Faculty of Educational Sciences


Recent Submissions

  • Saarinen, Aino (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    In the recent years, a decline in Finnish students’ learning outcomes has been reported in several investigations, such as in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Further, variance in learning outcomes between students coming from different backgrounds has increased in Finland. This dissertation investigated (i) whether self-directed learning practices, use of digital learning materials at school, and participation in early education and care (ECEC) are associated with students’ learning outcomes at 15 years of age and (ii) whether these associations are modified by students’ background factors. The participants (N=5660, 5037, and 4634 in Studies I‒III) came from the Finnish PISA 2012 and 2015 datasets that constitute a representative sample of the Finnish 15-year-old students. Learning outcomes in reading, mathematical, and scientific literacy and collaborative problemsolving were evaluated with a comprehensive set of standardized tests. The frequency of learning practices (student-oriented, inquiry-based, and teacher-directed practices, and use of digital learning materials at school) were evaluated with questionnaires fulfilled by students. Participation in ECEC was evaluated with age at entry into ECEC. Background factors under investigation included gender, repetition of a grade, truancy behavior at school, family wealth, maternal education, single-parent family, and immigrant status. The data were analyzed with structural equation models that were controlled for age, gender, and parents’ socioeconomic status (the index of economic, social, cultural status). Frequent use of self-directed teaching practices or digital learning materials at school were associated with students’ weaker learning outcomes in several knowledge domains. Instead, frequenct teacher-directed practices were related to students’ higher learning outcomes. Moreover, frequent use of self-directed teaching practices or digital learning materials had more negative impact on students’ learning outcomes in students with (vs. without) risky background. Additionally, participation in ECEC before preschool was not associated with learning outcomes at 15 years of age. This association was not significantly moderated by parental socioeconomic status (as measured with the index of ESCS). At a trend level, the impact of participation in ECEC before preschool was slightly more positive for offspring of parents with high (vs. low) socioeconomic status. In conclusion, some pedagogical practices within the school system, such as frequent use of self-directed learning practices or digital learning material, were found to increase variance in learning outcomes between students coming from different backgrounds in Finland. No evidence was found that participation in ECEC would be related to learning outcomes at 15 years of age or would increase equality between students coming from different family backgrounds.
  • Liu, Haiqin (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    During the past decade, the demographic changes brought about by international mobility have diversified education in Finland. One type of diversification is the increasing number of teachers of immigrant background. However, how immigrant teachers experience the Finnish educational system has not yet been amongst the topics of full-scale academic research (Nishimura-Sahi, Wallin & Eskola, 2017). There is an emerging need to address this research gap by giving voice to immigrant teachers who are rarely heard. This doctoral thesis sets out to investigate the experiences and perceptions of immigrant teachers working in Finland, taking Chinese immigrant teachers of the Chinese language as a case study. The findings of this PhD study are presented in the form of three academic publications and an extended summary. The first article looks into the social discourses on Finnish education in general and Chinese language education in particular, that could potentially influence immigrant Chinese teachers’ presumptions and expectations about being a Chinese language teacher in Finland. The first article forms the background of the doctoral study. The second article and the third article examine the intercultural experiences and the perceptions of Chinese immigrant teachers in Finland. The second article reveals the multiple facets of immigrant teachers’ experiences which are connected to how the teachers perceive their positions in Finland. The third article examines the teachers’ cross-national comparisons on Chinese language education, which also reveal how the teachers perceive their positions in comparison with colleagues working in another context. The findings in all of the three publications suggest a strong link between experiences, perceptions and intercultural imaginations, as well as constructed discourses. The findings of this doctoral study lead to both theoretical and practical implications. Theoretically, a new model for understanding the experiences of immigrant teachers was developed. This model takes into account the multiple facets of immigrant teachers’ experiences, the power relations in the context under review and their influence on intercultural imagination and discourses. Practically, the findings suggested that 1) stakeholders should listen to the needs and concerns of immigrant teachers and provide equal treatment to all kinds of teachers; 2) regular continued professional development training plays a very important role in helping teachers to update their subject knowledge and teaching skills, but also in providing opportunities for all types of teachers to learn together; 3) intercultural teacher education and training should also help the teachers to become aware of the ongoing discourses, and reflect critically on their own cultural assumptions.
  • Maaperä, Ilona (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    CONSENT, ENGAGEMENT AND THE SENSE OF COMMUNITY The Educational Activities of The Settlement Movement in Helsinki 1920–1939 This doctoral dissertation focuses on the educational activities of the Finnish Settlement Movement in Kalliola Settlement in Helsinki between 1920 and 1939. Kalliola Civic Institute, a part of the settlement, concentrated in educating the working class living in Helsinki. The theoretical base of this thesis relies on the concepts of consent and engagement. I study how consent was created and maintained. I study the work of Kalliola Settlement and especially the work of its civic institute and the clubs for children and youngsters. I look at the whole process of governing, with a special interest in the role of Christian faith in the work and as the motivator of the work. This study is based on data preserved in Helsinki City Archives: action reports, registration forms, minutes of meetings, diaries, instructions and financial details. In the settlement the governing was constructed by personal interaction and the sense of community. In building up this community and its governing system the settlement used many methods: indoctrination for the younger ones, softer influencing for the adults. The settlement had a large number of regular meetings, which helped to control all the activities of the settlement. The sense of community was enhanced in many ways. An individual could spend almost all his or her leisure time in the settlement. An important feature was the students’ union, which arranged regular parties and meetings. There were a lot of religious activities to attend. The participants had a total freedom of choice. One did not have to be a member of the organization – as a result it was probably easier for a worker to try for example religious activities as there was no coercion of doing that. The activities of the settlement movement differed from other organizations doing the same. The work of the settlement comprised all ages of man, from children to adults. There were Sunday schools and clubs for children, educational courses for adults, an organization inside the settlement doing social work and a wide variety of options for spending one´s leisure time. All these were important for the totality of the settlement. The civic institute offered education, but it was also an important passage to the other functions of the settlement. Other similar institutes called workers' institutes emphasized a scientific base for their teaching. The settlement wanted to offer an option which took into account even the spiritual, religious needs of its students. The founders of the settlement had a religious conviction for their work. The work of the settlement was supported by society. The most important financiers were industrial companies, who willingly supported work whose aim was to ensure the peaceful development of society in the difficult situation after the civil war. The church financed the settlement, because it was interested in maintaining its role in the lives of the workers. The civic institute also had a role for the financing, it got state aid. The governing system worked well in the beginning. Gradually the workers disappeared and were substituted by middle class women doing office work. In this process the hold of the settlement started to loosen, the students were no longer willing to comply with the system and spend their whole leisure time in the settlement.
