E-thesis

Recent Submissions

  • Terho, Simo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Civics became a primary school subject in the new 2014 Finnish National Core Curriculum. This is a significant change, because civics was not included in earlier versions of the curriculum until upper comprehensive school, where it was taught alongside history (history and civics). Now, civics is a separate subject from the 4th grade onwards. In the curriculum reform, the student is considered to have a more central role as a learner than before, which should be reflected in teaching methods. At the same time, educators should also pay attention to the student’s overall development. In the new curriculum this goal is referred to as transversal competence, in line with the Basic Education Act under which the mission of basic education is to contribute to civilization. Multiple major changes in the curriculum form a very complex whole. In the end it is the teacher who decides how civics is taught and how subject-specific goals as well as goals related to transversal competence are taken into account. The theoretical framework of this study indicates that civics-related themes were important in primary school even before the 2014 curriculum. The guidelines for teaching civics are precise as such but they are also broad and open to interpretation. The dynamic between the curriculum and teaching civics in practice and was examined through a qualitative case study. The case study was conducted in a primary school in Helsinki. The main focus was the work of two teachers who teach civics. The goal was to investigate how they choose their teaching methods under the 2014 curriculum and what their insights about the significance of civics as a primary school subject are. The research material was approached by content analysis. According to the results of the study, teachers take into account the policies of the curriculum while emphasizing their professional skills to carry out the teaching work. This applies to the themes explored in civics as well as the teaching methods employed. Central themes in civics include democracy, participation in civil society and life skills. These issues are explored especially through discussion and drama, but traditional teacher-led strategies are used as well.
  • Nakari, Noora (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Teacher well-being has been discussed amongst the professionals and those working in the area for many years now. The phenomena has been widely studied before and numerous studies show for example that the teacher profession is often experienced as stressful and that violence is a factor that decreases well-being significantly in the profession. What makes the subject significant in terms of the society, is that teacher well-being also has an impact on student well-being. The purpose of this study is to portray through the personal experiences of one experienced teacher those factors that have an impact on teacher well-being at work. The study was carried out as as a qualitative research and its methodologial basis was in the hermeneutical and phenomenological approach. Used as the empirical data of the study was a theme interview of one teacher. The theme of the interview was teacher well-being. The gathered data was analyzed using thematising as the data analysis method and more spefically the contextualized approach were the significations produced by the interviewee are tied to a wider frame of reference. From the data and with the help of the chosen frame of reference was searched the elements of physical well-being, emotional well-being, social well-being, well-being in relation of work, well-being related to the working environment and well-being related to the organization. On the basis of the analysis conjugated from the data and the chosen frame of reference teacher well-being was affected in this study by physical well-being, emotional well-being and social well-being as well as by factors related to the well-being in relation of work, the well-being related to the working environment and the well-being related to the organization. As a conclusion from this particular study can be stated that social well-being has a vast impact on the well-being of the teacher in question and more precisely the importance of the relationship between the teacher and collegues is a major factor in teacher well-being at work.
