities, a prediction of problems and development opportunities (an anticipating, sustainable society) or at survival and is satisfied with the existing opportunities, solving problems after they have emerged (a reactive society).

The four main "pure" scenarios of "Estonian Education 2015" are described in the following picture:














Figure 1. Four visions of Estonia's education in 2015

4. Teacher and Education 2015

The meaning, goals, process and outcomes from teaching-learning process are seen differently in different scenarios.

The highly technologically developed country, even with a quite low, still, level of incomes for great amount of citizens, can ensure that in education the most advanced technologies will be used - may be even lap-top-learning. This means the advantage of education in general and teacher training first of all. 

The tradition of education in Estonia and current educational politics underline the importance of educational decisions. As it is mentioned by K. Loogma and V. Ruus in the report to UNDP: "Thus, Estonia has historical, cultural, motivational and political pre-conditions for education to function as society's consolidative and integrative force."[15]

In connection with teachers some more points should be noted:

·      firstly, the body of teachers in Estonia includes people and professionals with two different back-grounds: those who have got their general and professional education in Estonia (mainly Estonian-speakers, Estonians) and those, who's educational life was spent in different parts of Soviet Union. In "Eesti haridus 1986" has been mentioned that the teachers of schools that work on Russian have got their education in 450 different educational institutions over all Soviet Union. Teachers of schools that work in Estonian have got their education in Estonia — in Tartu University and Tallinn Pedagogical University or in Teacher training seminars (today colleges). It means existence of two pedagogical cultures, divided by pedagogical biography, by language, by resources teachers use for getting information...  In post-modern terminology we could speak about these teachers as belonging to two generally different discourses.

·      second: the different educational paradigms and experiences adapted during last 10 - 12 years. Today there is great number of teachers who had acquired education in Soviet time, some of them still remaining under the influence of old stereotypes, next to those who have acquired education more recently or have gone via intensive re-training (in-service training in Estonia or in the West, introducing modern/contemporary pedagogical and organisational thinking and patterns of practices), and share the pedagogically active paradigm

·      third: Observations and brief research/study show, that the number of teachers who acknowledge the forth-coming changes is rapidly growing. These changes what fear or stimulate teachers are: for all teacher population the de-crease of number of children — after 10-15 years the number of pupils in general (K-12) education falls down around on 50%; another fear`s source (for the mono-language e.g. Russian-speaking teachers in the schools working in Russian) is the law that states, that from the year 2007 all the education on the gymnasium level (K-10 — 12) has to be given in Estonian. The context of the teachers'/pedagogues' activities changes and brings new demands to their self- and organised training.

Concerning the pedagogically active paradigm, it would be essential to note that the pre-transitional and transition-time education was one-dimensionally, ideologically saturated, separated from the West's developing thinking and knowledge (which reached Soviet education selectively, frequently ideologically "processed"), predominant was the cultivation of natural scientific and positivist thought paradigm, creativity and self-initiative were restricted by the criterion of "the ideologically correct world-view" and the whole system was under authoritarian rule, including the pedagogico-methodological activity (stressing factology, memory, one-dimensional justifications, and also taking the class struggle stance and employing the enemy scare tactics). Both general and teacher education possessed selective tendencies derived from the attitudes of "teaching human factor" - with the help of marks, exams and attempts to gain access into the best schools, starting from primary education.

To understand the second aspect, we should pay attention to the table of Estonian teachers' education.

If we concentrate on the work of teacher and teacher education, the main factors can be described as follows:

·      on account of demographic processes the number of students and teachers is significantly decreasing, which increases competition among teachers. (In the year 1998 there was 2500 children less in the I classes than in previous year, and the demographic prognoses shows, that in the years 2010- 2015 there will be only half from the number of students in K 1 - 12 we have today) 

·      still, the teaching profession (in the assumed situation of work force shortages) remains a relatively safe opportunity to earn a leaving - thus, its popularity is relatively high even when taking into account its moderate financial rewards

·      the system of teachers' lifelong education has developed in the majority of scenarios, as well as the corresponding scenario discourse(s)...

