Käyttäytymistieteellinen tiedekunta

 

Recent Submissions

  • Benjamin, Saija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This qualitative PhD study examines the lived experiences of eight young individuals who moved from one country to another several times during their childhood because of their parents’ profession, hence the term hypermobility in the title. As international, work-based mobility is increasing, it is of critical importance to observe how it affects childhood in general and how the children experience it in particular. The various socio-emotional aspects related to children’s hypermobility – often overlooked in discourses surrounding internationalization – are examined. This interdisciplinary study is situated in the field of intercultural education and guided by the following research question: How do children relocating with their families experience hypermobility? The data were gathered in Prague in 2013 with one-to-one semi-structured interviews that were conducted in English with eight youths (13 to 17 years old) who had moved internationally several times during their childhood and who had a “mixed” parental heritage. The interviews were complemented with self-chosen photographs and a life-grid. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA, Smith, Flowers & Larkin 2009) was used as the methodological and analytical framework for the study. Four master themes emerged from the analysis as the predominant topics regarding the informants’ experiences of hypermobility. The themes disclose 1) the pervasive feelings of ephemerality and uncertainty outlining the youths’ everyday lives and relationships, 2) the different strategies the youths’ deploy to cope with the psychological strain related to the major life changes, 3) the ways the youths resort to multivoiced biographical narratives as a way to understand and describe the self, and 4) the feelings of connectedness that are grounded in self-created imageries, personal memories and (trans-generational) family narratives. In addition to the master themes, the role of international schools is discussed as significant in the youths’ identity and worldview development and as an environment where the youths’ complex life trajectories are normalized and validated. The rising calls for closed borders and nationalism necessitate increasing awareness of the diverse ways of being and belonging in societies and communities. Although based on a small sample of informants, this study opens a window for examining one way of inhabiting this world through the experiences of young mobile individuals. The findings enhance the current understanding of what it is like to grow up in the midst of international relocations in a world predominantly defined by sedentary norms and majority. The study’s conclusions should also prove to be particularly valuable to parents who consider or pursue an international career and for educators who work in schools with a high student turnover. Keywords: youth, third culture kids, international mobility, expatriates, international education
  • Kilasi, Doward (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Students’ mathematical identity, referring to students’ context-based narratives about their mathematical self-perceptions, has recently received researchers’ increased attention in mathematics education because, as a construct, it offers a broader socially engaging perspective for analysing the role of these perceptions and socio-cultural factors that shape them. While previous studies have mostly examined students in ‘Western’ schools who do not vary greatly in their mathematical and socio-economic backgrounds compared to students in Tanzanian schools, this study focused on a Tanzanian mathematics classroom whose students varied greatly in these backgrounds. The study applied socio-cultural and socio-psychological perspectives to examine the features and development of these students’ mathematical identity. An ethnographic approach was used to collect and analyse data on the students’ mathematical identity and conditions affecting its development at home, in school, and in the classroom. Students’ narratives provided insights into context-specific features of mathematical identity and patterns of identity development. Also, observations of the school and mathematics classroom, review of official documents, and open-ended questionnaires generated data for contextualising students’ identity narratives.Data analysis resulted in multiple mathematical identities. While positive identities of Innate ability, Persistent effort, and Image-maintenance characterised students’ engagement in mathematical activities, the negative mathematical identity of Oppositional identity was accompanied by the students’ tendency to refrain from these activities. The study further showed that each type of mathematical identity had a distinct pattern of mathematical experiences. Overall, positive mathematical identities were associated with more supportive previous mathematical experiences compared to the negative identity. Contextual factors such as teachers and parents positively or negatively shaped these experiences. The study suggests that teaching strategies that enable students to exercise their agency may not be enough to promote students’ mathematical identities. It is also important to understand how students have experienced mathematics and how they perceive their future relationship with mathematics, and support them accordingly. ________________________________________ Keywords: mathematical identity, positive mathematical identity, negative mathematical identity, mathematical experiencing, contextual factors
