Browsing by Subject "kasvatustieteet"

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  • Aarnio, Matti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Today's medical education faces the challenge of developing students competencies to resolve ever more complex problems in collaboration with other professionals. Problem-based learning (PBL) has proven useful for developing many of the competencies needed in modern healthcare. In PBL students collaboratively construct knowledge to explain and solve problems related to real-life situations. In such knowledge construction, dealing with conflicting ideas and knowledge has the potential to enhance student learning while also developing teamwork and critical thinking, skills that are central to multi-professional healthcare teams. The studies that make up the present doctoral thesis explored how students deal with conflicts on knowledge and how they are facilitated to handle such conflicts in PBL tutorial discussions. In addition, the thesis focuses on how to help students learn teamwork skills and critical thinking. Study I examined how to teach teamwork skills to first-year medical students and how to motivate them to learn these skills. The teamwork skills focused on verbal communication in PBL tutorial sessions and in healthcare teams. Feedback on the teamwork skills module from three consecutive classes of first-year students was analysed. Students motivation to learn teamwork skills increased significantly when the introduction to the topic was improved by more clearly pointing out the clinical relevance of such skills. Study II focused on how conflicts on knowledge were dealt with in PBL tutorial group discussions. Four video-recorded tutorial sessions including 33 first-year medical and dental students were analysed. Conflicts on knowledge were found to be relatively rare and generally fairly brief. This was due to a lack of collaborative and thorough argumentation, as well as a lack of questions that would elicit elaboration on the issues. Study III examined tutor facilitation during tutorial discussions, and particularly how the facilitation helped students to collaboratively resolve conflicts on knowledge. The study focused on the tutors in the same video-recorded tutorial sessions as in Study II. The tutors typically intervened by confirming what the students had said or by giving explanations, but they rarely asked questions that would stimulate elaboration on knowledge. During conflicts on knowledge the tutors gave more explanations, but did little to encourage the students to elaborate on conflicting ideas. Study IV focused on medical students conceptions of critical thinking in preclinical PBL. The aim was to find out how the students defined critical thinking, how they perceived it in preclinical PBL and what they expected it to be in clinical practice. The students typically understood critical thinking as judging the reliability of sources of information. Few students understood critical thinking to mean reflecting on their own thinking or viewing things from different perspectives. Students conceptions of critical thinking may have prevented them from seeing the connection between critical thinking in preclinical PBL and critical thinking in clinical practice. The present thesis sheds light on the processes of collaborative knowledge construction related to dealing with conflicting knowledge and ideas in PBL tutorial discussions. The results confirmed prior research findings, which have shown that students rarely deal with conflicting ideas and knowledge, and they point to the central role of the tutor in facilitating students to address these matters in tutorial discussions. The findings also revealed that engaging in deep inquiry during conflicts on knowledge was challenging for both students and tutors. The results further underlined the importance of clearly pointing out to students how they will benefit from the skills learned in preclinical PBL, such as teamwork and critical thinking, in their future professions. Based on these findings, new ideas for improving learning from conflicting ideas in small-group discussions are introduced. Future studies are encouraged to continue exploring the many exciting avenues opened by the present doctoral thesis.
  • Freeman, Stephanie (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    The open development model of software production has been characterized as the future model of knowledge production and distributed work. Open development model refers to publicly available source code ensured by an open source license, and the extensive and varied distributed participation of volunteers enabled by the Internet. Contemporary spokesmen of open source communities and academics view open source development as a new form of volunteer work activity characterized by hacker ethic and bazaar governance . The development of the Linux operating system is perhaps the best know example of such an open source project. It started as an effort by a user-developer and grew quickly into a large project with hundreds of user-developer as contributors. However, in hybrids , in which firms participate in open source projects oriented towards end-users, it seems that most users do not write code. The project, initiated by Sun Microsystems, in this study represents such a project. In addition, the Finnish public sector ICT decision-making concerning open source use is studied. The purpose is to explore the assumptions, theories and myths related to the open development model by analysing the discursive construction of the community: its developers, users and management. The qualitative study aims at shedding light on the dynamics and challenges of community construction and maintenance, and related power relations in hybrid open source, by asking two main research questions: How is the structure and membership constellation of the community, specifically the relation between developers and users linguistically constructed in hybrid open development? What characterizes Internet-mediated virtual communities and how can they be defined? How do they differ from hierarchical forms of knowledge production on one hand and from traditional volunteer communities on the other? The study utilizes sociological, psychological and anthropological concepts of community for understanding the connection between the real and the imaginary in so-called virtual open source communities. Intermediary methodological and analytical concepts are borrowed from discourse and rhetorical theories. A discursive-rhetorical approach is offered as a methodological toolkit for studying texts and writing in Internet communities. The empirical chapters approach the problem of community and its membership from four complementary points of views. The data comprises mailing list discussion, personal interviews, web page writings, email exchanges, field notes and other historical documents. The four viewpoints are: 1) the community as conceived by volunteers 2) the individual contributor s attachment to the project 3) public sector organizations as users of open source 4) the community as articulated by the community manager. I arrive at four conclusions concerning my empirical studies (1-4) and two general conclusions (5-6). 