Browsing by Subject "special education"

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  • Nislin, Mari; Pesonen, Henri (2019)
    In this article, we sought to determine the extent to which pre-service and in-service teachers' self-perceived competence is associated with sense of belonging and well-being during special education teacher studies, as well as determine whether there are differences among these factors between pre-service and in-service teachers. These are areas in which there is currently a shortage of research. Our data were collected using a survey with close-ended questions. The respondents consisted of 58 in-service and 29 pre-service teachers, aged 21-56 years. Data were analysed utilising quantitative methods. The findings revealed that the respondents demonstrated generally high levels of engagement and low to moderate levels of burnout. The results further indicated that the respondents reported themselves to be most competent when dealing with children of drug-related family abuse and less competent in working with children with severe disabilities. Although well-being and self-perceived competence were associated, we could not find any association between these factors and the sense of belonging. Given the theoretical and empirical evidence, a deeper understanding of the factors relating to teachers' ability to encounter diverse needs is unquestionably needed. The key findings are discussed in detail, and practical implications for teacher education are given.
  • Törmänen, Minna; Roebers, Claudia M. (2018)
    This longitudinal study investigates the differences in cognitive and socio-emotional development and academic achievement between children educated in special education classes (N = 37) and regular classes (N = 37). The study is retrospective. The first measurement point was while children were attending play-oriented kindergarten and no decision about their education had yet been made. The second measurement point followed after 2 years of schooling. Comparing carefully matched groups, no differences in executive functions (EFs) were found before beginning school. Children assigned to special education had poorer language, fine motor skills and a lower pre-academic self-concept, self-regulatory skills and social integration. Notably, every fourth child in special education was an immigrant, 9% of whom later attended regular classes. After 2 years of schooling in either setting, the groups differed significantly in academic achievement, EFs, fine motor skills and cognitive self-regulatory skills. However, it was not - as school officials had intended - that children in special education classes had caught up, except in regard to their academic self-concept and social integration.
  • Lintuvuori, Meri (Helsingfors universitet, 2010)
    The number of Finnish pupils attending special education has increased for more than a decade (Tilastokeskus 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005a, 2006b, 2007b, 2008b, 2008e, 2009b; Virtanen ja Ratilainen 1996). In the year 2007 nearly third of Finnish comprehensive school pupils took part in special needs education. According to the latest statistics, in the autumn of 2008 approximately 47 000 pupils have been admitted or transferred to special education and approximately 126 000 pupils received part-time special education during the 2007-2008 academic year. (Tilastokeskus 2008b, 2009b.) The Finnish special education system is currently under review. The Reform, both in legislation and in practice, began nationwide in the year 2008 (e.g. Special education strategy document, November 2007 and the development project Kelpo). The aim of the study was the statistical description of the Finnish special education system and on the other hand to gain a deeper understanding about the Finnish special education system and its quantitative increase, by analysis based on the nationwide statistical information. Earlier studies have shown that the growth in special education is affected by multiple independent variables and cannot be solely explained by the pupil characteristics. The statistical overview and analysis have been carried out in two parts. In the first part, the description and analysis were based on statistical time series from the academic year 1979-1980 until 2008. While, in the second, more detailed description and analysis, based on comparable time series from 1995 to 2008 and from 2001-2002 to 2007-2008, is presented. Historical perspective was one part of this study. There was an attempt to find reasons explaining the observed growth in the special needs education from late 1960s to 2008. The majority of the research was based on the nationwide statistics information. In addition to this, materials including educational legislation literature, different kind of records of special education and preceding studies were also used to support the research. The main results of the study, are two statistical descriptions and time series analysis of the quantitative increase of the special needs education. Further, a summary of the plausible factors behind the special education system change and its quantitative increase, is presented. The conclusions coming from the study can be summarised as follows: the comparable statistical time series analysis suggests that the growth in special education after the year 1999 could be a consequence of the changes in the structure of special education and that new group of pupils have been directed to special needs education.