  • Kukkoaho, Silja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    FROM INVISIBLE TO VISIBLE - ENCOUNTERING SHY STUDENTS IN THE CONTEXT OF SECONDARY SCHOOL The pedagogical work of a teacher in an upper comprehensive school contains diverse elements, such as educating the students, evaluating their performances, and teaching subject-related matters.All students must be treated and evaluated in an equal and conscientious manner.In some cases, a few of the students may turn out to be invisible,especially the shy ones.That might occur if the learning group is large or challenging.The aim of this research is to explore shyness as it is reflected through both students’ and teachers’ personal experiences, to better understand shyness as a phenomenon in the school context.The increased awareness of shyness and its interaction in the classroom can strengthen the skills to encounter both shy and variously dissimilar students with multiple pedagogical procedures.If the awareness of shyness has come to a teacher’s attention, she or he could also contribute to the students’ reciprocal dignity in diversities. This research is a qualitative case study and its approach is narrative.The data was collected at two comprehensive schools in Southern Finland and among several informant groups including subject teachers and students from the 9th grade.The methods used are narrative focus-group interviews for subject teachers and empathy based writing assignments for the 9th graders.As a result of the narrative focus-group interview, two main aspects were extracted. Firstly, the phenomenon of shyness in subject teachers’ experiences appeared as otherness in the social behavior of a shy student and as a lack of him/her being encountered by others, and by teaching arrangements.Secondly, the school community appeared to be either a promoting or wounding environment for the shy student over time. The next phase of this study presented the ethical nature of caring for and about students.It explored the data of the teacher’s focus group interviews anew for finding pedagogical acts and procedures, the purpose of which the teachers had employed it.The aim was to promote the shy students in order to reach the curriculum targets in certain circumstances.The promoting acts of the teachers were: reading body language, treating the student tactfully and sensitively, protecting them from harm or shameful situations,and operating against the school norms. The third phase of this study focused on clarifying what interaction,as a shy student or with a shy one,in the home-economics classroom is like.The outcomes proved the new social situation to be intimidating for the shy students in a new group.They also described their social behavior as being distinct in that position.The aforementioned aroused diversity between the students or,alternatively,was defused.Absent dialogue inhering in shyness was considered unpleasant and as hindering the fluent teamwork.If the shy student positioned the others as having unpredictable behavior,or was not encountered by others, she/he turned out to feel loneliness and unhappiness afterwards. The group mates also felt frustration and were displeased.On the contrary, if the shy one was encountered in an emphatic manner and, as a result, participated in teamwork, despite being highly tense,the otherness was displaced with cooperation. The results suggest that schools should routinely maintain a conversation of the questions and challenges confronted by teachers as well as the ethical grounds and values of pedagogical work.Also knowledge of temperament is proposed to be increased for pre- and in-service teacher training. Furthermore,improving the skills of the students in interaction is also in focus now when the National Curriculum presumes the agency of students not merely in home economics, but in all school subjects and activities. KEY WORDS:shyness,pedagogical encountering,interaction of students,pedagogical acts,narrative focus group interview, empathy based method,home economics
  • Koivisto, Jaana-Maija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The aim of this study was to obtain knowledge about learning clinical reasoning through game-based simulation. This knowledge could be used in developing and embedding new learning methods for clinical reasoning in nursing education. Research has shown that nursing students lack knowledge and skills in detecting and managing changes in patients’ clinical conditions. This is often due to insufficient clinical reasoning, and thus, educational organisations need to more effectively enable the development of clinical reasoning during education. Digitalisation in higher education is increasing, and the use of virtual simulations and, recently, serious games to support professional learning and competence development is growing. The purpose of this research was to generate design principles for simulation games and to design and develop a simulation game for learning clinical reasoning. Furthermore, the purpose was to investigate nursing students learning through gaming. A design-based research methodology was used: iterative cycles of analysis, design, development, testing and refinement were conducted via collaboration among researchers, nurse educators, students, programmers, 3D artist and interface designers in a real-world setting. Mixed research methods were used. The results indicated that games used to provide significant learning experiences for nursing students need to share some of the characteristics of leisure games, especially visual authenticity, immersion, interactivity and feedback systems. In terms of the clinical reasoning process, students improved in their ability to take action and collect information. The findings showed that usability, application of nursing knowledge and exploration are the aspects of a simulation game that have the greatest impact on learning clinical reasoning. It was also revealed that authentic patient-related experiences, feedback and reflection have an indirect effect on learning clinical reasoning. This study provided opportunities to advance our knowledge of nursing students’ learning processes and experiences of learning clinical reasoning through game-based simulation. Its results add to the growing body of literature on game development in the field of nursing education by providing design principles for educational simulation games. The present study confirms previous findings and contributes additional evidence that suggests that game-based simulations are a valuable learning method for healthcare education. However, in order for serious games to add value to healthcare education, the essence of the profession needs to be built into the game, and here the contribution of healthcare professionals is priceless.
