Faculty of Educational Sciences


Recent Submissions

  • Rawlings, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The aim of the thesis was to examine how temperamental reward and punishment sensitivities guide motivation in different learning contexts. Motivation was approached as students' relatively stable motivational tendencies (i.e., achievement goal orientations), and appraisals of domain- and course-specific interest, strain, and effort. The thesis comprises three articles. In Article I, the dimensional structure of temperamental sensitivities was studied in two data sets (Study 1; N = 157; Study 2; N = 506), and the predictions of temperamental sensitivities on university students’ achievement goal orientations were also examined. In Article II, the relationships between temperamental sensitivities and achievement goal orientations were followed over the first three school years (N = 212). In Article III, the impact of temperamental sensitivities on interest, strain, and effort was investigated in the domain of mathematics among eighth-graders (Study 1; N = 268), and course-specifically in four different subjects among general upper-secondary students (Study 2; N = 155). Reward sensitivity separated into two main dimensions, defined by the source of reward. Interindividual reward is dependent on the attitudes and actions of others (e.g., attention, praise), whereas intraindividual reward is derived from the individual’s own inner states and actions (e.g., positive responsiveness to novelty, enthusiasm and excitement over successes). Temperament was consistently associated with motivation, regardless of the age of the participants. Interindividual reward sensitivity appears motivationally problematic, given its negative links with mastery strivings, and positive with concerns over one’s performance relative others, work avoidance, and psychological strain. Punishment sensitivity was also linked with higher performance concerns and strain. In contrast, intraindividual reward sensitivity was associated with higher mastery strivings, interest appraisals, and willingness to exert effort, and may hence be more beneficial motivationally and for well-being. The findings indicate that temperamental sensitivities guide motivation in adaptive and maladaptive ways, both academically and as regards well-being more generally. Also notable for research and educational practice are the differential linkages between sensitivity to qualitatively different rewards and motivation.
  • Koivuhovi, Satu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The purpose of this dissertation was to examine whether studying in a selective class with a special emphasis influences children’s competence beliefs or mathematical thinking skills. The original idea was to explore empirically the commonly held assumption that studying in a class with a special emphasis improves motivation. This dissertation consists of four original empirical studies, all of which examined the research question from several perspectives. In this summary section, these perspectives were summarized into four research questions. The first overall aim was to examine how children’s competence beliefs and mathematical thinking skills develop during the comprehensive school years. The second overall aim was to examine, how pupils who study in classes with a special emphasis differ from pupils who study in classes without a special emphasis in terms of background factors. The third overall aim, focused on the differences between classes with and without a special emphasis in the development of competence beliefs and mathematical thinking skills. Finally, the last overall aim explored more specific peer effects (i.e., the Big-Fish-Little-Pond effect, the Reflected Glory effect and the Peer Spillover effect) related to selective classes and explored whether these effects were visible in the Finnish context. The data were drawn from a longitudinal learning-to-learn study in which the cognitive capabilities and motivational beliefs of 744 first graders were assessed and followed up throughout the comprehensive school years. Data consisted of several measurement points and tasks. The original sample size was increased during the follow up as children changed schools and new schools and classes were added to the sample. For the purpose of this thesis, data drawn predominantly from grades four to six (n=1025) and from seven to nine (n=2339) were used. Data were analyzed with statistical methods including single and multilevel structural equation models as well as repeated measures and analyses of variance. The first finding from this thesis considered the overall development of children’s competence beliefs and mathematical thinking skills and supported findings of prior research showing a decline in positive self-beliefs during the school years. Decline in the competence beliefs was detected at both primary school and lower secondary school but the trajectories of different belief types varied. Children’s mathematical thinking skills progressed, as expected, during the followed-up years. Additionally, the second finding from this thesis confirmed findings of prior research and showed that classes with a special emphasis clearly differed from classes without a special emphasis in terms of pupils’ background. Children who studied in classes with a special emphasis came from more highly educated families and had a higher grade point average (GPA) than pupils who studied in classes without a special emphasis. There were also detailed differences between classes with a special emphasis in terms of pupils’ background. The main results from this study considered the development of competence beliefs and mathematical thinking skills between classes with and without a special emphasis and showed interestingly, that there were no differences in the development. Even though pupils differed from each other initially due to the selective process of classes with a special emphasis, most of the differences in the development of competence beliefs and mathematical thinking skills were explained by these initial differences and the development was similar in different types of class after the background variables had been considered. Therefore, the results from this thesis gave no evidence of the assumed beneficial effects of emphasized teaching. On the contrary, findings regarding the peer effects explored showed that the Big-Fish-Little-Pond effect was visible in the Finnish context whereas other peer effects were not. In other words, the results showed that the average achievement level of class predicted individual pupil’s academic self-concept negatively. Therefore, these findings suggested that instead of the assumed beneficial motivational effects, studying in a highly selective class may have detrimental effects on individual pupil’s self-beliefs. ________________________________________ Keywords: Classes with a special emphasis, selective classes, competence beliefs, action-control-beliefs, academic self-concept, mathematical thinking skills, longitudinal study, class composition, Big-Fish-Little-Pond
  • Särkelä, Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This dissertation is a qualitative study consisting of four sub-studies and this summary part. The task of my research is to describe and interpret life and future of the “global generation” in the light of qualitative materials produced by 14–19 year old young people, and to consider the development of school and especially geography teaching from the perspective of these materials. The aim of the study is to bring qualitative information about young people’s life and thoughts and about the use of the method of empathy-based stories and photography in geography teaching into the discussions about education. The research task is specified by the following research questions: 1a. How do young people describe the state and future of the world in their empathy-based stories? 1b. What do the issues raised by young people in their empathy-based stories mean for school and geography teaching? 2a. What picture of the global generation is based on empathy-based stories written by young people, photographs taken by young people and young people’s reflections on the Global South? 2b. How can the issues raised by young people in the materials they produced be considered in schools and in geography teaching? 3. What opportunities do the method of empathy-based stories and photography offer for geography teaching? The research was conducted from 2013 to 2020, in the context of geography teaching. The data used in the study were produced by young people born between 1995 and 2004 and living in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (N = 169). At the time of the study, the participants were 14–19-year-old secondary and upper secondary school students. The material used in the study consisted of empathy-based stories (N = 110), photographs (N = 160) and their written interpretations (N = 160), written reflection tasks (N = 19), written evaluations of the use of photographs (N = 11) and writings on photography as a method (N = 20). In sub-studies 1 and 2, the material was produced by using the method of empathy-based stories that was developed by Antti Eskola (1988). In the first sub-study, young people were asked to empathize with utopia or dystopia and in the second sub-study, they were asked to reflect on the state of the world from an upper secondary school student’s point of view. The third sub-study was conducted in the context of global education as a part of geography and visual arts teaching. Young people were asked to photograph their lives and write interpretations of the photographs they took. In addition, participants wrote about their assumptions about the Global South, reflected on their assumptions using the photos they took and assessed whether the use of the photos supported this. In the fourth sub-study young people were asked to photograph inequality and write interpretations of the photographs they took, as well as write about photography as a process. When interpreting the meanings