Browsing by Subject "Specialeducation"

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  • Suomalainen, Iina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The symptoms of ADHD can cause many challenges for children and adolescents in school. Today, traditional learning environments are challenged by more open, flexible learning environments. However, there is only little earlier research on classroom experiences in flexible learning environments and classroom experiences comparing traditional and flexible learning environments have not been studied from the perspective of students with ADHD symptoms. In addition, previous research has shown that students with symptoms of ADHD often experience lower self-esteem than their peers. It is also known that girls are more likely to report lower self-esteem than boys. The purpose of this study is to examine how students at risk for ADHD experience their self-esteem, engagement, autonomy, relatedness and competence in traditional and flexible learning environments. In addition, this study examines whether there is a gender difference in the above-mentioned experiences. The theoretical basis of the research is the self-determination theory, to which autonomy, competence, relatedness and engagement are essentially connected. The data was collected from students in grades 7 and 8 who had participated in the Learning, grouping, evaluation and well-being in large learning areas project of the city of Vantaa and the University of Helsinki Education Assessment Center in 2019–2020. Of all 7–8th graders (N 1446), students at risk of ADHD (n 113) were selected for the study. Spearman’s correlation coefficient was used to examine the connections between attention, self-esteem, and the components of self-determination theory. Next, the analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to examine whether there is a difference between traditional and flexible learning environments in self-esteem, autonomy, competence, relatedness and student engagement in students at risk for ADHD. The same method of analysis was used again to examine whether there is a gender difference in self-esteem, autonomy, competence, relatedness and student engagement in students in the risk group of ADHD. The data was analyzed by using IBM SPSS Statistics 26. The results showed that the experiences of self-esteem and the components of self-determination theory (student engagement, autonomy, relatedness and competence) did not differ depending on the learning environment in students at risk of ADHD between traditional and open plan (flexible) learning environments. However, experiences of self-esteem, autonomy and engagement among at-risk students in ADHD differed between the sexes, with girls having lower self-esteem and experiencing less autonomy and engagement than boys.
  • Ylikopsa, Venla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Tiivistelmä - Referat - Abstract Objective. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is developmental neurobiological disability. The aim of the current study was to examine what symptoms women diagnosed as adults with ADHD recognize emerged in their childhood before puberty, which symptoms were reported to manifest together and whether the reported symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria used by health care. In addition, the aim was to find out which were the most common reasons to apply for support as an adult. Untreated ADHD has been found to be associated with depression, exclusion from education, and an increased risk of substance use. Early identification and proper targeting of support measures can reduce health risks and improve quality of life. Method. The data were collected through the online survey, that the Finnish ADHD Association published on social media carried on the social network service Facebook in April 2020. The questionnaire was made based on previous research for this study, and was created with the E-lomake -program of the University of Helsinki. The participants (n = 360) were women diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood, aged 20 to 50 years, who retrospectively assessed their own ADHD symptoms in childhood. The data thus gathered was analysed using statistical methods in the IBM SPSS Statistics 25 -program. Results and conclusions. The most commonly reported symptoms of ADHD included attentional regulation, systemicity, minor motor restlessness, and emotional and verbal impulsivity. The most common symptoms were reported to be co-occurring, but the review of also showed large variability for some symptoms. Of the eleven most commonly reported symptoms, only three were directly related to the diagnostic criteria in use. The most common reasons for applying assessment of ADHD as an adult were the identification of one's own symptoms, previously diagnosed depression, and feedback from close relatives. Based on this thesis, the diagnostic criteria in use do not adequately cover the dimensions of girls ’ ADHD symptoms are expressed. Two of the common symptoms were absorption in games intense and losing sense of time, that is comparable to with hyperfocusing, and clinging to details. The results are consistent with previous research data; the diagnostic criteria are based on research data obtained from boys with ADHD.