1) Sun Microsystems and Groupware volunteers failed in developing necessary and sufficient open code and open dialogue to ensure collaboration thus splitting the Groupware community into volunteers we and the firm them . 2) Instead of separating intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, I find that volunteers unique patterns of motivations are tied to changing objects and personal histories prior and during participation in the Lingucomponent project. Rather than seeing volunteers as a unified community, they can be better understood as independent entrepreneurs in search of a collaborative community . The boundaries between work and hobby are blurred and shifting, thus questioning the usefulness of the concept of volunteer . 3) The public sector ICT discourse portrays a dilemma and tension between the freedom to choose, use and develop one s desktop in the spirit of open source on one hand and the striving for better desktop control and maintenance by IT staff and user advocates, on the other. The link between the global community and the local end-user practices are weak and mediated by the problematic IT staff-(end)user relationship. 4) Authoring community can be seen as a new hybrid open source community-type of managerial practice. The ambiguous concept of community is a powerful strategic tool for orienting towards multiple real and imaginary audiences as evidenced in the global membership rhetoric. 5) The changing and contradictory discourses of this study show a change in the conceptual system and developer-user relationship of the open development model. This change is characterized as a movement from hacker ethic and bazaar governance to more professionally and strategically regulated community. 6) Community is simultaneously real and imagined, and can be characterized as a runaway community . Discursive-action can be seen as a specific type of online open source engagement. Hierarchies and structures are created through discursive acts. Key words: Open Source Software, open development model, community, motivation, discourse, rhetoric, developer, user, end-user
  • Sormunen, Kati (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The main purpose of this doctoral thesis is to co-design and examine digitally supported inclusive practices in science learning. Inclusive practices aim to provide quality education and quality learning opportunities for all students. Inclusive practices are characterised by process-oriented development that takes into account a student’s personal abilities and needs concerning both knowledge and competencies as well as the classroom context. Since there are very few research-based models for inclusive practices, the longitudinal educational design research (EDR) project aimed to co-design digitally supported inclusive practices at the grassroots level with researchers, teachers and students. The EDR project took place during two years in a medium-sized primary school in the capital region of Finland, where inclusive education was employed as part of teacher collaboration. The participating class (44 students; 10 students with learning difficulties [LD]) had two primary teachers and one special education teacher, the defender of this thesis. The EDR consisted of four macro-cycles, which intended to increase understanding of co-designing and implementing inclusive practices in science learning. The first macro-cycle focused on exploring possibilities for using smartphone technology in a water project. In the second macro-cycle, students used the developed personal solutions and designed collaborative solutions while studying the following science-related themes: forest, human, motions and forces, and space. In the third macro-cycle, students studied Europe and Asia, plants, human and states of matter. The participants developed further both personal solutions and collaborative solutions. Finally, the fourth macro-cycle focused on one science theme, electricity, where solutions were designed for collaborative learning and especially for active participation. The thesis is comprised of four publications that form a holistic picture of the possibilities of digital technology when considering the adaptation, use and benefits for the student both at the personal and group level. Publication I reports the results of the first macro-cycle of the EDR. Publication II discusses the benefits of using a smartphone in science learning from a student’s personal learning perspective, reflecting all four macro-cycles. Publication III describes the EDR project’s final macro-cycle, electricity project, in which students utilised personal strategies that were supported by the teacher through respectful grouping, differentiated learning tasks and a reflective discussion after lessons. Finally, Publication IV evaluates the development and implementation of the inclusive practises throughout the EDR project from the perspective of the LD students. The data was collected through video recordings of ideating sessions, questionnaires, students’ notes from the e-learning environment, the teacher’s memo and interviews; it was analysed via quantitative analysis of frequencies, qualitative content analysis and co-occurrence network analysis. As its theoretical contribution, this thesis weaves together the two frameworks of inclusive practices in science learning. First, the digitally supported inclusive science learning supports a student’s personal learning through the differentiation of content, process and product through the use of multimodality. The teacher employs a student’s personal strategies when preparing a collaborative learning project, especially at the levels of process and product. In light of the objective of inclusion, the teacher’s support during the process should aim at giving intensified support and structured guidance in collaborative activities where students require various competences. Second, such a long-term, reflective, co-designing project supports both the use of digital technology and the development of inclusive practices. LD students benefit from a process-oriented, comprehensive, structured and reflective use of technology in their learning. Differences between students’ digital competencies bring a new element to the classroom alongside academic knowledge, both of which affirm LD students’ social status in the classroom. The thesis emphasises that a long-term co-designing project can both develop teaching practices and engage students to develop their personal learning, and hence, promote inclusive education at the grassroots level. Keywords: digital technology, differentiation, inclusion, learning difficulties, science