  • Zhao, Pei (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This doctoral study aims principally to reflect and investigate Finnish and Chinese education with information and communication technologies (ICTs) especially at the fields of arts and culture. Finland has a reputation as one of the top education and research systems in the world and is also highly recognized in arts, design and ICT use in education. China has been reforming the education system especially in the areas of ICT, media and arts, as the educational informatization process has been an important part of education reforms during last ten years. Digital culture and online resources link individuals with similar interests and make possible modes of learning and communicating that differ from conventional schooling. The increasing use of digital technologies in everyday life has generated the need for renewing perspectives and approaches in the development of education and pedagogical methods and models in both countries. This study has some resemblance to comparative studies, but the viewpoint is more a matter of reflecting than comparing. A theoretical literature review has been done for each paper. Document analyses and interviews are the main data collection methods in this dissertation. The empirical case study method has been used as well to investigate the teachers’ digital literacy in both one Finnish kindergarten and one Chinese kindergarten. Documentary analysis is the main methodology in the reflection and analysis of government policy and strategy. In this dissertation, I reported and analysed the Finnish and Chinese ICT education policies and strategies, and designed a study to compare Finnish and Chinese kindergarten teachers’ digital literacy in teaching. I also studied Chinese arts teachers’ digital literacy and the usage of ICT in secondary schools. Beside those aspects, I have also investigated Google Art Project and Finna as cultural online resources and pondered the pedagogical functions of arts and cultural-heritage education within online art galleries and museums. Both countries promote informatization and digitalization processes in education. The informatization of Chinese education focuses on the progress towards an information society, and the effective use of ICTs. However, in Finland, digitalization emphasizes transformation to a new media ecology, which covers digital business, digital culture and media. Goverment’s ICT policies and strategies are important factors in teachers using digital technology and media in education. But simply incorporating more technology into teaching and learning does not go far enough in ensuring that children and young people are equipped to deal with the future and social change. In this study, the differences between arts teachers’ digital literacy in Finland and China were reflected, and mainly considered with one factor, which affects it – the respective governments’ policy and strategies. It is important to realize that these two aspects, state policies and strategies and teachers’ digital literacy, are not independent but interrelated. The focus and accent of government’s strategies have a notable effect on education reform. This study suggests some recommendations for policy makers for future education reform from the point of view of informatization and digitalization.