  • Hyyrynen, Kirsi-Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The purpose of this thesis is to review the quality of intervention studies training numeracy skills using technology in primary schools. To find the best methods to support children’s numeracy skills, it is worth paying attention to the quality of empirical intervention studies that examine the effectiveness of interventions by learning results. In this thesis the quality of intervention studies is reviewed by using categories that were made based on the EPHPP tool (e.g. Thomas et al., 2004): generalizability of results, research design, exposure to intervention, assessment tools, realization of intervention and effectiveness. The intervention studies were collected from psycINFO and Eric (ProQuest) databases. The PRISMA directions (Moher et al., 2009) were utilized in making the systematic literature review. All intervention studies had to be published five years before the final search day (1.12.2020) and they were written in English, peer reviewed, contained an abstract and the sample consisted of children aged from 6 to 12. In addition, the criteria included the following: 1) the article is an empirical intervention study containing practicing of numeracy skills; 2) the intervention is implemented for the most part using technology and it is based on either computer-assisted instruction, intelligent tutoring systems or gamification; 3) the effectiveness of a certain program is reviewed in the study; 4) the results of the intervention are reviewed by learning results; and 5) the article doesn’t consist of several separate sub-studies. There was a great deal of variation in the quality of the intervention studies, especially concerning the generalizability of results, research design, exposure to intervention and effectiveness. For instance, sample sizes, principles of forming groups, exposure times and measurement of effectiveness varied widely. In many studies there was a lack of information about the reliability and validity of assessment tools, implementers of the intervention and the methods to gather the sample. In addition, there was missing information about the relations between the intervention and other learning. In future studies it is recommended to make those kinds of choices that potentially influence the quality of interventions positively. It is also recommended to report all aspects clearly and comprehensively.
  • Korhonen, Julia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The purpose of the study is to find out how guardians of children with autism spectrum experience the implementation of support in early childhood education. In the past few years, the diagnosis of autism spectrum has become more common in children of early childhood age, so the number of children diagnosed has increased in early childhood education. Children have been placed in different kindergarten groups, taking into account support needs, but the educating community with know-how may be absent from the groups. In this case, the child’s personally directed support also suffers. In the past, the views of early childhood educators on the rehabilitation of children with autism spectrum disorder in early childhood education have been studied more, but the guardians’ thoughts on the implementation of support and early childhood education are few. The aim of the study is to find out whether the child’s personal support needs have been taken into account in the group and whether the child receives enough support in the opinion of the guardians. The study was conducted through individual interviews by remotely interviewing guardians of children with autism spectrum in early childhood education. The research was carried out using qualitative methods and the research material was analyzed on the basis of data by means of content analysis. The theoretical background of the study is based on the forms and arrangements of support for early childhood education, research data on the autism spectrum, laws, regulations and policies related to the early childhood education of children with autism spectrum and early childhood education in general. The results of the study on the experiences of guardians of autism spectrum children about the support received by the child in early childhood education or pre-school education were expressed by the guardians'views on gaps in support, reinforcing factors in support and guardians' wishes for good and adequate support. The guardians felt that the input of certain employees, the close co-operation between the kindergarten educators and the family, and the consideration of individual support needs were positive things. The guardians felt that the lack of information, insufficient resources and a lack of knowledge about the children were negative things in support. In addition, the guardians described that not enough children's special means of communication were used. In particular, carers wanted more resources, stronger staff training and the necessary support services to support early childhood education.
  • Vessonen, Terhi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Fraction knowledge is central for daily activities, such as cooking and personal finance, but many students have difficulty with fractions. Fraction knowledge has been found to predict later mathematical performance in comprehensive school. Virtual manipulatives (VM) and concrete manipulatives (CM) are effective approaches to teaching fractions, but previous research has not been able to reach a consensus on which manipulatives are the most effective. This quasi-experimental study employed a pre- and post-test design to investigate the differential effects of VM and CM in a fraction intervention on students’ fraction skills. In addition to fraction skills, students’ arithmetical fluency was measured. Fidelity of intervention, social validity and time-efficiency of the manipulatives were also investigated. Fourth and fifth grade participants (N = 115) from Southern Finland were assigned to VM and CM intervention groups. The intervention was implemented during six 45-minute lessons over two weeks. Lesson contents were the same for both groups in spite of the manipulative. Results revealed that the CM group outperformed the VM group in fraction skills, which suggests that CM should be favored in fraction interventions. Additional implications for research and practice are discussed.