  • Lindström, Alexandra (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Tiivistelmä – Abstrakt – Abstract The Finnish National Core Curriculum for Basic Education 2014 stresses the role of formative assessment in student assessment in basic education. The national curriculum offers some guidelines for how to work with formative assessment, but a lot is left unsaid. The aim of this thesis was to describe how teachers in secondary school view formative assessment and how they experience working with it. The research questions were; 1. What kind of profit do subject teachers feel the formative assessment has? 2. Which methods do subject teachers use in working with formative assessment and how do they experience this work? 3. Which challenges do subject teachers experience in connection to formative assessment? A qualitative research approach was used in this study and the data material was collected through semi-structured research interviews with eight subject teachers working in secondary school. The data sample was a selective one, consisting of teachers that felt that they were to some level working with formative assessment, even if the new national curriculum was not yet put in to effect in secondary school when the material was collected (spring 2017). The data material was analyzed trough content analysis. The results showed that subject teachers considered the profit of formative assessment to have various aspects, they felt that formative assessment functioned as a support tool for instruction and as a way to motivate and activate students. Formative assessment functioned as a support for instruction in providing the teacher with information about the students’ progress and offering the students more feedback and there for helping them perform better. Working with formative assessment was also seen as a chance to motivate students by steering the instruction towards their interest and skills and making sure that everybody received some sort of positive feedback. The teachers also felt that one aim for formative assessment was to activate students and make them understand and take responsibility for their learning. All teachers had worked with self- and peer assessment as methods for formative assessment. They considered peer assessment to be easier to work with because it was easier for the students to give feedback on somebody else’s work than to evaluate their own. Both self- and peer assessment required that the students had some sort of understanding of the criteria for the task they were supposed to give feedback on. The teachers had also worked on making learning intensions and criteria more explicit. This work was appreciated by both teachers and students but the challenge was to find enough time, especially when this required planning together with colleagues. Another method for working with formative assessment was discussing with the students, the discussions could be between teacher and student or a classroom dialog. The teachers experienced general challenges in working with formative assessment to be a lack of time and the need to flexible as a teacher.
  • Lohvansuu, Henriikka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The Finnish school system has long been credited for consistently achieving equality in learning outcomes. However, recent research revealed an emerging segregation, especially within the Helsinki metropolitan area. There has also been frequent discussions revolving around motivation and learning outcomes differences between genders. The connections between motivation factors and mathematical skills have been vastly researched, but disportionately, due to limited research on those in lower primary school. The purpose of this study is to investigate the differences in motivation and mathematical skills between genders and schools. This study also investigates how motivation factors correlates to mathematical skills on primary schools third grade pupils. The motivation factors used in this study are mathematical self-concept and expectancy-value theory fields: intrinsic value, utility value and costs. The data used in this study was collected for the international MathMot investigation project. 215 third grade pupils from four different schools within Helsinki participated in the research. The participants filled out a questionare that measured their mathematical motivation, followed by three different test to measure their mathematical skills. In the analysis non-parametric methods where used: Mann-Whitney U test, Kruskal-Wallis H test, and Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient. Based on the results of this study it can be concluded that there were some differences between schools: intrinsic value, utility value, and costs. There were no differences in mathematical self-concept despite the significant differences in mathematical skills between the schools. Girls tended to show greater interest in mathematics, as well as a higher regard for its usefulness. In comparison, Girls outperformed slightly better in the non-verbal fluid intelligence measuring Ravens test. Self-concept had the strongest relation to mathematical skill.
  • Valmari, Jenni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This study was based on monitoring research project in the municipalities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (MetrOP). The study was attended by 13,500 young people whose school trail was followed from lower to upper secondary education. The aim of the study is to find out what kind of group of students who participated in the MetrOP project, did not continue in upper secondary education after primary school. Research questions were: 1) What kind of group of students was who did not continue to upper secondary education after the lower secondary school in the MetrOP project material? 2) What kind of factors were related to the fact that the studies did not continue in the upper secondary education? What factors were most important? The theoretical background of the research was The Ecology of Human Development - theory by Bronfenbrenner. Material of this study was based on monitoring of the first two phases of the MetrOP study. The first part was collected in schools in the autumn in 2011, when students started a lower secondary education and the second part was collected in the spring in 2014 at the end of the ninth grade. Students performing learning to learn tasks and the questioning of the residential area and social norms concerning it. In addition, they responded to both surveys on welfare and health. The material was analyzed quantitatively using SPSS and Amos- statistical programs. The students who did not become approved upper secondary education and those students who did not take received place were studied separately. Based on this study, the factors impacting continuation of the upper secondary education were attitude towards learning and motivation, future orientation, great point average, need of special education, education of parents, home and residential area and friendship. These factors also included in path model for continuing studies.