·      despite of the scenario, a new generation curriculum has developed/is developing, but its character will be different according to prevailing type of scenario

·      information society's development in the area of education has lead to the teacher's activity in the majority of scenarios being entwined with using virtual and global learning resources, organising the individual progress of students (at least, a large part of the students) and creating a common system of knowledge and skills instead of spreading fear of information

·      in case of any model of society the aspect of students' socialisation is especially important in teacher's work - there are many children in school of parents from the currently quickly emerging "asocial" layer. This will most likely create a pressing need for healing pedagogy, pedagogical therapy and support pedagogy skills in everyday school life.

From these factors, which form different patterns for different scenarios, the following picture appears for teacher 2015.

Teacher and Education - 2015

Scenario C — Estonia of Elitarian schools and market-education

·       the preparation of teacher elite/teachers for elite schools is separated from general teacher training, takes place partly abroad

·       is innovative in respect to new pedagogical directions but very client-orientated (how to satisfy parents)

·       prepares the shapers of (capable of competition) personalities

·       for mass school teachers

·       either a shorter, poorer, outdated preparation or

·       it happens on an average "playing it safe" level

·       in the best cases is oriented on teaching how to cope

·       the local aspects of context and development prevail, the global aspects are voiced "from outside in"

Scenario D — Learning Estonia

The teacher (in the wider sense, not just the school teacher) is the central "creator of new meanings" and mediator, "creator of new knowledge from experience"

Teacher education should reach

·     openness, multiplicity of programs;

·     combined "source" and "experience-based" primary, main, and additional education/learning;

·     ideally, the maximal development of the teacher's personality

Essential is teacher role preparation:

·     (self-)observation/interpretation, (co-)creator/constructor; shaper of the student's way of development (including personality)

·     Openness of teacher education, diversity of active methods, combinations, fast innovations - immediate implementation of the newest results of human science research into teacher training

·     training the abilities for reflective practice, wide combination of learning environments

·     In the context of learning organisations - they, too, play the role of teachers

·     The greater role will have teacher life-long education as networking in many conflicting/competing, global as well as local networks, more in workplace than in "campus"

Scenario B — Estonia of ever-beginning educational reforms

The situation of chaos and ungovernability can result in either

·       state-dictated exact formal prescriptions and their strict control or

·       great, chaotic extent of university autonomy and of accepting curricula and learning results

·       fluctuating teacher training

·       brain leakage

·       instability of programs and levels

·       It is possible that subject-centred preparation becomes essential, and for becoming a teacher there would be an additional one-year pedagogy course at a university

Scenario A — Estonia of public schools

·       programs of teacher training and in-service education, centrally confirmed and supervised (Ministry of Education)

·       strong (traditional) teacher seminars and colleges

·       strong subject education and didactics (at universities)

·       fragmentary and "approved" introduction of certain new directions/elements form world's educational science into Estonian education

·       The strengthening of "enlightenment education" and of the humanitarian movements based on it can be assumed to happen

Together with some teachers` groups and experts we tried to develop the first brief preview of teacher training  around 2015 in different scenarios. 

Teacher-preparation 2015


Scenario A

Scenario B

Scenario C

Scenario D

Attitude towards becoming a teacher

"It is a worthy profession; it preserves the nation and the state; I am the example of a dignified Estonian citizen; I earn enough money and have enough power"

"Teachers are always needed" - a relatively safe opportunity to earn a living; to some - (the only) possibility to satisfy one's will to power"

"If I could work my way into becoming a private/elite school teacher and have a good career; although a nerve-consuming, but still a secure job for life"

"One of the best and most effective opportunities for creative self-development, creation, co-operation ..."