  • Kauppila, Aarno (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This study analyses citizenship and governmentality concerning persons with learning disabilities. It contributes to academic debates in disability studies and educational sociology by analysing the educational and societal positioning of persons with learning disabilities. In addition, the study participates in social policy research debates concerning social services for and living conditions of persons with learning disabilities. The dissertation consists of four academic articles and a summary. The articles analyse Finnish national and international disability and education policy from the early 1990s to the end of the 2010s as well as everyday education practices of the vocational programme called “Preparatory education and training for work and independent living” (the training programme) at a vocational special education institution. The summary discusses and scrutinizes the themes and findings of the articles in their historical context. The research data consists of (1) national and international policy documents, (2) interviews conducted with nine experts in vocational special needs education, and (3) ethnographic fieldnotes and interviews from fieldwork conducted in a vocational special education institution during the school year in 2015–2016. The concept of governmentality and theory on the relation between normalcy and disability form the theoretical framework for this study. Utilizing these theoretical perspectives, the analysis focuses on various technologies and rationalities by which persons with learning disabilities are governed as citizens. The analysis of disability and education policies shows that since the 1990s the main objective of these policies has been to improve the socio-economic situation of people with learning disabilities and their opportunities to participate in society. In line with these policy objectives, in the last few decades persons with learning disabilities have had more opportunities for social participation, especially in education. Since the late 1990s, persons with learning disabilities have had the right to participate in both basic and post-compulsory education within the general education system. This however intersects with neo-liberal rationalization becoming mainstream in political reasoning. The neoliberal reasoning of self-sufficiency and economic independence has altered the legitimization of social and educational provision for persons with learning disabilities. Analysis of the interviews with vocational special needs education experts and the ethnographic data from the training programme shows how segregated educational arrangements are legitimized and how persons with learning disabilities are governed within these arrangements. The training programme does not lead to vocational qualifications. Instead, its societal function is to guarantee students who are not seen as able to cope with vocational education an opportunity to participate in post-compulsory education. Therefore, the training programme is legitimized though its societal function; participation in it is considered as societal participation per se. In contrast to this view, the analysis of the content of the programme makes visible how the students are actually guided to social services and trained to live as self-sufficiently as possible within these settings. By historizing both the expansion of educational options for persons with learning disabilities and the mainstreaming of neoliberal reasoning in disability and education policy, the study shows how disability and education services have been separated during the last decades. This separation has depoliticized the connection between social services and education. Through depoliticization, the educational objectives and practices of the training programme are defined as an educational matter, and therefore, as both unquestionable and reasonable. It is argued that this change has affected the societal positioning of persons with learning disabilities as deserving poor citizens since the 1990s.
  • Mertanen, Katariina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    In this dissertation, I scrutinise how the ‘youth problem’—young people’s unemployment, social exclusion, and marginalisation—is governed in the European Union’s and Finland’s youth policies and youth policy implementation in Finland. The ‘youth problem’ as well as young people ‘at risk’ are constructed as a threat to the unity and prosperity of future life in the workforce and social cohesion. To tackle the ‘youth problem’, both the EU and Finland have launched multiple policy initiatives and implementations such as short-term projects to get young people ‘back’ into the workforce and undertake in education and training. These ranges of implementations include EU-wide policy measures, such as the Youth Guarantee and calls in Finland for centralised services for youth guidance and counselling. In my dissertation, I have analysed both national and EU policy documents along with interviews and observations produced with teachers, other employees, and young people in short-term education programmes in a closed prison, and in two One-stop Guidance Centres for young people. I ask how the ‘youth problem’ is governed in youth policies and their implementations, and what rationalities are involved in the governing of the ‘youth problem’. This dissertation includes three research articles and a summary report. As the methodology of this study I developed a discursive reading of policies and their implementations as problematisations. Reading discourses as problematisation draws inspiration from Carol Bacchi, that policies are simultaneous representations of desired futures from the policy maker’s point of view and representing a ‘problem’ that disrupts this desired future. By applying Michel Foucault’s theorisations about discourses, power, subjectification, and governing I have been able to study youth policies and their implementations as discursive practices. In youth policies, these discursive practices are legitimised in normative discourses based on political rationalities. Similarly, these discursive practices can be found in policy implementations by offering certain types of subjectivities for those young people they are targeting. Furthermore, these discursive practices in policies and their implementations produce several different ‘problems’ of young people that carry inherent assumptions about young people’s situations, properties, and abilities. In my results, I suggest that young people are produced as ‘at risk’ of social exclusion and marginalisation with discourses of employability, precariousness, and therapisation in youth policies and their implementations. The label ‘at risk’ produces a well-intentioned response, in which governing takes shape in skill-based behavioural training derived from employability and therapisation of youth formal and informal education. These skills include emotional and life-management skills. Discourses of employability, precariousness, and therapisation have a common premise: not being excluded or marginalised are synonymous with signs