  • Gustafsson, Jasmine (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Objectives. Based on the theory behind drama education, the learning potential of drama resides in working in fictional environments. The natural tendency of children to play and imagine is at the center of drama education, so the defining of play and fiction in relation to working in fictional environments were crucial. The aim of the study is to develop and test the Fictional Work Meter, which can be used to examine the different aspects of working in fiction on drama lessons; fictitious realities and fictional roles, planning fiction, ways of creating fictional environments, the clarity between fiction and reality, and the pupils’ commitment to working in fiction. The study also examines the level of fictional work on eight 1-3 grade drama lessons using the Fictional Work Meter. Methods. This study is a qualitative case study using the numerical analysis of the Fictional Work Meter that is based on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) classroom observation tool. The eight filmed drama lessons used in the research were analyzed both verbally and in numerical values in the different categories of fictional work. The reliability of the research results was enhanced by making the analysis in co-operation with another analysist. Results and conclusions. The Fictional Work Meter developed for this study was well suited for analyzing the various aspects of working in fiction on drama lessons in the research material. All the analyzed drama lessons contained either moderate (4-5) or high (6-7) levels of working in fiction. Based on the high values, it could be assumed that teachers specialized in drama teaching were able to use fictional work on their drama lessons. The positive attitude and high intensity of the students towards working in fictitious reality supported the assumption. A result of this study was also the creation of a design template to raise the level of working in fiction on drama lessons.
  • Metsäaho, Netta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The Big Wheel education reform, downsizing and restructuring processes has left the university of Helsinki in a confused state. The goal of this study was to better understand the reasons and justification of the Big Wheel and to examine the process as part of a neoliberal university scene. In this context, neoliberal university is seen as an institution driven by global economic and market forces. Neoliberal universities emphasize on global markets, individual freedom of selection, degrees based on expectations set by working life and resource-efficient practices. In this study I will examine the discourses and speech of the reasons and justification of the Big Wheel. My research tasks are 1) What are the reasons and justifications for the Big Wheel education reform? and 2) What discourses are produced in the speech on reasons and justifications. I collected the data on Flamma, which is the intranet of University of Helsinki. My data consisted of all the bulletins and materials that dealt with the Big Wheel reform (N=32). As my research approach, I chose discourse analysis that I utilised in constructing the discourses. By discourses, I mean different manners of speaking, that are used in construing a social reality. I analysed the data and construed three hegemonic discourses. The dimensions of the discourse of internationality are recruiting best students, renewing marketing, profiling (University of) Helsinki and attractive education programs. The discourse of effectiveness composes of resource-wise planning, perfusion of students and freedom of choice. The discourse of employability is about the employability of degrees, know-how based degrees and taking into consideration the changing working-life. The fourth discourse, the discourse of knowledge as an instrumental value, summarized the first three and was seen throughout the data. According to this study one can conclude that the Big Wheel education reform produces and reproduces neoliberal university policies.
  • Tuominen, Moona (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The framework for this study comes from Carol Dweck’s (2000, 2006) findings of two different mindsets: growth mindset and fixed mindset. A person with a growth mindset believes human qualities are malleable and a person with a fixed mindset believes skills and intelligence are set. Although there have been lots of studies about mindsets, most of them are quantitative. The aim of this study is to examine how mindsets are presented in teacher’s pedagogical thinking and which mindsets actualize in teaching practices in a first grade classroom. This qualitative case study examined a first grade teacher’s, Anne’s, mindsets in Helsinki University Viikki Normal School. The teacher was selected based on a mindset survey. The data of this study included a preliminary interview, observation, and videotaping and stimulated recall interviews. The analysis was done using a deductive content analysis. The results suggest that Anne’s mindset related to learning in her pedagogical thinking was towards a growth mindset but had features of a fixed mindset. In her pedagogical thinking, a growth mindset appeared as seeing contextual factors as main predictors in students learning and recognizing and supporting students as individuals. A fixed mindset appeared in Anne’s pedagogical thinking as seeing students’ temperament as one predictor in students’ learning. Anne’s teaching practices emphasized a growth mindset, but had also features of a fixed and a neutral mindset. A growth mindset became apparent in mastery-oriented atmosphere, fostering learning goals and praising processes. A fixed mindset was present in teaching by avoiding failures and highlighting success. A neutral mindset was identified as non-verbal praising in Anne’s teaching practices. As the results propose, Anne’s mindset varied between situations. This implicates the need of more precise studies of mindsets and their actualization in authentic environments. Only qualitative research will provide the opportunity to deeply understand how mindsets vary between situations and what is the impact on teaching, studying and learning in the classroom.
