University of Tartu

Twin centre 1

University of Tartu - short overview

The University of Tartu started the implementation of inquiry based method of learning and teaching in 2002 at different levels of education. Innovative active learning methods have been developed under the supervision of different units of the University of Tartu. The Faculty of Physics and Chemistry has actively participated in different commissions at the Ministry of Research and Education of Estonia dealing with science curricula for all levels of education (pre-, elementary, secondary and high school). Many special courses on inquiry method are introduced into the teacher education curriculum (in-service and pre-service teachers). Trainers provide high quality training to teachers who are interested in new approachs in science education.

Excellence in inquiry-based science education approach

IBSME is implemented in pre-school and primary school level since 2002 in Tartu and other regions of Estonia. The University of Tartu has focused on the integrative method of teaching science and mathematics with topics “Comparing and Measuring”, “Senses”, ”Solids and Liquids” and “Changes”. Since 2006 in the frame of the Pollen project, the local team is dealing with adaptation of inquiry units relating to special needs education.

IBSE successfully implemented in a large number of classes

Tartu as the seed city in the Pollen project has introduced IBSE in 16 pre- and primary schools and the method was successfully implemented in 34 classes. All over Estonia the interest towards inquiry-based hands-on science approach has grown in the last years : 43 additional classes have now started the IBSME method during the school year 2007-2008 mainly in Middle and Southern part of Estonia.

Outstanding experience in training and know-how transfer

Teacher training sessions in inquiry-based science method for pre-service and in-service teachers are provided via the University of Tartu. Two curricula (primary and pre-school teachers) have compulsory subjects “Inquiry science” and “Advanced inquiry for scientific literacy”(à 3 ECTC) which create a basis for implementing a new paradigm in teaching science and supporting the know-how transfer into real teaching process in classes.

Official link with a national or regional institution of reference working in science education

The University of Tartu is a leading institution in teacher training activities in Estonia. The activities in the field of IBSME are coordinated with the Department of General Education at the Estonian Ministry Education and Research as well as the science center AHHAA, the ForselUNI-KLU Society and the Foundation “Education Forum of Estonia”.