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  • Antikainen, Maire (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    The research examines the process by which a sense of belonging to Finnish society is constructed among women of Russian and Estonian background who are multiply marginalised in Finnish society. It does so by analysing the encounters between their nationality and 'being Finnis'. Attention is focused on the question of what kind of "journey" they take after moving to Finland, how a sense of belonging is constructed especially along the paths followed in education and at work, and what kind of agency is available to them. The thesis is connected with post-colonial research and also draws from studies on citizenship and nationality as well as the social structures of interaction, when analysing careers. As the educational system forms the most central context of the research, the work is also focused on educational sociology. The research methodology includes life history and a narrative approach. The raw data is from thematic interviews concerning the life experiences of women of immigrant backgrounds. They were studying in Finland to be practical nurses or to complete Bachelor of Social Service degree. According to the study, the women had been encountered as alien, strange, and carrying a shade of "otherness". The experience of inclusion in Finnish communities and society turned out to be conditional, an inclusion based on the notion of a citizen worker, which is defined by national needs. The person from abroad is placed in the position of someone who fills gaps in the services of the welfare state. The choice of education in the care sector and the overall necessity of obtaining Finnish education turned out to be socially directed. Gendered structures of education and working life were found to act as a frame in which the decisions of the immigrant women were made. Although national education policy emphasis as an orientation to global labour markets, the immigrant student is placed above all in the position of an object to be made suitable for the Finnish labour market. Citizenship, a goal of education, requires consent to being "socialised" into Finnish society as well as learning to be Finnish. One s only option to negotiate appearing suitable as a member is to construct oneself into someone who adopts Finnish and Western cultural values, values which favour individuality. However, Finnish education is a resource to Finnishness. Finnish education enables a sense of being Finnish, and empowers the job applicant for example, and in addition to providing cultural, human and social capital strengthen inclusion as well. The study confirms the view that the encounter of an immigrant is still characterised by its colonial nature. It shows that encounters with Finns and Finnish society place the person of immigrant background, even one receiving a Finnish education, in the position of "the other". The journey as an immigrant continues. The immigrant has access only to certain predefined subject positions, which limits agency. When categorised as an immigrant, one becomes a per-son who is different and "other", while the sense of belonging as a member of Finnish society without conditions appears to be somewhat unreachable. Yet, new arrivals are capable of acting change. An immigrant woman can challenge the positions offered to her and present herself as strong. Her life story has often included struggle, and she has the fortitude strength to change her circumstances. Key words: life story, post-colonial encounter, nationality, citizenship, the career of immi-grant, position, agency
  • Kushnerenko, Elena V. (Helsingin yliopisto, 2003)
  • Vesterinen, Olli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    The aim of the doctoral dissertation was to further our theoretical and empirical understanding of media education as practised in the context of Finnish basic education. The current era of intensive use of the Internet is recognised too. The doctoral dissertation presents the subject didactic dimension of media education as one of the main results of the conceptual analysis. The theoretical foundation is based on the idea of dividing the concept of media education into media and education (Vesterinen et al., 2006). As two ends of the dimension, these two can be understood didactically as content and pedagogy respectively. In the middle, subject didactics is considered to have one form closer to content matter (Subject Didactics I learning about media) and another closer to general pedagogical questions (Subject Didactics II learning with/through media). The empirical case studies of the dissertation are reported with foci on media literacy in the era of Web 2.0 (Kynäslahti et al., 2008), teacher reasoning in media educational situations (Vesterinen, Kynäslahti - Tella, 2010) and the research methodological implications of the use of information and communication technologies in the school (Vesterinen, Toom - Patrikainen, 2010). As a conclusion, Media-Based Media Education and Cross-Curricular Media Education are presented as two subject didactic modes of media education in the school context. Episodic Media Education is discussed as the third mode of media education where less organised teaching, studying and learning related to media takes place, and situations (i.e. episodes, if you like) without proper planning or thorough reflection are in focus. Based on the theoretical and empirical understanding gained in this dissertation, it is proposed that instead of occupying a corner of its own in the school curriculum, media education should lead the wider change in Finnish schools.