  • Lemmetty, Taru (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    There has been a decline in the interest of children and the young in natural sciences. This phenomenon is worrying because it is known that interest affects learning and performing in science positively. Teaching methods have an impact on interest. This research will focus on science camps that are non-formal science education environments. The study describes the interestingness of the teaching methods used in biology science camps from a child's perspective. The study also investigates the development needs of the activities and the tutors’ own development during the camps. In the summer of 2016, the BioPop class of the LUMA science education center organized six biology science camps for two age groups of children: 7–9 years old and 10–12 years old. The material of the research was collected from these science camps, while the researcher herself was a tutor of the science camps. The research material consisted of questionnaires for campers (N=99) and tutors (N=8). The campers evaluated the interestingness of the activities on the Flechen-scale from 1 to 5, and filled out open-ended questions about what they ‘liked’ and what they did ‘not like’ in the camps. In addition, the tutors evaluated the interestingness and development needs of the activities, and their own development as tutors. The material was analyzed by using simple statistical key figures. It was analyzed by Mann-Whitney U-test whether gender or previous participation in BioPop camps had any effect on the interestingness of the activities. The open-ended questions were analyzed by theory-based content analysis. The campers were very interested in the activities – lab assignments and experiments, outdoor education, plays and nature videos were the most interesting activities. The results of the research supported previous studies of the relationship between teaching methods and interest in teaching natural sciences: for children, functional, inquiry-based and interactive teaching methods were the most interesting. Child’s sense of autonomy, optimal challenge and novelty of the activities seemed to be central to children's interest. There were significant differences between the camps in the interestingness of some activities: activities gained mostly higher interest rates on the second camp week than the first. One possible explanation for this is the development of the activity guidance, in which the tutors think they had advanced during the camps. Especially in the older age group, inquiry-based, pupil-centered and interactive activities were the most interesting among children. The younger age group was more interested in independent and teacher-led activities compared to the older age group. Girls were more interested in independent and teacher-led activities than boys. The results of the research can be utilized in the future when developing science camps more inquiry-based, pupil-centered and interactive learning environments of science education.
  • Huttunen, Tytti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The 2001 PISA results have acted as an accelerator of positive reputation of Finnish education globally. Now Finland is taking steps to make its education to an exportable education product. The aim of this master's thesis is to examine how Finnish education is referred to as an export product and how it is justified. The aim was to critically examine the educational export discourse and to deepen the discussion on the Finnish education export. Comparative education perspective offers tools to examine the Finnish education export, in analyzing the transfer of educational practices from one context to another. In addition, international literature on the internationalization of education and on the development of Finnish education contextualize the thesis. The case representing Finnish education export was a Finnish learning concept Yrityskylä, which is a learning module for sixth and ninth graders. The research data was collected by interviewing the participants involved in Yrityskylä’s internationalization. Along with the interviews, the data consisted of observation and documents related to the internalization project. The data was analyzed by operating with critical discourse analysis. The aim of the discourse analysis was to come out from the case, to look more extensively on the discourses of Finnish education exports and to reveal assumptions and common truths in the speech of Finnish education exports. As a result of the thesis, four discourses were constructed, which justify and describe the Finnish educational export speech and discussion. The discourses were the discourse of Finnish quality, the discourse of global necessity, the discourse of the potential of productization, and the discourse of innovative solutions. Based on the thesis, Finnish education export is presented without critical examination of the culture and context of the recipient country. Finnish education is presented as an excellent concept that does not need an explanation. Finnish education export is seen as an untapped potential and productization is presented as a solution. Finnish education export rely on the Finnish curriculum, but the actual products are presented as innovations, outside the traditional school.