  • Immonen, Waltteri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The special education reform and development to support in learning and school attendance has resulted in major changes in the job description of Finnish special education teachers (SET). The distribution of resources to schools has also changed. Previous researchers have found a lack of resources in special education. Teachers also experience a lack of time in their work. To date, barely any quantitative research has been conducted on the challenges SETs face in their job in Finland. The aim of the study was to answer two questions: (1) What challenges do special education teachers find to have the biggest effect on their job? (2) Was there a connection between certain background variables and the teachers’ experiences of these challenges? All persons working as SET from early childhood education to secondary education were considered suitable respondents. The responses were collected via electric questionnaires. The first research question was answered by compiling the questionnaire answers and comparing their answers based on the means and frequencies. The second research question was answered using multivariate methods (one-way analysis of variance, Kruskal-Wallis test, two-way analysis of variance, t-test, Post Hoc test, Analysis of Simple main effect). In the questionnaire, SETs (N = 339) assessed how much each challenge affected their work. Judging by the responses, SET’s find that their work is affected by the expansion of their work as well as excessive differences between municipalities. In addition, several answers related to the inadequacy of time received high values in the responses. Because of this, SETs feel that collaboration does not work well enough and that there are not enough resources for supporting students. Students’ individual characteristics and behaviour is also considered challenging. Of the background variables, the level of education clearly distinguished the respondents most effectively. The SETs also experienced challenges in different ways depending on the age group they were in charge of. The experience with special education and the job title had an impact as well. Differences were also found based on the method of education and the population of the municipality the teacher worked in. However, the effects accounted for by these factors were small. The study also found synergies between variables. These included synergy between the level of education and the professional title, as well as the professional title and the education route. However, the effects of these factors were also small. On the other hand, no connection was found between experiences of the challenges and the teacher’s overall teaching experience.
  • Dammert, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The aim of the study was to analyze the debate on special education in the context of social decision-making. The purpose was to find out how special education comes up in the discussions of the Helsinki City Council and whether any topic related to special education comes up more in the speeches of the delegates. The research focuses on the discussion of special education in preschool education, primary and secondary education, as well as interprofessional collaboration. The city council decides on the municipality's policies and priorities, so the topics of discussion and contents arising from the speeches of the delegates are very interesting from the point of view of the residents. The approach of the study was a case study. The Helsinki City Council consisted of delegates representing different political parties and their deputies. The public speeches of the members of the Helsinki City Council were approached through a qualitative, material-based content analysis. The subject of the study was the minutes of the discussion of the public council meetings of the Helsinki City Council from 2011–2019. The content of the speeches of the Helsinki City Council delegates on special education emphasized three perspectives: the resource perspective (52%), the quality perspective (31%) and the value perspective (17%). The resource perspective was divided into three levels: support for learning, availability of preschool education and study places, and targeting of support. The quality perspective, in turn, was divided into two levels: teaching and the organization of preschool education and training (equity). The value perspective was divided into two levels: inequality and integration and inclusion. In this perspective, the jointly agreed goals of the council delegates and the parties' own values were reflected in the speeches of the delegates. The views and policies of the parties were also largely in line with the stated educational policy guidelines. There were differences in the number of speeches and the emphasis on the subjects of the discussion. Inclusion was mentioned in Helsinki's stated goals for education and training. However, there is still a long way to go before inclusion is achieved.
  • Ronnholm, Helena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    In this research I have examined how multilingual students are met in Swedish speaking secondary school in the metropolitan area of Helsinki. I have looked at the challenges and possibilities the minority schools have in offering education for a minority group. My research is based on interviews with seven special education teachers in four different secondary schools in the area, as the special educations teacher plays a major role in the multilingual students educational path. As a base in my research I used Cummins framework for school language policy development. Cummins states that a successful language acquisition requires both cognitive engagement and identity investment. These two correlate, as they strengthen or weaken each other. The material was thematized in two categories according to Cummins model for learning the knowledge-oriented language. The first category, Relationships between teaching and learning, consists of measures and structures that either support the multilingual student's knowledgeoriented language learning in school, or do not. The second category, The strengthening of the student's self-image, consists of the action or structures found in the schools that either support the multilingual student's self-image and identity development, or do not. The strong role that the Finnish language has in the Swedish speaking schools in the Capital Region can have both a positive and a negative impact on the multilingual pupils' schooling. On the one hand, the Finnish language acts as an axcluding factor in the school community, but at the same time there is evidence that the teaching in these bilingual schools has been formed to be language supporting, which could benefit the multilingual students.