of visible and measurable activities, such as participating in education and training. Discourses in youth policies and their implementations both rely on and produce neoliberal political rationality along with paternalistic rationality, which promotes care and control of young people. Although seemingly contradictory, these rationalities work together in a plethora of ways. The arrangement and governing of youth policies and their implementations are constructed in a way in which vast networks of governmental, private and non-governmental organisations come together in short-term programmes and projects offered to young people, and in which young people are positioned as customers and expected to choose ‘right’ options for their situations. Yet, the ways in which young people are governed in these programmes rely on paternalistic rationality through which young people are seen not to be mature and insightful enough to know what is best for them and their future, and thus need strict discipline and guidance to move ‘forward’ in life. Finally, I conclude in this dissertation, that the whole notion of the ‘youth problem’ is based on the ideal of an economically productive citizen, who through a measurable input during their working life or from education provides continuity for the society as a whole. The notion of young people as a future is not only attached to the future hopes of young people themselves, but rather to the hopes and predictions of a range of governing bodies, such as the European Commission or the Finnish Government. In this way, multiple societal issues including poverty and unemployment are channelled to be young people’s ‘problems’, which can be solved by guiding those young people as individuals. In the governing of the ‘youth problem’ in youth policies and their implementations, young people have mainly instrumental value – their lives and futures are measured in relation to the narrow view of ‘good life’ as productive, obeying, and tax-paying future citizen. ________________________________________ Keywords: youth policy, governing, discourse, ‘youth problem’
  • Hansen, Petteri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Over the past 30 years, the political steering of the Finnish education system has gradually shifted from being under the direct supervision of the state to adopting a development and evaluation policy based on networks and projects. Development projects, often funded by ministries, and based on governmental programmes, have also become a more common form of steering in the Finnish teacher education system. In this case study, I examine the opportunities and limits of project-based steering in the light of two development projects based on a Finnish governmental programmes. The theoretical framework of my research is grounded in Niklas Luhmann`s systems theory and especially in its application within organisational research. In order to characterise the research problem, I have applied the concepts and research methodology particularly developed by Niels Åkerstøm-Andersen. I describe projects as second-order organisations, which are placed in the overlapping area of various function and organisation systems and the purpose of which is to change the ways that organisations related to teacher education regard themselves and their environment. As the main conclusion, I argue that, instead of the realisation of predefined objectives, teacher development projects appear to respond to changing expectations. Projects as second-order organisations are constantly seeking opportunities for inter-organisational collaboration and they also render the opportunities and limits for change in teacher education more visible. Indeed, owing to the temporary nature of projects, organisations are able to use them as a means of demonstrating their responsiveness to different audiences. The projects examined in this study can also be said to play a diagnostic, cautionary, and confessional role for social education, the status of which inside teacher education has, in contrast to its psychological and didactical contents, been somewhat marginalised. Nevertheless, as a form of political steering, development projects within teacher education are associated with several serious problems with them. First and foremost, project-based steering transfers some political and administrative services to temporary organisations and, in doing so, the opportunities and limits for steering are only observable insofar as the project(s) in question continues to exist. Furthermore, projects can be seen to blur the role definition of various actors, as well as the delineations between the areas in which scientific, economic, and educational data is applied.
  • Kervinen, Anttoni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The focus in this dissertation is on students’ interactions and science teaching practices in loosely supervised outdoor environments. The aim is to investigate the opportunities of students to participate in science learning in affectively meaningful ways that working away from the teacher can provide, and how these opportunities can be enabled through instructional strategies. The contribution of the dissertation is therefore to contribute to the current understanding of how potentially alienating dimensions of science teaching can be moderated. To understand students’ experiences and interactions in learning settings when the teacher’s supervision is not constant, in this dissertation I have investigated student groups conducting fieldwork activities in a forest and teachers who implement fieldwork extensively in their biology courses. The empirical data analyzed comes from video recordings of student groups, mobile messages used in the communication and student and teacher interviews. The empirical analysis focuses on sociocultural phenomena made visible in the interaction of the students and the discursive accounts of the teachers about their outdoor teaching practices. The results of the dissertation demonstrate a variety of non-conceptual but culturally important ways that students draw on to connect science learning with their everyday experiences and to temporarily overturn the authoritativeness of science. These interactions appear as potential ways to moderate the alienating aspects of teaching while they simultaneously allow students to complete the tasks. Furthermore, the results show which instructional strategies allow students’ sense of freedom to be balanced against controlling practices so that the initially uncommon setting is transformed into ordinary schooling for the students. Overall, the dissertation results should encourage educators and researchers to regard all students’ experiences during science lessons as potentially important and valuable. Provided that certain controlling practices ensure there is enough focus on the intended objectives, the loosely supervised learning settings appear to provide authentic opportunities for students to access science learning in affectively meaningful ways.