  • Laulajainen, Katja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Aim. Teachers’ coping and well-being at work has been discussed recently in school communities as well as in the media and the approach has mostly been negative. It is important to also research the positive side of well-being at work. The purpose of this study was to examine what factors are the most important for well-being of class teachers together with how class teachers experience work engagement and whether the experiences differ in different stages of the career. The objective was to examine newly graduated and experienced teachers’ well-being at work and work engagement. The assumption was that the results would differ from each other between these two groups. Methods. The study was a qualitative research. The research data consisted of individual interviews with four newly graduated and four experienced teachers. The interviews were semi-structured and were collected in Spring 2017. Data from the interviews was analysed by using thematic analysis. Results. Class teachers found the work community, work and working, the physical working environ-ment, their own health and attitudes as well as leisure time to be important factors for their well-being at work. Work community was a particularly important factor for newly graduated teachers. Pupils, work community and the chance to influence on their own job were the most important factors that produced work engagement. For the newly graduated class teachers the work community was the key factor in being able to experience work engagement. Things that teachers felt hard were the factors that challenged work engagement. The work engagement manifested itself as a desire to learn and develop, enjoyment at work and co-operation. Teachers also experienced the three dimensions of work engagement: vigor, dedication and absorption. Experiencing work engagement can be seen positively related to well-being at work. For teachers' well-being at work, it is important that teachers have enough resources in their work.
  • Kiviaho, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Objective of the study. The objective of this Master’s thesis is to study the experiences and views of class teachers on recess activity. The thesis also aims to discuss about the factors that motivates the teachers to arrange and enable recess activity for the students. Also the resources that teachers utilize to motivate and engage students in recess activity are explored. Methods. The material for this study was acquired during spring 2017 by interviewing three class teachers from a school located in southern Finland. The material was analysed by using qualitative content analysis. The material was categorized into different categories according to the themes emerging from the material. Results and discussion. According to the class teachers are provided with a variety of tools and ideas for promoting their physical activity during recess. Teachers also felt that longer recess allowed the students to engage in the physical activity in more depth. They also emphasized that one of the objectives for recess activity is to support self-determination of the students so that the recess activity becomes more peer-directed instead teacher-directed. Teachers found students to be the main source of their motivation. Enthusiastic attitude towards activities and self-determination of the students enhanced the motivation of the teachers to provide recess activities. However, students were also one of the factors that decreased the motivation of the teachers. Bad attitude and misbehaving of the students lessened the motivation. Colleagues were found both increase and decrease the motivation of the class teachers. Teachers used variety of methods to motivate students. Encouraging the students to get involved in activities was considered the most important method. Also the lifestyle and the experiences of the teachers were regarded to have an impact on teachers’ readiness to activate and motivate students.
  • Pekkala, Sannukka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Immigration has increased in the capital region of Finland. It is predicted that the number of immigrants will continue to rise in the future. Nature and green areas are easy to be found in Finland, also in the capital region. Previous studies have shown that nature can enhance psychological, physiological and social well-being. However, we know little about the relation between nature, integration and immigrants’ well-being. In addition, it remains unclear how immigrants relate to nature, and what nature means for people from different cultures. The purpose of this thesis was to describe, analyze and interpret the meaning of nature for eight immigrants living in the capital region. One of the goals of this thesis was to analyze how immigrants would see nature as a place for enhancing well-being, and that way, possibly support the process of integration. This study was carried out as a case study research in August-September 2016. The participants were eight adult immigrants living in the capital region. The participants’ ages varied between 30 to 55 years and they had lived in Finland from 2 to 12 years. This thesis included theme interviews and three guided nature walks in the capital region. The data consisted of theme interviews done before the nature walks and feedback forms filled in the end of the last walk. The data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis. According to the content analysis, the immigrants seemed to have mainly positive and everyday relation to nature. Immigrants also told that moving to Finland had had an impact on their relation to nature by waking it up or making it stronger. Nature close by was thought to be a meaningful place for rest and relaxation, and a significant source of day-to-day well-being. According to immigrants, moving in and learning about nature could have a positive impact for the integration process by supporting social and cultural integration, enhancing well-being, and introducing new places. Participants also brought up that both cultural and practical topics related to nature could be more significant part of the integration education.
