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Summer Spent in School – Filled with Educational Innovation!

For the second summer, the School of Educational Sciences offered everyone interested from abroad to take part in various education themed summer school course in July. This year, we had four courses, two of which were focused on educational robotics, and one on educational innovation and one on curriculum theory. The latter had lecturers both from Estonia and Finland teaming up to conduct the course.

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Some of the participants shared their thoughts on their participation, please find their testimonials below!

Mária from Slovakia took part in the course "Educational Innovation – Getting Ready for the Future".

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and the reasons you chose this specific summer school course?

Hello, I am Maria from Slovakia, currently working at the Educational Policy Institute (analytical unit at the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic). Before that, as a participant of Teach for Slovakia, I was teaching for 2 years socially disadvantaged students. I chose the Educational Innovation course to learn about your educational system, which is considered to be one of the best in the world and to analyze current educational reforms and the reasons behind the latest changes in Estonia's educational policies. More, Tallinn University has an almost 100-year academic tradition in education research and, as one of the few summer schools, also offers courses in specific areas of educational policy.

How relevant is the topic of Educational Innovation in the wider world at the moment? Why or why not? Should it be different?

Education is naturally extremely important for every society to prosper and it should be its endeavor to ensure that every child has a chance to be successful in life. The educational outcomes are no longer compared just within the country, but worldwide. This urges the educational systems to innovate to become better. Even the systems lagging behind are urged to innovate and to learn from those who are the most successful. Therefore Educational Innovation in the wider world is very relevant topic.

What are the few key messages you are taking with you from this course?

- Among the topics we covered, I found learning vs. performance and the self-determination theory to be the most interesting.
- The primary goal of instruction should be to facilitate long-term learning, while what we usually measure is a performance, which is unreliable index of long-term changes.
- Self-determination theory explains the sources and types of motivation (external (4 types) and internal), how they are related to psychological needs (autonomy, competence, relatedness) and how they impact learning.

Who inspired or impressed you the most during the course and why? It could be one of the lecturers or even one of your fellow participants.

The facilitators of the course were amazing and made us actively participate in the course. So there was not even a minute of boredom. I also enjoyed the company of other international participants who had great insights in the topics and very often we discussed the educational topics even outside the classroom.

Who would you recommend to take part of this course in the future? What do you think, who would benefit from it the most?

I would recommend the course to those who consider education to be a priority and who think that their country needs more and better leaders in classrooms, in schools, in educational organizations, in politics.


Jasmin from Switzerland took part in the course "Educational Innovation – Getting Ready for the Future".

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and the reasons you chose this specific summer school course?

Since I graduated as a primary school teacher from the Teacher University of Zurich (PHZH), I mostly worked internationally. From Hong Kong to Mexico City and from Milan to Switzerland, I had the privilege to learn a lot of different teaching approaches. Since then, I am driven to find out which approaches provide the best tools to students in order to face the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

I came across the Master’s program at Tallinn University through online researches and was eager to receive an insight into the programme through the summer school course.

How relevant is the topic of Educational Innovation in the wider world at the moment? Why or why not? Should it be different?

According to my perception, the topic of Educational Innovation is of utmost importance at the moment. Through global developments in economics, communication technology, the environment and science, the world and its dynamics are changing extremely quickly. We don’t know anymore what the future generation will need to know and which jobs they are likely to perform. My working experience gives me the impression that many schools and classrooms are following an outdated approach of leading and teaching, which doesn’t provide our future generation the skills and knowledge they need to face the challenges ahead. However, instead of just criticizing, I want to learn as much as I can from examples of innovative education already taking place and exchange with professionals that are working towards change.

What are the few key messages you are taking with you from this course?

In a nutshell: Our society must be prepared for lifelong learning which can be best achieved by stimulating intrinsic motivation through self-determination theory.

Who inspired or impressed you the most during the course and why? It could be one of the lecturers or even one of your fellow participants.  

Most inspiring I found Merlin Linde as she seems very passionate and competent in her field. She had great didactic skills and I am impressed that she is already a teacher trainer at a very young age.

Who would you recommend to take part in this course in the future? What do you think, who would benefit from it the most?

The course is recommendable to anyone interested in education. I would say that it is most beneficial if you already have certain knowledge about psychology, didactics and some practical experience as a teacher. I did not only learn from the content but also from the didactical approach of the instructors. Many exercises they did with us I will try out in my classroom once the summer break is over.


Hei from Hong Kong took part in the course "Educational Robotics in Preschool and Primary Education". 

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and the reasons you chose this specific summer school course?

I come from Hong Kong and find this course merges education and robotics. I am interested in both fields, but seldom see in Hong Kong robotic and education put together.

How relevant is the topic of "educational robotics" in the wider world at the moment? Why or why not? Should it be different?

It is relevant as it can really be used in the kindergarten as research shows and supports.

What are the key messages you are taking with you from this course?

Robotics can be used as a teaching tool in schools, which makes school fun and interesting.

Who inspired or impressed you the most during the course and why? It could be one of the lecturers or even one of your fellow participants.  

My group-mates inspired me with idea-generation based on their experience in schools, while the lecturer gave us technical definitions and results based on research and the Estonian education system.

Who would you recommend to take part of this course in the future? What do you think, who would benefit from it the most?

Hong Kong teachers should join. As Hong Kong seldom puts robots in the classroom, which can make students and kinds less stressed in their studies.


You are most welcome to join us next summer for Tallinn Summer School 2020 and take part in various educational sciences courses, which will be announced sometime in the second half of 2019.

Read more about Tallinn Summer School here