  • Lampi, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The study examines what kind of future children and adolescents living in Finland, Tanzania, Great Britain, Ghana and India (N=509) imagine for themselves. In my longitudinal study, I examine children’s drawings over a six-year period. The cross-sectional study focuses on identifying the common factors among the drawings from children of the same age, collected at the same time in the same country as well internationally. In addition I study the things that are important to teenagers finishing their basic education. Futures studies is by definition always multi-disciplinary, and so is my approach to the study in hand. It also makes use of nomadic method to adduce self-reflection, especially on themes that have to do with human rights. The data was collected over ten years. A qualitative analysis of these drawings and of mind maps, interviews and Facebook postings on how children see their future was conducted using ATLAS.ti and Excel programs, which also provided quantitative results. The interviews were recorded on video and transcribed. The analysis focuses on the themes expressed in the drawings instead of analyzing them from an artistic or psychological point of view. These drawings of the future reveal what the other school assignments are not able to show. The longitudinal study proved that continuity can be found in an individual adolescent’s dreams and plans about the future in Finland but not so much in Tanzania. Among the Finnish children who were finishing their elementary school (n=64), social values and values connected to power and wealth proved to be the most popular. In Tanzanian cases, the influence of the television, the Internet, and also the relationship with their Finnish friendship school were seen. The Africans and the Indians drew human figures that were more plump, and the Westerners had much more variety in their professional plans and hobbies. The most popular future professions were doctor, teacher and professional football player. Football was an important common denominator; every fifth child had written about or drawn it in their pictures. The adolescents were more conservative than liberal in their views on gender roles and in their dreams considering work and free time. More than half of the Westerners expressed a wish to live abroad. In addition, especially boys from Finland and Britain drew fewer elements of nature in their pictures than others. Among the data, 64% of the children dreamed of having children of their own, most commonly mentioning one child. Many of the Indian children wished for one son, and none of them mentioned wishing for more than two children. A life partner was found in 41% of the drawings, most commonly in the Ghanaian data (over 90%) and least commonly in the Finnish data (under 35%). The most popular animal was dog, followed by chicken. Of those, who did not take the assignments seriously, the majority was Finnish boys, and they also expressed more violence or negativity on their future compared to others. In conclusion, drawings of the future can be used in schools as a motivational, low-expense and universal tool to support the knowledge of the students, to develop student welfare services, and to support an eco-social approach to well-being, education on global and future issues and interdisciplinary cooperation. The key factor is the dialogue between the educator and student taking place after the assignment. Key words: futures studies, nomadic studies, image of the future, future education, values, student welfare services, inclusion
  • Korhonen, Tiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    In this study, possibilities of using digital technology, the actual use of technology, and experiences of technology use in the home and school partnership are studied in the context of digitalization of the society. From a pragmatic viewpoint, information about the use of digital technology in home and school collaboration is built through collaborative development activity between the participating teachers, students and parents and through their experiences of the activity. The research and development process was implemented – following key principles in home and school partnership, innovation diffusion and design research – in collaboration between the researcher and the teachers, parents and students of an elementary school during the 2009-2010 school year and the fall term of 2010. A total of 20 teachers, 47 students and 69 parents took part in the research and development activity. The researchers’ development-oriented partnership with the teachers, students and parents played a key role in the research and development process. Guided through the process by the researcher, the students, teachers and parents brainstormed and designed innovations on the use of digital technology in home and school collaboration as well as tested the innovations in school practice. The material collected during the study was analyzed inductively through qualitative content analysis. A material database developed using relational database software facilitated processing and analysis of the large and varied study material, flexible linking of analysis categories, and visualization of multi-dimensional study results. The main result of the study, a model of digital partnership, shows that digital technology can be used in versatile ways to support participation, learning and informing in home school collaboration. However, realizing the support requires attention on 1) practices, 2) resources and, 3) agency related to the use of technology. For teachers, students and parents to experience the use of digital technology in home and school collaboration as motivating, efficient, reachable and reliable, attention should be placed on the practices of digital technology use: support, rules, responsibilities, and the opportunity to jointly improve the practices. Resources, consisting of available equipment and software, user skills, available time, coping, and attitudes also have an impact on forming the digital partnership. The third building block in the digital partnership, agency, empowers every actor at the school level: the teacher, the student and the parent, to participate in and feel being part of the partnership – while paying attention to the needs of each actor, their common goals and collaborative improvement. The digital partnership model shows that at its best the use of digital technology can enrich the collaboration between home and school and create completely new opportunities in supporting learning, participation and information delivery. Digital technology will not replace face-to-face interaction but enables new practices that align with the needs and goals of 21st century homes and schools. The digital partnership model allows study of current digital practices in home and school collaboration as well as invites discussion on the practices from the viewpoint of possibilities in digitalization, home and school partnership and collaborative development.