  • Vilhunen, Milla Helena (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    The aim of this master's thesis is to examine the formation of special in the speech of teachers. The theoretical framework is based on the stance that people try to make sense of the world by perspective of normal. However, to be normal is possible only if something is deviant from it. When it comes to schools, these lines between normal and deviant have been seen to be linked to the relation of mainstream education and special-education. The interest of this study is to analyse, how the special is formed in the speech of teachers when there is more and more students in special education and when the official direction is to bring mainstream education and special-education together by constructing teaching of all students in the same classroom. The research data is formed by interviewing special- and class-/subject-teachers. The interviews were constructed as groups, one included special -teachers and the other one class-/subject-teachers. There where total of seven interviewees. The interviews followed the rules of theme interview. I have analyzed the data by using discourse analysis. According to my results the special were formed as maladjustment, certain problems, imperfection and change. The lines between normal and special operated on the other hand between all students and on the other hand the lines were situated only between certain students, them being the students in the special education class and the students in the mainstream class. When it comes to the consequence of special it was the situation of the student that were concerned. The conclusions of this research suggest the persistence of some categories in schools and the place as an essential component for defining the lines between normal and special. Worth noticing is also the ways that showed the possibility of negotiation.
  • Parkkinen, Kimmo (Helsingfors universitet, 2002)
    Tutkimuksessa selvitettiin autismiluokan oppilaiden fyysisen väkivaltakäyttäytymiseen yhteydessä olevia oppilas- ja opetusympäristötekijöitä. Tutkimuksen kohderyhmänä oli kaikki Suomen autismiluokkien oppilaat ja vertailuryhminä oli EHA1- ja EHA2- luokan oppilaita. Tutkimusote oli kvantitatiivinen, tutkimusaineisto kerättiin kyselylomakkeilla. Tutkimuskyselyyn vastasivat luokkien opettajat. Aineiston käsittelyssä pääasialliset analyysimenetelmät olivat faktori-, varianssi- ja regressioanalyysi. Tutkimuksen pääongelmat: 1. Millaista on tutkituilla oppilailla esiintynyt fyysinen väkivaltakäyttäytyminen? 2. Millaiset oppilastekijät ovat yhteydessä fyysiseen väkivaltakäyttäytymiseen? 3. Miten luokkatoiminnot ja autismiluokan henkilökunnan toiminta ovat yhteydessä oppilaiden fyysiseen väkivaltakäyttäytymiseen? Tutkimustulokset osoittivat, että autismiluokan oppilaiden fyysinen väkivaltakäyttäytyminen oli huomattavasti vertailuryhmien (EHA1 Ja EHA2) oppilaita runsaampaa. Autismiluokan oppilaiden yleisimpiä fyysisen väkivaltakäyttäytymisen muotoja olivat toisiin kohdistuneet lyömiset, puremiset, raapimiset tukistamiset ja tönimiset. Itseen kohdistui eniten puremista ja lyömistä. Autistien akateemiset taidot olivat tutkimuksen mukaan selvästi heidän sosiaalisia taitojaan paremmat. Runsaimmin fyysistä väkivaltakäyttäytymistä raportoitiin olevan niillä autismiluokan oppilailla, joilla oli hyvät akateemiset, mutta heikot sosiaaliset taidot. Väkivaltakäyttäytymistä edeltävissä tilanteissa ja toiminnoissa korostui yleisimmin yllätys-, siirtymis- ja odottamistilanteet. Väkivaltaa edeltävät vuorovaikutustilanteet olivat pääosin henkilökunnan johtamia käskynantotilanteita. Näissä tilanteissa oppilasta ohjattiin vaatimuksilla tai kielloilla. Fyysiseen väkivaltatilanteeseen puuttumiseen käytetyistä välittömistä interventiomenetelmistä yleisin oli fyysinen ohjaaminen. Tällä ohjausmuodoilla oli heikoin oppilaan rauhoittumista edistävä vaikutus. Parhaimmat intervention vaikutukset saatiin huomiotta jättämisellä tai huomion siirtämisellä muualle. Tutkimuksen teoreettinen viitekehys perustui pääosin Kauffmanin sosiaalis-kognitiiviseen väkivaltateoriaan ja Schoplerin autistien häiriökäyttäytymistä kuvaavaan malliin. Kokonaisotos autismiluokan oppilaista antoi hyvän kuvan koko Suomen autismiluokilla esiintyvästä fyysisen väkivallan ilmiöstä. Tutkimuksen käytäntöön sovellettavuus liittyy autistien opetuksen kehittämiseen, fyysisen väkivaltakäyttäytymisen ennaltaehkäisyn suunnittelutyössä ja opetushenkilökunnan väkivallan kohtaamisen tukemiseen
  • Mickelsson, Ritva (2019)
    This article introduces a school-based social pedagogical programme using horses to support pupils’ educational development, social and emotional skills and self-esteem. These are essential for pupils’ well-being, to reduce the risk of developing emotional disorders in youth and later life. In terms of academic outcomes, these social-emotional skills, character strengths and health benefits are recognised in the Finnish educational agenda. Equine-assisted social education (EASE) differs from recreational riding programs by its frame of reference in social pedagogy and in the human–equine bond it features, positioning horses as co-educators to improve interaction and collaboration. This human–equine communication supports both human and equine welfare if applied with attention, respect and empathy. Furthermore, the stables environment provides a setting for enhancing the pedagogical relationship and trust between pupils and their teacher. This equine activity practice, like other educational interventions, has physical, behavioural, social and emotional intentions. In addition, as social pedagogy is a complex and innovative discipline, EASE represents a ground-breaking practice within this discipline. The purpose is to respond to individual and social difficulties with preventive and problem-solving practice. As Finnish social pedagogy emphasises educational dialogue and communication, EASE facilitates non-verbal communication and positive behaviour. Additionally, it consists of factors improving collaboration through experiences, activities and dialogue.