  • Saarinen, Auli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    An ePortfolio is an evolving electronic resource that acts to record and store the artefacts of learning and reflections for an individual learner. It may reflect the progression of a student’s learning process, or it can testify the level reached. This thesis analyzed the longitudinal use of an electronic portfolio in craft studies for a period of six years (2013-19). The Educational Design Research (EDR) was implemented in three parts containing year-long iterations. The students (ages 9 to 14 years) traced their craft process activities by photos, narratives, recordings and assessment assignments. In the first study, the functions, and the benefits of the ePortfolio method were emphasized and general user experiences based on pupil interviews (N=38) were outlined. The results indicated that an ePortfolio (realized through the iPad application, Book Creator) is a workable method in craft education. The identified key functions were collection and management of information, communication, and verification of development. The experienced benefits were related to supporting the working process: memory, understanding and activities. In the second study the data comprised of the textual and visual content of the students’ (N= 38) ePortfolios. The results indicated that the most emphasized areas in the textual and visual content of students’ ePortfolios were a combination of the process and free learning reflection. The results confirmed that if ePortfolios are used in a flexible way with open assignments, variations on use and the end-product are self-evident. In the third study the data contained a six-year-long tracing of learning and the final interviews (N=8). The interview focused on students’ experiences of the eportfolio method and its development. The longitudinal textual content was conceptualized by applying Anderson and Krathwohl’s “Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing”. The results indicated that the students’ knowledge type was transformed from versatile to a more limited, and cognitive process levels were transformed from concrete to a more abstract level. The interview data confirmed the findings. Suggested improvements were technical and platform issues, and practical functionalities. The implications drawn were linked with the ePortfolio’s pedagogical foundation and the development of the method. Diverse functions and benefits helped provide the answer to the main research question of the ePortfolios’ pedagogical dimensions: memory and communication support, learner-centered activity to consolidate the ownership of the learning process, and the versatile use of technological tools to train ICT skills, as well as more general skills. The long-term progress showed the transformation of knowledge type and cognitive process, and that the model of progress in ePortfolio usage simulates development.
  • Wallenius, Tommi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    In this dissertation I scrutinised the Finnish comprehensive school quality assurance and evaluation (QAE) policy with a special focus on the policy of publicising school performance indicators. The research originated from a simple notion: while no school performance indicators are publicised at the school level in Finland, in the other Nordic countries various comparable and commensurable school-specific performance indicators are publicised in the government’s official web portals. Thus, by contrasting the institutionalisation of the Finnish publicising policy with the other Nordic countries, the aim of this research was to clarify how and why Finland has been able to resist the pressures of the ‘global testing culture’ and the idea of publicising school-specific performance results. The following research questions were examined: 1) How are opposite publicising policies (being) justified in Finland and Sweden? (Article I); 2) How are the current publicising policies explained through historically institutionalised path-dependent elements? (Article II); and 3) How are the two core concepts that typically promote a school-specific publicising policy, accountability and transparency, manifested in the policy discourses in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway? (Article III) The research utilised the theories and concepts of various neo-institutional policy research approaches, above all, the writings on discursive institutionalism by Vivien A. Schmidt. Methodologically, all three research articles represented comparative policy research in education. In Article I, seven interviews with key policy actors in Finland collected within the Fabricating Quality in Education (FabQ) research project in 2007-08 were contrasted with the official policy justifications in Sweden. In Article II, the historical institutionalisation of the publicising policy in Finland and Sweden was examined through an analytical literature review. In Article III, 58 interviews with key policy actors in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway collected within the Dynamics in Basic Education Politics in the Nordic Countries (DYNO) research project collected in 2015-17 were analysed. Together, the three research articles showed how the deep-seated rationalities institutionalised in the policies, practices and policy discourses, strengthened further by Finland’s initial PISA success, have provided a suitable platform for the Finnish policy actors to control the coordinative policy discourse on the comprehensive school QAE policy and to resist effectively the pressures to publicise school-specific performance indicators. The decline in the Finnish PISA scores since 2009 in my data did not show up as a ‘critical juncture’ at which new ideas started to challenge the legitimacy of the prevailing policy. In Finland, the main policy discourse, which I have described as the depoliticisive discourse of school performance, has continued to be effective in setting the limits for the ‘appropriate’ QAE policy and behaviour by controlling the concepts of accountability and transparency. It is noteworthy that in this discourse, the citizens have been guided to trust the Finnish comprehensive school system and ‘prevented’ from seeing themselves as eligible users of school-specific performance data. The current comprehensive school QAE policy in Finland, for example the sample-based national level pupil testing that prevents the opportunity to draw up school rankings, has been established as taken for granted. Indisputably, the detrimental effects attached to school rankings, such as increased social segregation by naming and shaming of pupils, teachers and schools, should continue to be taken seriously. However, comparative research in the Nordic countries showed that the policy of publicising school performance indicators is more complex than the main discourse in Finland suggests. Demands concerning either governance transparency or families’ equal rights to access official data may challenge the current publicising policy in future. ________________________________________ Keywords: quality assurance and evaluation policy, school performance indicators, governance publicity, accountability, transparency, comparative policy research in education