  • Saadatmand, Mohsen (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This dissertation focuses on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which have emerged and heralded as new online learning environments able to serve large numbers of students. Identifying two main types of MOOCs known as connectivist MOOCs (cMOOCs) and instructivist MOOCs (xMOOCs), emphasis is placed on the learning ecology of connectivist MOOCs and how the format, with all of its attention on learner-centered pedagogy and social media invite collaboration and networking. The thesis provides detailed analysis and description of learners’ experiences and perceptions of participation and their use of online tools and resources in the process of learning and networking. CMOOCs promote the ideals of re-structuring the spaces of learning from classrooms to open networked ecologies that enable learners to have greater control over their learning experiences, content, and use of technologies. The study builds on the theoretical foundations of networked learning and connectivism that undergird the affordances of technology in promoting connectedness among learners, resources, networks and communities. The investigations into personalized learning and ecological learning design shed light on the significant role of learners and acknowledge their autonomy in creating their learning environments. The study employed and developed “online ethnography” to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of learning in cMOOCs from the perspectives of learners themselves. Data were gathered from several MOOCs over a five-year period through participant observation, interviews, open-ended questions, surveys, and online artifacts. The findings demonstrate that cMOOCs are learner-centered ecologies in which learners participate in the flow and generation of knowledge by creating and sharing content through networked technologies such as blogs, wikis, Twitter, and Facebook. Developing a personal learning environment (PLE) in cMOOCs enhances learner autonomy and creates a space for them to aggregate, remix, repurpose content, reflect, and share their learning experiences. Additionally, the results indicate that participation in cMOOCs requires learners to assume active roles in a spirit of openness in forming their learning experiences and networking activities; to develop digital competence to manage the abundance of resources. Theoretical understandings and empirical evidence of the sub-studies helped delineate cMOOCs as an open networked learning ecology that positions a learner at the intersection of personalized and networked situations to foster processes of self-directed learning and connectedness in open online contexts. The study contributes to the knowledge and pedagogy of open networked learning and provides insights to help universities, course designers, MOOC providers, instructors, and participants improve online learning experiences.
  • Paananen, Maiju (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The emergent knowledge on early brain development together with the aims related to knowledge economy have turned international focus and hopes towards early childhood education. At the same time, increasing economic pressures have been posed to providers of early childhood education. As a result, managerial trends in both private and public organizations have strengthened and governance has, to some extent, been shifted to statistical and outcome-based. This kind of focus has been called the era of accountability. It is not clear, what kind of early childhood education the era of accountability produces. Moreover, we need new tools for examining the formation of everyday life at preschools in this era which is marked by transnational flow of ideas. The arguments posed in this dissertation draw upon the analyses of data from four different scales: from international documents, national docu-ments, interviews of local actors and ethnographic data from preschools. This thesis draws upon ontological premises of social materialism for building a conceptual framework for the study of formation of every day practices within institutions. I argue that these practices are formed in the interplay of governing instruments and discourses concerning the societal roles of early childhood education. Furthermore, to understand the formation of the governing instruments and discourses concerning the societal roles of early childhood education there is a need to take into account both transna-tional and national trajectories of policy and governance. The findings of this dissertation study show that the discourses of the societal roles of early childhood education which are entangled with governance instruments formulate the every day practices of preschools. The findings suggest that outcome-based governance fits ill with the early child-hood education s aims of social justice. The era of accountability the discourses and the governance tools related to it transforms the societal roles of early childhood education. All in all, the findings underline that it is useful to examine early child-hood education by integrating micro- and macro-level analysis; this dissertation study argues for an approach on research which takes into account the transnationality of policy trajectories. Furthermore, a basic premise of the application of these findings is that the tools of governing have always unintended consequences. In order to meet the demand of accountability, the evaluation of early childhood education cannot be reduced to examination of simple outcome-based quantitative indicators. The study concludes with suggestions for avenues of further research.