Curriculum content

the teacher is the carrier, the example of culture and national dignity

Fragmentary, most likely a mixture of traditional and contemporary knowledge, skills, goals

you are competitive if you excel in this and that ...

mastery of technologies for efficient achievement of processes, synergetic effects, etc., constant individual and collective self-improvement as the basis of success (both for profession and for students)

Shadow /hidden curriculum input

"play it safe"

"win or loose"

vs "hidden altruism"

"win or loose"

instability vs firm ground of recognised knowledge

Education content — theoretical

Traditions, knowledge and factology-based

chaotic glimpses of world-news, hanging on traditional contents

active implementation of newest information and know-how

active use of newest information, construction and re-construction of new  knowledge  and know-how

Education content — activity /practical

acquisition of the right skills and methods

learning about and testing of potential possibilities, processes, patterns, etc.

Education content — school practice

acquisition of the right skills and methods

experimenting with different processes, time for discovering/studying one's originality with the help of supervisors

The essence of the first work years

"transfer" of the experienced teachers' skills to the beginners, individual supervision

the need for self-preservation and "breakthrough"

the need for self-preservation and "breakthrough"

each new teacher is a new potential for (the school's) development; positive and mutually enriching relationship

In-service education

a very exact and accountable system; combination of school- and state-level events; a lot of distant learning; the main and newest achievements of world's educational science are given in the context of "what suits Estonia's needs"; most likely in-service training is arranged in the year/semester framework

chaotic, vital for elite schools, and sometimes conducted at the expense of the school or state, in some cases self-organised; costly

vital for elite schools, and sometimes conducted at the expense of the school or state, the year/semester of in-service education is traditional; in some cases self-organised; costly; in usual schools it is demanded and strictly taken into account, poorly financed; state-wide system to ensure sufficient movement forward; better organised when in areas of influence/interest of large businesses; widespread introduction of the Internet allows even the average schools' teachers to self-improve. The main motive for  improvement - find work in a better school; for few - to be a good teacher

partly specially organised (and obligatory), partly one's own/school's initiative; connected with both the newest global scientific theoretical and practical results and with the practical school development (teaching and learning) "here and now"; intensive usage and creation in Estonia of global (virtual) improvement opportunities; active integration of knowledge/practice from other areas into education and the striving to create new knowledge ... (for the majority)

5. Teacher education and in-service education - mapping "today" and "2015"

Today. The new state curriculum draws a picture of new (in contradiction to the old, Soviet) paradigm of school education as a whole and teacher education. One of the main changes here is the appearance of  "general competencies" or "common essential learnings", with widening to the paragraphs "Competencies for school-stages" and subject-connected competencies.  The appearance of general competencies - communicative, value and _ means what teacher education in its basis as well as in in-service process needs to accomplish with whole new block of knowledge and skills required.   

Other paradigmatic/(teacher-)educational changes are connected with the democratic-humanistic approach in education and the main one - in realising that every teacher becomes the creator of his/her own (subject) curriculum. This state is just the opposite to what teachers have become used to in Soviet tradition, where quite a strict program was given for exact "copy".

The third main change follows from the turn to a new quality of integration.

We have to ask - were and are these changes in educational paradigm and curricula-thinking supported by teacher education?

One way for  these changes  is to introduce them, as in Soviet times, via prescribed content of graduate and in-service training.  But the shift of teacher in-service training from one centre to several centres in Universities, to private firms and into schools does not allow to do it any more. Even the licence and accreditation system in Estonia - quite centralised today, does not give the chance for strict and one-dimentional "introduce". The main change seems to be possible via support to  project-based training - some of them supported by Soros` foundation, some introduced by NGOs, some by Ministry of Education etc.

It refers to a typical situation in Estonia and some another post-socialist countries, where the main possibility for quick and deep renewal was seen in "restructuring" both the organisations themselves, and the state-wide systems like health-service, organisation of the funding of sciences and research, etc. Several authors in Estonia have pointed out that this process had in itself two polarities - without quick changes the old structures and ways of working could  stay  and work against reforms, but at the same time too quick changes without enough contemporary knowledge, experience and habits for projecting further, long-perspective results/outcomes created (and still do so) lot of unnecessary difficulties, shortcomings, expenses in human and economy fields. This is the situation with education as well.