of photographs, the aim was to capture the meanings young people gave to the photographs they took – such as in photo-elicitation interviews in which participants’ interpretations are central and present to guide the researcher’s interpretations (Leonard & McKnight 2015; Pyyry, Hilander & Tani 2021). When analysing the empathy-based stories, the frame stories guided the formation of the first themes, and the analysis proceeded to form new themes from the data. The materials were analysed using qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke 2006; Eskola 2001). In sub-study 1, thematic analysis was followed by constructing two different but typical stories from the material. Empathy-based stories written by young people were dominated by climate change and other people-caused risks. The world in which environmental problems, conflicts and individualism are present, and its dystopian future, were easier to imagine than a world in which everything is fine. Empathy-based stories made visible the risk awareness of young people and reflected the uncertainty and insecurity that shades the life of the global generation. The young people’s descriptions about risk society can work as a starting point for dialogue between the everyday geography of young people and the school geography. This could clarify the connections between different things, local and global, and support young people in managing uncertainty. Young people also wrote about different coping strategies, several of which were related to it how individuals can act. Related to this, they wondered if even adults know what is happening in the world. Among the despair young people also found hope. The hope was connected especially to their own generation, which respects other people and the environment. However, the role of hope was fragile, and action was not always connected to the notions about grievance. Therefore, it is important in geography teaching to build the hope and reflect the opportunities to take action. In this, the importance of cooperation should be empathized, as global problems cannot be solved individually. Based on the materials produced by the young people, the picture was drawn of the global generation, its life, and the future. The young people valued their identity, friends and family. School was important to some of them, but also a place where it was not possible for everyone to be themselves. The results show the importance of the assumption of the diversity of young people’s identities in all school activities. For young people it was obvious that people are equal, but they recognized that their generation’s starting points for life differ both near and far, and how they also have privileges. Young people’s assumptions about the Global South were partly stereotypical, but because this was recognized, it opens the opportunity to reflect to them and to deconstruct them. Based on the results, reflecting on one’s own assumptions and preconceptions is important in geography teaching, such as when studying issues related to different areas. The method of empathy-based stories proved to be a teaching method that makes it possible to spark the use of the imagination. The method enabled utopias that could be interpreted as ordinary, as well utopias for which realization does not seem possible so far, but within which the power of change may lie. In geography teaching, the method of empathy-based stories could be used when studying the opportunities to build a sustainable future. Photography directed young people’s gaze towards visually achievable things, but also made them reflect on the complexity of inequality. The photographs were personal and showed the diversity of young people’s appreciations. However, photography did not prove to be a shortcut to reach young people’s personal experiences. Some young people felt that the use of photographs made it easier to reflect on their own assumptions about the Global South, but it was not seen as a prerequisite for criticality. With the help of the method of empathy-based stories and photography in geography teaching, it was possible to build a dialogue between the young people’s lifeworld, everyday geographies and the academic geography of schools. The results of the study are not generalizable, but they provide insights into the debate on geography teaching and school. Keywords: everyday geographies, geography teaching, global generation, lifeworld, method of empathy-based stories, photography, risk society
  • Letonsaari, Mika (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Current methods for developing computational thinking skills usually have a technical and programming-centric approach and are not suitable for all people. In this research, the use of nonlinear storytelling as an educational method was examined. The specific interest was to analyze its relationship with the concept of computational thinking and to investigate if nonlinear storytelling can be used as a low-threshold method for teaching fundamental computational thinking skills. This research situates itself in computer science education. It consists of four independent studies. Study I investigates how nonlinear storytelling can be integrated into an adult education course for developing basic information technology skills. Special attention was given to understanding the role of storytelling in the process. The result of this study was a method that integrates nonlinear storytelling into educational game development. Study II studied the relationship between nonlinear stories and computational thinking by examining how typical computer programs are implemented using stories. The study shows that nonlinear stories are best suited for implementing finite state machine programs and programs that include interaction. The natural character of applicability indicates that nonlinear storytelling can improve students’ readiness for learning programming skills. In study III, experiences and observations made at the end of the aforementioned adult education course are reported. The technical quality of the stories collected (N = 14) was investigated and common challenges in the storytelling process such as understanding hyperlinking and its purpose in gamification were identified. In this study, a practical classification for storytelling software and metrics for analyzing stories were developed. Finally, study IV focused on investigating whether the concept of computational thinking allows broader interpretations compared to how it is traditionally used. The concept of computational thinking was explored by using the Extended Mind thesis by Clark and Chalmers. Analysis showed that it is reasonable to expand the concept beyond the traditional computer programming-based interpretation.
  • Knif, Leena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Diverse Visual Arts: engaging spaces, equality acts, artistically known agency. Finnish basic education is based on the principles of equality and parity. However, studies have shown that the acts and practices of education, despite the best intentions, often strengthen inequality. Diversity education has not yet found a functional way of implementation in Finnish basic education or in teacher training. The task of this doctoral thesis is to clarify how diversity can be supported in visual arts education at the primary level of basic education. The task builds on the theories of equality and parity that aim for social justice, acknowledging priorities, building meanings and researching one’s place in a society and are common to both diversity education and visual arts education. The basis of practical visual arts education supporting diversity has been studied and developed through the stages of an empirical case study. The study consists of three qualitative and action-based and art-based case studies connected through the themes of diversity, the visual arts in primary education and the aim of developing education through participatory methodology. The first case focused on cultural codes and images as cultural texts. The data in this case consisted of 5th grade pupils’ (N=57) writings about Finnish national artworks in 2013. The second case was the Myrsky-community art project, held at a primary school in 2013-2014. The data for this case comprised observations of plans, actions and the artistic processes of the project and the knowledge gained during it, through interviews, questionnaires and the work diaries of pupils (N=45). The third case was a visual arts course at the University of Helsinki in class teacher training in 2016, in which students (N=25) planned and executed visual arts workshops for primary schools in the theme “equality and parity”. The data consists of the students’ study diaries. The data were analyzed using the methods of qualitative content analysis. This article-based doctoral thesis consists of four published articles and this compilation part. The study made the paradigm changes visible both in diversity and visual arts edu-cation. It strengthened the notion of the white Finnish norm and showed that its visual orders are strongly present at the primary school pupils´ conceptions of Finnishness. The study emphasized the importance of recognizing the inequalities and the importance of equality as the starting point of all education. The visual arts can be a functional platform for supporting diversity through its own way of knowing and building social engagement, agency and positions. The visual arts can work performatively through active continual processes, when the focus is not on the results but on the social categories, not on the products but on the community, in which meanings, interpretations, identities and cultures build and rebuild in polyphonic dialogue, artistic negotiations. Since social engagement is seen as communal empowerment and competence, it requires the development of critical and aware agency and creativity that can rebuild the culture. In that task, visual arts education as a critical, aware and creative subject, can offer a functional diversity supporting space of learning even in primary education.