  • Sainomaa, Aapo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Informal learning is learning that takes place outside the school system. It happens in everyday situations that were not meant to be educational in the first place. Out-of-school environments are considered to produce positive effects on pupils’ interest, motivation and attitudes. The main aim of this study was to find out how math worth and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education differed among 12-year-old pupils before and after visiting an Informal Math and Art Exhibition. Additionally, the aim was to find out if it is possible to utilize an out-of-school environment to teach 21st century skills. Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics (STEAM) pedagogy aims to improve pupils’ skills in innovation and creativity by combining elements from science and art. STEAM combines reality and education and aims to provide understanding of how things work while simultaneously guiding pupils’ technology skills. The learning context was a Math and Art Exhibition that was part of international CREATIONS-project. In this study, there were 256 12-year-old pupils from five different schools in Jyväskylä, Finland. The research material was gathered in 2 parts: pretests one week before the exhibition visit and posttests around a week after the visit. Nine out of ten students felt that the exhibition increased their interest in STEM. Boys who succeeded well in the Raven-test were the most interest in STEM. The increase in interest was, however, unrelated to gender or prior interest in STEM. Math worth was low among pupils who achieved low grades at school and scored low points on the Raven test. Math worth did not increase because of the exhibition visit, but differences in math worth were diminished. Pupils’ autonomous experience and situational interest were key factors regarding both math worth and interest. According to this study, even short-term out-of-school learning increases interest and evens out pupils’ math worth. In the light of this study the out-of-school learning environment can be seen as a fruitful and interesting way to learn that could also work as an excellent way to teach 21st century skills.
  • Kulovesi, Minttu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Aims: This thesis examines open learning environments, which are a very recent and popular phenomenon in Finnish schools, although their suitability has not been studied enough. In this thesis, I present the definition of open learning environments, the reasons for building them and their designing process, as well as their functionality for students in terms of accessibility and sensory stimuli, as well as briefly teachers' experiences of open learning environments. The research problem of this thesis was to look at the public discussion about open learning environments in the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. The following questions were selected as research questions: 1. How do news articles in Helsingin Sanomat view the open learning environments? And the second question is: 2. In what ways are open learning environments spoken about in letters to the editor? Which discourses arise from the material? Methods: The research material consisted of textual material retrieved from Helsingin Sanomat through a systematic literature review. The material consisted of 11 news articles and 11 letters to the editor, written in 2019-2020. The selected material addresses open learning environments in a primary school context. Content analysis for news articles and discourse analysis for opinion papers were used as the method of analysis. Results and conclusions: 14 different themes with a variety of perspectives towards open learning environments were found in the news. Four separate discourses were found in the letters to the editor, and the strongest of which was the discourse of concern. Based on the results, the public debate on open learning environments is very diverse, highlighting both desirable effects and changes, as well as numerous complaints.
  • Pasanen, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The aim of this study was to examine what sort of challenges and other matters special class teachers notice in studies of youth in foster care, and how they can support these youth. The number of children and youth in foster care has increased for a long period of time (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, 2020). Comparing to their peers, youth in foster care have lower academic achievement and they struggle more with psychosocial problems (Berlin et al., 2011). These problems have an effect on these youth also later in their life (Brännström et al., 2017). Consequently, it is important to examine what kind of issues these youth struggle with and how special class teachers can meet these issues. The study is qualitative case study and was conducted by interviewing five special class teachers from two special schools in Finland. The interviews were thematic. Qualitive content analysis was used as a method of data analysis. Special class teachers mentioned a great amount of issues that are related to studies of foster youth. Firstly, the teachers brought up problems in multiprofessional cooperation. They mentioned differing practices, distrust, lack of cooperation and insufficient flow of information between professionals. Special class teachers also brought up the challenges these youth have faced in their past; for instance inadequate upbringing. The teachers supported foster youth by collaboration, consistent and individual support and discussion, for instance. They also supported youth by showing that they care and by setting boundaries. Despite the challenges, the special class teachers mentioned positive matters as well, especially when comparing foster youth to other children involved in the child welfare system. For instance, as stated by the special class teachers, youth in foster care received a lot of support from child caring institution. In addition, child caring institutions helped teachers with network cooperation.
