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  • Torkkeli, Markus (Helsingin yliopisto, 2001)
  • Kivilehto, Sari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    "I will soon understand." The House Planning Program as an Enhancer of Pupils´ Thinking Skills and Learning in Home Economics at Comprehensive School The aim of the research was to build a study program for home economics education in order to enhance pupils´ thinking skills. The program was based on the intervention programs or strategies known as Cognitive Acceleration (CA), which are founded on the theories of Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and Reuven Feuerstein. In addition, Carl Bereiter s theory of knowledge building was integrated to the research. The viewpoint of home economics was based on the multidimensional foundation of home economics science, particularly household technology and house planning. I first analyzed the kind of body of knowledge home economics science and home economics education provides for enhancing thinking skills in home economics. For the study, a CATE (Cognitive Acceleration through Technology Education) program was adapted and modified and a House Planning program was created for home economics classes. The house planning program consisted of five lessons during which pupils learned how to make functional floor plans as well as choose furniture, household appliances and materials for the home. In order to obtain the required data, various classroom experiments were arranged in 2005 with grade 9 pupils at a comprehensive school in Helsinki. All the experiments were videotaped, and five hours of the videotaped material was edited and transcribed for closer examination. The material consisted of all the video-recorded activity of the selected study group. Interaction study and content analysis were used to analyze the data. Following the experiments, a small survey was conducted to solicit pupils´ and teacher´s opinions of the program. The analysis sheds light on the nature of pupils´ interaction and knowledge building in small group activity. Special attention was given to tracking pupils´ interaction during the socalled construction zone activity. The models and qualities of teacher´s aid and support during the lessons were examined as well. The results revealed the versatility of the pupils social interaction and common knowledge building that occurred during the small group activity. The pupils discussions, including their arguments, their sharing of ideas, and the multiple perspectives that emerged reflected home economics knowledge building. The construction zone activity appeared through expressions of cognitive conflict and metacognition. Cognitive conflict was evident in the pupils´ words and involved questioning, doubting and disputing. The metacognitive activity emerged by thinking aloud, choosing the strategies, and negotiating the results. The pupils also coordinated their activity, allocated the responsibility, and systematized their work. The teacher assisted by preparing new themes for the pupils and by participating in the small group work. The teacher´s help during the small group sessions strengthened the pupils activity in the construction zone. The results showed that one can utilize the wide multidisciplinary basis of home economics, which includes scientific knowledge but also the knowledge derived from practical activity and experience. In this study practical activity was undertaken as a planning project the result of which was a plan or a new vision for the house planning situation. The study showed that the House Planning program was able to enhance the pupils´ social interaction and collaboration. The learning environment challenged the pupils in a way that could be a gateway to further developing their thinking skills. The method of analysis created in the study could be a potential tool for examining social interaction, construction zone activity, and knowledge building in other learning environments as well. Key words: home economics, house planning, classroom experiment, thinking skills,cognitive conflict, metacognition, social interaction, knowledge building
  • Soini-Salomaa, Kristiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    The field of Arts and Crafts is undergoing a transformation that parallels the change in the so-called creative economy. The role of culture professionals is being reshaped from the perspectives of future work, production, and well-being. Arts and Crafts professionals, designers, and craftsmen are largely self-employed as entrepreneurs, yet simultaneously they handle many tasks such as designing, manufacturing, marketing, teaching, and jobs in other fields. Their professional identities are built on multi-skilled competence and specialized expertise in various combinations. This study focuses on future professional images in the field of craft and design. Alter-native images are approached from four viewpoints: the operational environment, key professional competencies, the operational model, and professional identity. The operational environment refers to working environments and conditions. Key professional competencies include the skills and knowledge needed for the work. The operational model refers to practical working habits (activities), and professional identity is defined as consist-ing of working attitudes and personal characteristics. First, the interdisciplinary research phenomenon and related core concepts are described along with previous research in the field. Key informant interviews, future work-shops, future storytelling, and the Delphi Expert Panel are used as research methods. The object of the data collecting has been to determine future orientations in the field of Arts and Crafts from different perspectives. The research combines the results of changes in direction and the impact on future professional images. Alternative images of professional futures based on the research data and the results are also presented. The research results indicated that the Arts and Crafts sector is undergoing a transformation, which, driven by strong sustainable development objectives, is changing operational models and professional identities. The role of vocational training is important in coaching future experts. Even more important is the transformation from product-oriented thinking to process-oriented and user-centered thinking. Stronger future orientation and systematic future education are needed in vocational training. New opportunities for design and arts and crafts can be found in new interfaces with other sectors, such as well-being services. The empowerment influence of making things by hand as well as professional choice as part of the well-being and experience service is emerging as a significant force. The strong rise of maker culture and the new developing 3D-technology will revolutionize design and manufacturing practices on the local as well as the global level in the near future. Key words: arts and crafts, design, craft entrepreneurship, creative industries, future stud-ies, images of the future 