  • Pulkkinen, Jonna; Räikkönen, Eija; Jahnukainen, Markku; Pirttimaa, Raija (2020)
    Recent European and global trends in education have been to promote inclusive education and expand education, resulting in the increased provision of special education. In promoting inclusive education, recent special education reforms have also aimed to curtail the rise in identification rates for students in special education, for example, by focusing more on early support and discontinuing fiscal incentives to identify students with special educational needs. Using official special education statistics, we studied how Finland's special education system reforms changed the share of students in special education. In addition, we examined variations in special education provisions among municipalities before and after the reforms, and identified municipal-level predictors of variations. This study utilised piecewise linear latent growth curve modelling to analyse changes, thereby providing an example of how this method can be applied in policy reform studies. The results indicated, in particular, that the funding reform has incentivised municipalities to decrease identification rates for students in special education and to diminish special education provision. However, different municipalities have different special education provisions and have changed these provisions in varied ways. In particular, we found that small and large municipalities differ in special education practices and reform implementation.
  • Leppänen, Katri (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    The importance of reading and writing skills in everyday life has increased continuously. Previous research has also shown that reading skills are associated with success in other school subjects. Three-tier model introduced in 2011 focuses on early intervention, identification and support. The main purpose of this study was to gather information about teacher's supporting methods at first school year. How they work with dyslectic students and struggling readers. What is the relevance of three-tier model and how three-tier model affects the support services. Attention is paid to evaluation, strategies, methods, tools and follow-up measures. The aim is to highlight concrete examples. The study was conducted by interviewing four special teachers. Teachers work in primary schools and teaching to read is a big part of their work. Data has been recorded and transcribed. Analysis was based on transcribed data and research questions. The study showed that all respondents evaluate student's basic reading skills soon after the start of school. Support is offered to those who need it the most. There were school-specific differences in evaluation methods, arrangements and group formation. All four teachers accomplished small-group teaching and part-time special education. Three teachers made flexible groupings. None of the respondents carried out individualized instruction. One respondent carried out co-teaching approach. Teachers used well known and research based tools and materials. They also made materials by their selves. Teachers were aware the important aspects of learning to read. They paid attention to phonological awareness, syllable awareness, letter knowledge and working memory. All four teachers made evaluation during the year. However the study reveals that 1-graders are rarely sent to psychological tests or moved to tier 2 even if their reading skills don't proceed.
  • Halenius, Outi (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    The purpose of this study was to examine the pedagogical use of illustrative material in early childhood education. While pictorial material is widely used in early childhood education, there is little research on the topic. The application of pictorial material in supporting communication and structuring everyday function is gaining recognition in early childhood education. The aim of this study was to investigate the pictorial environment of day care centers and the experience of using pictorial material in interactions with children from the kindergarten teachers perspective. Furthermore, the study examines how kindergarten teachers use pictorial material in early childhood education and how they plan the pictorial environment. The research design was qualitative. The research material was collected by theme interviews and photographic documentation. The data included 15 interviews of kindergarten teachers and 613 photographs of their classes. The research material collected end of 2010 in a city in southern Finland. The method used in analyzing both the interviews and the photograph material was theory-guided content analysis. The pictures displayed in the day care environments particularly emphasized everyday functions such as day or week schedules, dressing, eating and play in day care groups. In addition, children's artwork was on display in every classroom. The study suggests that the kindergarten teachers find the pictorial material essential particularly when teaching children with special needs and children who speak Finnish as a second language. However, the teachers noted that they considered the pictorial material beneficial to all children. Kindergarten teachers used pictorial material in everyday life, principally to structure function, guide children's play and support language development. Especially within integrated special groups the communication and participation through pictorial material was seen essential. Kindergarten teachers highlighted that the pictorial environment planning is based on child oriented, function oriented or aesthetic perspectives. The key emphasis in planning the environment is the needs of a particular child or group of children.