  • From, Tuuli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This study considers questions related to language policy, space and power in the context of co-located Finnish- and Swedish-speaking schools in Finland and a bilingual Sweden Finnish school in Sweden. Finland is an officially bilingual country with Finnish and Swedish as national languages, and basic education is organised separately for both language groups. In consequence, the Swedish-speaking schools in Finland are monolingual and there are no bilingual schools providing education in both Finnish and Swedish. The separation of the national languages in the educational system of Finland has been pointed out in societal and scientific debate as protecting the vitality of Swedish in Finland. At the same time, the lack of bilingual schools has been increasingly presented as problematic with regard to promoting linguistic diversity and language learning. However, along with the Finnish municipalities’ recent tendency to co-locate educational institutions in shared facilities, co-locations of monolingual Finnish- and Swedish-speaking schools have become more common. In co-located school campuses, Finnish- and Swedish-speaking schools share the school facilities but function as separate administrative units and engage in mutual activities if they wish. In Sweden, Finnish has been officially recognised as a national minority language since 2000. The present language and education legislation provides the pupils with a Finnish background the right to use and develop their language and cultural identity in education. However, the problems related to the realisation of bilingual education for the Sweden Finns have been extensively pointed out. Bilingual education in Finnish and Swedish is organised for the most part outside the public school system in independent Sweden Finnish schools, whose availability in Sweden is increasingly restricted. The study is informed by critical and post-structuralist notions on the study of language and language policies, as well as theorisations of space and spatiality taking shape particularly in the fields of critical and cultural geography. The spatiality of language policies is framed and approached through the following questions: what kinds of meanings is space given in educational language policy discourses? How do national language policies participate in the construction of spatial orders in institutional education? What kinds of subject positions are available to the actors in these spatial orders and how are these positions negotiated in the everyday lives of educational institutions? In this dissertation, language policies are conceptualised as multi-sited; as ideologies, language planning and language practices that operate in multiple dimensions of space and time. A specific interest is the negotiation of language policies in daily school life and the spatial orders they contribute to. Therefore, the overall methodological framework of this dissertation is ethnographic. The ethnographic data was generated at various sites: co-located primary and high school campuses in Finland and a bilingual Sweden Finnish school in Sweden. The data consists of participant observations, video recordings, interviews with school staff and photo-elicitation interviews with pupils. Moreover, the first article, utilises data consisting of texts published in Finnish newspapers as well as staff interviews from other co-located school campuses in Finland. The analysis of the ethnographic data is contextualised in contemporary education and language policies in Finland and Sweden. This dissertation consists of three articles and a summary part. The first article analyses the discourses and practices related to the spatial separation of the national languages in the educational system of Finland by introducing the concept of cultural space. The second article examines the recognition of linguistic value and the spatiality of linguistic resources in language policy discourse and the everyday practices of co-located and bilingual schools. The third article scrutinises the interplay between spatial ideologies and spatial practices in the context of language and education by analysing how the premise of language separation is conceptualised, managed and negotiated in co-located schools in Finland and the bilingual school in Sweden. The findings indicate that spatial ideologies were present in many ways in how language policies were discussed and practiced in the schools studied. Space was understood as symbolic, material, political and strategic. Particularly in the context of minority language education, space was ascribed meanings that reflected the felt linguistic power relations and their management. The premise of language management was a rather conventional understanding of languages as countable and bounded entities, whose hierarchies were defined along with national language policies. The physical school space and its possession was typically presented by the school staff as a precondition for the protection of a minority language. Moreover, language and education policies were seen as crucial in providing spatial autonomy for minority language speakers. However, like the language agendas, the premises and goals of spatial language management varied among the co-located schools and the bilingual school. In Finland, the reconstruction of a Swedish-speaking school space was understood as a spatial ideology established in the institutions, whereas in Sweden the Finnish-speaking spaces were considered to be repeatedly reconstructed by the educators through the daily spatial practices. In the Swedish-speaking school in Finland, the spatial management was framed by the presence of the Finnish-speaking school as a potential threat, which also seemed to strengthen the underlying norm of monolingualism and the ideal of a monolingual space. However, this study also shows that co-located campuses can be considered as sites in which the premise of linguistic and spatial separation of the national languages in education is challenged and re-negotiated. In the co-located campuses of this study, pupils and students displayed awareness of the language boundaries constructed through the separation of physical space and educational practices. The separation seemed to cause alienation between the pupils and students in these schools but resistance to the linguistic and cultural categories was also articulated and practised. In the Sweden Finnish school in Sweden, the shortcomings in language and minority policies were pointed out by the educators as threatening the position of Finnish in the Swedish educational system. The policies were understood as having failed to provide physical and symbolic spaces for Finnish in Swedish society, of which the unpredictable situation of bilingual schools being seen as a consequence. The ethnographic observations show that in addition to the shortcomings in minority and language policies, the present marketisation of education policies had tangible implications for the everyday life of the Sweden Finnish school. The representations related to Finnish in Sweden seem to be changing but were still classed and devaluing in places, which, according to the ethnographic data, seemed to hinder the recognition of Finnish as a right and a resource. This, in turn, might complicate the successful operation of Sweden Finnish independent schools. In the co-located schools in Finland, by contrast, the established societal position and cultural value related to Swedish in Finland was reflected in how the spatial autonomy of Swedish-speaking schools was treated. This study concludes that observing language policies through their spatial dimension in language policy discourses as well as in educational practice enables a more profound understanding of their connection to equality and difference-making in education. ________________________________________ Keywords: language policy, spatiality, language minorities, bilingual school, co-located school, ethnography
  • Sairanen, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This socioculturally-framed doctoral dissertation focuses on understanding and researching agency in early years pedagogy from the perspective of both children and teachers in Finnish early childhood education (ECE), pre-primary education and early primary education. In the study, agency is understood as a relational activity and underscores the interactional nature of agency that is constructed into being between people, environment and cultural resources in context. This understanding of agency has been applied in three independent studies that uncover the relational nature of agency (respectively) in children transitioning from pre-primary education to primary education (Study 1); in teachers’ work whilst creating the early years pedagogy according to the new Finnish national core curriculum recommendations on the enhancement of children’s multiliteracies (Study 2); and finally, in the interactions between children and teachers in everyday ECE practices (Study 3). This doctoral dissertation consists of three sub-studies published as articles and a summary. Study 1 is an investigation of children’s (aged 5–7 years) sense of agency across time and space through a framework of modalities of agency. The methodological approach applied in the study drew on visual ethnography that afforded the children with multimodal tools to express and make meaning of their agency in the context of their educational transition. The study makes visible the sociocultural resources that mediated the children’s sense of agency in transition from pre-primary education to primary education. Study 2 is an investigation of agency between two ECE teachers and two pre-primary teachers when they designed and conducted multiliteracy pedagogy in accordance with new curriculum requirements. The analysis of the teachers’ interviews (video and audio data) makes it evident how the open curriculum, along with the teachers’ professional skills and enthusiasm for pedagogical design, were associated with their agency. Study 3 had as its focus an investigation of children’s initiatives and ECE teachers’ responses in the everyday life of the ECE classroom as a means to understand how children’s agency is relationally facilitated or hindered. A detailed interaction analysis of the video data of children’s (n=8) and teachers’ (n=2) interaction revealed several modes through which the children communicated their initiatives and how teachers responded to these initiatives, thereby resulting in the creation of an analytical typology of agency. The results revealed adult-child relationships that give rise to a range of opportunities for children’s agency from the relational perspective. Overall, the results in this doctoral dissertation contribute to early years pedagogy in Finnish education by revealing how agency is relationally constructed in sociocultural contexts across children, teachers, and the socio-material and cultural environment. This study introduces potential visual and participatory methods to investigate agency in the everyday lives of young children and their teachers in contextually and culturally sensitive ways. These methods also have the potential to guide teachers’ pedagogical work in the early years. In addition, the results show the importance of examining the power relations and roles between children and teachers in early years pedagogy and how they should be reflected upon and revised if necessary. Examining and (re)building early years pedagogy with children and teachers creates opportunities for relational agency in which both children and teachers can be empowered. The results bring new knowledge for pedagogical efforts, the aim of which is to recognise and enhance children’s agency in early years education. When developing pedagogy, the aim of which is to support agency, it is important to concentrate on listening to both children and teachers, and acknowledging children’s initiatives. ________________________________________ Keywords: Relational agency, early childhood education, pre-primary and primary education, early years pedagogy, sociocultural theory, visual and participatory research