  • Hokkanen, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 1997)
    Acute encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain, mostly caused by viral infection. A variety of cognitive symptoms may persist after the acute stage, and neuropsychological assessment is crucial in evaluation of the outcome. The most commonly reported sequelae are memory deficits. The main aims of this study were to investigate the types of memory impairment in various encephalitides, the frequency of global amnesia following encephalitis, and the changes in the deficits during follow-up. Between 1 January 1985 and 31 December 1994, 77 adult patients under the age of 75 with acute encephalitis but without alcohol abuse, or coexisting or previous neurological diseases were consecutively referred for neuropsychological examination at the Department of Neurology, Helsinki University Central Hospital. The aetiology was established in 44/77 (57%) patients; 17 had Herpes simplex virus encephalitis (HSVE). Transient amnesia (TENA) at the acute stage of the disease was found in 70% of patients. Furthermore, similarly to brain trauma, TENA was found to indicate cognitive outcome. The frequency of persisting global amnesia syndrome with both anterograde and retrograde amnesia in all encephalitic patients was 6%. One patient had isolated retrograde amnesia, which is very rare. In HSVE the frequency of global amnesia was 12.5%, which is lower than expected. As a group, HSVE patients were not found to have a homogeneous pattern of amnesia, instead subgroups among all encephalitic patients were observed: some patients had impaired semantic memory, some had difficulty predominantly with executive functions and some suffered from an increased forgetting rate. Herpes zoster encephalitis was found to result in mild memory impairment only, and the qualitative features indicated a subcortical dysfunction. On the whole, the cognitive deficits were predominantly found to diminish during follow-up. Progressive deterioration was often associated with intractable epilepsy. The frequency of dementia was 12.5%. In conclusion, the neuropsychological outcome, especially in HSVE, was more favourable than has previously been reported, possibly due to early acyclovir medication. Memory disorders after encephalitis should not be considered uniform, and the need for neuropsychological rehabilitation should be considered case-by-case
  • Oksanen, Ulla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    Tutkimukseni kohteena on lukiolaisten kuvataiteen harjoitustöissä ilmaisema kuvallinen näkemys aikamme suuresta kertomuksesta , tietoyhteiskunnasta. Koska tarkastelen lukiolaisten piirroksia erityisesti semiotiikan, merkkien tieteen näkökulmasta, nousevat työssäni ensiarvoisen tärkeiksi kuvatuotteisiin liittyvät merkitykset sekä se, miten ne rakentuvat tulkinnassa. Kasvatusta ja koulutusta koskien voi tällaisen tulkinnan yhteydessä puhua myös merkitysten lukutaidosta ja tässä yhteydessä etenkin visuaalisesta lukutaidosta. Viimeksi mainitun ymmärrän Seppäsen (2001) tapaan kykynä tulkita ja ymmärtää visuaalisten järjestysten kulttuurisia merkityksiä. Tässä tutkimuksessa olen (i) ottanut tehtäväkseni tarkentaa