6. The interpretation of previous as "Estonian Condition of post-modernity"

6.1. Some short theoretical thoughts

It is possible to look on the processes in Estonian education and in teacher-education in particular from different points of view

"We can take for the basis a quotation from Robert Young`s article: "Just as there is a macropolitics and a micropolitics there is a macroeducation and  microeducation." (Young, 1995, p 20). and "For the foreseeable future, the micropolitical suspicions of  Derrida and the micropolitical strategies of Foucault may provide one kind of measure of the adecvacy of specific, critical, macropolitical strategies." (ibid., p 20).

Robert Young sees Habermas speaking on macroeducational questions and on "learning levels" of societies and bringing in as the main macroproblem characteristic the problem of difference (that roots in the history of globalisation of culture and communication). This idea corresponds to the idea of Learning Estonia - where the  high innovation capacity and integration on the global and local level is one of the key-assumptions. "But the microproblem is the problem of critique. This problem manifests itself as the problem of interpretation, dialogue and, in some sense "relatively autonomous", praxis for intellectuals and professionals, including teachers and learners" (Young, p 21). The scenario-development process itself is already appeared to be the strong voice of critique. And as the scenario-studies have become the entire part of different teacher training courses in Tallinn Pedagogical University and in n-service training and  in the big projects as "Quality-School of Estonia" (40 school-teams and 40 consultants), it works in teacher discourse, and shows the signs to become one of narratives to "approve or try out the direction of progress" in everyday (pedagogical) life.

6.2. Interpretation and some lines of program for teacher education reform[16]

In the previous years - years of transition - the changes in teacher training have occurred. Anyway, as Edgar Krull states :

"_ there is a deep dissonance between the advanced theoretical knowledge of teacher professional development and current Estonian research in this field and the application of practical measures to teachers` professional development in order to advance practice towards what is ideally possible"  (Õpetajakoolitus III / Teacher training III, TÜ/ Tartu University, 1998, p 7)

To exemplify the current situation we can use the results of the inquiry of  60 teacher education graduates from the University of Tartu. Even if it represents the most "subject-centred" teacher-preparation in Estonia, it is one side of reality

"… the respondents evaluated their knowledge of educational subjects lower than that of non-pedagogical subjects. …" (Õpetajakoolitus  III/Teacher training III / Tartu University, 1998, p 88-89)

In teacher education the preparation of new reform has just initiated - as the co-operation project of Open Estonia Foundation (Soros-foundation) and Ministry of Education. The main directions of the reform according to working papers of first seminars and conference are:

-    the content of teacher preparation curricula

-    the educational practice

-    the learning environments

-    the research

-    the in-service training

-    vocational education teachers` training

-    teacher preparation for Russian-speaking schools and multicultural schools

Among other important things (as content of teacher training programs and the time-structure models of it) as central issue on the conference (23-24. Sept.1998) was brought out the issue about learning environment and educational research. The paradigmatic difference was clearly explored by participants. It could be interesting to look on the paper on group-work/section:

The problems for the first /nearest resolution:

-    to develop the contemporary educational library — translate the main literature on educational issue and to renew this library continuously according to suggestions of international expert/advisor-group

-    to create/develop the laboratory of educational systems, where different educational systems, paradigms can be studied and experienced[17]

-    to develop technological and curricular possibilities to introduce into bachelor and masters programs:

     -    reflective practice

     -    use of contemporary media, including hypertext

     -    methods of qualitative research

-    introduce into teacher training and in-service training curricula contemporary anthropology and child-development pictures/models, results of neuro-science and brain-research...

-    re-design the teacher-training curricula for use of contemporary methods and learning environments, incl. distance learning,  by the teacher trainers, re-train the critical mass of teacher trainers

It is important to understand and treat teacher training departments and teams of trainers as learning organisations, consciously develop different schools of pedagogical thought (so called German-based, English/North-America-based and Northern educational/pedagogical cultures, for example), paradigms (post-positivist, post-modernist, humanist, holistic ....)[18]