  • Heikonen, Lauri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    In this dissertation, I explored early-career teachers’ professional agency in the classroom. This refers to a teacher’s capacity for active, intentional and skillful learning in classroom interaction. The focus of the thesis is the anatomy of early-career teachers’ professional agency in the classroom and its relationships with inadequacy in teacher-pupil interaction and intentions to leave the teaching profession. Furthermore, I examined the strategies that early-career teachers apply in successful and challenging classroom situations. The dissertation consists of three studies each including a separate data set: cross-sectional survey data from teachers with five or fewer years of experience (N = 284), longitudinal survey data from teachers (N = 268) during the three first years of teacher education (N = 268), and stimulated recall interview data from teachers (N = 31) during a teaching practice period at the end of their studying (N = 31). Thus, the study drew on mixed methods research applying both quantitative and qualitative methods. Survey data sets were analysed primarily by means of structural equation modelling (SEM) whereas the interview data were analysed with content analysis. Study I examined the associations between early-career teachers’ turnover intentions, perceived inadequacy in teach-pupil interaction and professional agency in the classroom during the first five years in teaching. The results showed that considering leaving the teaching profession was positively related to questioning one’s own abilities in teacher-pupil interaction that was further negatively related to early-career teachers’ motivation, self-efficacy beliefs and strategies for constructing collaborative learning environments through active reflection in the classroom. Work experience was negatively related to failure experienced in teacher-pupil interaction. It seems that considering leaving the profession may embrace negatively balanced judgments about one’s performance in classroom interaction, which further hinders early-career teachers’ capacity and efforts towards actively analysing and transforming pedagogical practice and the learning environment. Through experience of working in the classroom, early-career teachers may learn functional strategies for controlling classroom interaction situations. Study II focused on the anatomy of early-career teachers’ professional agency in the classroom during the first three years in teacher education. According to the results, early-career teachers’ capacity to reflect actively in the classroom was positively associated with their learning by modelling other teachers and by con structing collaborative learning environments with pupils, which were further positively related with their sense of competence for promoting learning in the classroom. Furthermore, the interrelations between these contextualised modes of professional agency in the classroom showed a tendency to decrease during the second year and then increase during the third academic year. It seems that the interrelations between the modes of professional agency in the classroom vary, still maintaining a functional capacity enabling early-career teachers’ active and skillful learning in the classroom. In that process, intentional learning from and with others in the classroom became even more substantial. In Study III, the instructional strategies that early-career teachers applied in classroom interaction situations during teaching practice periods in teacher education were investigated. Early-career teachers most often used reactive behavioural strategies that included quick, rigid and survival-oriented responses predominantly in challenging classroom situations. Proactive cognitive strategies, including active monitoring of pupils’ actions and deliberate interpretations of classroom situations, enabled flexible, adaptive and transformative responses mainly in positive situations. Proactive cognitive strategies seemed to determine classroom situations functional for learning professional agency in the classroom, whereas reactive behavioural strategies seemed to inhibit such learning opportunities. Teachers’ learning has been broadly studied, yet research on early-career teachers’ professional agency in the classroom is scarce. This dissertation study contributes to the literature on early-career teachers’ learning by showing that the contextualised modes of professional agency in the classroom each have their operations in fashioning motivation, self-efficacy beliefs and strategies into a functional capacity for active skilful learning in the classroom. Moreover, early-career teachers’ professional agency in the classroom is challenged in many ways by the complexities of teacher-pupil interaction. The quality of instructional strategies is central in determining classroom situations suitable for learning professional agency in the classroom. Keywords: teacher learning, teachers’ professional agency, early-career teacher, classroom interaction, teacher-pupil interaction, instructional strategies, teacher education
  • Blagoeva, Nadezda (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This dissertation presents an artist-teacher-researcher’s exploration of the use of the integrated approach to teaching visual arts to primary students, aged six-to-eight in the after-school clubs organized by an international school in Helsinki. The study is necessitated by the fact that in our postmodern world the availability of visual information is growing with dazzling speed and children, even at an early age, more than ever before are flooded with images through a multitude of channels. Therefore, they need guidance and sharing in order to construct their own knowledge about the world around them and to become multi-literate (Räsänen, 2015a; Räsänen, 2015b), all-round individuals (Finnish National Agency for Education – EDUFI, 2016), able to comprehend the complexity of this diverse visuality. In our fast-changing social and technological environment, dominated by the visual, new means of expression, and methods and materials for art creation are constantly emerging. So, in order to suggest answers to the educational challenges of the future in the field of visual arts it is becoming increasingly necessary to expand curriculum horizons, to find suitable ways for making use of the new and the contemporary (Watts, Cox, & Herne, 2009) and to establish links between different spheres of knowledge and life. For these reasons, the theoretical background of the study relies upon central tenets of the socio-constructivist and integrated approach, while at the same time takes into account some aspects of contemporary art forms and practices. The latter are shown to be essentially integrative in their nature and are viewed as a suitable means of introducing students to the varieties of ways for seeing the world around them and using their knowledge acquired in other subjects for the creation of new original artworks. Contemporary art effortlessly brings together, unites, combines, reuses, recycles, up-cycles, re-contextualizes and remediates materials and ideas to express the interconnectedness between various conceptual entities and, in this way to construct new meanings, just as the integrative approach aims at bridging the gap between disciplines in education. In this dissertation contemporary art forms and practices are considered to be integrative in terms of three of their main aspects: their materialization, their conceptualization and the collaboration during their creation. In view of this understanding of integrative teaching and contemporary art, the dissertation seeks to answer the following broad research question: How can the integrative potential of the three basic art-making principles of contemporary art – alternative materials utilization, conceptualization and collaboration – contribute to the successful integrative teaching of visual arts to primary school students to promote knowledge construction? In order to answer this research question, four artistic projects were planned, developed and implemented, each exploring various aspects of applying the integrated approach to my teaching of visual arts to six-to-eight year old students. The dissertation presents the research and teaching process as a developmental spiral consisting of five action research cycles. Employing action research method for the implementation of all the projects offered a clear methodological procedure that facilitated the data collection as well as the natural flow of the research process – the results and conclusions drawn from each action research cycle inspired the research questions for the next cycle (artistic project). The specific learning objectives as well as the artistic qualities of the artworks created during the projects implementation explored different aspects of the said integrative potential of contemporary art forms and practices. This research in action gave the opportunity to arrive at theoretical conclusions that stemmed directly from my authentic artistic experience applied in the teaching-learning process. These conclusions are presented as a three-tier model for facilitating integrated knowledge construction in the primary visual arts after-school activities by means of introducing contemporary art forms and practices. The model suggests that practical pedagogical utilization of the integrative potential of contemporary art forms can be materials-driven, concept-driven and collaboration-driven integration. These were the specific aspects of contemporary art that were explored in the course of the study and were observed during the implementation of the projects to have the potential to foster collaboration and knowledge integration that transcend disciplinary boundaries. In addition, employing action research allowed me to explore my artistic and teaching approaches thoroughly, to evaluate their development, and to gain awareness of the similarities between the artistic and the research process. In this way, the overlap of professional identities – an artist, a teacher and a researcher – was recognized as an opportunity for guiding the students into authentic artistic processes through artistic action research (Jokela, 2008; Räsänen, 2005), which affected positively the pedagogical and theoretical outcomes of the teaching and research process. The adoption and pedagogical adaptation of the kaleidoscopic diversity of contemporary art’s materialization, conceptualization and collaborative practices fostered collaborative interdisciplinary integration, which is in line with the current Finnish National Core Curriculum for basic education (EDUFI, 2016). They facilitated integrated knowledge construction among the primary after-school students, made the educational process more inspiring and meaningful (European Commission: Eurydice, 2019) and provided the young learners with a creativity toolbox to remix and remediate knowledge and experience, to think outside the box, so as to meet the visual challenges of the postmodern world. ________________________________________ Keywords: contemporary art; action research; integrated approach; primary after-school activities; visual arts education; multi-professional collaboration
  • Veijalainen, Jouni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This study examines 13–89-month-old children's evaluated self-regulation in the Finnish early education setting. The purpose of the study is to explore how self-regulation relates to children's holistic development, narrated cop-ing mechanisms and gender differences in expressions of emotion. The capacity for self-regulation is central to our understanding of what it is to be human, and its critical developmental period lies in early childhood. The contributions of the study are a profound knowledge of the importance of children’s self-regulation and an evaluation of the reliability and suitability of its instrument in an early education setting. The study is based on a larger research project called The Orientation Project, and the data contains three independent instruments. This quantita-tive and partly qualitative dissertation consists of a summary and three orig-inal articles, which focus on the following research assignments: (1) what kind of skills are included in self-regulation, and how are they related to their holistic development? and (2) how is self-regulation connected with children’s narrated coping mechanisms and with their observed emotional expressions? The research included 36 kindergartens from 13 different mu-nicipalities. The evaluations of the children’s (n = 2476) self-regulation skills were conducted via the employees of the children’s own class. The children’s (n = 383) coping mechanisms in an imagined frustration situation were conducted via open-ended interview. The observation instrument (Ekman, 1992) of the boys’ (n = 1075) and girls’ (n = 1213) emotional ex-pressions (n = 50 480) in their everyday lives was based on a random sam-pling. The observations were conducted by a teacher from another early education unit. The statistical data was analysed with frequencies, descrip-tive statistics, an independent T-test, Chi-square and partial correlations. The reliability of the self-regulation instrument was tested with Cronbach’s alpha and Cohen’s kappa. Children’s descriptions of their coping mecha-nisms were thematically classified into eight units via content analysis. The results demonstrate how self-regulation relates to children’s holistic development, such as social, linguistic, metacognition, and motor skills. Children’s good and moderate self-regulation skills entwine with their abil-ity to imagine different forms of persistent coping mechanisms, while weak self-regulation connects to withdrawal strategies and uncertainty. Self-regulation occurs in different emotional expressions in both genders. Boys with weak self-regulation express more aggression, while girls express neu-trality and calmness in every category of self-regulation. As a whole, self-regulation is fundamentally associated with children’s everyday lives in an early childhood education setting. Knowledge of how children’s self-regulation associates with their behaviour and holistic development forms an important ground for educators and policymakers to promote high-quality early childhood education and pedagogy.