  • Hyrkkänen, Ursula (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This study deals with the formation of the idea of research and development (r&d) activity at one particular university of applied sciences in Finland. In this study I proceed from examining the conceptions of management regarding r&d-activities to exploring the development of the complex concept that guides these r&d-activities. The aim of this study is, first, to describe conceptions of r&d-activities, and then, second, to describe the formation of a new concept for r&d-activities in one field of study at the university of applied sciences. I used phenomenographic analysis to elucidate the conceptions and collected the data in interviews of personnel (22) who belong to the management of the university of applied sciences. The data for analysing the obstacles faced and the ways of overcoming them during the formation process of the new concept consist of the video-recorded material from ten change laboratory sessions held for the specific field of study at the university of applied sciences. In researching the formation of the concept of the activity, such research and analysis methods are used in which the concept is understood as a material construction, and with the help of which one can work out the formation of the concept during the development process. When the systematic development of the r&d-work was underway, the management of the university of applied sciences held differing views regarding the content, target, factors and organisation of the r&d-activities, as well as regarding the position of dissertations as a part of r&d-activity. Obstacles for developing rd concerned the unclear object and outcomes of the new activity, not having the tools (such as adequate know-how) for the new activity and not having found the necessary solutions for the distribution of work. In addition the rules that quide the activities of the university of applied sciences did not support working according to the new way. To improve r&d-activity, the school’s management defined three development strategies to encourage adequate rd-activity to support working life, regional development and learning. The strategies were based on the expansion of existing methods, such as service activities, dissertation work and the research activities of the teachers. Of the three possible routes, the concept of dissertation in this study was expanded to integrate the services of organisation development and the occupational growth of the students. A group of teachers in the field of social and health studies participated in the development work. The change laboratory method was used as a tool for this work. Analysis of the cognitive trails indicated that, in addition to the cycle of expansive learning activities, microcycles with different purposes can exist. According to Cussins (1992), something already in existence in each microcycle is destabilised, and something else is stabilised to replace it. In this study three microcycles were identified, during which the teachers first destabilised the existing concepts of dissertation work that guided their thinking, and then began to use new concepts to structure their thinking. Secondly, they undermined the existing concepts with material structure that defined their practical work, and developed new practical models to replace them. Thirdly, the problems accumulating in researching and testing the new activities caused the developers to destabilise the r&d-strategies of the university of applied sciences and to define a new conceptual model for r&d-work in the field. During this third cycle, the teachers developed a research arena model, which was a significant expansive innovation. In the cognitive trails developing the new concept for the r&d-activity, the teachers indeed faced the obstacles the management had described as their conceptions. These obstacles manifested themselves as contradictions. During the development process, the nature of the obstacles (i.e. contradictions) changed as the development proceeded. Solving the first and second degree contradictions highlighted the third and fourth degree contradictions. To overcome the obstacles, the teachers had to to articulate the value and motive of the development work throughout the development process. Developing the new concept for r&d-activity required many reconfigurations of practical solutions to overcome the obstacles. Developing the new concept for r&d-activity, both at the level of representations and of new practices, requires universities of applied sciences to adopt new methods in which the actors are partake in construction of new concepts of activity through adequate discussion, analysis and debate. R&d -activity can progress, if instead of implementing partial solutions, the totality of the activities (i.e. the group of partial solutions acting together) will be constructed. The development of the activity system requires many simultaneous changes as well as wide-ranging know-how and discussion related to these changes. What is perhaps most important, however, is that the group of developers mature into a determined collective actor which can engage in many agentive actions. The development of the agency is fundamental to progress.