  • Chmylevska, Nataliya (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This research explores the problem of child abuse and neglect at schools and aims to examine policies and practices concurrently. The research encompasses Ukrainian and Finnish comprehensive schools and their associated preventive policies. The problem of the study is that existing preventive policies are not effective in overcoming challenges of modern schools in preventing child maltreatment and thus, require urgent revision and improvement. The hope is to create a metapolicy that will guide policy-makers in the future and to build an agenda for future research. Hence, the goal of this research is to distinguish weaknesses of the existing preventive policies and, based on literature sources and practical experiment, to identify the best practices for tackling child abuse and neglect at schools. Moreover, current study pursues to generate versatile preventive policy, which can be employed to tackle these negative phenomena by any school irrespective of its geographical location. The study commenced with inductive analysis of existing policies at Ukrainian comprehensive schools, which constituted to the first phase of data gathering. Concurrently, a diverse array of literature sources was scrupulously examined to distinguish the best preventive practices for addressing challenges that had been identified in the Current State Analysis, which consequently contributed to creating a conceptual framework for this research. Upon the definition of the Conceptual Framework of this study, the second round of data gathering was conducted at Finnish comprehensive schools. This helped to extend and affirm the results that were obtained during the first phase of data gathering and facilitate creation of the provisional proposal of this study. When the provisional proposal was finalized, it was presented for reviewing to the policy-makers who were among the respondents of the current research. This allowed the execution of the third round of data gathering and therefore, to generate final proposal of this study. Keywords: child abuse, neglect, bullying, safe and secure school environment, metapolicy.
  • Räisänen, Milla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The overall aim of the doctoral dissertation was to examine the interaction between students’ experiences of self- and co-regulation of learning and study-related exhaustion during university studies. The first aim was to examine the interaction between self- and co-regulation of learning at the early stages of university studies. Furthermore, the aim was to investigate what kind of individual combinations can be identified among students based on their experiences of self- and co-regulation of learning. The second aim was to examine students’ experiences of study-related exhaustion and the interaction between self- and co-regulation of learning and study-related exhaustion at the early stages of their studies. Third, the aim was to investigate the stability and change in students’ experiences of self- and co-regulation of learning and study-related exhaustion during university studies and how these were related to each other during studies. The dissertation consists of three original studies. The dissertation applied a mixed-methods approach combining qualitative and quantitative methods, a variable- and a person-oriented approach as well as cross-sectional and longitudinal data. Studies I and II examined students’ experiences of self- and co-regulation of learning at the early phases of studies. In addition, Study II explored the differences among the profiles in terms of self-reported study-related exhaustion. Study III investigated students’ experiences of the stability and change in self- and co-regulation of learning and study-related exhaustion during university studies. In Study I, applying a person-oriented approach, three different profiles related to self- and co-regulation of learning were identified through qualitative methods: 1) self-regulated students not using co-regulation; 2) actively co-regulating students with average self-regulation skills and 3) students with self-regulation problems relying on co-regulation. To achieve a more comprehensive picture of different combinations of self- and co-regulation of learning, Study II explored the individual combinations related to self- and co-regulation of learning through quantitative methods. In Study II, four different profiles were identified: 1) self-regulated students with a low level of peer learning and low perceived value of peer support; 2) self-regulated students with a high level of peer learning and high perceived value of peer support; 3) students with self-regulation problems, a high level of peer learning and high perceived value of peer support and 4) students with self-regulation problems, a low level of peer learning and average perceived value of peer support. Studies I and II showed similarities among the profiles. Study II further indicated that the profiles differed in terms of self-reported study-related exhaustion. Self-regulated students with a low level of peer learning and low perceived value of peer support reported the lowest levels of study-related exhaustion. Students with self-regulation problems, a high level of peer learning and high perceived value of peer support reported the highest levels of study-related exhaustion. The results showed that problems in self-regulation explained self-reported study-related exhaustion. Study III showed that experienced study-related exhaustion increased during studies. However, the results also showed a large individual variation in study-related exhaustion. The students whose exhaustion decreased described that they had been able to develop their self-regulation skills through other students’ support. Students whose study-related exhaustion remained low evaluated their self-regulation skills as good. They experienced that they did not need other students’ support in the regulation of learning. The students whose study-related exhaustion remained average, high or increased described more problems in self-regulation. Most students emphasised that other students' support had an important role in their studying because of problems in self-regulation. However, not all students took an advantage of other students’ support in the regulation of learning despite of problems in self-regulation. In conclusion, this doctoral dissertation provides new knowledge on the interaction between self- and co-regulation of learning and study-related exhaustion during university studies. The dissertation showed individual differences in self- and co-regulation of learning by identifying different student profiles related to self- and co-regulation of learning. The study showed that the profiles differed in terms of experienced study-related exhaustion. The dissertation demonstrated that regulation skills have an important role in experienced study-related exhaustion during university studies. The dissertation showed the importance of using a mixed-methods approach in order to achieve a more comprehensive picture of the interaction between self- and co-regulation of learning and study-related exhaustion during studies. Keywords: self-regulation of learning, co-regulation of learning, study-related exhaustion, higher education
  • Syrjänen, Milla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common psychiatric condition, characterized by the core symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. In previous studies, ADHD has been associated with psychosocial difficulties in parenting and attachment relationships. However, little is known about the sensitivity and attachment strategies of adults with ADHD and that of their children. This thesis consists of three internationally published peer-reviewed articles (Studies I-III). Study I explored the self-protective strategies of adults with ADHD and their histories of dangers and traumas, as presented in retrospect. In Study I, nine adults with the ADHD diagnosis were interviewed using the modified Adult Attachment Interview (the DMM AAI). Studies II and III examined the self-protective strategies of parents with ADHD and the sensitivity they displayed in dyadic interaction with their children. The parents were interviewed with the DMM AAI. Parental sensitivity was assessed using the CARE-Index. Additionally, Study III explored the self-protective strategies of parents with ADHD as well as those of their children as mediated by parental sensitivity. The self-protective strategies of the children were assessed with the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP) or the Preschool Assessment of Attachment (PAA). In Studies II and III, six parents with the ADHD diagnosis and their children, aged between 7 and 36 months, participated. One parent took part with her both children. In all sub-studies, three subgroups