  • Hienonen, Ninja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Faced with a diverse student population, schools assign student into classes of different size and composition. These placements can have consequences on learning and teaching and they are often referred to as compositional effects. Consequently, in this study I treated students in clusters (classes in schools) with a hypothesis that students can expect to have different levels of performance depending on the class they are assigned to. The main focus was on students with special educational needs (SEN), and on the question of how they are affected by the class placement. The aim of the study was to discern the class-level effects, specifically, class size and the proportion of students with SEN in regular classes, and to explore the effect of the placement by comparing regular and special classes. Data were drawn from two longitudinal large-scale learning to learn assessment studies representing both primary (N = 896) and lower secondary education (N = 5368). Data were analyzed with multilevel regression models. Furthermore, quasi-experimental design was created using propensity score matching. The results of this study confirmed that on average, students with SEN were placed in smaller classes, however, the size of a class as such had no effect on their performance in cognitive tasks. Furthermore, the average performance level in regular classes with students with SEN was lower than in classes without students with SEN, and the effect remained significant even after the initial differences were controlled for. Students with SEN seemed to benefit from the other students with SEN placed in the same classroom. In addition, the results suggested a tendency to create more homogeneous classrooms as less-achieving students without SEN were placed together with students with SEN. When the differences among students with SEN placed in two distinct educational settings, special and regular classes were explored, no differences in any cognitive tasks were detected. However, students in special classes received higher grades in some core subjects, and that calls for more research on grading practices in different classroom contexts. The findings also revealed differences in learning motivation across the two settings. The purposeful sorting of all students, not only students with SEN into classrooms was confirmed with this study. The results also implied a hidden tracking system within schools. It is evident that assigning students into classrooms is far from neutral act, and that there can be some unintentional consequences. The criteria that are used in assigning students to classes should be discussed in an explicit manner and the schools and administrators should be aware of the possible consequences of different placement decisions.
  • Inkinen, Janna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This dissertation examined how classroom activities and scientific practices are related to student situational engagement. Research has traditionally focused on student engagement, measuring it with questionnaires or observations. However, if we want to have a closer look on the activities that engages students, the focus should be on student situational engagement. Student situational engagement was selected as main research subject, because it has several benefits for students' learning. Furthermore, student situational engagement is something that can be enhanced and modified by different activities that teachers decide to use in their science lessons. In this research, student situational engagement was defined as balance between high situational interest of an ongoing task, high evaluation of students' own situational skills and high situational challenge experienced when working on the task. This definition for situational engagement is rather new and was developed during the research. Nevertheless, it has a strong theoretical background in flow-theory and research focusing on situational interest. This dissertation consists of three original studies in which data was collected using experience sampling method (ESM). Due to the novelty of the research, Study I aimed at uncovering the level of student situational engagement in eight science classes in Helsinki area. The result revealed that student situational engagement varied by their grade level and gender. Girls as a group reported above average situational engagement in life science lessons and boys in exact science lessons. Study II and III extended the investigation by focusing on activities used in science classes in an international context. Study II showed that classroom activities were indeed related to student situational engagement. The result supported previous findings that lecturing was associated with lower levels of situational engagement. However, there were more variation in classroom activities that were related to higher levels of situational engagement. The main finding of Study III was that scientific practices, especially connected to modeling, were related to higher level of student situational engagement. This dissertation conclude that the level of student situational engagement experienced in science classes can vary depending on activities used in science lessons. The result existed when using three-level hierarchical logistic regression models that took account of classroom, student and response levels. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that the role of different activities in science lessons is something that should be emphasised e.g. in teacher education. This information could be used to highlight the role of well-structured lesson plans that include carefully selected activities when teacher training students prepare their practice lessons in pedagogical studies.
  • Wallenius, Tommi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    In this dissertation I scrutinised the Finnish comprehensive school quality assurance and evaluation (QAE) policy with a special focus on the policy of publicising school performance indicators. The research originated from a simple notion: while no school performance indicators are publicised at the school level in Finland, in the other Nordic countries various comparable and commensurable school-specific performance indicators are publicised in the government’s official web portals. Thus, by contrasting the institutionalisation of the Finnish publicising policy with the other Nordic countries, the aim of this research was to clarify how and why Finland has been able to resist the pressures of the ‘global testing culture’ and the idea of publicising school-specific performance results. The following research questions were examined: 1) How are opposite publicising policies (being) justified in Finland and Sweden? (Article I); 2) How are the current publicising policies explained through historically institutionalised path-dependent elements? (Article II); and 3) How are the two core concepts that typically promote a school-specific publicising policy, accountability and transparency, manifested in the policy discourses in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway? (Article III) The research utilised the theories and concepts of various neo-institutional policy research approaches, above all, the writings on discursive institutionalism by Vivien A. Schmidt. Methodologically, all three research articles represented comparative policy research in education. In Article I, seven interviews with key policy actors in Finland collected within the Fabricating Quality in Education (FabQ) research project in 2007-08 were contrasted with the official policy justifications in Sweden. In Article II, the historical institutionalisation of the publicising policy in Finland and Sweden was examined through an analytical literature review. In Article III, 58 interviews with key policy actors in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway collected within the Dynamics in Basic Education Politics in the Nordic Countries (DYNO) research project collected in 2015-17 were analysed. Together, the three research articles showed how the deep-seated rationalities institutionalised in the policies, practices and policy discourses, strengthened further by Finland’s initial PISA success, have provided a suitable platform for the Finnish policy actors to control the coordinative policy discourse on the comprehensive school QAE policy and to resist effectively the pressures to publicise school-specific performance indicators. The decline in the Finnish PISA scores since 2009 in my data did not show up as a ‘critical juncture’ at which new ideas started to challenge the legitimacy of the prevailing policy. In Finland, the main policy discourse, which I have described as the depoliticisive discourse of school performance, has continued to be effective in setting the limits for the ‘appropriate’ QAE policy and behaviour by controlling the concepts of accountability and transparency. It is noteworthy that in this discourse, the citizens have been guided to trust the Finnish comprehensive school system and ‘prevented’ from seeing themselves as eligible users of school-specific performance data. The current comprehensive school QAE policy in Finland, for example the sample-based national level pupil testing that prevents the opportunity to draw up school rankings, has been established as taken for granted. Indisputably, the detrimental effects attached to school rankings, such as increased social segregation by naming and shaming of pupils, teachers and schools, should continue to be taken seriously. However, comparative research in the Nordic countries showed that the policy of publicising school performance indicators is more complex than the main discourse in Finland suggests. Demands concerning either governance transparency or families’ equal rights to access official data may challenge the current publicising policy in future. ________________________________________ Keywords: quality assurance and evaluation policy, school performance indicators, governance publicity, accountability, transparency, comparative policy research in education