  • Korppoo, Maijaleena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    The goal of this research was to establish the necessary conditions under which individuals are prepared to commit themselves to quality assurance work in the organisation of a Polytechnic. The conditions were studied using four main concepts: awareness of quality, commitment to the organisation, leadership and work welfare. First, individuals were asked to describe these four concepts. Then, relationships between the concepts were analysed in order to establish the conditions for the commitment of an individual towards quality assurance work (QA). The study group comprised the entire personnel of Helsinki Polytechnic, of which 341 (44.5%) individuals participated. Mixed methods were used as the methodological base. A questionnaire and interviews were used as the research methods. The data from the interviews were used for the validation of the results, as well as for completing the analysis. The results of these interviews and analyses were integrated using the concurrent nested design method. In addition, the questionnaire was used to separately analyse the impressions and meanings of the awareness of quality and leadership, because, according to the pre-understanding, impressions of phenomena expressed in terms of reality have an influence on the commitment to QA. In addition to statistical figures, principal component analysis was used as a description method. For comparisons between groups, one way variance analysis and effect size analysis were used. For explaining the analysis methods, forward regression analysis and structural modelling were applied. As a result of the research it was found that 51% of the conditions necessary for a commitment to QA were explained by an individual’s experience/belief that QA was a method of development, that QA was possible to participate in and that the meaning of quality included both product and process qualities. If analysed separately, other main concepts (commitment to the organisation, leadership and work welfare) played only a small part in explaining an individual’s commitment. In the context of this research, a structural path model of the main concepts was built. In the model, the concepts were interconnected by paths created as a result of a literature search covering the main concepts, as well as a result of an analysis of the empirical material of this thesis work. The path model explained 46% of the necessary conditions under which individuals are prepared to commit themselves to QA. The most important path for achieving a commitment stemmed from product and system quality emanating from the new goals of the Polytechnic, moved through the individual’s experience that QA is a method of the total development of quality and ended in a commitment to QA. The second most important path stemmed from the individual’s experience of belonging to a supportive work community, moved through the supportive value of the job and through affective commitment to the organisation and ended in a commitment to QA. The third path stemmed from an individual’s experiences in participating in QA, moved through collective system quality and through these to the supportive value of the job to affective commitment to the organisation and ended in a commitment to QA. The final path in the path model stemmed from leadership by empowerment, moved through collective system quality, the supportive value of the job and an affective commitment to the organisation, and again, ended in a commitment to QA. As a result of the research, it was found that the individual’s functional department was an important factor in explaining the differences between groups. Therefore, it was found that understanding the processing of part cultures in the organisation is important when developing QA. Likewise, learning-teaching paradigms proved to be a differentiating factor. Individuals thinking according to the humanistic-constructivistic paradigm showed more commitment to QA than technological-rational thinkers. Also, it was proved that the QA training program did not increase commitment, as the path model demonstrated that those who participated in training showed 34% commitment, whereas those who did not showed 55% commitment. As a summary of the results it can be said that the necessary conditions under which individuals are prepared to commit themselves to QA cannot be treated in a reductionistic way. Instead, the conditions must be treated as one totality, with all the main concepts interacting simultaneously. Also, the theoretical framework of quality must include its dynamic aspect, which means the development of the work of the individual and learning through auditing. In addition, this dynamism includes the reflection of the paradigm of the functions of the individual as well as that of all parts of the organisation. It is important to understand and manage the various ways of thinking and the cultural differences produced by the fragmentation of the organisation. Finally, it seems possible that the path model can be generalised for use in any organisation development project where the personnel should be committed.