were formed on the basis of risk as indicated by Crittenden’s gradient of transformation of information. Study I showed a variety of the self-protective strategies of adults with ADHD in combination with unresolved traumas and losses. In addition, the respondents described in the AAI triangulation in their family of origin. However, the adults with ADHD were not able to evaluate and analyze the impact of the triangulated family system on their own development. Instead, they blamed themselves for the intersubjective problems in their childhood families and considered the punishments of their parents as legitimate, caused mainly by themselves. Studies II and III confirmed the results of Study I about the variety and complexity of the self-protective strategies of parents with the ADHD diagnosis. Results also indicated that unresolved traumas and losses may decrease these parents’ sensitivity and impair their ability to engage in mutual regulation of arousal and emotion with their children. The parents’ own needs for self-protection impaired their ability to protect their children and decreased the clarity of their communication. The children’s self-protective strategies matched those of their parents in regard to the degree of distortion of information as mediated by parental sensitivity. In conclusion, recognizing the variety of self-protective strategies, disorientation at times modifying, and unresolved traumas interrupting the strategic functioning of the individuals with ADHD, can contribute to the tailoring of individualized psychological treatment. DMM-oriented family functional formulations, based on the assessment of the self-protective strategies of each family member would make possible to plan a treatment adapted to the unique family needs, and also to screen early risk.
  • Paju, Birgit (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    In this dissertation, I have examined the factors influencing the collaboration of teaching staff to develop inclusive teaching practices. This series of studies develops a new type of conceptual framework that can guide teaching staff to address their position, teaching practices, to support the learning of each student. The research seeks to answer questions about underlying factors associated with perceived tensions and to evaluate established teaching practices, thorough an activity-theoretical perspective. Emphasising the historical nature of teaching practices, this dissertation presents previous research in the field of inclusive education, cooperation and the inclusive process of education policy internationally and in Finland. The summary part of the dissertation widens our understanding of the multidimensionality of inclusive teaching practices. A questionnaire was first designed and implemented. Then, a qualitative analysis of open-ended survey questions and interviews was conducted to deepen the analysis. The research progressed from a conceptual mapping approach to an analysis of contradictions and collaboration in teaching activities of students with special needs. This dissertation consists of three sub-studies. The first sub-study sought to find out how the teaching staff perceived their ability to teach students with special needs and which background factors influence it. The second activity-theoretical sub-study depicted contradictions in the teaching activities of students with special needs. The third sub-study examined how different forms of collaboration appeared in the teaching activities. The results show that special educational training and competence development are prerequisites for organising adequate support for students with special needs. The teaching staff experiences pressures when trying to apply the existing teaching methods and the management of the classroom involves uncertainty in when teaching a classroom including students with special needs. This study identified historically well-established teaching activities and cooperation structures. Also, the cooperation between the teachers was fragmented, and the work was well-divided between several experts, thereby creating boundaries. However, when staff could collaborate in the reflective way, certain activities were recognised. Overall, professional cooperation with the other staff members was perceived as an important way to support both students’ learning and professional growth. It can be concluded that the implementation of inclusive practices is currently understood as a historically well established practices, in other words, “traditional” special education and general education activities. In light of the results from the sub-studies, the development of inclusive practices is demanding due to the existing, historically evolved contradictions. The research results also show how reflective communication in teacher collaboration can support overcoming of the contradictions and lead to inclusive practice-related solutions. The findings of the study point to the need to enhance teaching staff collaboration through joint reflective discussion. The framework of inclusive collaborative teaching activities outlined in this study can be utilised in schools as an expanded conceptual and pedagogical model for the further development of inclusive collaborative teaching activities for the future.
  • Saló i Nevado, Laia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The purpose of this dissertation is to examine problem solving and mathematical knowledge used at work. Two different work settings were explored: a farm and cabinetmaker workshops. The research focused on the participants’ perspectives regarding the problem-solving situations they face and the mathematical knowledge they use at work. The main research questions behind this dissertation were: what are the mathematics that farmers and cabinetmakers use at work? What are the problem-solving situations that farmers and cabinetmakers encounter at work? How do problem-solving situations influence other ongoing processes? This dissertation consists of three studies that were developed based on the following objectives. The objective for the first study was to investigate a natural setting where the use of mathematics was not obvious, emphasizing the process that farmers were involved in by analyzing different situations. The objective for the second study, in a setting where mathematics was more obvious, i.e., the workshop of a cabinetmaker, was to find out what kind of mathematics was used in cabinetmakers’ everyday work and how problem solving and finding solutions to emergent problems were intertwined in the work. The objective for the third study was to shed some light on what role problem-solving processes played in creative and design woodworking processes. The theoretical background of this dissertation draws from vernacular mathematics and problem solving. At work, mathematical knowledge is used for both routine tasks and problem-solving situations, and thus problem solving appears to be a significant component of numeracy. The concept of problem solving became central to my work. Earlier studies on the process of problem solving indicated similarities with other processes as the creative process and a connection to the design of a product. An ethnographic approach was used and the main methods for collecting the data were participant observation, shadowing, and interviews. The participants were two farmers and four cabinetmakers in three separate studies. The inductive analysis of the data from the study with the farmers showed that most of the mathematical knowledge in use and the farmers’ behavior focused on quantity, structure, space, and transformations along with problem solving. The data indicated that farmers faced problem-solving situations in dealing with distribution of spaces or in finding suitable objects as measuring tools for feeding the animals. The farmers’ reasoning and solutions were based on their own experience within the specific context of the farm. Similarly, the mathematics that cabinetmakers identified and used in their work were in most cases very basic, and therefore this finding was in line with previous studies about mathematics at work. However, the data revealed as well that most ill-structured problem-solving situations appeared when the cabinetmakers had to create a jig. Jigs were context-situated, open-ended and intertwined with a mathematical knowledge component. The analysis indicated that the process of problem solving and the creative process shared similarities, but they were not identical. The data supported the idea that novelty is a condition for making the creative process possible, the same way that viability of the solution is a condition for problem solving. Problem solving influences the length, precision and progress of the design process. This study offers a new reflection on the role of problem solving as a mediating process between creative and design processes.