  • Kinnunen, Auli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Goals. The goal of this study was to find out what thoughts and opinions special education teachers have about the informal term school fitness and its use when talking about elementary school pupils with mental symptoms. The second goal was to find out what experiences the teachers have with these pupils, and what it is like to teach them. The third goal was to find out how the teachers perceive the methods the schools can have in place for supporting the wellbeing of the pupils, and how the schools could reduce the strain and stress that these pupils face. Methods. This was a qualitative study with material consisting of three parts. The first part came from a discussion thread dealing with the topics of this study in the Erkkamaikat (special education teachers) group on Facebook. The second and most central part of the material consisted of five semi structured interviews with special education teachers. Three of the interviewees were found through the Erk-kamaikat Facebook group, one through the author's own network, and one was a participant in the training for Vaativa erityinen tuki (Challenging special needs support) at the University of Helsinki. Two lectures from this training form the third part of the study material. The three components of the material were partly handled separately, and partly as a unified whole based on content analysis and discourse analysis. Results and conclusions. The teachers considered school fitness mostly as a good and descriptive term, and it appeared that most of the teachers used the term naturally when talking about pupils with mental symptoms. The teachers felt both helpless and hopeful. When feeling helpless, they for example wished to move the responsibility elsewhere, and felt concern for the other pupils. According to the teachers, pupils with challenging behavior are often stressed and overstrained. The teachers felt hopeful when talking about methods and ideas to support the wellbeing of the pupils. They reflected on the structure and culture of the school, and the teachers thought that the school should expand more to cover overall wellbeing instead of concentrating on only subject teaching. They also thought that the schools should increase the cooperation between different sections for supporting the wellbeing of the pupils.
  • Turjama, Toni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Goals. My master’s thesis’ goal is trough interviews to clarify young amateur musicians’ views on inspiring pupils towards music and encouraging music hobby in elementary school music education. The focus is on reflecting interviewees’ own experiences on elementary school music education and music as a hobby, and through these reflections to find thoughts and ideas that could be applied in elementary school music education. Another goal is to clarify interviewees’ own experiences on learning, composing and improvising music, and how these experiences could be applied to music education. Methods. I did an interview study by interviewing four young adult amateur musicians. My interviewing method was qualitative semi-structured theme interview. Interviews themes were connected to my theoretic framework. Interviewees narrated their experiences, views and ideas based on three themes. From transcribed interviews I analysed the substantive contents and connected them to the theoretic framework. Results and conclusion. The interviews showed that rich and versatile music-making is important in inspiring pupils towards music and encouraging music as a hobby. It is also important to know pupils’ skills. Activities outside classroom were seen important as well by the interviewees, especially band practicing. According to interviewees, learning music tracks by listening is challenging but possible. In their mind, dividing class into groups, thorough preparing to activities and instruments as well as simplifying the tasks are important factors in learning music by listening. Also goals in learning should be suitably challenging. Interviewees’ thoughts on composing and improvisation in music education were similar with learning by listening. Interviewees also thought that composing and improvisation are closely connected to each other. According to interviewees, learning by listening, composing and improvisation in music education makes learning more meaningful to pupils, and inspires them towards music and encourages music as a hobby.