  • Tammi, Tuure (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    In this thesis, I draw two maps. The first considers how to conceptualize a political process as a phenomenon entangled with everyday life. I drew the second map within the first to consider how political issues could be grasped in the school context by means of democratic discussion and decision-making. The thesis consists of four articles and a discussion. Besides reviewing the findings of the articles, I think with them in order to open directions for further experimentations and conceptualizations. Article I considers children s everyday citizenship in relation to the recent school struggles with mold and the questions regarding indoor air problems in schools. The article explores children s citizenship through considering the power relations between children and adults, children s peer activities, and bodies. When thinking with the article, I consider indoor air problems as a rhizome of human and non-human actors in which also various childhoods are being lived. Article II explores an action research project aimed at developing deliberative communication in a third grade classroom in order to consider some of the questions related to the organizing and unfolding of democratic experiments in elementary classrooms. Besides providing pupils a forum to discuss issues that mattered to them, doing classroom democracy also affected the teacher and the researcher in that they began to ponder the purposes of schooling and to listen to various persuading voices regarding this purpose. Article III explores forces and power relations in the context of citizen juries practiced within schools. It does this through thinking with experiences voiced by the students who participated in these experiments. The article zooms into the students experiencing of participation and empathy, deliberative space and effectiveness. In thinking with the article, I draw connections to affect theories in order to consider the entanglement of the emotional and cognitive aspects of deliberative communication. In addition, I problematize the idea of research as a way of representing students voices. Article IV zooms into the dynamics of interactions and communication, and the unfolding of power relations within one democratic meeting in an elementary school classroom. The findings suggest that it is possible to practice deliberative communication in elementary classroom to explore issues that matter to the members of the class. However, while thinking with the article, I asked what else might be emerging together with deliberative communication, in silences and swarming. I conceptualize the political with concepts of territorialization and contagiousness, among others. Territorialization is spatiotemporal drawing of borders but also an outlining of new directions. Contagiousness orients towards the affective registers of communication, the entanglement of the emotional and cognitive, and towards the processes of affecting and becoming affected in a broader sense. In order to situate the human within its surroundings, I consider the concept of withizenship instead of citizenship. Finally, I ask questions regarding thinking and doing research.
  • Rättyä, Kaisu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Grammar teaching and the meaning of grammar in L1 education often inspires different arguments and opinions in Finland and abroad, whereas concrete, data-based researches on grammar teaching methods are rare. This research aims to extend existing knowledge about grammar teaching. Representing subject matter didactics, my research focuses on two teaching methods in grammar teaching: languaging and visualisations. The aim of the research is also to create theoretical understanding of what constitutes meaningful grammar teaching. This research follows an educational design research (EDR) strategy and features a theory-oriented point of view. The article-based dissertation consists of five articles. The first three focus on teaching experiments in class teacher education and the collection of information on student teachers conceptual knowledge of word classes and sentence constituents through languaging and visualisations. The fourth article discusses languaging and functional grammar teaching methods in the framework of subject matter didactics, teaching methods and teaching objectives. Finally, the fifth article studies the relationship between grammar teaching and literacy exercises in eighth-graders exam answers. This research examines what languaging exercises reveal about what students know and how they apply word classes and sentence constituents, what visualisation exercises tell about what students know regarding word classes and sentence constituents and how the use of a languaging approach and visualisation methods can be explained theoretically. The data examples demonstrate what students' languaging can reveal about their conceptual knowledge. This information on students' conceptual under-standing is combined with theoretical knowledge of learning concepts. The development of teaching methods is based on findings as to how students mix linguistic concepts, how definitions of concepts are reduced, how conceptual categories are incomplete or partial and how this affects problem solving. Even strategies that fail to solve problems are taken into account here. In theoretical phases of EDR, conceptual change theory, constructive alignment, meaningful learning, pedagogical content knowledge and learning objectives have strengthened the knowledge of plausible teaching methods. Applying conceptual change theory to the learning of linguistic concepts points out the meaning of ontological categories and categorical shifts. This research presents possibilities for languaging approach when it is used for conceptual learning and when teachers need information for planning and assessment. Visualisation method can provide teachers with the knowledge of how students understand categorical hierarchies and the dependencies between categories. I argue that, with languaging approach and visualisation methods, a teacher is able to assess and evaluate their students' conceptual, procedural and metacognitive knowledge. According to this research, meaningful grammar teaching is based on a) the use of teaching methods that acknowledge conceptual change and its effects on learning, b) exercises which are constructed and aligned to different dimensions of knowledge and cognitive processes, gives student feedback and c) learning objectives, which describe concepts related to complete categories and hierarchies.