  • Haataja, Eeva (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Gaze is a crucial part of interaction. Teacher-student relationship is constructed on momentary classroom interactions. Recent eye-tracking research has charted some patterns of teacher gaze in classrooms, but the dynamics of the relation between teacher’s gaze and pedagogical intentions and teacher-student eye contact have remained unexplored. The aim of this dissertation was to explore how teachers’ momentary scaffolding intentions and interpersonal behaviors are manifested in their gaze behaviors and in momentary teacher-student eye-contact communication. The research setting included multiple mobile eye tracking in naturalistic classroom contexts. The studies combined data collected on three 9th-grade mathematics lessons: gaze data, video recordings, and an interview with one teacher. The students solved a problem collaboratively and the teachers guided the problem solving. This mixed method research combines theoretical and methodological traditions of psychology and education and creates new information on teacher-student interaction and analytical methods. To present the main findings, student faces and solution papers were the most significant gaze targets for the teacher. Student papers were the most significant target during teacher-led cognitive scaffolding interaction, and student faces during affective scaffolding. Students’ hands and bodies were a common target during metacognitive scaffolding. Teacher gazes at student gestures were few but very long and occurred often during cognitive scaffolding. The student-started eye contacts were significantly more frequent than teacher-started eye contacts. The occurrence and durations of the dyadic eye contacts were dependent on the teachers’ scaffolding intentions. The students tended to look their teacher in the eye during cognitive scaffolding. During affective scaffolding, the teacher-started eye contacts were relatively frequent. The students looked at their teacher during high teacher communion often and with long gazes. To conclude, during cognitive scaffolding interaction and teacher behaviors of high communion and agency, the student gazes focus on the teacher and teacher gazes on the learning content. During affective scaffolding, dyadic eye contacts often formed between the teacher and students. The between-individual and even within-individual variation of attentional behaviors underline using situational data collection methods and continuous coding and developing theories on scaffolding intentions and interpersonal behaviors toward the inclusion of the momentary variation in instructive interaction.
  • Yang, Dong (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This doctoral study is an investigation of secondary school students’ situational engagement in a science Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) drawing on flow theory. Four research questions were asked: 1. How is secondary students’ online learning situational engagement predicted by the factors of self-efficacy, feeling-related interest, and value-related interest? 2.What influence do time and course contexts have on students’ level of situational engagement in an online learning environment? 3. What are the gender and grade differences in lower and upper secondary schools in terms of student’s reported situational engagement and related variables in a science MOOC environment? and 4. What are the aspects and themes that affect students’ situational engagement in a science MOOC environment? Based on these research questions, 15 hypotheses were formulated and tested. The main goal in this doctoral study is to describe and understand the context-dependent feature of situational engagement in an online learning environment. Situational engagement in this study was conceptualized using flow theory, under which interest, skills and challenges are the preconditions. To that end, a short MOOC on the topic of sustainable development and energy consumption was developed for a Finnish secondary school science class. Based on this, a mixed-method approach was applied, to answer the research questions. The research data consisted of survey data and qualitative data from a semi-structured interview. The data were collected in two metropolitan areas of Finland in 2018-2019. The survey participants comprised 193 secondary school students from three public schools, plus five students who participated in a semi-structured interview. The SPSS statistical software package was used for the analysis of survey data. Specifically, hierarchal regression analysis was performed to examine factors that predicted students’ situational engagement, and one-way repeated ANOVA was applied in order to see if there are fluctuations in the levels of situational engagement across all measurement points. Moreover, a series of Independent Sample T-test (two-tailed) were conducted to compare gender and grade differences in those variables. In analysing the interview data, a hybrid process of inductive and deductive thematic analysis was applied, with the focus being on the inductive approach, as proposed by Fereday and Muir-Cochrane (2006). Several findings were identified. First, while self-efficacy and value-related interest are positive predictors of MOOC learning situational engagement, feelings-related interest failed to affect students’ level of situational engagement. Second, students reported significantly different levels of situational engagement across all measurement points, and across different situations. Specifically, situations in which a teacher was explaining a concept/model seemed to be the most engaging situation to students. Based on this result, it proved the context-dependent feature of situational engagement in online learning. In terms of gender, significant differences were found only on self-efficacy in favouring boys. Grade-wise, significant differences were found on self-efficacy in favouring lower secondary school students, and on science knowledge in favouring upper secondary school students. Finally, the interviews revealed additional factors affecting situational engagement. Of these, interest in science; degree of autonomy; teachers and teaching style; and quality learning materials were among the factors that are important for online learning situational engagement. The contribution of the study and suggestions for future work were discussed accordingly.