  • Virva-Auvinen, Elisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Tiivistelmä - Referat - Abstract The purpose of this master’s thesis is to find out views of young adults attending workshop activities. This research intends to find out how school experiences have affected their lives and their further education and employment. This research is based on the earlier known connection between school dropout and the process of social exclusion and aims to find out more on the possible role of special education in this process. The research group was chosen to include young adults who attend workshop activities because it is very likely that they have had risk factors for social exclusion present in their lives. The research material consisted of seven theme interviews that were analysed by using theme analysis. The interviews included conversation about school motivation, teachers, further education and choosing a profession, substance abuse, the significance of friends and family and learning difficulties. The informants were 21 to 29 years old and they all attended workshop activities in a quite small town in southern Finland. The informants had ended up in workshop activities due to unfinished second-degree education or long-term unemployment. The research showed that both school and free time related factors had had an influence on the informants’ lives. Especially learning difficulties, social support, substance abuse, bullying experiences at school, teachers, the sense of not belonging to school and friends turned out to be significant factors. All together the informants didn’t seem to think school experiences were the most important factors in life, but the research material still showed signs of school being able to influence the life paths of youngsters by at least giving some directions for the road.
  • Ikonen, Eeva-Kaarina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Preventing youth’s marginalization is a major challenge for the whole society and it has been in the forefront media coverage as well as in the government programme. Earlier research has shown that juvenile delinquency has a connection with both dropout and challenging position in labour market later in life. It is seen as a path to subsequent marginalization. Finnish Ministry of the Interior has launched an youth’s criminal behavior preventing programme, Anchor work (ankkuritoiminta). Since 2018 Anchor teams (ankkuritiimit) have meen mandated to co-operate more tightly with local schools. The aim of this study is to determine the experiences of multiprofessional collaboration between school personnel and Anchor team when preventing juvenile delinquency. The goal is to find out how collaboration is experienced and to identify the factors that are perceived as guiding the collaboration. This qualitative study is a case study with a background in phenomenological research tradition. The data was gathered by theme interviews from three (3) members of Anchor team located in Southern Finland and three (3) members of school personnel from the same area. Interviews were held in the beginning of June 2020. Interviewees were from four different professions. The interviews were transcribed and analysed by content analysis. The result showed that the experiences of collaboration between the Anchor team and school were mainly positive but also dependent on the situation. Collaboration was perceived as concrete, consultative, solution-orientated and interactive. There were four (4) factors guid-ing the multiprofessional collaboration: youth’s position, interaction, values and later conse-quences.
  • Rönkkö, Ella (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Education arranged by activity areas is a form of teaching meant for those students, who cannot fulfill basic education syllabus even if the syllabus is adjusted. There are five activity areas: communication skills, social skills, motor skills, cognitive skills and day-to-day skills. These activity areas have stayed the same for over 30 years, even though education arranged by activity areas curriculum has otherwise been reduced. Education arranged by activity areas is highly individualized and only applied to a marginal group of students. The aim of this study is to find out, how a typical day in education arranged by activity areas is structured. The material of this research was interviews of 96 special education teachers across Finland. The interviews were carried out in 2018-2020. This thesis used a qualitative research approach and qualitative content analysis was used for the analysis. The results show that school days are typically built around five basic pillars. These basic pillars are morning circle, recess, school meal, rest and ending circle. The contents of these basic pillars varied. It was also found that teachers had different orientations in their teaching. There were five different orientations: subject orientation, activity areas orientation, shared orientation, creative orientation and treatment orientation. These orientations represent which types of contents the teachers emphasized in their narration. In addition, the results showed that there were two types of exceptions that disturbed the daily structure: regular and irregular exceptions. Based on the results, it can be concluded that education arranged by activity areas curriculum gives teachers much autonomy to plan and execute teaching their class. In education arranged by activity areas a significant portion of the day is spend carrying out day-to-day tasks, which affects the realities of teaching and its planning. The teachers may be in danger of seclusion, if the arranged by activity areas curriculum and teacher education do not provide teachers with enough support to design their teaching.