  • Kuuluvainen, Soila (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Accurate perception of speech sound features forms the basis of language and oral communication. Cortical speech processing consists of sound identification, feature extraction, and change discrimination, all occurring within a few hundred milliseconds timescale, and leading to conscious perception of sounds in their context. When these processes do not work optimally, speech perception is hampered, which can lead to problems in academic achievement or social interaction. Therefore, in this thesis, the processing of sublexical syllables and changes if their five features (consonant, vowel, vowel duration, fundamental frequency (F0), and intensity) were compared to the processing of complex nonspeech sounds in adults and six-year-old children, using event-related potentials (ERPs). Overall, larger ERP amplitudes or stronger magnetic mismatch negativity (MMNm) sources were found for speech than nonspeech stimuli. Stronger responses in the speech than the nonspeech condition were seen in both groups for changes in consonants, vowels, vowel duration and vowel F0. This is consistent with their role in Finnish: in addition to phonemic changes, vowel duration and F0 changes co-signal vowel quantity, which differentiates word meaning. Furthermore, children, but not adults, had larger left-lateralized responses for speech than nonspeech intensity changes, which is possibly beneficial for word segmentation and learning. Moreover, children's cortical measures were associated with neurocognitive skills. The overall pattern of larger speech than nonspeech responses was associated with better reasoning skills. Furthermore, larger left than right hemisphere ERP amplitudes for speech stimuli were associated with better performance in language tasks. Finally, the early responses (P1, early differentiating negativity, EDN) were associated with phonological and prereading skills, and later responses (N2, N4, late differentiating negativity, LDN) with verbal short-term memory and naming speed. The results suggest that speech and nonspeech sounds are processed by at least partially different neural substrates in preschoolers and adults. Furthermore, intra-individual differences in ERP amplitudes between conditions and hemispheres might be a useful tool in assessing cortical auditory functioning in children without the requirement of attention or motivation to carry out tasks.
  • Radun, Jenni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The objective in this thesis was to examine the psychological process of image-quality estimation, specifically focusing on people who are naïve in this respect and on how they estimate high-quality images. Quality estimation in this context tends to be a preference task, and to be subjective. The aim in this thesis is to enhance understanding of viewing behaviour and estimation rules in the subjective assessment of image-quality. On a more general level, the intention is to shed light on estimation processes in preference tasks. An Interpretation-Based Quality (IBQ) method was therefore developed to investigate the rules used by naïve participants in their quality estimations. It combines qualitative and quantitative approaches, and complements standard methods of image-quality measurement. The findings indicate that the content of the image influences perceptions of its quality: it influences how the interaction between the content and the changing image features is interpreted (Study 1). The IBQ method was also used to create three subjective quality dimensions: naturalness of colour, darkness and sharpness (Study 2). These dimensions were used to describe the performance of camera components. The IBQ also revealed individual differences in estimation rules: the participants differed as to whether they included interpretation of the changes perceived in an image in their estimations or whether they just commented on them (Study 4). Viewing behaviour was measured to enable examination of the task properties as well as the individual differences. Viewing behaviour was compared in two tasks that are commonly used in studies on image-quality estimation: the estimation of difference and the estimation of difference in quality (Study 3). The results showed that viewing behaviour differed even in two magnitude-estimation tasks with identical material. When they were estimating quality the participants concentrated mainly on the semantically important areas of the image, whereas in the difference-estimation task they also examined wider areas. Further examination of quality-estimation task revealed individual differences in the viewing behaviour and in the importance these viewing behaviour groups attached to the interpretation of changes in their estimations (Study 4). It seems that people engaged in a subjective preference-estimation task use different estimation rules, which is also reflected in their viewing behaviour. The findings reported in this thesis indicate that: 1) people are able to describe the basis of their quality estimations even without training when they are allowed to use their own vocabulary; 2) the IBQ method has the potential to reveal the rules used in quality estimation; 3) changes in instructions influence the way people search for information from the images; and 4) there are individual differences in terms of rules and viewing behaviour in quality-estimation tasks.
