• Prof. Edgar Krull
  • Prof. Edgar Krull
  • University of Tartu, Estonia
  • Title: One Example of Using Teachers’ Inquiry for Investigating Their Curriculum Ownership in Terms of Curriculum Development and Solutions: Estonian Case
  • Abstract:

    This study is aimed at investigating Estonian teachers’ perception of the national curriculum of general education in roles of it users, developers and innovators for finding factors potentially affecting teachers’ feelings of ownership. The main underlying principle of the study is an understanding that for increasing teachers′ perception of curriculum ownership a balance should be found between teachers′ curricular autonomy and coordination at national level.On the one hand, there is always some need for coordination of curricular guidelines at higher level (e.g. at state level) however attempting it would seem to be to give it up for the sake of increasing teacher personal ownership of curricula they are using.Yet, teachers themselves are not often interested in having bigger autonomy in curriculum decision-making because it inevitable increases in workload.On the other hand, despite of introduction of coordinating curriculum guidelines of different levels, teachers’understandings and beliefs provide these guidelines with final interpretations for working with students. And in this sense, the bigger is the teacher informed autonomy in professional decision-making, the higher is the probability that the planned instruction will be implemented with devotion.

    For investigating teachers’ perception of ownershipas users, developers and innovators of the national framework curriculum (NFC) and school curricula (SC), a written questionnaire was compiled and a survey of a representative sample of 1035 teachers was carried out. The analysis of collected data revealed many problems that can be considered as factors affecting development of teacher ownership of curricula in their everyday work. So, it was found that a minor part (less than 23%) of teachers are feeling that NFC and SC increase their autonomy as teachers, less than 4% perceive their involvement in the curriculum policy making at national level, and that teachers’ claims for bigger autonomy in decision-making are not supported by their readiness for taking more responsibility. Also, the study uncovered that Estonian teachers are not sufficiently prepared for independent curriculum development needed for participation in these activities at national or school level as only a quarter of respondent assessed their preparation as satisfactory.As side effect, it was uncovered that the majority of respondents did not clearly distinguish between the functions of the NFC and SC, a problem pointing to a need for reconsidering the definitions of these two curriculum concepts in Estonia.  The results of this study allow making many suggestions for empowering teacher ownership in curriculum work and, thus, to ensure better implementation of curriculum guidelines. The interpretation of teachers’ curriculum ownership in terms of perception of their roles as curriculum users, developers and innovators (proposers of new or alternative solutions) can be used for carrying out similar teacher inquiries in other national contexts.
  • Biography:
    Prof. Edgar Krull graduated from Tartu University as a physicist and teacher of physics in 1972. In following years he worked as a laboratory assistant at the Department of General Physics at the same university, then a three year period of work followed at the Department of Physics, University of Annaba, Algeria. Next he worked for a while as teacher of physics and simultaneously started his post-graduate studies in education. In 1987 he defended his thesis of the Candidate of Educational Sciences (equivalent of Ph.D.) titled “Identification of basic leaning objectives and ensuring their timely achievement”. Since then, his work career as a faculty member at the Department General Pedagogy, Tartu University, started. Initially he was elected to the position of Senior Lecturer, nextto the position of Associate Professor, andthen was elected to the position of Professor of General Education in 2002. Additionally, he served as the Head of the Department of General Education in the following three years. As a faculty member of the Department of General Pedagogy he had many research stays abroad. The longest of them was an eight-month research stay at the San Francisco State University (1994–95).He has been attending annually many international conferences on education (ECER, EARLI, and others) and has been organizer of many international conferences in Estonia. His research interests are shared between four fields: teacher pedagogical preparation and professional development, educational psychology and its teaching methodology, curriculum studies and history of education.He has been coordinator of many research projectssupported by the Estonian Government and European Structural Fund.Currently he serves as a research fellow in two international projects on teacher education. One of them is an EU funded research project “Workplace-based e-Assessment Technology for Competency-based Higher Multi-professional Education. He is teaching courses of educational psychology and curriculum studies at Tartu University. Prof Krull is the author and co-author of more than 200 scientific publications. Heis author to five monographs, including Handbook of Educational Psychology (2000/01, in Est.) and has been editor or co-editor of 15 collections of articles. One of these publications has been “Main results of the project ‘Teachers’ Professional Development and its supporting’ (2013,in Est.). He has been author and co-author to more than 30 articles in international journals and collections. Among them “Novice and Experienced Teachers’ Views on Professionalism” in Trames: Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences” (2014); “Impact on student teachers’ conception of learning and teaching from studying a course in educational psychology” in Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher education (2013);”Promoting student teachers’ lesson analysis and observation skills by using Gagné’s model of an instructional unit” in Journal of Education for teaching (2010); “Reflection of cross-curricular ideas in the Estonian curricula of general education. An historical study”in Trames (2010); and “Differences in teachers' comments on classroom events as indicators of their professional development” inTeaching and Teacher Education (2007).Also, he has authored to several entries to the encyclopaedias and handbooks, including entries on assessment, learning, and educational psychology to the Lexicon of Education (2013,in Est.)
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