  • Koivuhovi, Satu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The purpose of this dissertation was to examine whether studying in a selective class with a special emphasis influences children’s competence beliefs or mathematical thinking skills. The original idea was to explore empirically the commonly held assumption that studying in a class with a special emphasis improves motivation. This dissertation consists of four original empirical studies, all of which examined the research question from several perspectives. In this summary section, these perspectives were summarized into four research questions. The first overall aim was to examine how children’s competence beliefs and mathematical thinking skills develop during the comprehensive school years. The second overall aim was to examine, how pupils who study in classes with a special emphasis differ from pupils who study in classes without a special emphasis in terms of background factors. The third overall aim, focused on the differences between classes with and without a special emphasis in the development of competence beliefs and mathematical thinking skills. Finally, the last overall aim explored more specific peer effects (i.e., the Big-Fish-Little-Pond effect, the Reflected Glory effect and the Peer Spillover effect) related to selective classes and explored whether these effects were visible in the Finnish context. The data were drawn from a longitudinal learning-to-learn study in which the cognitive capabilities and motivational beliefs of 744 first graders were assessed and followed up throughout the comprehensive school years. Data consisted of several measurement points and tasks. The original sample size was increased during the follow up as children changed schools and new schools and classes were added to the sample. For the purpose of this thesis, data drawn predominantly from grades four to six (n=1025) and from seven to nine (n=2339) were used. Data were analyzed with statistical methods including single and multilevel structural equation models as well as repeated measures and analyses of variance. The first finding from this thesis considered the overall development of children’s competence beliefs and mathematical thinking skills and supported findings of prior research showing a decline in positive self-beliefs during the school years. Decline in the competence beliefs was detected at both primary school and lower secondary school but the trajectories of different belief types varied. Children’s mathematical thinking skills progressed, as expected, during the followed-up years. Additionally, the second finding from this thesis confirmed findings of prior research and showed that classes with a special emphasis clearly differed from classes without a special emphasis in terms of pupils’ background. Children who studied in classes with a special emphasis came from more highly educated families and had a higher grade point average (GPA) than pupils who studied in classes without a special emphasis. There were also detailed differences between classes with a special emphasis in terms of pupils’ background. The main results from this study considered the development of competence beliefs and mathematical thinking skills between classes with and without a special emphasis and showed interestingly, that there were no differences in the development. Even though pupils differed from each other initially due to the selective process of classes with a special emphasis, most of the differences in the development of competence beliefs and mathematical thinking skills were explained by these initial differences and the development was similar in different types of class after the background variables had been considered. Therefore, the results from this thesis gave no evidence of the assumed beneficial effects of emphasized teaching. On the contrary, findings regarding the peer effects explored showed that the Big-Fish-Little-Pond effect was visible in the Finnish context whereas other peer effects were not. In other words, the results showed that the average achievement level of class predicted individual pupil’s academic self-concept negatively. Therefore, these findings suggested that instead of the assumed beneficial motivational effects, studying in a highly selective class may have detrimental effects on individual pupil’s self-beliefs. ________________________________________ Keywords: Classes with a special emphasis, selective classes, competence beliefs, action-control-beliefs, academic self-concept, mathematical thinking skills, longitudinal study, class composition, Big-Fish-Little-Pond
  • Ryökkynen, Sanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2023)
    This dissertation investigated the elements that vocational education and training (VET) students who received intensive learning support perceived as the most relevant to enhance their studying, sense of belonging and what would create the domains for good VET. Earlier research on VET has shown that versatile, individually tailored measures of special support, teachers’ and other VET stakeholders’ understanding attitude impact both on students’ engagement in their studying, their success in their learning and comprehensive well-being. According to the Act on VET (531/2017) the aim of special support is firstly to permit equal access to vocational studying for those who have challenges in learning. Secondly, pedagogical special support is provided, if necessary, to ensure the attainment of the qualification requirements. However, these intentions do not necessarily end up embracing students’ perceptions of the aspects enhancing their studying, sense of belonging and good VET. Thus, the aim of the study was to examine students’ perceptions and to determine what elements they appreciated. The theoretical framework of the dissertation was Axel Honneth’s theory of recognition which suggests that an individual’s identity is established in social relations when one’s abilities and achievements are recognized. Social interactions shape both individuals’ identity and the normative mechanisms upon which society is founded. The other relevant concepts of the dissertation were derived from the ambition to provide an in-depth investigation on students’ needs. These multiple theories worked as pillars to verify and confirm the results of the study. The three studies summarized in the dissertation were based on empirical interview data. The studies used multiple methods (content analysis, the narrative’s positioning and actantial analysis) to investigate the position and the needs of the vocational students who received intensive special support. Interviews (N=29) were carried out in 2018 and 2019. The first data set (n=11) consisted of interviews with students in four vocational colleges providing intensive special support. The students’ experiences of the interaction between student and class teacher were in the focus of Study 1. The results indicated that