Non-Degree / Dates: 12-16 July 2021

Perhaps even before but certainly after the appearance of major large-scale comparative student assessment tests such as PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) in 2000 and the growing influence of supranational organizations such as OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), we can observe the effects of globalization in the education systems and curricula of most countries. Under the conditions of international competition for an educated workforce, almost everywhere education is becoming more homogenized. However, education still contains regional and national differences.

In this course we will discuss questions such as:
– What national and cross-cultural historical pathways and ideas have shaped today’s curriculum culture in different parts of the world?
– How have decisions relating to curriculum been influenced by the wider socio-economic environment?
– What are the alternative trends regarding curriculum and instruction emerging today that could influence the future?
– What are the roles of teachers and learners in these traditions and trends?
These are some of the topics that would be worth reflecting on if you are to develop or to enact a curriculum. During the course we will focus particularly on developments in Europe, the Anglo-Saxon countries and Asia.

Why this course?

  • Every teacher at all levels of education is a curriculum theorist while interpreting and translating the official or planned curriculum for her/his class and students.

  • Still there is an astonishing void in many teacher education programs to scrutinize the curriculum beyond what to do with pre-given subject matter. In order to be not only transmission of knowledge but transformative and educative as well, good teaching is a personal matter where academic and substance knowledge coincides with the subjectivity of the teacher.

  • More generally, in the global world and cosmopolitan context, educators, teachers, and policy makers should be knowledgeable about the intellectual histories and present circumstances of education to be able to design nationally distinctive but internationally informed education policies and curriculum reforms for the future.


Tero Autio has served as full professor of curriculum studies and teacher education at the University of Tampere, Finland, invited professor of curriculum theory at Tallinn University, Estonia, financed by the European Union in 2010-2015 before re-affiliating to University of Tampere. His research interests cover curriculum theories and histories East and West, (trans)national education policies and their effects on teachers’ work. He has published, lectured and consulted on issues of teacher education, curriculum theories and practices, and education policies in North and South America, Europe, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Turkey.

Maria Erss is a researcher and lecturer at Tallinn University School of Educational Sciences. She received her doctoral degree in 2015 at Tallinn University in educational sciences with the dissertation “The politics of teacher autonomy in Estonia, Germany, and Finland.” One of her supervisors was Tero Autio. Maria’s early background included teaching foreign languages in Tallinn public schools. For the past several years she has been teaching courses on curriculum theory and development as well as educational and social change. Her research interests encompass curriculum and teacher policies, teacher and school autonomy, educational change and teacher professionalism. In the fall of 2017, she was a guest lecturer on curriculum theory at Johannes-Kepler University Linz, Austria. She has been a presenter at numerous education conferences and published in international journals for the last 6 years.


Every day from 10.00 am – 2.30 pm. There will be home readings to prepare for discussion each day. Please see also the full programme. Please note that there might be small changes in the programme.


The course is meant for Master students or MA graduates with an interest in education. High level of efficiency in English is required (at least B2). The course is limited to 24 participants.

Credit points


Students will prepare a critical analysis of an existing curriculum or a future vision of a curriculum which is presented both orally and in writing. The written text should be appr. 1000-2000 words long and include a list of references. It should be structured with subheadings. One possible structure is: title page, introduction, methodology, results, discussion/conclusion.

The analysis will combine the empirical evidence from a curriculum text or curriculum enactment with theoretical literature about curriculum including references. The questions to be answered could be: What kind of pedagogical approach and curriculum ideology/philosophy can be uncovered in the curriculum? What is the focal point of this curriculum? What is hoped to be achieved with this curriculum compared to earlier versions? What is the relation between global and local knowledge in this curriculum? What are the roles of teachers and learners? How attainable are its goals given the existing resources?

Participants who do not wish to receive 2 ECTS for the course do not have to submit the written critical analysis and will only receive a confirmation of participation when fulfilling other course assessment criteria (eg. participating fully in the course and completing independent reading and other tasks). Students who wish to receive 2 ECTS for the course, must submit their written critical analysis.

Course fee

Early-Bird Course Fee (until 31 March 2021)300€
Regular Course Fee (after 31 March 2021)350€

Accommodation and meals are not included in the price.

"What I am very happy about is that the lectures are for advanced students and not just for early students. Nice mixture of nationalities and ages."

Zuzana Terry, Czech Republic
Curriculum – Past Trajectories and Future Trends #tss2019

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