  • Tornberg, Enni-Greta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Goals. Along inclusive thinking ever more students’ equality and participation has been higlighted in Finnish education system. Finland like numerous other countries has signed many international agreements, such as Salamanca statement and United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilites. The development of education according to these agreements has been exposed in many public records in last decades. Variable school culture sets new challenges to teachers and above all requires collaboration between teachers. Co-teaching is one way to react to the challenges of school culture. Goal of this study is to set co-teaching into larger context and investigate what kind of meanings class teachers give to co-teaching and how they react to co-teaching. The purpose of this study is in co-teaching between special education teacher and class teacher. Methods. This research is qualitative research. Research material has been obtained by interviewing three elementary school teachers in Oulu area. Interviews were carried out as theme interviews. The duration of interviews varied between 25 minutes to 45 minutes. The material has been analyzed with qualitative content analysis. Results and conclusions. In this study class teachers’ attitude for co-teaching was found positive. They saw co-teaching to be compatible with inclusive teaching. Teachers emphasized the role of pedagogical leadership in executing the co-teaching. School’s pedagogical administration can support co-teaching by structural arrangements, changing the working culture and by increasing awareness of co-teaching. Co-teaching also caused contradictions. The teachers saw, that disagreements were induced by division of roles as well as interactional contradictions. Conflicts were mainly clarified by discussing. The key points of solving contradictions had been changing the way of acting, self-improvement and support from principal.
  • Räisänen, Sanna (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    The purpose of this master's thesis was to study the ways in which the development of multilingualism of children from different linguistic backgrounds is acknowledged and promoted in Finnish comprehensive schools. Do the schools have common practices or models through which the development of the students' language skills is actively promoted, or is it dependent merely upon the teachers' interest and devotion? And through which means the teachers themselves aim to promote the language development and learning of students from immigrant backgrounds? The theoretical framework of this thesis consists of the theories on language development and multilingualism, of the national core curriculum on teaching multilingual students, and of previous studies on promoting the language development of students from immigrant backgrounds. In this thesis, the subject was approached by studying the views and experiences of teachers. This study aims to describe the means through which the language development of the students from immigrant backgrounds is being promoted, by school cultures as well as by individual teachers, in the Finnish school context. The data was collected by using a web-based questionnaire, to which 16 teachers working in schools in the Capital Region answered. Since the study was qualitative by nature, open questions were used in the questionnaire. For the analysis of the data, content analysis was used. The results of this study indicate that the schools can be categorised according to their school culture, which is either reactive or proactive in regard to promoting the language development of students. Reactive school culture responds only to the inevitable needs regarding the language development of students. Proactive school culture aims see the language skills of the students as a resource. Most of the respondents worked at schools whose school culture seemed reactive. The means of individual teachers of promoting the language development can be categorised into three groups, which are: acknowledging and appreciating the student's language skills, utilising the student's language skills when studying, and co-operation with guardians. Almost all of the respondents mentioned at least one means of promoting the language development of students from immigrant backgrounds. The results of this study can be utilised, when teachers and schools are planning the means in which to integrate the language skills and backgrounds of students into teaching and school culture.
  • Hakala, Katariina; Björnsdóttir,, Kristín; Lappalainen, Sirpa; Jóhannesson, Ingólfur Ásgeir; Teittinen, Antti (2018)
    Disability studies in education (DSE) is an interdisciplinary field derived from the need to re-conceptualise special education dominated by a medical perspective on disability. In this article we identify what characterises DSE research and consider whether there is a case for arguing for a specific field of DSE in Finland and Iceland. Our analysis is based on a review of 59 studies published by Finnish and Icelandic scholars during the time period of ratification process of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities from 2007 to 2016 in Finland and Iceland. We suggest that DSE has emerged as a dynamic area of research in both countries. It has provoked researchers to analyse disability in social contexts and turn the gaze from individual person with disabilities to the social structures and educational policies and practices. The fields of DSE in Finland and Iceland have not developed in identical ways and both have fluid crossovers to related fields such as disability studies and inclusive education. We argue for the potential of DSE to contribute to the discussion on educational equality and social justice. However, this requires opportunities to bring together scholars across disciplinary borders.