  • Holm, Marja Eliisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Mathematics learning should be viewed in behavioral and emotional levels. Adolescents might have problems directing, controlling and coordinating their behaviors, such as directing attention and planning tasks in advance. Such executive function (EF) problems might relate to mathematics learning. Adolescents might also experience enjoyment, pride, anger, anxiety, shame, hopelessness, and boredom in mathematics learning. Thus, such mathematics-related achievement emotions and EF problems among adolescents with mathematics difficulties and low mathematics performance should be investigated. Classroom mechanisms, such as teacher support, could relate to achievement emotions. So, it is important to investigate whether special education support is associated with adolescents’ achievement emotions. Such investigation will help generate support for adolescents’ mathematics learning. The three studies (I–III) constructing the current dissertation examined adolescents’ EF problems and mathematics-related achievement emotions. Study I examined EF problems, and study II examined emotions among adolescents with mathematics difficulties (the weakest 10%), low mathematics performance (low level 10–25%), and average or higher mathematics scores. Study III investigated relationships between special education support and emotions when controlling for mathematics performance, gender, and class size. Specifically, study III investigated emotions among adolescents receiving special education support in special education (self-contained) and in general mathematics classrooms. Study III also investigated whether the proportion of adolescents receiving special education support in general mathematics classrooms is associated with the emotions of those receiving no special education support. In study I, a teacher rating inventory was used to assess adolescents’ EF problems with distractibility, impulsivity, hyperactivity, directing attention, sustaining attention, shifting attention, initiative, planning, execution, and evaluation. In studies I and II, a student-reported questionnaire was used to assess mathematics-related enjoyment, pride, anger, anxiety, shame, hopelessness, and boredom. The results showed that adolescents with mathematics difficulties had more problems with several EFs and reported to experience less positive and more negative emotions than those with average or higher scores. However, the differences in hyperactivity, impulsivity, and boredom were not significant. Those with mathematics difficulties had even more problems with several EFs and reported more shame than those with low mathematics performance. Adolescents with low mathematics performance only had shifting attention problems but reported less positive and more negative emotions than those with average or higher scores. These results revealed that various EF problems, excluding hyperactivity and impulsivity, are typical of those with mathematics difficulties, while negative emotions were characteristic of both adolescents with mathematics difficulties and those with low mathematics performance. The results also showed that both females and males with mathematics difficulties had several EF problems, but there was gender variation in emotions across performance groups. Mainly females with mathematics difficulties reported negative emotions such as low pride and enjoyment and high hopelessness. Mainly males with low mathematics performance reported negative emotions such as high anger, anxiety, and hopelessness. The results also showed that adolescents receiving special education support in general mathematics classrooms reported less positive and more negative emotions than those receiving special education support in self-contained classrooms. Even adolescents receiving no special education support reported more anxiety, hopelessness, and boredom when the proportion of classmates receiving special education support was higher in general classrooms. The results suggest that both males and females with mathematics difficulties need comprehensive support for EF problems. Adolescents with mathematics difficulties and low performance also need comprehensive support for achievement emotions. In fact, the results indicated that special education support in self-contained classrooms might be a central way to support the achievement emotions of adolescents struggling with mathematics. In turn, special education support in general classrooms did not necessarily support achievement emotions. To implement inclusion (i.e., serving all students in general classrooms) educators and policymakers should develop practical solutions that support the achievement emotions of students in general classrooms.
  • Kesler, Merike (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The school is expected to support the future skills of the pupils. Central to this is the development of pupils’ problem-solving skills, so that they learn to understand the processes of creating something new and acting creatively. In order for teachers to be able to guide the learners’ innovative activities, it is important that teachers themselves have a broad understanding and skills related to these processes. In this educational development study carried out during 2012–2019, a pedagogical model based on the creative problem-solving method is presented. The aim of the model is to promote teacher students and in-service teachers’ perceptions of the development of creativity and creative problem-solving, guiding the problem-solving process, and the diverse interactions that take place in it. The study focuses on teacher students’ perceptions of creative problem solving and the examination of the problem-solving process, what kind of learning experiences teacher students describe when their learning is supported by a problem-solving approach, and how in-service teachers understand the connection between the pedagogical model and guiding the pupils’ innovative processes. Based on the results of the analysis, teacher students’ perceptions of creative problem solving changed after the course from passive knowledge about solutions and creativity to active agency, methodologies and the process. The step-by-step process based on the pedagogical model made the process clear and transparent. The most important background factor for transparency was the feedback received from peers and the lecturer during the process. According to the analysis, being allowed to make choices in the problem-solving process and seeing the process leading to output is related to commitment and thus to motivation and learning. However, only a process in which the pupil is involved in all its stages, including planning and goal setting, is relevant to the pupil and allows going deeper, leading to the pupils’ commitment. However, the results also suggest that there seem to be a number of barriers to the use of creative problem-solving methods in teaching, such as not being familiar with or able to use them, or that they only promote learning for some students, lack of time or attitude towards the practice of using problem-solving tools in teaching. The research also provides new insights into the guidance of problem-solving processes and how these processes can be used to support learning and the development of thinking skills. However, in-service teachers raised concerns regarding guidance not being valued as much in school as teaching. Research has shown that methods and models that focus not only on solving a problem, but also on the people who solve the problem are important in teaching.
  • Intke-Hernandez, Minna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This dissertation examines what kind of language socialization migrant mothers encounter in their everyday lives and interrelationships. Some full-time integration training programs aim to develop migrants’ linguistic competence and provide them with the opportunity to gain full and equal membership of Finnish society. However, many migrant mothers are not able to participate, as their lives centre around home and family during their first years in Finland. Through the mothers’ language stories and interactional situations observed by the researcher, this study investigated motherhood as a site of language socialization. The philosophical approach in this dissertation is Freirean pedagogic, which underlines the learner’s subjectivity and the importance of the dialogic nature of constructing knowledge. Theoretically, this research drew on an ecological approach to language learning and a sociocognitive framework. It sees language as social actions, social practices and linguistic and semiotic resources. The methodological framework of the study was nexus analysis, which is an ethnographic and multi-methodological research strategy. The data were generated ethnographically in Helsinki’s metropolitan area in an open daycare centre and in the mothers’ everyday contexts during 2012–2018. The data consisted of interviews, observations, fieldnotes, audio-recorded interaction situations and photographs taken by one mother and the researcher. The findings of the four sub-studies are reported in four research articles. They show that the social, emotional and linguistic support that the mothers receive provide them with a sense of belonging, language socialization opportunities and languaging possibilities. Migrant mothers regarded the managing situations and pastime situations that they participate in, such as public events, open family activity groups and literal and social media contexts, as relevant for their language socialization. These situations were multimodal. The linguistic material provided in the pastime situations was more specific than in the managing situations. In the pastime situations, the linguistic expert, that is, the person who knew more Finnish, offered more and richer linguistic support than in the managing situations, in which deictic language was used and the interaction was mainly based on material and visual surroundings. The research suggests that motherhood and its social contexts provide empowering language socialization opportunities because children create situations in which mothers have to engage in languaging. The most important social goal of this research was to recognize the language socialization opportunities that everyday life offers. When we become aware of these, they can be used outside of formal educational contexts in different areas of life, for example, when organizing family activities.