  • Saarilahti, Marja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Mastering daily life has been the topic of research in different academic disciplines over the years. This dissertation study approaches the topic from the point of view of home economics. Home economics deals with - and studies - the management of households and their dynamic interaction with surrounding communities. The background of this dissertation is a project in the field of family work. It aimed for helping with mastering everyday life for so-called “drifting families”, i.e., families, with children, that have enduring and considerable problems, especially in coping with their daily duties and timetables. Due to this background, the present study extends beyond home economics and connects it with approaches used in social and educational sciences. The project under study was designed for experimenting with a new family work practice, which used a special method called “sequence map”. The map is intended to function as a tool for supporting to carry out the basic routines of families by organizing and timing daily practices of the family. The project worked together with, and gathered data from, 31 families. The data comprise audio-recordings of family workers’ discussions in project group meetings. The latter data set was investigated in this study. The discussions in these meetings were looked at from the perspective of local knowledge creation of family workers while jointly reflecting their experiences, ideas and questions concerning the use of the sequence map during their family visits. Theoretically, drawing upon cultural-historical activity theory, the sequence map was considered as an artefact, which combines the semiotic and functional meanings of the tool. In the analysis of discursive data on an artefact, the study used three different levels, i.e. primary, secondary and tertiary level of artefact functioning (Wartofsky, 1979), for organizing the data into categories to be further analysed thematically. The analysis aimed to reveal the meanings and functions which the sequence map reaches at each level. The following research questions were addressed: 1. How the sequence map can be placed on the artefact levels and what kind of representations it gets on these levels?; 2. What are the meanings of sequence map as a personal tool of family workers?; and 3. What is the potential new knowledge produced in team meetings and how to further conceptualize the sequence map? The main finding of the research is the multifunctionality of the sequence map which extends its use in practice beyond the designed narrower use of making timetables and fixing a daily structure for helping the families in question to cope with their daily duties. The study shows added meanings and functions, such as a collaborative "pact" between family members, a tool for strengthening the authority of the parent(s), a tool for activating parents, and a tool to bring flexibility to daily life. On the tertiary level the sequence map, mediated by discussions with family workers, revealed new resources of modelling family life, e.g. towards responsible parenthood. For the family workers, the sequence map functioned as an essential tool to communicate sensitively with clients, make plans, and evaluate. The other area of the findings concerns the reflective discussions of family workers seeing these as a way of articulating potential knowledge that is normally hidden or, epistemically, verbalized in an incomplete manner. Keywords: Sequence map, artefact, family work, everyday life, reflective orientation to work, concept formation, mastery of life
  • Åhs, Vesa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The purpose of this study is to examine partially integrative religious and secular ethics education in the Finnish context. By studying experiences and viewpoints relating to partially integrative teaching of religious education (RE) and secular ethics in a lower secondary school context, this study aims to highlight relevant meanings and problems relating to learning in the integrative teaching of RE and secular ethics. While Finnish RE and secular ethics teaching is separative on the level of the National Core Curriculum for Basic Education, some lower secondary schools have started to implement partially integrative practices, where the different curricula of RE and secular ethics are taught integratively in the same classrooms. This study is an article-based thesis comprised of three original refereed research articles (Åhs, Poulter & Kallioniemi 2016, 2019a & 2019b). These articles investigate the views of pupils, the teachers, headteachers and the parents or guardians of the pupils relating to possibilities and issues in integrative classrooms of religious education and secular ethics. The study investigates these themes through three research questions: 1. What are the pertinent views and meanings given in relation to an integrative space of learning religions and worldviews? 2. How do pupils perceive and view an integrative space for learning in the light of their experiences? 3. How do different stakeholders in education: parents, teachers and head teachers view integrative classrooms? The study was implemented with a mixed methods approach and a variety of different data was gathered from a total of four lower secondary schools implementing partially integrative teaching of religious education and secular ethics in the metropolitan area of Helsinki. The data of the study consists of questionnaires to pupils attending partially integrative religious and secular ethics education (N=174), individual pupil interviews (N=40), survey data from the guardians of the pupils (N=174), interviews of teachers and head teachers (N=6) and group interviews of pupils (N=38). The quantitative questionnaire data was analysed with SPSS and the qualitative data with qualitative content analysis. The results of this study indicate that while there are many challenges in implementing integrative practices within a separative system of religious education and secular ethics, the majority of the pupils, teachers and guardians of the pupils view integrative practices as a positive phenomenon in relation to learning and dialogue about religions and worldviews. These positive views were attributed to the possibility of discussing religions and worldviews across religious education and secular ethics group boundaries, the presence of friends across these different groups, and the equality of pupils in relation to school timetables, materials and teaching arrangements. The pupils especially appreciated opportunities to hear about and discuss religious and worldview themes as they appeared in the lived lives of other pupils. These views and discussions appeared in partially integrative classrooms where inclusivity and a safe space were created and pupils were not expected or forced to present their own views but could do so of their own volition. The safe space in which to explore these themes relied on the presence of friends, teacher reflexivity and sensitivity towards various different worldview positions, and mutual attentiveness and goodwill towards the experiences of others. The results also indicated challenges in implementing partially integrative practices. Some pupils highlighted the need for religious education and secular ethics to be taught separatively. This was mainly due to the fact that in their minds a separative form of teaching could better provide knowledge about the pupils’ own religion and a safe space to learn about it. In the case of pupils from secular ethics groups, an integrative form of teaching was sometimes associated with the presence of religious themes, which were largely absent in the separative classes of secular ethics. While the teachers saw that implementing integrative practices within a separative system was challenging in many respects, they highlighted that partially integrative teaching could provide new platforms for learning religions and worldviews together that a fully separative form of RE and secular ethics could not offer. The guardians saw that partially integrative teaching of religious education and secular ethics provided the pupils with a more comprehensive view of different positions regarding religions and worldviews and mirrored society more accurately, since other contexts of study and work would require the pupils to encounter many different religions and worldviews. When interpreting the results, it is necessary to take into account the partially integrative nature of the classrooms and the previous experiences of separative RE and secular ethics of pupils and parents. Based on the research results, it could be claimed that possibilities to implement integrative teaching should be taken into consideration when developing the RE and secular ethics in lower secondary school. Reflection in relation to positionality of different religions and worldviews in the classroom seems to be important when developing and implementing such teaching. Especially the equality of different worldviews in the classroom and noting the individuality and heterogeneity in worldviews can be seen to be important parts of this reflexivity. Keywords: worldview education, religious education, secular ethics, integrative education, basic education
  • Helakorpi, Jenni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This dissertation focuses on policies and practices promoting the basic education of Roma and Traveller national minorities in Finland, Sweden and Norway. The study analyses the power relations inherent in the current policies and practices. The interest lies especially in the subjectivities enabled and constrained by the relations of power in the promotion of basic education of Roma and Traveller national minorities. The study stems from the notion that the power relations and subjectivities are produced by travelling discourses which result from the interplay between national and international policy processes. The study consists of three publications and a summary. Each publication perceives the questions of power relations and subjectivities from their unique perspective. The study is positioned in the intersections between several disciplines, such as education, sociology, feminist studies, studies on ethnic relations and minority research. Theoretically, the study draws from feminist theories, poststructuralism and critical theories on race and whiteness. The transnational and translocal data of the study includes a) policy documents about Roma, Travellers and basic education (N=8) from Finland, Sweden and Norway, and b) interviews with 24 research participants who are implementing the policy measures. The interviews with five of the research participants from the Finnish data are ethnographic, including participant observations for one to four days. The study identifies three problem representations from the policy documents: 1. “Special needs of Roma pupils”; 2. “Roma families” and 3. “National minority cultures at school” making the Roma and Travellers the focus of attention rather than the school institutions, structural discrimination or racism. One of the practices the policy documents promote is “Roma mediators”, whose work is validated by these problem representations. The analysis shows that the work of the Roma mediators is constrained by the current power relations since, in order to do their work, Roma mediators need to negotiate with the discourse of tolerance which submits individuals to relations of power where some are the potential tolerating actors and others may become tolerated. Roma mediators are perceived as representatives of all the Roma, assumed to work against biases with their own presence. The responsibility for change is placed on the shoulders of the Roma mediators. Another policy measure that is closely scrutinised in this research is the measure of providing knowledge about Roma and Travellers in schools. This research shows that the actors who identify as Roma or Travellers use knowledge about the groups to react to racialization of Roma and Travellers in schools and to challenge the silence about the Roma and Travellers in the nation states. The analysis highlights that the notion of providing knowledge involves the premise that the responsibility for change and transformation is on the Roma. It is argued that the current policies and practices focus on Roma and Travellers and their actions in manifold and persistent ways, enabling the subjectivity of innocence for other than Roma and Travellers. The analysis suggests that the subjectivities enabled for Roma and Travellers include being those responsible for change, for the current situation, and for being inadequate, whereas the subjectivities of innocence, not being responsible, being a helper, and a tolerating actor are enabled for others. Making the Roma and Travellers the focus of attention and enabling innocence and helper subjectivities for others reflects the asymmetrical power relations the current discourses subject individuals into. The study argues that Roma policies would benefit from a further analysis of the current power relations produced by the discourses in order to promote the equality of the Roma and Travellers in these societies.