  • Stolt, Suvi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The aim was to analyse the growth and compositional development of the receptive and expressive lexicons between the ages 0,9 and 2;0 in the full-term (FT) and the very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) children who are acquiring Finnish. The associations between the expressive lexicon and grammar at 1;6 and 2;0 in the FT children were also studied. In addition, the language skills of the VLBW children at 2;0 were analysed, as well as the predictive value of early lexicon to the later language performance. Four groups took part in the studies: the longitudinal (N = 35) and cross-sectional (N = 146) samples of the FT children, and the longitudinal (N = 32) and cross-sectional (N = 66) samples of VLBW children. The data was gathered by applying of the structured parental rating method (the Finnish version of the Communicative Development Inventory), through analysis of the children´s spontaneous speech and by administering a a formal test (Reynell Developmental Language Scales). The FT children acquired their receptive lexicons earlier, at a faster rate and with larger individual variation than their expressive lexicons. The acquisition rate of the expressive lexicon increased from slow to faster in most children (91%). Highly parallel developmental paths for lexical semantic categories were detected in the receptive and expressive lexicons of the Finnish children when they were analysed in relation to the growth of the lexicon size, as described in the literature for children acquiring other languages. The emergence of grammar was closely associated with expressive lexical growth. The VLBW children acquired their receptive lexicons at a slower rate and had weaker language skills at 2;0 than the full-term children. The compositional development of both lexicons happened at a slower rate in the VLBW children when compared to the FT controls. However, when the compositional development was analysed in relation to the growth of lexicon size, this development occurred qualitatively in a nearly parallel manner in the VLBW children as in the FT children. Early receptive and expressive lexicon sizes were significantly associated with later language skills in both groups. The effect of the background variables (gender, length of the mother s basic education, birth weight) on the language development in the FT and the VLBW children differed. The results provide new information of early language acquisition by the Finnish FT and VLBW children. The results support the view that the early acquisition of the semantic lexical categories is related to lexicon growth. The current findings also propose that the early grammatical acquisition is closely related to the growth of expressive vocabulary size. The language development of the VLBW children should be followed in clinical work.
  • Onnismaa, Eeva-Leena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    The aim of this study is to describe and interpret discourses in Finnish national early childhood education and care (ECEC) documents concerning the child, childhood and family, including preschool education of six-year-old children. The study begins with preparation phase of the Act on Children s Day Care (1967) and concludes with the definition of ECEC policy (1999). The research data consists of committee memoranda and national ECEC curriculum guidelines. The total number of documents studied was 20, comprising some 1700 pages. The research data was examined with qualitative text analysis and employed a discursive approach. A semiotic square (Greimas rectangle) served as a tool for clarifying the discourses and constructions reflected in the research data. The theoretical framework of the study consists of the theories of childhood and family studies. The main concepts from childhood studies used in this study were childhood as a cultural construct and child-centred pedagogy in ECEC. The theoretical approaches from family studies used were the formation of modern and late-modern parenthood and family, as well as the concept of familism. Two main discursive lines were constructed from the ECEC documents. The notion of universalistic childhood suggests that early education and care aim to create the same good childhood for all children, regardless of their family background or living area. The second discursive line followed in the documents is the familistic discourse. This discourse contains emphasis on the priority of parental care. The construct of the competent child was found in the research data as early as in the mid-1970s. On the other hand, the construct of the weak family is distinguishable throughout almost the entire research period. This