edellä mainitun lukutaidon luonnetta kehittelemällä semioottisen visuaalisen lukutaidon käsitteen viitekehystä. Sitä olen lähestynyt käytännöllistä toimintaa ja kehollisia taitoja edustavan tietää kuinka -käsitteen kautta, jota hahmotan toisaalta kulttuurihistoriallisen koulukunnan oivallusten ja nykyaikaisen toiminnan teorian näkemysten pohjalta sekä toisaalta pragmatistisen toimintateorian, oppimisen filosofian , perustalta. Tällaisen spesifimmän visuaalisen lukutaidon käsitteen viitekehyksen rakentamisessa olen omaksunut keskeiseksi lähestymistavakseni erityisesti käytäntöperustaisen semiotiikan. Tarkoitan tällä pragmatistisen semiotiikan (C.S. Peircen) sekä sosiosemiotiikan (mm. M.A.K. Hallidayn, R. Hodgen, G. Kressin, T. Van Leeuwenin ja M. O Toolen) tapaa ymmärtää merkkien merkitys niihin liittyvän käytännöllisen toiminnan yhteydessä sekä suhteessa merkkien toiminnan tehtäviin ja tarkoituksiin sosiokulttuurisissa konteksteissaan. Työtäni läpäisevänä ydinajatuksena voikin pitää näkemystä, jonka mukaan visuaalisen kulttuurin ja sen järjestysten syvällisempi ymmärtäminen ja oppiminen on mahdollista erityisesti sellaisen lukutaidon avulla, joka hyödyntää semiotiikan teoriaa ja metodologiaa. Tutkimukseni toisena tärkeänä tehtävänä pidän (ii) kahta edellä mainittua semioottista näkökulmaa yhdistävän "hybridimallin" luomista, jonka mukaisesti sosiosemiotiikan metafunktioita voi pitää myös pragmatistisen semiotiikan metodologisen soveltamisen välineinä ja näin ollen työn semioottisen analyysin ja kuvien tulkinnan työkaluina . Itse empiirisessä analyysissa olen lähestynyt piirroksia hahmottaen aluksi niiden keskeisiä kuvallisia diskursseja, joiden lähiluennassa olen soveltanut sosiosemiotiikan piirissä kehiteltyjä kuvan semioottisen analyysin käsitteitä ja menetelmiä. Tuloksena tästä analyysista erotin kuusi erilaista diskurssia: ekologiset uhkakuvat, luonnononnettomuudet, pelastusdiskurssi, teknologian voittokulku, teknologisen kehityksen vaarat ja kulttuurin mekanisaatiodiskurssi, joista valitsemaani seitsemää piirrosta tulkitsin seikkaperäisemmin semioottisessa analyysissa ja lähiluvussa. Kuvien erittelyssä kiinnitin huomiota myös kuvien retoriikkaan, kielikuvastoon, sekä erityisesti töissä käytettyihin käsitteellisiin metaforiin ja metonymioihin. Semiotiikan näkökulmasta metaforilla on ensiarvoisen tärkeä tehtävä semioottisen innovaation välineenä auttaessaan abstraktien käsitteiden, kuten esimerkiksi tietoyhteiskunnan hahmottamista ja reflektointia sekä tukiessaan ympäröivää todellisuutta koskevien kysymysten syvällistä ymmärtämistä ja ongelmien luovaa ratkaisua. Lukiolaisten kuvakerronnan semioottinen tulkinta avaa käsitykseni mukaan tärkeän ja vähän pohditun näkökulman oppilaiden subjektiivista elämysmaailmaa (umweltia) määrittäviin ja sitä ylläpitäviin laajoihin diskursiivisiin merkityksiin. Empiirisen tapaustutkimusaineistoni muodostavat eteläsuomalaisen viestintä- ja mediapainotteisen lukion oppilaiden (N=44) piirrokset, kirjoitelmat ja haastattelut. Tutkimuksen lähestymistapa on tieteidenvälinen ja sisältää aineksia mm. semiotiikasta, kuvataidekasvatuksesta, kasvatustieteestä, yhteiskuntatieteistä, kulttuurin- ja taiteentutkimuksesta sekä filosofiasta.