To conclude

Ten years of rapid changes have moved the horizons of education in Estonia as a particular area of culture. From ideological tool of totalitarian state and of the only governing party (who's goal was to reproduce the existing paradigm, conserve the existing metanarrative) the Estonia's education has stated its own goals and is moving towards wide spectrum of values, pedagogical systems, ongoing conscious changes. This was and is the process characterised by the great role of groups of enthusiasts and contradictions among different interest and paradigmatic groups as well as between groups of innovators/inventors and institutional structures. The development and differentiation of main values, notions, methods, narratives has taken place and brought the education as system in its wider meaning into the postmodern moment. This differentiation is contradicted by the standardisation approach by the state what uses as its tool the outer control, and state exams and testing system. On the other side the networking — the different systems informal connections mainly on the basis of school/organisation development are developing. The new values — values  of life-long and organisational learning as well as democratic decision-making have embedded into educational life and reached a great number of teachers. The State-curriculum gives the schools chance and even forces them to become really learning organisations at the same time state truing to develop the control and competencies-assessment mechanism to "normalise) the school-based and state-recognised education. Such kind of polarities is one of the sign of being in postmodern moment and challenges to find the metalevel for resolutions, to learn to learn from differences.

On all levels of teacher preparation — the moving of horizons has since been dependent from the attitudes /approaches of teachers` trainers as individuals and from the politics of reconstruction of particular institutions. The first have brought into teacher training lot of contemporary approaches and attitudes, the last — crash of established systems of life-long in-service training and the establishment of world-wide standards on academic and professional education... 

If the critical mass of Estonia's people will see Estonia's  future as the learning society, then the education in its wider meaning will become the key-aspect for all society, and the key-aspect for education will be the individuality of every teacher - as life-long learning person and member of different learning communities. In the best case Estonia's teacher and his/her educational biography will be a cell in the big learning organism we call humanity.  


Eesti haridus kongressist kongressini (Estonian Education from congress to congress). Tallinn, 1986

Eesti haridusplatvorm. (Estonia's platform of education). E. Kareda, V. Kornel, P. Kreitzberg, E. Sarv, E-M. Vernik, Ü. Vooglaid. Tallinn, 1988, 1989

Eesti haridusstrateegia (Estonia's education Strategy). Haridusministeerium, Tallinn, 1998

Estonia's education scenarios 2015. Krista Loogma, Rein Ruubel, Viive Ruus, Ene-Silvia Sarv, Raivo Vilu. Tallinn, 1998.

Estonia's Education Scenarios 2015. Authors: K. Loogma, R. Ruubel, V. Ruus, E.-S. Sarv, R. Vilu. In "The Journal, 21st Century Learning Initiative", May/1998.       

Funnell, Robert, Corporatism, Self and Identity Within Moral Orders: Prestructuralist Reconsiderations of a Poststructuralist Paradox. In After Postmodernism. Ed. Richard Smith and Philip Wexler. The Falmer Press. London, 1995, pp. 156 - 181. 

General Education in Estonia. Ministry of Education, 1998

Towards/on the way/ to  the new school I, II, III . Editors E. Gretchkina, H. Liimets. Tallinn, 1987, 1988

Kasvatusteaduskonna õppekavade eneseanalüüsi aruanne. (Report on self-analysis of the curricula of the Department of Educational Sciences. Tallinn Pedagogical University), Tallinna Pedagoogikaülikool. Tallinn, 1996

Füüsikaõpetus. Saamislugu ja programmi projekt. (Physics-teaching. Story of becoming and the project of program/syllabus). Ed. E. Sarv. Tallinn 1988

Peeter Kreitzberg, The legitimation of educational aims: Paradigms and metaphors. Lund, 1993.

Marju Lauristin, Peeter Vihalemm, Postcommunist transition period in Estonia: Possible interpretations. Akadeemia 1998/4, 5. 

Jean Francis Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi  Minneapolis, University of Minneapolis Press, 1984.

Dator, James, Futures studies as applied knowledge. In New thinking for a new millennium. Edited by Richard A. Slaughter. Routledge, 1996

Bill Readings. Introducing Lyotard: Art and Politics. New York: Routledge, 1991.

