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TREL Meeting #4 17-18 Nov 24, University of Tallinn

At the third TREL gathering, educators and researchers hailing from Nordic and Baltic countries came together to delve into Estonia's research literacy practices. Their primary focus lay on dissecting the methodologies embraced within Tallinn University's School of Educational Sciences (HTI). HTI, a crucial unit at the university, spearheads education's teaching, research, and developmental initiatives, playing a pivotal role in ensuring academic sustainability in both Tallinn University and Estonia's broader educational landscape. 


 

The School of Educational Sciences is the oldest academic unit in Tallinn University that conducts studies on the three levels of higher education, continuing education and research, development and creative activities in the following study areas:


·       Early childhood and primary education

·       Educational Leadership and Innovation

·       Inclusive Education

·       Non-formal Education and Lifelong Learning

·       Teacher Education and Educational Science


At Tallinn University, not all teachers study in the School of Educational Sciences. Teachers or educators might study in different departments or faculties based on their specific area of interest or specialization. For instance, someone interested in language teaching might study in the School of Humanities, while those focusing on technology in education might find relevant programs in the School of Digital Technologies.

Teacher training at Tallinn University underscores a profound emphasis on evidence-based practice and professional growth. The institution boasts a robust tradition of nurturing students to actively participate in research, integrating research literacy as a cornerstone within teacher education and pre-service training. Therefore, the TREL project's core aim, centered on sharing best practices and scrutinizing teacher research literacy training activities and policies across partner universities, seamlessly aligns with Tallinn University's ongoing commitment to fostering adept educators through robust training initiatives.


The TLU TREL gathering proved invaluable as a platform for exchanging insights on training educators in research literacy at Tallinn University. Collaborating with colleagues from the Nordic and Baltic regions involved in the TREL project was enriching, as they offered valuable feedback and shared their own perspectives on teacher research literacy. Throughout the packed two-day meeting, TREL members actively developed the project's work framework, fostered collaborative relationships, and importantly, exchanged and refined our collective best practices in the field.

At the onset of our meeting, Anna-Liisa and Maarja delivered a comprehensive presentation, setting the stage for our exploration into teacher research literacy within Estonia. Head of the HTI Tiia Õun warmly welcomed us, initiating our deep dive into the country's thematic report prepared by the TLU team. The Estonian approach to teacher training in research literacy garnered significant interest, extending beyond Estonia's impressive track record in PISA rankings. Moreover, insights surfaced about specific factors shaping our students' proficiency in research literacy, adding depth to our discussions.


In the afternoon session, TREL participants were treated to the opportunity to observe a workshop conducted by Merilyn Meristo. The observed course is designed together with the lecture course “Basic Research Methods in Educational Research” for students studying in teacher education. Both courses have been developed in collaboration with almost all teacher education curricula in TLU. It was held for the first time in the 2022/23 academic year. The main idea of these two courses is to give students the first and very basic toolkit and practical experience for conducting research in educational sciences.  The topic of the observed lecture was “Data collection in quantitative research”.



On the second day of our meeting, we had our second observation. The observed lesson was a part of a course called “Qualitative and Quantitative Methods” and the given topic was “Performing association tests”. This workshop was conducted by Anna-Liisa Jõgi.



The TREL gathering at Tallinn University proved to be a fruitful exchange, showcasing the School of Educational Sciences' commitment to fostering research literacy and innovation in teacher education. Through collaborative workshops and insightful discussions, educators and researchers from the Nordic and Baltic regions explored methodologies and shared best practices, aligning seamlessly with the university's emphasis on evidence-based practices and professional development. As the meeting drew to a close, the shared experiences and valuable feedback reinforced the importance of ongoing collaboration in advancing teacher research literacy both locally and within the international educational landscape.


(Post by Anna-Liisa Jõgi & Maarja Tinn)

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