  • Harju, Vilhelmiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    In this doctoral dissertation, I investigate the needs of beginning teachers for support in professional development. The first aim is to examine, how support needs are experienced by new teachers in four European countries: Finland, England, Portugal, and Flanders (in Belgium). The second aim is to examine how Finnish beginning teachers and principals experience early-career teaching support needs. In the study, teaching is considered to be a profession with widening responsibilities in schools and society. Along with this assumption, a theoretical framework is built upon the concepts of professional competence and continuously developing expertise. These elements are considered to be integral parts of teachers’ work that influence their support needs at the beginning of their careers. The dissertation consists of three sub-studies that were carried out as part of a European-funded Erasmus+ Key Action 2 project. The first sub-study examined the essential support needs and the support need profiles among beginning teachers in four European countries. The second sub-study focused on investigating the topic from the perspective of Finnish principals in particular. The third sub-study combined the viewpoints of Finnish beginning teachers and principals. A mixed methods approach was used in the dissertation. The data were collected via an electronic questionnaire, and quantitative and qualitative methods were used to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomena related to the support needs of beginning teachers. The results of this dissertation show that the support needs of beginning teachers are simultaneously individual and common. They are partly connected to certain professional tasks, practices, or challenges of teachers’ work, but at the same time are linked to the wider processes of developing routine and adaptive expertise. The identified support needs also reflect the complex and broad requirements and challenges set for the teaching profession today. Furthermore, the results suggest that the focus of beginning teachers is not on themselves but rather on students’ learning and on collaboration in the school community. In particular, the results from both the transnational and Finnish contexts indicate that supporting students’ comprehensive individual growth, differentiating teaching, and acting in conflict situations are a key area of support. In total, three broad perspectives of support needs are identified: (1) supporting students’ comprehensive individual growth, (2) working in the school community, and (3) developing one’s own work. These are all part of the wider process of developing expertise that can be understood as a holistic continuum of professional development relating to the teaching profession. To conclude, the present doctoral dissertation finds that beginning teachers’ support needs are related to several aspects of professional competence, suggesting that, at the beginning of a teaching career, professional development occurs simultaneously across several dimensions of professional competence. Support needs are strongly related to the characteristics of the teaching profession, as well as to practices in schools, and their complexity and context- and time-specificity must be considered when planning and implementing support activities for beginning teachers.
  • Oinas, Sanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Technology-enhanced feedback (TEF) is studied mostly in terms of task performance, but there is a limited amount of evidence about TEF related to learning and behaviour during school lessons. However, this type of feedback delivered using predefined options has been used on a daily basis in education for the last twenty years. As feedback may have beneficial but also detrimental effects on cognitive and emotional processing, this study was conducted to evaluate the relations of TEF with learning and academic well-being of pupils. Teachers’ practices and pupils’ perceptions were studied by analysing three data sets with mixed methods. The four sub-studies of this thesis were conducted in a Finnish context. However, the results are also internationally valuable, as there are dozens of educational platforms throughout the world enabling TEF, which may have a powerful effect on our children. The first data were reported in sub-studies I and II. The data consisted of 211,003 authentic TEF -notes drawn directly from the online platform. Results revealed that, based on profile analysis, teachers deliver feedback using different patterns for their pupils (N=7,811) even in a single teaching group. Small groups of boys and pupils needing extra support for their studies were likely to receive more negative feedback compared to other groups. However, the great majority of all TEF was positive in content. The second data of pupils’ (N=2,031) self-reported TEF used in the sub-study III confirmed the findings from the first data. Furthermore, the relations between received TEF and indicators measuring learning and academic well-being were studied. According to the results, the more positive feedback pupils received, the higher they rated their motivation, competence and relationship with teachers. Interestingly, those pupils who reported that they never receive TEF perceived their indicators measuring learning and academic well-being as the weakest. The third data consisting of interviews (N=64) and a short questionnaire (N=132) were analysed in sub-study IV. Data analysed with qualitative methods showed that pupils were mainly contented with this feedback. They reported that they need remarks from teacher in order to regulate their behaviour, as they considered it important at school. Moreover, pupils reported experiencing a variety of both pleasant and unpleasant emotions in relation to TEF. It was concluded that TEF, delivered mainly related to behaviour, is related to pupils’ learning and academic well-being. For some pupils, such feedback can be motivating, but for others it can be frustrating or even represent a silent sign of being ignored. Therefore, guidelines should be formed in order to support pupils’ learning and well-being equally in terms of TEF. Finally, based on the results of this study, a model of a digital feedback process building up from self-regulated learning and feedback as a process is proposed. The model suggests that by regulating cognitive and affective processes consciously, pupils can actively seek and take advantage of TEF themselves. First, however, they need to be supported to develop their self-regulation in collaboration with the teacher.
  • Saariaho-Räsänen, Emmi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The aim of this doctoral dissertation is to provide new insights into the dynamics of class student teachers’ self- and co-regulated learning in the critical and meaningful learning incidents experienced along their study path. The doctoral dissertation consists of three original studies. In the first two studies the focus was on student teachers’ self- and co-regulated learning activities (Study I) and the academic emotions embedded in them (Study II) during their studies. Student teachers’ and pupils’ co-regulated learning behaviours in authentic classroom interaction in teaching practicums were investigated in Study III. In the dissertation, a qualitative driven approach in which content analysis was used was enriched by quantifying of the qualitative findings. The student teacher cohort in Studies I and II consisted of 19 primary school student teachers who were at the end of their study path and from whom the semi-structured interview data with retrospective narration and visualisations on the critical learning incidents experiences during their studies were collected. In Study III the student teacher cohort consisted of video recordings of 43 primary school student teachers who were in different phases of their studies conducting some of the teaching practicum periods belonging to their teacher studies. The critical incidents (one positively perceived and one negatively) student teacher had chosen from the video was analysed. The findings from Study I showed that student teachers’ adapted active self- and co-regulated learning activities in especially positively experienced learning incidents. The regulated learning phases were balanced within and between self- and co-regulated learning. Self-regulated learning activities were adapted in courses calling for individual responsibility in learning (e.g., Thesis seminars) and co-regulated learning emphasised in teaching practicums and courses in which teacher educators had created a supportive yet challenging learning enviroment, i.e. constructive friction for teacher learning. Although co-regulated learning activities were reported less often than self-regulated activities, were they overall perceived highly significant and instructive experiences in terms of teacher learning. The findings from Study II showed that the majority of student teachers’ self- and co-regulated learning activities included positive and activating academic emotions across all regulated learning phases. Enthusiasm and enjoyment were the most commonly reported academic emotions in both self- and co-regulated learning activities. Three main triggers of academic emotions in self- and co-regulated activities were found: 1) facing challenges, 2) social support, and 3) innovative learning and knowledge construction. In co-regulated learning incidents, all three triggers were typically found, whereas in self-regulated learning was commonly one of the triggers emphasised. The findings from Studies I and II triggered a closer examination of student teachers’ co-regulated learning in the environment that was reported as being highly meaningful in terms of teacher learning, i.e., teaching practicums. The results in Study III showed that positively -perceived co-regulated learning incidents embedded in student teachers’ and pupils’ classroom interaction included more frequently, more proactive, and more varied co-regulated learning behaviours than the negatively perceived incidents. Also, verbal and non-verbal co-regulated behaviours were intertwined. In positively perceived incidents behaviours were typically calm and concentrated, whereas in negatively perceived incidents, behaviours were restless and tensed. Furthermore, positively perceived incidents including co-regulated learning behaviours could be found at the beginning and in the middle of lessons and on on-task phases, whereas negatively perceived behaviours were typically transitional situations between tasks. Accordingly, findings revealed that in positively -experienced learning incidents, student teachers’ and pupils’ co-regulated behaviours focused on the task, but in negatively perceived incidents, the focus was more on task-management. This dissertation contributes to the literature on self- and co-regulation in teacher learning by a) offering new insights on how student teachers’ regulate their own and others’ learning throughout their study path; b) proposing that student teachers’ active self- and co-regulation of learning and positive academic emotions are closely related; c) giving fresh insights into the dynamic nature of co-regulated learning as a mediating process when learning how to regulate oneself and others; and d) by examining student teachers’ and pupils’ actual co-regulated learning behaviours in authentic classroom interaction during teaching practicums.