Viive Ruus, Eesti Vabariigi hariduse uuest õppekavast ja selle võimalikest tulevikusuundumustest. (The curriculum problem from the perspective of  power relations). In: Hariduse tugisüsteemid paljukultuurilises Eestis, Ida-Virumaal  (The frameworks of education in multicultural Estonia, in Ida-Virumaa), Jõhvi, 1997. P 59 - 71

Ene-Silvia Sarv, Ida-Virumaa hariduspilt postmodernistlikus vaateväljas. (The view on the education in Ida-Viruma in postmodern perspective) In: Hariduse tugisüsteemid paljukultuurilises Eestis (The frameworks of education in multicultural Estonia, in Ida-Virumaa) Jõhvi, 1997. P 27 - 34. 

Ene-Silvia Sarv, Demokraatiast ja humanismist õpetajale. Tallinn, 1997

Ene-Silvia Sarv, "Kümme aastat paradigmamuutust" (Ten years of paradigmatic change). Tallinn Pedagogical University. 1998. Thesis.

Ene-Silvia Sarv, Ajastupilt ja haridus - üks võimalikest vaadetest Lyotardi rada  järgides. (A period picture and education - one possible view following Lyotard). Haridus, 1997, nr. 4, p. 25 - 29.

Ene-Silvia Sarv, The "Condition of Postmodernism" and changes in Estonian Education 1987 - 1997. In "The educational science as an Integration issues in education" Ed. M-L. Laherand, A. Liimets, R. Liimets-Sorokina, Tallinn,  1998 p. 162 - 167

Inge Unt "Impact of American Progressive Education on the Didactic system of Johannes Käis. Hilda Taba`s Article "Governing Directions in American Education" in Jubilee Conference Hilda Taba - 90. Invited Addresses and Reports, Tartu 1992, p 142 - 147

Robin Usher, Richard Edwards, Postmodernism and education. Routledge, London, 1994.

Raivo Vilu, Ene-Silvia Sarv, ...... (The view on the education in Ida-Viruma in postmodern perspective) In: Hariduse tugisüsteemid paljukultuurilises Eestis (The frameworks of education in multicultural Estonia, in Ida-Virumaa) Jõhvi, 1997.

Young, Robert, Liberalism, Postmodernism, Critical Theory and Politics. In After Postmodernism. Ed. Richard Smith, Philip Wexler. The Falmer Press, London,1995. p 13 - 22


[1] Education , haridus in Estonian. Harima has the meaning of working with land, to cultivate it. For education id unites  up-bringing, working on soul-qualities (kasvatus - growing, up-bringing, but the same is for  plants as well as teaching learning. Haritus means  level, state of previous ones and can be translated into English as "educatedness".  So the wide cultural context and inner meaning of process bring some un-comfortablity in translation.

[2] This abstract is taken from the book On democracy and humanism to teacher, Sarv, 1997. To this text has been added what concerns teacher training.

[3] The history and literature teachers, first of all, but others as well, had to change all content and approach . This was the turn away from communist ideology and version of history, literature in 2 — 3 years. Because lack of objective materials (as textbooks reflected the soviet-wide picture) a Estonian and world history was often taught by newspaper materials. But in front of class the same teacher has to stand and speak about new truths!

[4] This narrative emerges as the main carrier of one of Education 2015 scenarios - "Estonia of public schools"  in our text further and shapes its model of ideal teacher. Today it is supported by the annual award of "Teacher Laur"  (following the popular teacher-ideal from hundred years old village-school story) for country-side schoolteachers.

[5] National school, national education had first of all the meaning as  "independent from Moscow, independent from Soviet Union Communist Party  Central Committee dictation".

[6] Johannes Käis (1885 - 1950)- one of  creators of the Estonian educational system, inventor and integrator of contemporary advanced pedagogical ideas and practices into Estonian school in 1920 - 1940. Founder and leader of Võru Teachers Seminar (1920 - 1930). As the method to teach teachers used teachers` societies and study-groups. At the first years of the Soviet occupation he was involved  in in-service training of teachers. In 1946 his method of thematic centring and other  works were banned as reactionary  western  pedagogy by the Central Committee of the Estonian Communist Party. The main ideas of J. Käis pedagogy were 1) integration of the different ideas of western innovative pedagogy into one system; 2) recognition of only such ideas of western innovative pedagogy which can be directly applied in public school. (Inge Unt "Impact of American Progressive Education on the Didactic system of Johannes Käis. Hilda Taba`s Article "Governing Directions in American Education" in Jubilee Conference Hilda Taba - 90. Invited Addresses and Reports, Tartu 1992, p 142 - 147, 144). His model to put his innovations into practice involved step-by step movement from idea and its integration into one system to  textbooks and worksheets system, actual introduction into school practice via teachers in-service training  and feedback system.

