Browsing by Subject "character strengths"

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  • Lepola, Heini (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    In this study we investigate the concepts of courage according to Finnish students of different ages, how the conceptualization of courage develops in different age-groups, how the thin boundary between courage and foolhardiness appears in the students' interpretations, and how one can learn courage. The emphasis is on students' own life-world phenomena experiences and interpretations. Our unique data consists of applied storycrafting interviews with 6 to 7-year-old preschoolers and school essays written by students in age groups of 11 to 12, 15 to 16 and 16 to 18-years. The data has been collected in southern Finland. The study is a qualitative study with a narrative approach and phenomenography. Applying both data-driven and theory-driven content analysis, we have classified our findings from different age-groups into four main categories: (a) the role of fear in courage, (b) the concepts of courage as physical, psychological, social and moral courage, (c) the development of conceptualization of courage through age and (d) the thin boundary between courage and foolhardiness. The emphasis is on describing and interpreting students' concepts and conceptualization of courage and relate our findings on the umbrella conceptualization of courage by Rate et al. (2007). We also view students' interpretations on how courage feels like and what emotions are related to it, wether they think that courage can be cultivated and what it is that students think enables one to learn courage. Social context and relationships of students in different ages emerge as important factors on their reflection of courage.
  • Kääriä, Mira (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    Objectives. The objective of this study was to develop a Easy to Read Survey of character strengths to be used with intensive special education students. With this survey and interviews this study examined the beliefs concerning strengths that the intensive special needs youth had. Theoretically this study is based on positive psychology and the VIA-philosophy of character strengths. The research done in the field of character strengths education in the context of intensive special education has been scarce. Assessment tools of character strengths suitable for Finnish intensive special education students have not been available. Character strengths education is one way to approach teaching intensive special education students focusing on their strong areas instead of their weaknesses. With this approach the learning environment of these students can be modified to better notice the student's individual qualities. By doing this, we can take another small step towards an inclusive school and society. Methods. This study utilized a mixed methods approach, and both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used. The first phase of the study included the modification of the survey of character strengths to answer to the needs of intensive special education students. In the second phase of the study the Easy to Read character strengths survey was piloted in an intensive special needs class. Eight youth aged 12-14 years participated in the piloting and interviews. One special needs class teacher and three classroom assistants that worked with the students were also asked to evaluate the character strengths of the eight students. In the qualitative analysis, the interview data was analysed using a narrative approach, and different types of beliefs concerning strengths were sought from the interview narratives. In the quantitative analysis, the data describing the youth's character strengths that was collected from three different sources (the survey, the adults' evaluation and the students' self-evaluation) was compared. Finally, the result of the narrative analysis and the quantitative analysis were combined, when the narrative belief types connection to the coherence of the results of the survey and the conformity of the different evaluations was examined. Results and conclusions. The analysis of the narratives found three types of beliefs concerning strengths. These types differed in how the youth saw the meaning of the character strengths in their lives, and what kind of situations the students thought the strengths were needed in. The quantitative analysis found, that when the beliefs were more personal, the different evaluations of the students' strengths were more consistent. Overall, the result of the study showed, that the Easy to Read survey of character strengths identified some of the signature strengths of the intensive special education youth. However, the modified and shortened survey is not equal to the original VIA-survey in accuracy. Nevertheless, the results of this study show that the Easy to Read survey of character strengths is a useful tool in assessing the character strengths of intensive special education youth.
  • Palosaari, Lotta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Objectives. The purpose of this study was to look at the character strength vocabulary in three young people’s speech during the workshop period. The study aimed to examine what kind of future planning ideas were given by the young people when they identified their strengths. The basis of the study is the ideology of positive psychology and character strength -based teaching. Previous studies have shown that by recognizing strengths, one can increase self-esteem and positive image of a young person. Especially with students with special needs, it is important to encourage them to look themselves from the point of view of strength rather than focusing on weaknesses. After basic education, a young person in transition period needs information about his or her own strengths in order to make choices about upper secondary school. Methods. This study was a qualitative case study. The cases examined were three young people of high school age. The data was collected by observing and filming the workshops as well as interviewing youngsters in workshops. The data was analysed by thematic analysis and Atlas.ti program. Results and conclusions. The character strength vocabulary increased during the workshop period for all the young. Both peers and adults played an important role in familiarizing the young with the strength language. The instructors verbalized the strengths of the young. Peers pointed out the strengths they noticed. You could identify future planning in the speech of all young. These plans echoed also language of character strengths. The young could identify their strengths and link their strengths to their dream job. Familiarizing young people with the vocabulary of character strengths, can help them to look at themselves from a different perspective during the transition period. In the transition period the young needs support in identifying and verbalizing their own abilities, strengths and interests in order to develop a positive self-perception and high self-esteem.