raises the question of whether Finnish ECEC system has been developed for the competent and self-sufficient child of a weak family which needs constant support and guidance of welfare experts. According to the study, it appears that within the Finnish ECEC system the relatively heavy emphasis on social work rather than on early education has been legitimised by the construct of the weak family. This study also shows that a more thorough analysis should be given to what we mean when we say that the main task of ECEC system is to support families in the upbringing of their children. The study was completed during the period when historical decisions concerning the administration in Finland were in the making (i.e. the potential transfer of ECEC services from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health to the Ministry of Education). Also, over the past decade, a major reformation of the Act on Children s Daycare has been on the agenda, but no concrete measures have been implemented. Based on the findings of this study, we can ask for what kind of child and family we are preparing the ECEc reforms of the new millennium. Key words: ECEC policy Finland, childhood, family, familism, discourse analysis, semiotic square
  • Lähteenmäki, Minna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    This study examines the daily life of children who seek asylum in Finland and spend their time at reception centres and schools. The objective of the study is to establish how these children's previous experience finds representation in their lives during the asylum-seeking process and how social networks support them. Ethnographic research of childhood proposes to make visible the practices that create limitations and barriers in children's lives. The key concepts and tools applied in the course of this work are ethnicity, citizenship, culture, and change in life. Debates in critical, sociological research of childhood and ethnographic, feminist-oriented research are used as important source materials. The study describes the experience and thoughts of asylum-seeking children between the time of submission of an asylum application and the time of its approval or rejection. The methodology applied is based on the ethnographic study of childhood. The study was conducted at two reception centres and one school. The target group was 18 children, representing seven nationalities and ranging from four to twelve years of age. Most of the data was collected during the academic year 2005 - 2006, and the work was carried out by means of participating observation. The methodology involved ethnographic narrative interviews made with children, parents and employees (12), fairy tales told by the children (59), and pictures drawn by them (38). The study establishes that the asylum seeker centres do, on the one hand, allow the children to express themselves, yet, on the other hand, there is much passive suffering and silence. The fear, uncertainty and discrimination experienced in the past do not subside while the children remain in Finland, however, and the feelings of desolation tend to increase during the asylum-seeking process. The study shows that cramped living conditions, moving from one reception centre to another, poor health of the children and their families, and the commonness of events shocking the community create an atmosphere of anxiety, which prevails in the lives of these children. Extended application processes, long waiting periods for municipal housing, and responsibilities involving housework and caring for family members complicate the lives of the children as do the lack of friends and the sudden departures of friends, once they have been gained. The study reveals that asylum decisions have effects on the lives of all those who are connected in one way or other with the asylum-seekers. It is evident how a positive decision brings hope and a negative decision creates anxiety in the life of each child. The research also shows how the positive representations of home are transferred to the home where the children live during the asylum-seeking process. Depending on the child's experience, home finds representation either in terms human relationships or in terms of place. Children are attached, especially, to family members who live with them during the asylum-seeking process in Finland, and to other children living at the reception centre. Activities at school, pre-school, clubs and organised hobbies, mentors, and social and health services help the children to cope with the asylum-seeking period. Shaping these children's lives is very much about giving them a voice, and through it securing that their rights are respected - or, in the worst case, denying their rights.
