Development of Written and Verbal Self-Expression Skills as Key Competences at Estonian Academy of Security Sciences


  • Eda Sieberk



written and verbal self-expression, key competencies, interdisciplinarity, self-directed learning, e-learning, Estonian Academy of Security Sciences


The aim of this article is to introduce new ways for teaching and developing written and verbal self-expression skills as key competences at the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences (EASS). The article focuses on analysing proposed amendments to the existing written and verbal self-expression module. The proposed amendments are based on the analysis of the internal security education module, a survey carried out among employers and alumni, and a feedback questionnaire filled out by EASS students. Nowadays, reading, the ability to understand texts, and writing, the ability to create these texts, are skills that are seen as indispensable competences. In 2006, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted a recommendation on key competences in lifelong learning (2006/962/EC). The document defines eight key competences and interdisciplinary topics that combine knowledge, abilities and attitudes. According to this document, language competence (incl. mastering one’s native language) is one of the key competences. Mastering one’s native language allows people to express themselves clearly, purposefully and in accordance with the norm of written language both in speech and in written communication. It is recommended that the general and transferable competences laid out in the Estonian Standard for Vocational Education should be integrated into specialty training programmes. There are four groups of competences that are taken into account when compiling the Standard for Vocational Education: communication, leadership, critical thinking and self-management skills. In addition, the standard also describes general competences such as communication and presentation skills, writing and compiling reports. In 2002, Eurydice, the EU’s Education Information Network, carried out a survey on general competences, indicating that the focus in curricula had shifted, and instead of simply transferring knowledge from teachers to students, the focus was now on putting the acquired knowledge and skills into practice. In the last decade, Estonian curricula have focused on the students, the importance of developing key competences, the need to combine new knowledge with what has been acquired previously, and applying these skills in different areas of life. In order to compete in the modern job market, having a sufficient level of general competences is indispensable. The Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020 stresses the need to develop creativity and entrepreneurship, teamwork and problem solving skills, critical thinking, analytical skills and digital competences. The application of the aforementioned changes requires a shift in the philosophy of teaching and some reflection on assessment. One of the reasons behind modernising the professional higher education curriculum is related to the need to develop key competences, and to combine them more extensively with specialty skills. A sufficient level of general competence is a prerequisite for success in the job market. At the EASS, the modernization of the curricula of professional higher education is based on surveys carried out within the last couple of years, the most important being the analysis of the model for internal security carried out by Praxis Centre for Policy Studies (2015), the evaluation of curricula groups in September 2016, and the survey of alumni and employers in 2017. In addition, since 2013, the EASS has been regularly collecting feedback via questionnaires. Based on that input, the EASS has devised an integrated education model for internal security. The results indicated the need to develop a new, more flexible and integrated internal security model with greater integration within subjects and modules, as well as between the subjects and modules, among the curricula, and in the organization of teaching of students of different specialties. According to the Praxis survey (2015), the importance of general competences is growing and therefore it is relevant to delve more deeply into this issue. The Praxis survey clearly points to the need for interdisciplinarity in modern education. The focus group interview conducted in 2017 indicated the need for continued development of communication and writing skills in the course of studies because these skills will be critical in their future jobs. These recommendations have been taken into account in the creation of EASS’s new and upgraded written and verbal self-expression skills module. The main aim for devising a new written and verbal self-expression module at the EASS is to develop an understanding of the essence of students’ written schoolwork, as well as the aims, requirements and the ability to acquire these skills along with demonstrating them. The module begins with developing general competences: introduction to effective learning strategies and styles; discussion about learning and scaffolding, and an examination of the student’s role and responsibilities in lifelong learning.



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