  • Haapasaari, Arja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The study examines the emergence, evolution and sustainability of workers’ transformative agency in organizational change efforts. Traditionally, changes and transformations in organizations are initiated by the management and special development units, and the voices, experience and knowledge of all the involved parties are not listened to or taken into consideration. This study challenges the traditional way of conducting development projects and presents the special interventionist methodology of the Change Laboratory (CL). Development projects often utilize models and practices invented in different contexts and organizations, and thus do not necessarily pay enough attention to specific local circumstances. The CL engages the actors themselves in work development and supports the emergence of transformative agency. The transformative agency of the actors examines the current local activity and the historical roots behind the problems and contradictions caused by the clash between the past, present and possible future forms of activity. This study focuses on how transformative agency emerges, how it can be sustained, how actions of transformative agency support the construction of innovation paths, and how power relations in particular impact on the implementation or termination of innovative ideas. The study positions its theoretical framework in the field of previous studies focusing on agency, learning and work development in organizational changes and transformations. Social and organizational theories have widely discussed the key theoretical conceptions applied in this study. The most promising theoretical approaches in the field from the viewpoint of this study are the Cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT), the Institutional theory (IT), the Actor-network theory (ANT) and the Material engagement theory (MET). The study reviews the central scholarly literature concerning IT, ANT and MET and places it in dialogue with CHAT, on which its theoretical and methodological principles are based. CHAT is a specific qualitatively-oriented theory that examines collective human activity in local settings and offers a theoretical and methodological framework for studying transformative agency and work development as learning processes. The study consists of a CL intervention conducted in a work unit at one of the sorting centres of a postal and logistics services company in Finland, and an extensive follow-up during which the sustainability of transformative agency and the constructed innovation paths were examined. The empirical data were collected over three years, from 2010 to 2013. The findings of this study contribute to CHAT and further develop its methodological principles. This study contributes in particular to the analysis of transformative agency by extending the methods for analysing discursive expressions of transformative agency. The analysis of innovations and power relations also push the boundaries of knowledge in CHAT a little bit further. The findings indicate that when people are provided with opportunities, forums and tools for participating, they take agentive actions and initiate innovative solutions to collaboratively develop joint activity. Transformative agency emerges in situations of conflicting stimuli in local activity. It manifests itself in the examination of problems, conflicts and contradictions in an activity, and develops existing ways of action. Agentive actions are initiated by individuals but require joint forums to evolve in collective activity. The emergence and evolution of transformative agency is a long, collective learning process which needs to be nurtured by new practices and tools if it is to endure practical day-to-day working life. The findings of this study show that innovative ideas and solutions can arise from problems, tensions and contradictions in an activity system when people collaboratively analyse their practices. These can be either incremental developmental steps, radical changes in tools, processes and practices, or system-level changes that transform the entire course of action. As well as separate product or service embodiments, innovations can be ongoing processes that continuously develop the activity. By definition, transformative agency breaks away from the existing frame of action and takes initiatives to transform it. Thus, transformative agency opens up new opportunities and supports the emergence of new power. Power emerges from the activity of practitioners. It is not only a medium; it is also an effect of collective activity. The new power breaks the existing power structures and empowers the parties involved in collaborative work development.
  • Kervinen, Anttoni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The focus in this dissertation is on students’ interactions and science teaching practices in loosely supervised outdoor environments. The aim is to investigate the opportunities of students to participate in science learning in affectively meaningful ways that working away from the teacher can provide, and how these opportunities can be enabled through instructional strategies. The contribution of the dissertation is therefore to contribute to the current understanding of how potentially alienating dimensions of science teaching can be moderated. To understand students’ experiences and interactions in learning settings when the teacher’s supervision is not constant, in this dissertation I have investigated student groups conducting fieldwork activities in a forest and teachers who implement fieldwork extensively in their biology courses. The empirical data analyzed comes from video recordings of student groups, mobile messages used in the communication and student and teacher interviews. The empirical analysis focuses on sociocultural phenomena made visible in the interaction of the students and the discursive accounts of the teachers about their outdoor teaching practices. The results of the dissertation demonstrate a variety of non-conceptual but culturally important ways that students draw on to connect science learning with their everyday experiences and to temporarily overturn the authoritativeness of science. These interactions appear as potential ways to moderate the alienating aspects of teaching while they simultaneously allow students to complete the tasks. Furthermore, the results show which instructional strategies allow students’ sense of freedom to be balanced against controlling practices so that the initially uncommon setting is transformed into ordinary schooling for the students. Overall, the dissertation results should encourage educators and researchers to regard all students’ experiences during science lessons as potentially important and valuable. Provided that certain controlling practices ensure there is enough focus on the intended objectives, the loosely supervised learning settings appear to provide authentic opportunities for students to access science learning in affectively meaningful ways.