  • Peltonen, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The current Act on Upper Secondary Education does not provide any specific information on the organization of special education. This is why the special education programs vary between upper secondary schools. Not all secondary schools have special education teachers and this might place students with special needs at a disadvantage. There have been only a few researches on special education in upper secondary schools in Finland during the last decade and the studies have focused on the need of special education in upper secondary education or, the job description of a special education teacher. The purpose of this study is to describe the perceptions of the students’ regarding the challenges that they face in their studies and the support they have received. The aim is also to look at the special education from a student point of view and clarify, how the need for support is recognized, what kind of challenges does the student with special needs meet and who provides the support and how. The data for this qualitative study was collected by inteviewing 14 upper secondary school students over the age of 18 with special needs. They all studied in the same upper secondary school in southern Finland under the guidance of the same special education teacher. The topic was approached by using phenomenography which enables clarification of variations in individual views and investigates different understandings of reality. Students view on the recognition process of special needs in upper secondary school was based on a reading assesment and diagnostic evaluation done by the special education teacher. The recognition of reading difficulties was a relief for most of the interviewed students. They felt that early recognition gives them more time to benefit from the support. The interviewed students found it hard to work with the subject teachers, because they felt that the teachers could not offer them enough support. The results showed that the amount of the support depends on the attitudes and skills of the subject teacher. Other challenges were problems with concentration, reading difficulties and fatigue. Students found the special education teacher to be the keyperson that provides them support. The new Act on Upper Secondary Education secures everyone´s right to special education and the services of a special education teacher. In the future, special education teachers will have an important role as consultants or intermediators between the students and subject teachers, so that students with special needs get the help they are entitled to.
  • Vainikainen, Mari-Pauliina; Lintuvuori, Meri; Paananen, Maiju; Eskelinen, Mervi; Kirjavainen, Tanja; Hienonen, Ninja; Jahnukainen, Markku; Thuneberg, Helena; Asikainen, Mikko; Suhonen, Eira; Alijoki, Alisa; Sajaniemi, Nina; Reunamo, Jyrki; Keskinen, Hanna-Leena; Hotulainen, Risto (Valtioneuvoston kanslia, 2018)
    Valtioneuvoston selvitys- ja tutkimustoiminnan julkaisusarja
  • Pulkkinen, Jonna; Räikkönen, Eija; Pirttimaa, Raija; Jahnukainen, Markku (2019)
    Recently, the large-scale reforms of special education have been carried out in many countries. This study focuses on the latest Finnish reform of special education in compulsory education. As principals lead educational reforms in schools, their role in the implementation of reform is significant. The study explores principals’ views on the changes in support arrangements after the educational reform. We used latent class analysis to identify the subgroups of principals who share similar views. In addition, we examined the relationship between the subgroups and individual, school, and municipal level factors using multinomial logistic regression analysis. Four subgroups were identified: improved pedagogical support (19% of principals), stability of support (54%), increased administrative support (14%), and weakened support (13%). Work experience as a principal, school size, schools’ resources for special education, and region differentiated these subgroups from one another. Despite nationwide reform, the support arrangements and their changes differed among schools in the opinion of principals. We discuss the implications for the planning and implementation of the educational reforms.
  • Ekstam, Ulrika; Korhonen, Johan; Linnanmäki, Karin; Aunio, Pirjo (2017)
    Teacher efficacy beliefs is an important characteristic to predict instructional quality and the level of cognitive activation and educational support. Since teacher efficacy beliefs are context and domain specific, this study focuses on how special education pre-service teachers' individual interest and subject knowledge in mathematics predict their efficacy beliefs in teaching mathematics. Data were collected from 57 special education pre-service teachers. The results indicated that the individual interest of pre-service teachers has a strong effect on teacher efficacy beliefs, while subject knowledge has only an indirect effect. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Ahtiainen, Raisa; Pulkkinen, Jonna; Jahnukainen, Markku (2021)
    In recent decades, an essential global aim of the reforms of special education has been the promotion of inclusive education. This article discusses the implementation of reforms with a focus on tiered support systems in the context of Finnish comprehensive school education. Based on earlier literature, legislation, and administrative documents, we provide a background for Finnish education policy and special education reforms. The focus of this article is on the description of parallel reforms targeting the re-structuring of the systems around support for students and funding of education in the 2010s. We discuss the processes leading to these reforms and the reforms themselves. In addition, we discuss their implications for the organization of the tiered support system. Finally, we highlight some challenges of reform implementation and the current education policy’s movements towards inclusive education.