[7] Miscellanies "Towards/on the way/ to  the new school" I, II, III 1987, 1988, articles by E. Grechkina, M. Kadakas, H. Liimets, P. Leppik, V. Ruus,  E. Sarv, L. Türnpuu and others

[8] "Eesti haridusplatvorm" by E. Kareda, V. Kornel, P. Kreitzberg (the team-leader), E. Sarv, E-M. Vernik, Ü. Vooglaid, 1988, 1989 (in English)

[9] "Ten years of paradigmatic change", Sarv, 1998

[10] The main model in all Soviet Union for In-service teacher training was to call teachers together (subject-based selection) for some days or weeks  for courses on new textbooks or on new methods of instruction. In Estonia was during 25 years introduced the system of step-by step courses - every five years every teacher has to attend on four-week session. Young teachers after 3 years of practice - I leg "Pedagogy and psychology), II led- after 7 years of teaching - "Methods of teaching" , after 12 years - "New in Subject" , IV leg  -  "Pedagogical experience" and V leg after 25 years or more of pedagogical work - "pedagogical mastery". So it was the system of life-long learning.  The short courses on new textbooks etc. appeared , when needed.  The additional  thing was the Institute of Voluntary Pedagogical Research for teachers. The research was carried in the schools and led by the university specialists. Tens of Candidates and doctors in the field of pedagogy rose from this work,  in that was involved around 150 - 200 teachers from the middle of sixties.

[11] This process  resulted in new conception of school-physics and 2 textbooks written by the collective of teachers, both books represented a new generation of textbooks as in conception, so in content and design. The main ideas behind the new program were all developed by the integrated team of scientists, teachers, psychologists etc. and organisational design was developed during several years by the laboratory of high school pedagogy of Tartu University and Estonian IN-Service Teacher Training Institute. The first  and second brainstorming sessions are explained in different articles in Koolifuusika (School-physics), Tallinn, 1988.

[12] Cited in the fourth-coming book "Estonia-Education-2015 and Society-1998" from the materials on public discussion.

[13] This work involved tens of specialists, lot of contacts and seminars together of Finnish future-specialists and research of Northern and Japan future scenarios. The material can be found in Internet on the address cited earlier)

[14] The following material is based on the team-work of 5 specialists from Tallinn pedagogical University, Tallinn Technical University, Estonian Institute of Future Studies. As experts in the first stages participated specialists from Finnish Institute of Future Studies and  John Abbott from 21st Century Learning Initiative. In the second stage — analysis of possible paths of development and building the "on-going scenario" and "wanted scenario" Marju Lauristin From Tartu University and Ene-Mall Vernik from Pühajärve school participated. In autumn 1998 these scenarios will be presented to the Estonia's Forum of Education `98.

[15] From the draft of article, kindly forwarded for use in this article by authors.

[16] The article was prepared in November, 1998. In the first half of 1999 the new concept of teacher education was developed for  Tallinn University of Educational Sciences, based partly on the ideas described in the paragraph 6. But there are some new aspects developed as well. For interested  persons it can be available by e-mail

[17] From monolith one-system pedagogy Estonia has today 6 Waldorf (Steiner-pedagogy) schools, by some teachers  Freinet`- and Montessori-methods are used. But the law of general education and law of private schools does not support the plurality of pedagogical systems. So lacking the practising examples it is important to introduce as much as possible views via teacher training.

[18] This part was the unpublished work-paper  - one of outcomes from the workshop to project  teacher-training reform (summer-autumn 1998).