students put only modest demands on their studying and on their teachers. The interaction between a student and a teacher was study-oriented and teacher-lead. According to the students’ descriptions, the interaction situations with the teachers were comfortable but formal and distant. Study 1 concluded that as part of the larger purpose of vocational education to support the growth of the students into autonomous, balanced and civilized citizens, it would be important to make room for the students’ voice and support their interpretations during their studying. This would include both acquiring qualifications for a profession, subjectification as an empowering element and socialization of the social, cultural and political order. Study 2 was based on the interviews with students (n=18) who were qualifying from a vocational special college. Its purpose was to elaborate on students’ experiences of their VET studying and mirror these aspects with Biesta’s (2010, 2020) theory on domains of good education - qualification, socialization, and subjectification. Finnish VET must be founded on inclusive principles that provide all students with the opportunity to become professionals of their fields, balanced and civilized citizens and assist them entering the world. However, the results of Study 2 summed up that instead of emphasizing individually personalized study paths to fulfil the qualification requirements even more attention should be paid to the subjective growth of the students and provide them with real encounters with the world out of college context. Drawing on Scheff (2000, 2003), the third study reported on the dynamics of the social emotions and social bonds between students (n=11) and class teachers. In the study I observed social emotions like shame and pride as the primary emotions that are present in all communication and action. The results of Study 3 demonstrated that pride was based on the students’ experiences in achieving their study objectives and thereby pleasing their teachers who had set the objectives. Pride related to the students’ ability to see positive development in their studying and in their sense of social belonging. Whereas students who experienced shame could not perceive themselves as being subjects of positive development. The study claimed that social belonging and communality need more space and attention in VET system instead of emphasizing competence and effective individual study paths. To conclude, the three studies reflected on students’ perception on the elements that enhance their studying, sense of belonging and domains of good VET. On the bases of the studies, it became apparent that students with intensive special needs appreciated their opportunity to study, to gain new skills and knowledge and to be more autonomous citizens. Understanding and supportive teaching staff was a significant pillar for the success of their studying. The dissertation argues that the students struggled for recognition which means that they wanted to be depicted by significant others in a broad-minded and positive way not only as students with special needs but as human beings with valuable skills and capabilities. The dissertation calls for awareness rising: a student with special needs in one area of life can be a top expert in another. The study suggests that VET teachers should acknowledge their role as change agents who could support both students and employers in diverse and equal employment and management. Furthermore, the dissertation claims that it is not enough to understand the special needs of the students to change the world, but we need education policy measures and practices which are disconnected from the economic growth and efficacy. This would call an education system which practices are developed towards ecological, social and economic sustainability. A VET system which has pledged itself to responsibility, fairness and mutual recognition, to the principles of ecosocial wisdom. The dissertation suggests that processes of dialectic recognition are the heart of the process of sustainable VET. ________________________________________ Keywords: vocational education and training, special education, interaction, belonging, theory of recognition, qualitative content analysis, narratives positioning, actantial analysis
  • Korkealehto, Kirsi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The aim of this doctoral dissertation is to gain a deeper understanding on the aspects that contribute to higher education students’ social and academic engagement when language studies are implemented with the blended learning approach. Another aim is to discover the elements to enhance spoken interaction in the foreign language in blended learning language courses. Based on the results of sub-studies I-III, I argue that students’ academic and social engagement are intertwined, alternating, and nurturing one another during the learning process. Similarly, teacher engagement and student engagement are reciprocal phenomena nourishing one another and depending on each other. In addition, I argue that university of applied sciences students’ foreign language spoken interaction can be activated and enhanced in blended learning courses given the learning material, learning activities and digital tools are meaningful, relevant, timely and aligned with the learning objectives. This dissertation comprises three original studies; they focus on one language course each in the context of universities of applied sciences. Each sub-study experiments various opportunities that digital technology provides for language learning: social networking sites, gamification, telecollaboration and multimodality. Regardless of the course design all courses are based on the ecological language learning approach and the notion of engagement. In addition, authentic learning and students’ collaboration are in the focus; the target is that the students are producers rather than consumers of digital media and they act as active learners within authentic learning activities. All three courses were implemented with the blended learning approach. Sub-study I investigated first-year health care students’ (n=23) perspectives on a gamified professional English course regarding particularly engagement, enjoyability and language learning. The course was a three-credit, field-specific English course which duration was 10 weeks, including five face-to-face sessions. The course aimed to prepare students for communicating in multi-professional and intercultural situations within the health care sector. The course implementation was based on gamification with a background storyline. The students' reflective learning diaries and a post-course questionnaire formed the data which were analysed via content analysis method. The results indicate that gamification and appropriate digital applications augmented student engagement, enhanced language learning, and provided enjoyable learning experiences for the students. Further, students’ collaboration and a tolerant stress-free course atmosphere had a positive impact on learning and engagement according to the students’ self-reflections. Sub-study II explored the opportunities a telecollaboration project provided for online collaboration, language learning and student engagement. The participants were 26 higher education German language students, 12 in Finland and 14 in New Zealand. The students used a closed Facebook group for posting on given topics. The required five posts combined videos, photos, audio, and text. The duration of the project was six weeks, and it formed a part of the German course in both countries. The course design was informed by social networking sites in language learning and telecollaboration. A mixed method approach was used to collect quantitative and qualitative data. The qualitative data were analysed by content analysis method, and they included pre- and post-project questionnaires, interviews, and Facebook-logs. The results suggest that the students regarded Facebook as an appropriate tool for community building. In addition, collaboration, the use of communication tools, authenticity, enjoyment, and teachers’ support fostered student engagement and had a positive impact on students’ language learning and intercultural competence. Sub-study III discovered the impact multimodality and regular in-pairs conducted video calls had to spoken interaction in the target language and to student engagement. The research was conducted, and the data were collected in a 5-credit Business English course for 1st-year business administration students (n= 22) in a university of applied sciences. The course was divided into 16 weeks and 8 topics; during the course there were 5 face-to-face sessions. The students deployed various digital tools and particular attention was given to spoken interaction; hence the students were instructed to complete spoken discussions using an online video call system once a week according to the week’s topic using English in authentic, business-related situations. The data included students’ learning diaries and a post-course online questionnaire mapping students' perception. The data were analysed according to the content analysis method. The findings indicate that students’ academic and social engagement were fostered by course design with authentic assignments and study material as well as students’ activity and collaboration with peers. Further, collaboration, students’ own activities and digital technology contributed the most to spoken interaction. To conclude, the three sub-studies reflect universities of applied sciences students’ perception on the aspects that enhance engagement in digital learning environments and the methods to activate their spoken interaction in the foreign language. On the bases of the sub-studies, it became apparent that teacher role is paramount prior, during and after the course. Besides timely knowledge on digital tools, teachers need to master the traditional teacher competences such as subject content, pedagogy, guidance, facilitating and interaction. In addition, students’ own activities contribute immensely on their engagement and learning. Regarding spoken interaction, the data indicate that with relevant peer and teacher support and regular interaction students’ self-compassion and error-tolerance in terms of their own competences grow which leads to enjoying the regular spoken activities in the target language, and finally contributes positively to spoken interaction. Similarly, students’ self-reflection ability increases which enables targeted rehearsal of the language skill which in turn activates and enhances spoken interaction. Digitalisation offers myriad opportunities for individual and flexible learning paths regardless of time and place but does not decrease students’ nor teachers’ role. On contrary, students need to be active learners and teachers need wider range of competences in creating optimal learning experiences for their students. ________________________________________ Keywords: student engagement, blended learning, multimodality, social networking sites in learning, telecollaboration, spoken interaction, English for specific purposes, German as a foreign language, higher education
  • Mäki, Tarja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This study examines the site managers’ daily work, collaboration in construction projects and the implementation of new tools. The theoretical framework of the study draws from the cultural-historical activ-ity theory and the theory of expansive learning. The activity theory provides an analytical model to study the elements of historically emerging activities and the tensions between the elements. The ethnographic methodology is applied for collecting and analysing the data of the first and second articles. The data were collected by shadowing site managers in their daily work and by observing the site meetings, where project participants collaboratively solved design-related open questions between 2011 and 2013. The model of expansive learning was applied in the analysis of the third article. The data were collected by interviewing and observing the implementation processes of the Last Planner method in three organisations between 2016 and 2017. The study shows that site managers’ daily work varies significantly between various managerial roles, but it is filled with collaboration, mobile, prone to disturbances, and many types of problem-solving situations. BIM is actively used in a site manager’s daily work. At the time of the study, however, using BIM appeared to be challenging in the construction site due to insufficient number of skillful users of BIM among employees, lack of mobile solutions to be fully exploited, and multiple issues to be developed in the design contents of BIM models from the perspective of site operations. Design-related open questions caused disturbances in site management activities: work was interrupted, and management had to spend time resolving various issues. Design-related open questions were discussed, and new design solutions were created during the site meetings. The issues were plentiful and handling them was multi-vocal. Design solutions comprised partially shared objects of activity that caused conventional boundaries of the division of labor to become blurred: different contractors, the project manager and the maintenance manager were active in developing new design solutions. The analysis of the site meetings demonstrated that multi-disciplinary competence and multiple perspectives were required in the creation of new design solutions. The examination of the implementation processes of Last Planner System revealed how the organizations were able to support the adoption of new methods in their activity. During the implementation, many challenges emerged having to do with e.g., motivation, meeting prerequisites and especially temporary project organizations. The critical stage for implementation was the end of the pilot phase. The project environment did not offer a stable organization for new methods to become consolidated. There is a risk of accumulated knowledge dispersion, when a project ends instead of transfer and consolidation of new knowledge and competences to other projects.