  • Kettunen, Joni (Helsingin yliopisto, 1999)
    The aim of the present study was to advance the methodology and use of time series analysis to quantify dynamic structures in psychophysiological processes and thereby to produce information on spontaneously coupled physiological responses and their behavioral and experiential correlates. Series of analyses using both simulated and empirical cardiac (IBI), electrodermal (EDA), and facial electromyographic (EMG) data indicated that, despite potential autocorrelated structures, smoothing increased the reliability of detecting response coupling from an interindividual distribution of intraindividual measures and that especially the measures of covariance produced accurate information on the extent of coupled responses. This methodology was applied to analyze spontaneously coupled IBI, EDA, and facial EMG responses and vagal activity in their relation to emotional experience and personality characteristics in a group of middle-aged men (n = 37) during the administration of the Rorschach testing protocol. The results revealed new characteristics in the relationship between phasic end-organ synchronization and vagal activity, on the one hand, and individual differences in emotional adjustment to novel situations on the other. Specifically, it appeared that the vagal system is intimately related to emotional and social responsivity. It was also found that the lack of spontaneously synchronized responses is related to decreased energetic arousal (e.g., depression, mood). These findings indicate that the present process analysis approach has many advantages for use in both experimental and applied research, and that it is a useful new paradigm in psychophysiological research. Keywords: Autonomic Nervous System; Emotion; Facial Electromyography; Individual Differences; Spontaneous Responses; Time Series Analysis; Vagal System
  • Koskinen, Rauno (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Mathematics is a very abstract subject and therefore difficult to approach. Where do we need this? and What does it mean? are questions often repeated in mathematics lessons. If students receive no answers to concerns like these, the question Why should we study this? will remain in their minds and they may lose their motivation. I refer to this as The problem of meaningfulness . Although meaningful learning has been both a starting point and goal in teaching mathematics for a long period of time, we have not yet realised this objective. The purpose of my theoretical study was to investigate the concept of meaningful learning and its role in mathematics education. The task was to study the development and construction of the conceptual framework of meaningful learning as a theoretical basis for teaching mathematics. The objective was to find the main dimensions of the concept of meaningful learning, and to bring the different parts together in the same framework. The study method was a systematic analysis applying a conceptual meta-analysis and hermeneutic approach. The study material included articles from the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education (JRME) published between 1970 and 2012. History shows how both cognitive and sociocultural psychology has been the leading basis for mathematics education. Under these circumstances, humanistic psychology became a critical point of view in relation to this tradition. At first, the framework of meaningful learning was reconstructed in an immanent way based only on the JRME material. At the heart of the concept of meaningful learning we could see understanding, including concrete, contextual and social features. These features led to recommending approaches in the teaching of mathematics. They were also included as integrated parts of an inquiry based approach. Mathematics as a subject was viewed as a tool, a conceptual system and a process. The learner was viewed from cognitive, conative and affective angles. A summary of the framework was then made, which was evaluated critically and intertextually particularly from a humanistic point of view. Humanistic psychology highlights the learner s personal meaningful experience which here was reconstructed as a concept. Finally, all knowledge of the framework was collected as a synthesis in an integrated model of meaningful learning and mathematics teaching . In this model the following were presented: the principles of teaching, the teaching-learning process and its guidance, and a suitable environment for meaningful learning. The main point here is that in education we should more carefully concentrate on the individual s personal experience, alongside the mathematical understanding, when we are trying to find solutions to the problem of meaningfulness in mathematics. Keywords: meaningful learning, learning with understanding, personal meaningful experience, teaching-learning process, learning psychology, school mathematics.
  • Raudasoja, Anu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The purpose of this research was to evaluate the special vocational training programme, which aimed at enhancing the pupils with autism spectrum to prepare themselves for work and independent life. The vocational training programme is based on TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication handicapped CHildren), which takes into account the autism spectrum disorders and autistic behaviour. TEACCH is based on the principles of structured teaching, functional teaching and preparation training for work and independent life. The TEACCH has been adapted to Finnish society and the educational system. Treatment programmes were individually designed for each student´s educational needs. There is also an important role for the AAPEP rating scale (Adolescent and Adult Psychoeducational Profile). The AAPEP has been the major tool for planning and following the courses. The AAPEP is an assessment instrument designed by the TEACCH programme, and it is used to provide an evaluation of current and potential skills. The AAPEP contains three scales: a direct observation scale, a home scale and a school / work scale. The AAPEP includes six test variables: vocational skills, independent functions, functional communication, interpersonal