  • Hurmeranta, Emmi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The aim of this article-type master's thesis was to examine the stress, coping, and metacognitive perspectives of special education teachers working in primary school during the remote teaching and learning period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the study was to examine what kind of stress and coping experiences the teachers had during the remote learning period, as well as what kind of mindset the teachers had when facing the workload. In addition, the dissertation examined the connection between teachers' ways of thinking and experiencing the intensity of workload. Experiences were examined using the Coping-Competence-Context (3C)-model. The data of the study was collected by thematic interviews with special education teachers (n = 11) working in different parts of Finland. Teachers were working in primary schools during the remote teaching and learning period. In these interviews conducted remotely, respondents were asked to describe their experiences of workload, recovery from work, and mindset and attitudes towards work. The data were analyzed using theoretical content analysis. Qualitative analysis program ATLAS.ti version 8 was used to organize the data. The workload experienced by special education teachers was mainly emotional, and often related to daily work changes. The coping strategies were used in a variety of ways, and their use was increased and new means were introduced during the remote learning period. The part of the 3C model focusing on recovery received support from teachers’ experiences, suggesting that teacher workload and recovery are directly related. The link between metacognitive perspectives and intensity of the workload was only partially supported: two teachers who had a stress-is-debilitating mindset experienced a higher-than-average workload. Instead, nine teachers who had a stress-is-enhancing mindset experienced both light and intense workload. The article ”Laaja-alaisten erityisopettajien työn kuormitus ja palautuminen sekä ajattelutavat COVID-19-pandemian aiheuttaman etäopetusjakson aikana: kokemusten tarkastelua Coping-Competence-Context-mallin avulla” is to be published in the NMI Bulletin.
  • Nevala, Piia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Objectives. The goal of this thesis was to examine the assumptions of an inclusion that personnel in early childhood education have. The theoretical context of this study is the ecosystem model of inclusive early childhood education. Model is developed based on Urie Bronfenbrenner´s ecological systems theory. In the ecosystem model is described macro-, meso-, ecso- and microsystem factors that has to be considered when early chilhood ecucation is developed as more inclusive. Concepts are also explained. Methods. The material of this thesis was collected in research that clarified the state of special support in early childhood education. In this thesis was analysed one question´s answers of that research. Answers was given 572. From these answers was chosen five personnel groups whose answers was received more than 15. From these groups (early childhood special education teacher, early chilhood education teacher, childminder, nursery nurse and day care center manager) was chosen 15 answers each, based on discretionary sample. The answers that were chosen told about inclusion from works point of view. The answers were analysed and categorized in themes. Fenomenografi and dialogical theme-making was used as methods. Results and conclusions. Seven themes were made from the answers: the pedagogical solutions and tools that support inclusion, inclusion as a value, associates who support inclusive early childhood education, inclusion as a child´s right, inclusion as a child’s place, the challenges that inclusion has and enough education and know-how for inclusion. Themes were divided in between personnel groups. Inclusion as a value and inclusion as a child´s right were mentioned in every groups answers. The pedagogical solutions and tools that support inclusion was mentioned mostly by early childhood education teachers and early childhood special education teachers. Inclusion as a child´s place was mostly mentioned by early childhood special education teacher and day care center managers. Inclusion´s challenges were mentioned mostly by nursery nurses and day care center managers. Enough education and know-how for inclusion was mentioned by day care center managers, early childhood education teachers and nursery nurses. Associates who support inclusive early childhood education was written by early childhood special education teachers and early childhood education teachers.
  • Haapaniemi, Amanda (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The aim of my master’s thesis was to study special education classroom teachers’ views on physical education. I think my thesis is important because it is known that children and youth’s level of physical activity has reduced. I wanted to find out what physical activities special education classroom teachers use in their teaching and how they support the development of a physical lifestyle for their students. Additionally, I wanted to find out if physical education for special needs students is similar to physical education for general education students. The thesis is a qualitative study which was done using a phenomenographic research method. I used categorization and content analysis as the method for analysing the research material. The study was conducted with a survey (n=19) with open questions. The theoretical framework used in the study consists of the study of physical activity relationships and the self-determination theory. In addition, the thesis’ theory part also goes over the effect instruction, environment and motivation have on a person’s physical activity and physical activity relationship. The study yielded empirical data on how special education classroom teachers’ idea of physical education is formed. I divided the different dimensions of physical education to the following categories: teachers’ personal starting points, objectives, experiences, methods and didactics as physical educators. The teachers’ methods of promoting children’s physical activity were diverse, including functional teaching, developing recess activities, teaching outside and adding sessions of physical activity for example as break exercises or as rewards. Related to exercise situations with special needs students the answers highlighted the importance of clarity, time, instruction, structure, routines, safety and planning. All in all, promoting children’s physical activity was seen as an important objective.
