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Research theme Teachers´professionality and professionalism in changing context

The research theme “Teachers' professionality and professionalism in changing context” focuses on the teachers’ professionalism and future scenarios for professionalization of teachers’ occupation(s). The studies involve early childhood, general education and vocational teachers.

Aiming to prepare students for knowledge society and innovation economy, contemporary educational systems are shaped by two contradictory change forces: call for standardization on the one hand, and innovativeness and creativity on the other. Contradictory demands require that stakeholders continuously negotiate the meaning of professionalism of teachers to understand what the expectations for teachers as professionals are and what are the best ways to support teachers. Therefore our project aims to scrutinize how global changes, as well as policy, social and demographic transformations on the one hand and teachers’ life histories on the other hand have affected teachers’ professionalism and professionality in Estonia.

The main research questions are

  1. How do teachers from different educational sectors (pre-school education, general education and vocational education) describe, make-sense of and experience their professionality?
  2. What are the central factors that are structuring teachers´ professionalism?
  3. What are the implications of teachers’ professionality on their actual work, teaching practices and adoption of educational changes?
  4. How do professionality and conceptions of teacher professionalism relate to the issue of work/life balance?
  5. How do personal conceptions of professionality integrate or disintegrate society’s vision of professionalism? Does this confrontation/integration between two visions help to understand and predict whether educational reforms succeed and are embedded or fail?
  6. What are the likely future scenarios of the professionalism of teachers and what could be the best scenario for Estonian sociocultural and economic context?
Research team
Prof. Ivor Frederick Goodson
Prof. Krista Loogma PhD students
Prof. Marika Veisson Maarja Tinn
Prof. Aino Ugaste Kateryn Mänd
Katrin Niglas, Vice-Rector for Research Meidi Sirk
Inge Timoštšuk, Associate professor Reeli Liivik
Rain Mikser, Senior researcher Pärje Ülavere
Meril Ümarik, Researcher Tiina Peterson
Maire Tuul, Researcher


The research theme is funded by Ministry of Education and Research.