behaviour, vocational behaviour and leisure skills; these are evaluated at three levels: pass, emerge and fail. The subjects were 49 students (65% male and 35 % female) with autism spectrum, who have been followed and tested several times, also one year after the vocational training. The design is therefore a longitudinal one. The research data were collected 1997-2004 using the AAPEP rating scales. The teachers have used the AAPEP scales and the codings have been checked by the researcher. The results of the principal component analysis (PCA) suggested that the structure of AAPEP rating scales works quite well as a hypothesis. The factor structure of the scales of the AAPEP was almost the same in these data as in the original publications. The learning-and-changes results showed that learning is a slow process, but that there were also intended changes in several AAPEP areas. The Cohen´s kappa was used as an effect-size measure and the most important result of this research showed that the student´s skills were developing on a school / work scale; vocational skills variable (0,34), vocational behaviour variable (0,28), leisure skills variable (0,26) and on a direct observation scale; interpersonal behaviour variable (0,21). On a home scale skills of some students were developing negatively and also that effect-size was small. The results showed that the students´ vocational skills and vocational behaviour will continue to develop after school in many areas. There were differences between scales. The result of this research shows that the student´s skills were developing significantly in 3 of 48 variables on a direct observation scale and also on a home scale. On a school / work scale student´s skills were developing significantly in 17 of 48 variables. This result implies that students can do the work without extra assistance if there exist continuing supports for the skills after the vocational training. The fully independent life of students will be difficult, because their independent functions, functional communications and leisure skills regressed after the schooling. This seems to indicate that they will not manage their daily life without support. The students and their parents said that the treatment programmes were individually designed for each student s educational needs, and that they were satisfied with the programmes and services. Generally, it can be concluded that vocational special education can be developed for pupils with autistic syndrome and the detailed teaching can be done using TEACCH principles and applying the tool of AAPEP.
  • Paavola, Heini Maaria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This study reports on the realisation of multicultural education in a multicultural pre-school group of one kindergarten. The research questions were: 1) what multicultural goals and contents did the kindergarten´s own pre-school curriculum contain? and 2) how did the pre-school educators´ views on multicultural education appear in their actions in a multicultural pre-school group? The research was conducted by analysing the curricula, interviewing the educators, and observing of the preschool groups. Pre-school education is seen as part of institutionalised education which is defined through culture. Education is considered from the point of view of critical multicultural education, paying special attention to the role of society in the definition of education. The research is a case study, and it concentrates on the interpretation of the working philosophy of one preschool group with respect to its implementation. The target group consisted of 20 6-year-old pre-school pupils in a kindergarten and their four pre-school educators. The research results showed that the kindergarten´s own pre-school curriculum (1997) was in structure and form consistent with the structure and form of the National Core Curriculum for Pre-School Education from 1996. The only difference was in the classification of the various subject fields and objectives. The contents of the two curricula showed hardly any variation, and both of them contained only few goals and contents for multicultural education. According to the interviews, the educational views and learning philosophy of the pre-school educators represented a child-centred point of view that takes into consideration the individual pupil´s needs and skills. This is also one of the basic principles of multicultural education. The principle was not, however, realised in the directed activities of the pre-school group. The heterogeneity of the pre-school group was dealt with by dividing the children into smaller groups, but the contents of the tuition were not differentiated. All children were provided with the same goals and contents. Multicultural education was seen as remote and separate from the overall educational philosophy. The contents of multicultural education were interpreted by the educators as teaching Finnish as a second language and teaching the children their own mother tongue and religion. After the evaluation of the state of the kindergarten´s multicultural education using four different models, I determined that the kindergarten emerged as a representative of the model where multicultural education is seen as something meant for immigrants only. The aim of the model is a rapid integration of the immigrant children with the majority population. Keywords: education, pre-school education, multicultural education, critical multicultural education, language, culture