  • Ikonen, Kirsi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    With the amendment to the Act on Upper Secondary Education that came into force in 2019, students have the right to receive special needs education in upper secondary school, which is why the need for upper secondary school special education teachers will increase in the future. In the last decade, there have been only little research on special education in upper secondary schools in Finland. The purpose of this study was to find out the work assignment of upper secondary school special education teachers and the challenges they experienced in carrying out their work. The aim of the study is to look at high school special education from the perspective of high school special education teachers and to create an overall picture of what kind of tasks the job description of a high school special education teacher consists of and what kind of challenges they face in their work. This is a qualitative study, where was interviewed six high school special education teachers who worked in three different municipalities. The research material was collected through semi-structured thematic interviews, which were analyzed using content analysis. Based on the results of the study, the job description of special education teachers consisted of three broad areas, which were collaboration, student support, and written work. In the job description of a high school special education teacher, the most employment-related tasks emphasized issues related to supporting reading difficulties, making reading statements and writing learning support plans. The most challenging things for high school special education teachers were the lack of resources and time in their work, as well as the ambiguity of their own job description. According to special education teachers, these results show that current resources are not sufficient to provide ongoing and adequate support in upper secondary school. In order to organize special education in upper secondary school, clearer frameworks would also be needed to make the provision of support more uniform and equal in every upper secondary school throughout Finland.
  • Liljefors, Annikki (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The aim of this master’s thesis was to describe special education teachers’ perceptions of the ways to support their students’ reading-related self-concepts. Reading difficulties and reading related learning disabilities create a risk for the development of students’ reading-related self-concepts. Students reading-related self-concept is in many ways related to students’ reading skills and performance in school as well as general well-being. Thus it is important to pay attention to the students’ reading-related self-concepts’ significance and to find means to support it. The theoretical framework used in the study consists of the main themes of the study, which are learning and teaching to read, reading difficulties and reading-related self-concept. The aim of this study was to examine special education teachers’ work in relation to reading difficulties and reading-related self-concept. The purpose was also to find out how special education teachers comprehend the connection between reading difficulties, school-performance and reading-related self-concept. This study focused on describing the ways in which a part-time special education teacher can support students’ reading-related self-concept. This study was a qualitative study and it was carried out using a phenomelological research method. The data was produced by interviewing part time special education teachers in elementary schools. The method of analysis was content analysis. The results showed that part-time special-education teachers’ work was multifaceted and focused on taking into account students’ individual needs and reading difficulties. Reading-related self-concept was seen to have a strong influence on students’ studies and well-being. Part-time special-education teachers used several different methods of supporting their students’ reading-related self-concept: improving students’ reading skills, motivation, collaboration with other teachers and students’ guardians, teacher-student-interaction, differentiating teaching and enabling the feelings of success as well as emotional support and positive working climate.
  • Kankaanpää, Suvi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Immigrant mothers are at greater risk, compared to other immigrants, of being excluded from the integrative structures of the employment market and education. Immigrant mothers integrate into society by learning a second language. In this thesis, the subject of interest is the language learning of immigrant mothers in the integration training implemented, partly with their own children’s classroom, in the Parents to school! and the Our turn, Mothers! -projects. Based on previous studies, it is known that immigrant adults’ second language learning is affected by length of stay, background continent, mother tongue, educational background, age, and the amount of use of the new language. The aim is to study how these above-mentioned background variables and the number of children affected the initial Finnish language skills of immigrant mothers in terms of reading comprehension, writing, and speaking. In addition, it is examined how language proficiency developed in the project and whether the initial level of the language skills sub-areas was related to the final language skill level. The data was collected from immigrant mothers who did not speak Finnish well and who participated in the Parents to school! and Our turn, Mothers! -projects in the academic years 2017–2020 (N = 33). The data consisted of group A (n = 16) initial language tests and data collected with the background form, as well as group B (n = 17) initial and final language tests. Group A data was analyzed by examining the correlations between initial language proficiency and background variables. Group B data was analyzed by examining the development of language proficiency in Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR) and by examining the correlations between language skills sub-areas in the baseline level and the final level of language skills. Data was analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics 26. Results revealed that the Finnish language proficiency of immigrant mothers had already developed before the start of official integration training, and the development had been influenced by the length of stay and the active use of the Finnish language. In the integration training, language skills developed on average of half CEFR language proficiency level and language skills developed most among those, who scored lowest in the initial test. From language skills sub-areas, the development of language was best predicted by the initial test of speaking. The results of this thesis were in line with previous studies. The results show that integration training with children has developed the Finnish language proficiency of immigrant mothers and that the project has reached a target group that has been outside of the usual integration training.