  • Niemi, Pia-Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This study investigates the ways that schoolwide events can contribute to the creation of membership in a school community. An essential aspect of school life across grade levels and national contexts, the sense of membership refers to a situation in which a student is accepted as part of a group by others and feels connected with the other members of the community. The importance of membership has been highlighted in international studies that have shown the positive relation between students sense of school belonging and several academic and non-academic features of their lives, such as their motivation for learning and general future orientation. To increase the knowledge of how school practices can support students sense of membership, this study focuses on schoolwide events, including celebrations, theme days, and other organized activities for the entire school community's participation. This study's main research question is as follows: How do schoolwide events contribute to students experiences of membership in the school community through a) personal-level experiences, b) school community-level practices, and c) representations of culture? To answer this question, the study approaches the notion of membership from various disciplinary perspectives that originate from psychology, sociology, and educational sciences. The key concepts of this study are social integration, sense of belonging, and social representations of cultural communities that are investigated in the educational context of schoolwide events. This study consists of qualitative interview data from both students (Study I, data gathered in winter 2013 2014) and teachers (Study III, data gathered in autumn 2011), as well as quantitative survey data from students (Study II, data gathered in autumn 2013). Data were collected from four secondary schools of basic education (serving 13 16-year-old students) in the southern area of Finland. The student data were collected from three schools (referred to as Schools 1, 2, and 3), while the teacher data were collected from a fourth school. This study's main findings answer the research question by showing that schoolwide events can contribute to students experiences of membership by providing them with positive interpersonal encounters with their peers and in the school as a social community. The results also indicate that experiences of membership are disrupted by negative peer relations as well as by unfair and hasty practices when organizing events. Regarding cultural representations, the findings show that the events do not support students interpersonal understanding of various cultural traditions in any particular way, but instead the events focus on creating memberships in the broader context of the national (Finnish) community by transmitting its traditions. On the other hand, the results demonstrate that the notion of tradition is fluid and subjective to interpretation. The findings also indicate that students social and emotional experiences and personal involvement in schoolwide events are more remarkable aspects for creating membership than the factual content of the events. The findings also reveal that teachers and students approach the question of community building from different perspectives. Teachers emphasize the role of national traditions, while students call for inclusive events. However, both groups regard schoolwide events as avenues from which experiences of community and membership may emerge. Concerning the study's practical implications, the results emphasize the important role of schoolwide events in the social life of the school and the need for researchers and practitioners to pay closer attention to such events. Based on the findings, this study also proposes practical implications for the development of the content and practices of schoolwide events in Finland and in other countries.
  • Laine, Sonja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The main purpose of this doctoral thesis is to investigate Finnish elementary school teachers perspectives on gifted education. In particular, teachers conceptions of giftedness, their attitudes toward gifted education and the practices they are using to address gifted students needs are examined. The thesis is intended to increase understanding of the current state of gifted education from the perspective of teachers in Finland, a context in which emphasis is on inclusion and differentiated teaching. The thesis is comprised of four articles. The first analyzes the public discus- sion of giftedness in print media during the years 1992-2007 in order to enrich the view of the Finnish context by revealing different conceptions of giftedness and gifted students in that time period. The three other articles (II-IV) are based on survey data gathered from Finnish elementary school teachers (N=212) during the school year 2010-2011. The instrument used was a mixed questionnaire, including both qualitative and quantitative items. By mixing both qualitative and quantitative data and analysis methods the thesis thereby utilizes a mixed methods approach. The results indicate that teachers conceptions, even though simplistic, as well as their attitudes are in many ways supportive of the gifted and their education in general. In particular, teachers attitudes toward differentiated teaching for the gifted were mainly positive, whereas they were mostly negative about acceleration and ability groupings. Furthermore, teachers descriptions of their practices revealed that, even though they differentiate their teaching, they do not necessarily use evidence-based practices shown to be effective with gifted students. Together these findings suggest that the practical functionality of a differentiation paradigm might be questioned. The thesis also emphasizes that, in Finland, meeting the needs of gifted students depends heavily on individual teachers, which may lead to inequality in delivering quality education to the gifted.