  • Sandström, Niclas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    How is user experience taken account of in the design of university campus facilities? And what will university learning environments, operational environments and other tools that support learning look like in the future, when organisations must also integrate the dimension of sustainable development into their development work? This doctoral dissertation approached the experiences of university students of their campus learning environments, as well as the multidisciplinary development of learning environments and future readiness in four studies. A broad, overarching research question was, how students’ experiences relate to learning environments and the affordances in them, and how user experience could be utilised when re-configuring and designing university learning environments in a participatory fashion. The dissertation comes at a time when growing attention is being paid to the functionality, healthiness and usability of physical learning environments, alongside digital development. Space and the built environment broadly have a significant connection to how people in different operational contexts, as individuals and as communities, can learn and develop further their own practices. Space is in a dynamic relationship with the people, tools and practices that operate and are operated in it. Digital solutions and ubiquitous work and studying create new opportunities where this dynamic relationship becomes relevant in many new ways. In the dissertation, this dynamic relationship was studied from the perspective of the learning environment. Study I set out to examine the learning environment-related experiences of 11 chemistry students during a laboratory course in organic chemistry. The research material was collected through focus group interviews. Key findings from student descriptions were the importance of basic needs such as experienced safety and balancing between individual learning and learning together. Experienced safety was related to the characteristics of both the physical and the social learning environment. Asking for help from a teacher tutor and finding clues to support individual learning in the physical spaces were considered essential. Learning was described as being somewhat two-fold: either the students studied in order to learn, or went to a lecture because one is supposed to attend the lectures. In addition, the students also talked about the need for different spaces within spaces and flexibility of the spaces. Study II followed an intensive, 7-week blended learning course and experiences of learning environments in a group of ten class teacher students. Based on the results, it seems that in supporting learning, for instance experienced safety was as important a basic need for the students studied as in the context of chemistry. In addition, the interviews highlighted a sense of belonging and attachment to the scientific community, which were also supported by elements of the physical learning environment, such as transparency that glass walls provide. Students made use of the facilities on campus even when they could have stayed home learning. They found that being able to choose and adjust the facilities based on the requirements of the task was important. The attractiveness of the campus as well as the stability of the digital affordances were found important in supporting learning. As a summary, a preliminary proposal was put forth for dimensions to be integrated in the guidelines for learning environment design to improve, inter alia, usability. Study III analysed a change process on campus for behavioural sciences, and studied experiences of the stakeholder groups involved in the process as well as how user preferences had been taken into consideration in the outcome. In the data collected by snowball sampling (11 informants) and in the analysis, triangulation was performed between different stakeholder groups. The informants felt that the properties and facilities were being developed in a participatory manner, but due to interruptions in communication and sudden changes in the process, there were hardly any spatial solutions supporting co-creation and unplanned social encounters that the stakeholders had called for. Students stressed the importance of where and how effortlessly the academic staff and students can meet. It was reported as essential that the learning environment should enable different phases of the learning process, from noisy co-creation to focussed individual learning. As a result, the importance of a spatial continuum seems to take shape: the students want to learn together both quietly and loudly, the spaces promoting both extremes in the same campus environment. Experiences of safety and belonging were also emphasized in the student interview. One of the crystallizing conceptualizations of the Study is campus reliability, which can be improved especially through a stable connectivity and digital functionality. In Study IV, it was researched how the results and experiences of learning environments from Studies I-III can become part of a process creating future-ready and sustainable learning landscapes. The case study applied service design approaches, structured workshops, and user interviews. The aim of Study IV was to develop and test alternative Key Performance Indicators that take account of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Nine alternative performance measures were developed in the study, and the tool was tested in the process and outcome of the learning environment change that was the object of the case study. The tool managed to help structuring from the data and the outcome the dimensions in which the process was successful (e.g. communication and stakeholder involvement) and that need to be further developed in a similar process (e.g. service delivery, systematic integration of sustainable development goals). In light of the results, it seems that the built environment and the digital solutions in it can be used as a learning platform for sustainable development and to build awareness of the effectiveness and participatory potential of the solutions. The study created a model of process expertise that can also be used in operationalising the global sustainable development goals while changing the learning environment in a way that supports user agency and basic needs. It was demonstrated in this dissertation that by promoting the basic needs and by participatory and multidisciplinary collaboration, usability and students ’experiences of attachment to their academic community can be supported. By creating meeting places and future-ready spaces for joint knowledge co-creation and creative practices between students and academic staff, the campus learning landscape can be shaped to be attractive and reliable to better meet emerging needs. According to the dissertation, keeping learning at the centre of change initiatives can also be promoted by developing and maintaining multidisciplinary process practices. User information can be used to create processes that more systematically support the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the transformation of learning environments.
  • Salmivirta, Seppo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This dissertation explores the features of learning in the progressive inquiry learn-ing environment supported by mobile technology devices while studying science. Developed e-learning environment is also examined. The study analyses knowledge from constructivist and social constructivist perspectives in the context of the learning environment that was under development. The study was conducted as a design-based research (DBR) in collaboration with a sixth grade school class and the classroom teacher. Three iterative devel-opment cycles were carried out during the academic year 2012-2013 in real-world classroom settings. The research data consisted of interviews with student groups and the teacher and of a database stored in the e-learning environment including the structure of the e-learning environment, knowledge building online discus-sions and research reports from the student groups. The student interviews were conducted using the stimulated recall method (STR) in semi-structured group in-terviews after each development cycle. The e-learning environment used in the learning projects was used as a stimulus for the interviewees. The interview data was analysed by means of qualitative content analysis, both in theory-guiding and as emergent meanings. The online data was examined by content analysis meth-ods. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis were used. The results of the study show that the students' work in the specific learning environment shows characteristics of learning such as activity, intentionality, con-structivism and reflection. At the same time, a set of generic skills called explor-atory learning skills emerge. The learners’ presentation of research questions and refinement questions, important to science education, can be improved by devel-oping the context and utilising online discussion, according to the results. The results also show that the more learners' work involved exploratory learning skills, the more research questions they could solve in different ways. The use of mobile technology has a positive connection with the learning fea-tures that have emerged in the research. The more the students perceived the ben-efits of mobile technology when studying, the more they expressed in the inter-view the features of meaningful learning. The speed and easiness of use of the mobile device support collaboration and conversation in a flexible learning envi-ronment. The results show that a rich learning environment can be built into the e-learning environment and that the online and face-to-face guidance of students when studying is important. The results also demonstrate that learners need sup-port and stimulation to use technology to support their studies. However, the ex-periences of students and teachers reveal that development efforts can signifi-cantly reduce the challenges of working in a mobile environment.
  • Nummijoki, Jaana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Physical mobility is a central factor in elderly people’s agency in the twilight of life. The loss of elderly people’s physical mobility presents a major challenge for modern society. To address this challenge, a group of practitioners and experts in the field of elderly care in Helsinki designed and implemented a tool, the Mobility Agreement, to cultivate agency and promote elderly people’s physical capability and mobility. The framework for the Mobility Agreement was developed from 2006 to 2009 as part of a co-operative research and development project on promising practices in home care, funded by the City of Helsinki and led by researchers from CRADLE at University of Helsinki. The Mobility Agreement provides structured support for the elderly in everyday life during home care visits. It is a plan jointly prepared by the home care client and his or her home care worker to promote day-to-day exercise. The home care worker provides assistance by selecting and monitoring the exercises. When necessary, a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist may be involved. With the introduction of the Mobility Agreement, the focus of the home care staff shifts: less time is spent managing home care duties on behalf of the elderly person, and more time is spent guiding and encouraging the client to exercise regularly. My study focuses on the encounters of home care clients and workers and the working methods associated with the Mobility Agreement, used to support the clients’ functional capacity and physical mobility. The practical underlying philosophy (Jones, 2007) is to move from doing to people, to doing on behalf of people and eventually to doing with people, in such a way that that the elderly client has more opportunity to be in charge and do things him- or herself, but with assistance rather than care. Qualitative data were collected from two developmental research projects in Helsinki over a six-year period (2006–2012) through observations, video-recordings during the home care encounters, and interviews of home care workers and their elderly clients. I used ethnographic observation, analyzed the dialogues, and tracked indications of the emergence of transformative agency among the participants. This analysis allowed me to conceptualize the adoption of the Mobility Agreement practice as a transformation in which home care workers could recognize and support their elderly clients’ transformative agency, as well as that of their own. This study also addresses the restrictive factors that may prevent the formation of agency. This dissertation is an empirical, ethnographic and longitudinal formative interventionist study, based on the cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT). Its aim is to generate and support a cycle of expansive learning (Engeström, 2015). The dissertation consists of four empirical articles and a summary that brings them together to present a picture for learning opportunities to break new ground in home care encounters. The study addresses three research questions: 1. What prevents the formation of shared agency in home care? The results of this study show that defensive learning cycles arise from home care workers’ fear of additional work and new competence demands, and from home care clients’ quest for safety, often crystallized in fear of falling. The formation of shared agency is hampered if the contradiction between the efficiency of the home care worker (doing his or her job) and the potential effectiveness of the home care service (maintaining the functional capacity and reducing social exclusion among elderly people) is not expansively worked out. The introduction of the Mobility Agreement thus becomes a source of frustration rather than a developmental process mediated by a useful tool promoting physical mobility exercises in home care visits. 