  • Tahkokallio, Leena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    The study examines the kind of professional development catalysed by observation-based reflection in cooperation with a researcher in a Finnish daycare centre. More specific research questions were what kindergarten teachers reflect on, what kind of reflection teachers speech represents, and what kind of changes take place in the interpretative framework of the teacher. Four kindergarten teachers participated in this research project. Two of them were involved for two action research cycles (including evaluation, planning, improvement, and reflection), and two for three cycles. The goal of this research project was to support the professional development of kindergarten teachers by means of co-operation between the researcher, the kindergarten teachers and their teams, based on the quality of children s experiences in a kindergarten group of children aged 3 - 6 years. The data were produced by interviewing the teacher, discussing with her and her team, observing the involvement of the children and the engagement of the adult, and using various textual sources. The analysis of the data took place in two stages. In the first stage the analysis proceeded vertically,case by case. The second stage of the analysis was horizontal, with the emphasis on trying to find common meanings and the directions of change. A case description, drawing on the different types of data, summarises the process of each teacher and her group. The descriptions are based on the analysed interviews, the evaluation and reflection discussions carried out with the teachers, analysis of the systematic observation of adult engagement and the involvement of the children and of and analysis of the [textual] documents. In the second stage the cases were compared and examined horizontally. Firstly, the results show that observing the children catalysed new interpretations of the children s experiences and the adult s role in relation to them. Secondly, it was discovered that the children s peer relations explain in important measure their involvement an observation which prompted the teachers to reflect on the possibilities of adults affecting these relations in a constructive way. Thirdly, the research process led all the teachers to reflect holistically on their own role, and on the development of their working methods, in relationship to their earlier interpretations of the role of the adult and the idea of child-oriented pedagogy. As regards the quality of their reflection and how their ways of reflecting changed, the personal research-orientated approach of the teacher and her ability to connect her reflections to the experiences of the children were significant. Cooperation with the researcher led the teachers to reflect not only on shared research topics but also on various personal themes which arose from the individual experiences of the teachers and from the particularities of the different day-care settings. The objects of reflection and its quality are thus indicative, firstly, of the personal professional development of the teacher and what she considers meaningful and, secondly, more generally of the central questions of early childhood pedagogics. It is common to describe institutional development as a process in which abstract transformative speech slowly catalyses a real change. This study, however, shows that observation-based evaluation of children's experiences may trigger a profound professional learning process, during which the teacher has to reinterpret, and partly question, not only her own working methods but also the dominant pedagogical discourse and the unspoken rules and contracts affecting the day-care setting.
  • Toiviainen, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2003)
  • Pereira Querol, Marco Antonio (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    This study is about the challenges of learning in the creation and implementation of new sustainable technologies. The system of biogas production in the Programme of Sustainable Swine Production (3S Programme) conducted by the Sadia food processing company in Santa Catarina State, Brazil, is used as a case example for exploring the challenges, possibilities and obstacles of learning in the use of biogas production as a way to increase the environmental sustainability of swine production. The aim is to contribute to the discussion about the possibilities of developing systems of biogas production for sustainability (BPfS). In the study I develop hypotheses concerning the central challenges and possibilities for developing systems of BPfS in three phases. First, I construct a model of the network of activities involved in the BP for sustainability in the case study. Next, I construct a) an idealised model of the historically evolved concepts of BPfS through an analysis of the development of forms of BP and b) a hypothesis of the current central contradictions within and between the activity systems involved in BP for sustainability in the case study. This hypothesis is further developed through two actual empirical analyses: an analysis of the actors senses in taking part in the system, and an analysis of the disturbance processes in the implementation and operation of the BP system in the 3S Programme. The historical analysis shows that BP for sustainability in the 3S Programme emerged as a feasible solution for the contradiction between environmental protection and concentration, intensification and specialisation in swine production. This contradiction created a threat to the supply of swine to the food processing company. In the food production activity, the contradiction was expressed as a contradiction between the desire of the company to become a sustainable company and the situation in the outsourced farms. For the swine producers the contradiction was expressed between the contradictory rules in which the market exerted pressure which pushed for continual increases in scale, specialisation and concentration to keep the production economically viable, while the environmental rules imposed a limit to this expansion. Although the observed disturbances in the biogas system seemed to be merely technical and localised within the farms, the analysis proposed that these disturbances were formed in and between the activity systems involved in the network of BPfS during the implementation. The disturbances observed could be explained by four