Tallinn University, Estonia
Thesis: Teachers’ professional learning experiences during the neoliberal educational changes
Research supervisors: Prof. Aino Ugaste and Dots. Inge Timoštšuk

My name is Kristi Mets and I`m the first year PhD student in Doctoral School of Educational Sciences of Tallinn University, Estonia. I found information about ISCAR`s Summer School from ISCAR`s official homepage. I also planned to attend the ISCAR 2017 Congress in Quebec City, in Canada. My paper was submitted in Congress subtheme: 2.4 Cross-national explorations of sociocultural research on learning, but I had to withdraw my paper. I am very excited to participate in ISCAR`s Summer University which is much more close to my homeland, in Moscow.
The current title of my PhD thesis is „The impact of neoliberal educational reforms on teachers` learning experiences and professionalism“.
The main aim of the study is to analyze, describe and understand collaborative learning experiences of different teachers with different form of preparation starting from neoliberal educational reform in Estonia. I believe that analyzing and describing the teachers’ learning experiences helps to understand how changes in education policy reflect teachers’ professional learning and change of professionalism.
At the beginning I started my thesis with theoretical framework of Etienne Wenger`s (1998, 2009) social learning theory. I followed Wenger`s approach that learning itself is social participation which is encompassing process of being active participants in the practices of social communities and constructing identities in relation to these communities. According to Wenger knowledge can be seen in personal dimension, as knowledge gives meaning to one`s own experiences and life in general (Wenger, 1998). So learning and teaching are related to context and situation. Teacher learning takes place mostly in school environment and teachers have to be prepared to face different changes in local and global level.
In current moment my research interests have been extended also to individual and collaborative teachers learning experiences in a context of educational changes. I want to put research problem and data collection strategies into the wider context of Vygotskian tradition. In summer school I want to know and learn more about different research traditions of collaborative learning in Cultural–Historical Activity Theory. I believe that the experience of ISCAR Summer University can contribute to my further studies and contribute to finalising my dissertation.