2. What kinds of learning take place when an agency-fostering new practice is introduced in home care encounters? Expansive learning takes place when such a new practice triggers the development of an expanded shared object, which allows the home care client and the home care worker to construct shared goals, plans and practices concerning the clients’ functional capacity and physical mobility. This in turn requires new kinds of dialogue and cooperation, as well as reflective interaction between the two separate yet intertwined processes of the home care client’s learning and the home care worker’s learning. In other words, the client and the worker need to understand and commit to an idea of embodied and discursive co-configuration, which includes continuous negotiation between these two parties, and eventually also with other actors who contribute to the client’s overall home care service and wellbeing. 3. What main insights are needed to accomplish a sustainable, agentive transformation process in home care and change the home care script? These insights require co-configuration work that maintains and supports the elderly person’s functional capacity, postpones frailty, and reduces the risk of social exclusion. The planned and professionally initiated use of the Mobility Agreement succeeds when it connects and merges with client-initiated and incidental uses of artifacts as second stimuli. The expansive use of artifacts is of crucial importance for the quality and continuity of future-making in critical encounters. The answers given above summarize the findings of my four research articles (Articles I–IV). These articles also illustrate four perspectives of agency and their implications for home care. Article I introduces a perspective on agency as co-configuration in home care, with new forms of agency generated with the help of the Mobility Agreement. In article II, the key notion is “germ cell.” In supporting physical mobility among the elderly, getting up from a chair emerges as the germ cell, shaped and articulated primarily by means of bodily movements. The new collective concept of sustainable mobility emerges by expansion from the germ cell of the simple movement of getting up from a chair. This new concept has the potential to transcend and overcome the contradiction between safety and autonomy, and to generate a new kind of shared transformative agency. The meaning of the artifacts (Article III) emerges during critical encounters in which two or more relevant actors come together to deal with a problem that represents both a potentially shared object and a conflict of motives. Artifacts can be used both restrictively, to avoid engaging in the implementation of the Mobility Agreement; and expansively, to initiate and support actions that implement the Mobility Agreement. Article IV identifies the importance of learning cycles as a perspective on shared transformative agency. Learning emerges as interplay, movement between the expansive and defensive learning actions of the home care client and the worker. Home care encounters have an in-built asymmetry between the potentially powerful practitioner and potentially powerless elderly client. When the learning challenge requires reorientation of both parties, the power relations seem to become much more open-ended and mutable. When the home care worker and the client engage in either a predominantly defensive or a predominantly expansive learning cycle, in many cases it is not at all simple to determine who is teaching or leading, or who is guiding whom. Shared transformative agency is a key quality of expansive learning. It requires volitional actions from both participants. Mutual volition is at the core of shared transformative agency, defined as breaking away from a given frame of action and taking the initiative to transform it. Co-configuration requires flexible knotworking in which no single actor has the sole, fixed authority. New forms of work organization in the social and health sector require further research on negotiated knotworking across boundaries in the care of elderly people living at home. Keywords: Home Care, Mobility Agreement, Shared Transformative Agency, Double Stimulation, Expansive learning, Germ Cell
  • Kalenius, Aleksi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    One of the fundamental questions of all societies is the possible trade-off between quality of outcomes and equality of opportunity. The question of a possible trade-off between equality of opportunity and level of outcomes has a long history in the sociology of education, and it has been seen as a fundamental question of the field. Economics literature recognises that equality of opportunity is not, unlike equality of outcomes, in a trade-off with quality of outcomes. Rather, inequalities of opportunity generate inefficiency and are thus in a trade-off with the level of outcomes. Here, building on this difference, we make a distinction between outcome trade-off and opportunity trade-off. Equality of opportunity is standardly measured indirectly, taking outcomes associated with circumstances to be due to circumstances and thus an indication of inequality of opportunity. This approach assumes that the circumstances of the individual are independent of the responsibility characteristics. The assumption flows from taking responsibility to be inseparable from individual freedom, whereby an individual should not be held responsible for the direct or indirect consequences of unchosen circumstances. When responsibility is directly linked to individual choice, we may also take any between-types differences in outcomes between groups facing different environments as evidence of the differential effects of those environments. Equality of opportunity is a causal concept, decomposing the outcomes as due to just and unjust causes. Due to the complexity of social phenomena such as intergenerational mobility, well-defined causality is out of reach, yet the concept of opportunity requires counterfactuals and causality. We propose that, rather than abandoning the causal core of the concept of equality of opportunity, or high standards in identifying well-defined causality, complex circumstances should be understood as ill-defined treatments. The area of education reveals interesting tensions because cognitive outcomes cannot be redistributed. It is usually taken to follow that differences in cognitive outcomes that are due to innate ability are not unjust, even though this means making individuals effectively responsible for something beyond their choice or control – their innate ability. This is what makes the opportunity trade-off possible. It arises because individuals in different circumstances may differ by innate ability. To bridge the gap between responsibility linked to freedom and learning outcomes linked to innate ability, we propose a typology of responsibility characteristics to allow for a more explicit recognition of the reasons for holding individuals responsible for causes beyond their control. The core concept introduced is natural responsibility characteristic, referring to a cause that individuals are held responsible for, but beyond the influence of persons individually or collectively. This makes natural responsibility characteristics historically contingent rules of regulation that depend on the level of technology, broadly construed. The two hypotheses on the causes of the association between background circumstances and cognitive outcomes emphasise ability and opportunity. The opportunity hypothesis takes outcome differences associated with circumstances as being due to the opportunities that different groups face, while the ability hypothesis takes differences to arise from between-group differences in innate ability. Both innate ability and opportunity can be observed only indirectly, but the opportunity hypothesis predicts that the between-type difference is minimised with high outcomes, while the ability hypothesis leads us to expect that equality of opportunity and the level of outcomes form a trade-off. The two perspectives can be combined in an ability-opportunity curve, the peak of which depends on the contribution of innate ability differences to between-group differences in outcomes. The causal chain between genetics and cognitive outcomes is insufficiently understood to provide clarity to the role of genes in explaining between-group differences in cognitive outcomes. While all researched human traits are heritable and we find an association between genetics and outcomes, unobservable associations between environment and genetics currently prevent well-defined identification of the causal contribution of genetics to between-group differences. The empirical sections of the work approach the question of equality of learning opportunity and the level of learning outcomes using IALS and PIAAC, two studies of adult skills. The ability-opportunity curve is approached, observing the association between equality of opportunity and the level of learning outcomes for different parental education types. The results indicate a positive association between equality of learning opportunity and the level of adult skills for all parental education types, matching the prediction of the opportunity hypothesis. While high proficiency can be achieved with high levels of equality of opportunity, the two usually go together. The positive association between equality of opportunity and the level of learning outcomes is stronger for lower parental education types and on longer time frames. The longer-term equality of opportunity is a strong predictor of the level of learning outcomes even in the short term. Equality of outcomes, here captured by income inequality, explains much of the same variation as equality of opportunity, supporting the opportunity-equalising effects of income equality attested to by the Great Gatsby curve. Longer-term equality indicators also predict learning outcomes of the high parental education type over time to the same degree as contemporary equality indicators, implying that equality indicators may provide advance warning of the direction of the evolution of learning outcomes. The results imply that developed countries still find themselves on the upward-sloping section of the ability-opportunity curve. In the analysis of possible traces of education reforms in between-cohort differences in equality of opportunity, IALS and PIAAC paint a largely concordant picture of the evolution of proficiency across cohorts. The pattern applies to the youngest groups of IALS, implying that cohort discontinuities in adulthood may be associated with differences in educational experiences in youth and with policy reforms. Comparing the timing of the observed discontinuities with the timing of education policy reforms, we identify 29 discontinuities that can be associated with notable changes in education policy. Reforms towards longer education and more comprehensive schooling seem mainly to be associated with improved equality of learning opportunity, while in some countries similar reforms in the 1990s seem to be associated with declining equality of opportunity. A brief, slightly more in-depth, look at Finland reveals a large increase in inequality in the 1990s, which broadly matches other data sources. The observation is of interest for several reasons. It would, if the results of our analyses are anything to go by, predict a later decline in learning outcomes, something that Finland has famously observed over the last 13-25 years. In addition, many of the internationally-known characteristics of the Finnish education system have been linked to the reforms of the 1990s and those reforms have been used to explain the rise of Finland to international fame and to the position of a global benchmark. The timing of the increase in inequality matches these reforms. The results suggest that the causes of Finnish success might have been misidentified and that we may have, both nationally and internationally, learnt the wrong lessons from Finland. Keywords: equality of opportunity, learning outcomes, large-scale survey, adult skills, education policy

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