  • Mertanen, Katariina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    In this dissertation, I scrutinise how the ‘youth problem’—young people’s unemployment, social exclusion, and marginalisation—is governed in the European Union’s and Finland’s youth policies and youth policy implementation in Finland. The ‘youth problem’ as well as young people ‘at risk’ are constructed as a threat to the unity and prosperity of future life in the workforce and social cohesion. To tackle the ‘youth problem’, both the EU and Finland have launched multiple policy initiatives and implementations such as short-term projects to get young people ‘back’ into the workforce and undertake in education and training. These ranges of implementations include EU-wide policy measures, such as the Youth Guarantee and calls in Finland for centralised services for youth guidance and counselling. In my dissertation, I have analysed both national and EU policy documents along with interviews and observations produced with teachers, other employees, and young people in short-term education programmes in a closed prison, and in two One-stop Guidance Centres for young people. I ask how the ‘youth problem’ is governed in youth policies and their implementations, and what rationalities are involved in the governing of the ‘youth problem’. This dissertation includes three research articles and a summary report. As the methodology of this study I developed a discursive reading of policies and their implementations as problematisations. Reading discourses as problematisation draws inspiration from Carol Bacchi, that policies are simultaneous representations of desired futures from the policy maker’s point of view and representing a ‘problem’ that disrupts this desired future. By applying Michel Foucault’s theorisations about discourses, power, subjectification, and governing I have been able to study youth policies and their implementations as discursive practices. In youth policies, these discursive practices are legitimised in normative discourses based on political rationalities. Similarly, these discursive practices can be found in policy implementations by offering certain types of subjectivities for those young people they are targeting. Furthermore, these discursive practices in policies and their implementations produce several different ‘problems’ of young people that carry inherent assumptions about young people’s situations, properties, and abilities. In my results, I suggest that young people are produced as ‘at risk’ of social exclusion and marginalisation with discourses of employability, precariousness, and therapisation in youth policies and their implementations. The label ‘at risk’ produces a well-intentioned response, in which governing takes shape in skill-based behavioural training derived from employability and therapisation of youth formal and informal education. These skills include emotional and life-management skills. Discourses of employability, precariousness, and therapisation have a common premise: not being excluded or marginalised are synonymous with signs of visible and measurable activities, such as participating in education and training. Discourses in youth policies and their implementations both rely on and produce neoliberal political rationality along with paternalistic rationality, which promotes care and control of young people. Although seemingly contradictory, these rationalities work together in a plethora of ways. The arrangement and governing of youth policies and their implementations are constructed in a way in which vast networks of governmental, private and non-governmental organisations come together in short-term programmes and projects offered to young people, and in which young people are positioned as customers and expected to choose ‘right’ options for their situations. Yet, the ways in which young people are governed in these programmes rely on paternalistic rationality through which young people are seen not to be mature and insightful enough to know what is best for them and their future, and thus need strict discipline and guidance to move ‘forward’ in life. Finally, I conclude in this dissertation, that the whole notion of the ‘youth problem’ is based on the ideal of an economically productive citizen, who through a measurable input during their working life or from education provides continuity for the society as a whole. The notion of young people as a future is not only attached to the future hopes of young people themselves, but rather to the hopes and predictions of a range of governing bodies, such as the European Commission or the Finnish Government. In this way, multiple societal issues including poverty and unemployment are channelled to be young people’s ‘problems’, which can be solved by guiding those young people as individuals. In the governing of the ‘youth problem’ in youth policies and their implementations, young people have mainly instrumental value – their lives and futures are measured in relation to the narrow view of ‘good life’ as productive, obeying, and tax-paying future citizen. ________________________________________ Keywords: youth policy, governing, discourse, ‘youth problem’
  • Ikonen, Essi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Authenticity is a pervasive ideal in western societies. Educators, among others, regard authenticity with increased enthusiasm. Authenticity is certainly appealing. Who would not want to be authentic rather than inauthentic? Who would not want to educate one’s children to become authentic? Yet, as attractive as it is, do we truly apprehend the nature of authenticity? How are we to detect an authentic person from an inauthentic one? Who is to decide which instances are authentic and which are not? The literature of authenticity offers us abundance of views and definitions, but no unanimous clarity. The challenges increase when trying to circumscribe educational authenticity. If it is unclear what authenticity is, how are we to understand educational authenticity? What happens if we try to promote authenticity as a curricular subject? Is it possible? This phenomenological investigation grabs ahold of the nature of authenticity and its possibilities and challenges in education. Key questions include, what is authenticity and what makes it unique, what it is related to, and what makes it possible? In relation to learning, to what extent and with what kind of tools can it be promoted in educational institutions? Finally, what are the most promising pathways to investigate authenticity? How can we better understand the human condition through philosophic and human sciences, with authenticity as a metaphor or as a mantra? Here, various methodologies and schools of thought are explored and utilized, including the sociologically based approaches of qualitative research, including autoethnography and post-qualitative methodologies, and philosophic approaches, especially phenomenology. In answering these questions this investigation travels through various fields, methodologies and also, planes in the researcher’s personal life with an aim to establish a personal connection with themes and questions under investigation. The reader is invited to do the same, to connect and disconnect, and to take a stance on what authenticity or doing research means at the moment, but also, what could it mean beyond now. Rather than improving the definitions of authenticity this investigation shows that the beauty and appeal of authenticity lies somewhere else than in its potential for clarifying, measuring or categorizing. Hence, the conclusions for educators do not include programs or steps for authentic education but merely an invitation to employ love and imagination in their own lives and with their students.

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