contradictions: a) contradictions between the new, more expanded activity of sustainable swine production and the old activity, b) a contradiction between the concept of BP for carbon credits and BP for local use in the BPfS that was implemented, c) contradictions between the new UNFCCC1 methodology for applying for carbon credits and the small size of the farms, and d) between the technologies of biogas use and burning available in the market and the small size of the farms. The main finding of this study relates to the zone of proximal development (ZPD) of the BPfS in Sadia food production chain. The model is first developed as a general model of concepts of BPfS and further developed here to the specific case of the BPfS in the 3S Programme. The model is composed of two developmental dimensions: societal and functional integration. The dimension of societal integration refers to the level of integration with other activities outside the farm. At one extreme, biogas production is self-sufficient and highly independent and the products of BP are consumed within the farm, while at the other extreme BP is highly integrated in markets and networks of collaboration, and BP products are exchanged within the markets. The dimension of functional integration refers to the level of integration between products and production processes so that economies of scope can be achieved by combining several functions using the same utility. At one extreme, BP is specialised in only one product, which allows achieving economies of scale, while at the other extreme there is an integrated production in which several biogas products are produced in order to maximise the outcomes from the BP system. The analysis suggests that BP is moving towards a societal integration, towards the market and towards a functional integration in which several biogas products are combined. The model is a hypothesis to be further tested through interventions by collectively constructing the new proposed concept of BPfS. Another important contribution of this study refers to the concept of the learning challenge. Three central learning challenges for developing a sustainable system of BP in the 3S Programme were identified: 1) the development of cheaper and more practical technologies of burning and measuring the gas, as well as the reduction of costs of the process of certification, 2) the development of new ways of using biogas within farms, and 3) the creation of new local markets and networks for selling BP products. One general learning challenge is to find more varied and synergic ways of using BP products than solely for the production of carbon credits. Both the model of the ZPD of BPfS and the identified learning challenges could be used as learning tools to facilitate the development of biogas production systems. The proposed model of the ZPD could be used to analyse different types of agricultural activities that face a similar contradiction. The findings could be used in interventions to help actors to find their own expansive actions and developmental projects for change. Rather than proposing a standardised best concept of BPfS, the idea of these learning tools is to facilitate the analysis of local situations and to help actors to make their activities more sustainable.
  • Kontinen, Tiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have gained an important role in development co-operation during the last two decades. The development funding channelled through NGOs has increased and the number of NGOs engaged in development activities, both North and South, has been growing. Supporting NGOs has been seen as one way to strengthen civil society in the South and to provide potential for enhancing more effective development than the state, and to exercise participatory development and partnership in their North-South relationships. This study focuses on learning in the co-operation practices of small Finnish NGOs in Morogoro, Tanzania. Drawing on the cultural-historical activity theory and the theory of expansive learning, in this study I understand learning as a qualitative change in the actual co-operation practices. The qualitative change, for its part, emerges out of attempts to deal with the contradictions in the present activity. I use the concept of developmental contradiction in exploring the co-operation of the small Finnish NGOs with their Tanzanian counterparts. Developmental contradiction connects learning to actual practice and its historical development. By history, in this study I refer to multiple developmental trajectories, such as trajectories of individual participants, organisations, co-operation practices and the institutional system in which the NGO-development co-operation is embedded. In the empirical chapters I explore the co-operation both in the development co-operation projects and in micro-level interaction between partners taking place within the projects. I analyse the perceptions of the Finnish participants about the different developmental trajectories, the tensions, inclusions and exclusions in the evolving object of co-operation in one project, the construction of power relations in project meetings in three projects, and the collision of explicated partnership with the emerging practice of trusteeship in one project. On the basis of the empirical analyses I elaborate four developmental contradictions and learning challenges for the co-operation. The developmental contradictions include: 1) implementing a ready-made Finnish project idea vs. taking the current activities of Tanzanian NGO as a starting point; 2) gaining experiences and cultural interaction vs. access to outside funding; 3) promoting the official tools of development co-operation in training vs. use of tools and procedures taken from the prior activities of both partners in actual practice; and 4) asymmetric relations between the partners vs. rhetoric of equal partnership. Consequently, on the basis of developmental contradictions four learning challenges are suggested: a shift from legitimation of Finnish ideas to negotiation, transcending the separate objects and finding a partly joint object, developing locally shared tools for the co-operation, and identification and reflection of the power relations in the practice of co-operation. Keywords: activity theory; expansive learning; NGO development co-operation; partnership; power
  • Isei-Jaakkola, Toshiko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2004)