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Gender in education

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Project Integrating Gender into Teacher Education and Training

 

2014-2015

 

Project objective

To promote gender equality through integrating the gender perspective into teacher education and training, raising gender awareness of teacher educators and practicing teachers and developing a comprehensive system of support to achieve the objective.

 

Backrgound

Estonian society has historically been marked by traditional values towards family and gender equality. Education and teachers play a crucial role as agents of change for the next generation paving the way for a more gender equal society.

 

The project idea was prompted by a widespread lack of knowledge about gender among Estonian teachers as currently gender issues are not addressed in teacher education and training in Estonian universities. Neither has there been any research into the knowledge and training needs of teacher educators to incorporate gender into their teaching and course development. In 2011, research into gender attitudes, knowledge and training needs of basic and upper secondary school teachers was undertaken indicating their interest in increasing their gender knowledge, gender equality being listed as a core value in the national basic and upper secondary school curricula. Respective studies among pre-school and vocational education teachers are absent. So far, on a project basis, a very small proportion of pre-, general education and vocational school teachers have received special training for developing a lens for understanding the relevance of gender in the classroom, school and career guidance context. Respective methodological materials, guidelines, study aids, and other resources in Estonian to promote gender equality in education are still scarce and difficult to find being scattered across different organisations and websites. The professional networks of teacher educators and trainers, gender experts, researchers, policy makers, teachers and other stakeholders; cooperation between universities, public authorities and NGOs as key players promoting gender equality in education are still underdeveloped, a comprehensive and sustainable support system for raising the quality of pre- and –in-service teacher preparation in terms of incoportating the gender eqality perspective has not been developed. The project activities and outcomes would greatly assist the implementation of the Gender Equality Act in Estonia (reference Article 10: Promotion of gender equality in field of education and training, learn  from and use effectively Norwegian respective expertise and act as a catalyst for change.

 

Partners

Tallinn University, Institute of Educational Sciences

Estonian Women's Studies and Resource Centre (ENUT)

University of Tartu, Faculty of Social Sciences and Education, Institute of Education, Centre for Educational Research and Curriculum Development

Union of Estonian Pre-School Teachers

KUN, Gender Equality Centre, Norway

 

Activities 2014-2015

conducting quantitative and a qualitative surveys among teacher educators at the University Tartu and Tallinn University as well as pre-school and vocational education teachers

 

analysing and presenting survey results, writing and publishing scholarly articles

 

analysing teacher training courses curricula in terms of incorporation of the gender perspective, identifying gaps

 

based on the above, making suggestions for (elective, optional) course development on gender issues at Tallinn University and the University of Tartu, development of training programmes, methodological guides, study materials concerning other levels of general and vocational education

 

providing in the Winter School format training for teacher educators (Tallinn University, University of Tartu) and project partners with the Norwegian expert, transfer of Norwegian expertise

 

delivering specialist in-service gender training for pre-, general education and vocational schools’ teachers  across Estonia, developing resepective course programmes and study materials

 

organising a study tour to Norway to explore Norwegian developments and best practice (visiting a university, ministries, school/gymnasium)

 

developing a web portal (virtual centre of expertise) for academic and educational staff, gender research experts, policy-makers, stakeholders etc for easy access to conceptual and normative frameworks, policy documents, good practice, tools, teaching methods, methodological guidelines, handbooks, etc on the theme gender and education, incl those to be developed under the project framework by project partners.

 

disseminating widely information on project activities and results, incl by involvement of project direct and indirect target groups and the media throughout the project implementation period

 

establishing and strengthening networks and cooperation involving key players, relevant institutions and project partner organisations

 

Target groups

Direct beneficiaries: academic staff involved in teaching future teachers at Tallinn University and the University of Tartu; future teachers; practicing pre-, general education and vocational schools’ teachers; professionals holding management posts in educational establishments; gender research experts.

Indirect: students across all school levels; educational authorities;  policy designers, stakeholders in the field of education, wider public interested in promoting the gender and education agenda

Expected results

Higher education level: Gender awareness, knowledge and training needs of teacher educators for incorporating gender in teaching and course development (BA and MA levels) determined; conclusions from surveys drawn, pre-service teacher education curricula analysed forming basis for elective/optional course syllabi development; syllabi developed, training materials prepared;  scholarly articles  on survey results written; methodological guidelines for student teaching practice at school supplemented by the gender aspect; methodological materials prepared and made available on the web portal created;

 

Pre-school and vocational education level: survey on gender awareness, knowledge and training needs of teachers for incorporating gender in teaching conducted; proposals for training programmes made; training programmes and study materials elaborated;

 

Teacher training conducted (at least 500 participants on all school levels: pre-, general education, vocational);

 

Norwegian expert knowledge transferred to teacher educators and project partners; Norwegian good practice introduced and incorporated

 

Web portal (a virtual centre of expertise) created containing materials on the topic of gender and education, incl documents on the normative background like international instruments and national legislation; research finding, scholarly articles, methodological guidelines, manuals, study aids for the  inclusion of the gender perspective in curriculum/course development on all levels of education; links have been provided to relevant Norwegian and European websites and resources; links created to other Estonian education portals

 

A network of key actors/institutions/organisations promoting gender in education established

 

all the above constituting a solid base for a comprehensive system for promoting gender equality in education and society generally in Estonia.