  • Hakala, Liisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    From monologues to dialogue. A discussion about changing the fragmented character of the debate concerning schools to one of negotiation, in the spirit of social constructionism. The starting point for the study is the assumption that the interested parties concerning schools such as teachers, students, public servants within school administration or politics construct the idea of the school in disparate ways. It looks as if the representatives of the various interested parties perceive the school in distinctive ways or with particular emphases. Additionally, there are not many discussion forums where these different interested parties have an equal right to speak and be heard. It seems that the lack of dialogue characterizes the debate about school. At the centre of the study are negotiations concerning schools, and the conditions that promote changing the fragmented character of this school debate in a more promising and collectively responsible process of negotiation. The aims of the study are to find both an empirical and theoretical basis for more equal ways to negotiate about school, and to increase cultural self reflection. Social constructionism plays a key role in aspiring to meet these research aims. The research questions are (1) How do the informants of the study construct the idea of school in their texts, and (2) What kind of prospects does social constructionism bring to the negotiations about school. The research informants construct the idea of school in their texts in several ways. To sum up: school is constructed as a place for learning, a place for building the future, a place where ethical education is lived out, a place for social education and Bildung, and a place where the students well-being is ensured. The previously presented assumption that the interested parties of a school construct the idea of a school in disparate ways or with various emphases seems to have support in the informants texts. Based on that, a condition can be put forward: different perspectives should have an equal opportunity to be heard in negotiations about school. It would also be helpful if there was a chance for different perspectives to be documented and/or in some way, visualized. This ensures that different constructions of school are within reach of all the participants. Additionally, while making the process of negotiation transparent, this documentation becomes an important medium for self reflection. On one hand it visualizes the complexity of the school. On the other hand it protects the school and education from serving as the spokesman of any single truth that is presented as objective or universal. Social constructionism seems to offer a stable theoretical basis for changing the fragmented character of the school debate in one of negotiation. More equal and collectively responsible school negotiation presumes that certain aspects or conditions drawn from postmodernism and social constructionism have been studied. In the study, six conditions are presented that can be seen as mediums for changing the fragmented character of the school debate into one of more equal negotiation. Keywords: social constructionism, Kenneth J. Gergen, school negotiation, education policy, dialogue.
  • Poukka, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    This study examines values education in Japanese schools at the beginning of the millennium. The topic was approached by asking the following three questions concerning the curricular background, the morality conveyed through textbooks and the characterization of moral education from a comparative viewpoint: 1) What role did moral education play in the curriculum revision which was initiated in 1998 and implemented in 2002? 2) What kinds of moral responsibilities and moral autonomy do the moral texts develop? 3) What does Japanese moral education look like in terms of the comparative framework? The research was based on curriculum research. Its primary empirical data consisted of the national curriculum guidelines for primary school, which were taken into use in 2002, and moral texts, Kokoro no nôto, published by the Ministry of Education in the same context. Since moral education was approached in the education reform context, the secondary research material involved some key documents of the revision process from the mid-1990s to 2003. The research material was collected during three fieldwork periods in Japan (in 2002, 2003 and 2005). The text-analysis was conducted as a theory-dependent qualitative content analysis. Japanese moral education was analyzed as a product of its own cultural tradition and societal answer to the current educational challenges. In order to understand better its character, secular moral education was reflected upon from a comparative viewpoint. The theory chosen for the comparative framework, the value realistic theory of education, represented the European rational education tradition as well as the Christian tradition of values education. Moral education, which was the most important school subject at the beginning of modern school, was eliminated from the curriculum for political reasons in a school reform after the Second World War, but has gradually regained a stronger position since then. It was reinforced particularly at the turn of millennium, when a curriculum revision attempted to respond to educational and learning problems by emphasizing qualitative and value aspects. Although the number of moral lessons and their status as a non-official-subject remained unchanged, the Ministry of Education made efforts to improve moral education by new curricular emphases, new teaching material and additional in-service training possibilities for teachers. The content of the moral texts was summarized in terms of moral responsibility in four moral areas (intrapersonal, interpersonal, natural-supranatural and societal) as follows: 1) continuous self-development, 2) caring for others, 3) awe of life and forces beyond human power, and 4) societal contribution. There was a social-societal and emotional emphasis in what was taught. Moral autonomy, which was studied from the perspectives of rational, affective and individuality development, stressed independence in action through self-discipline and responsibility more than rational self-direction. Japanese moral education can be characterized as the education of kokoro (heart) and the development of character, which arises from virtue ethics. It aims to overcome egoistic individualism by reciprocal and interdependent moral responsibility based on responsible interconnectedness.
  • Tapola, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    The purpose of this thesis was to increase understanding about the dynamics of student motivation, focusing on the relations between individual characteristics, the learning context and motivational states. Particular emphasis was placed on the role of students individual motivational tendencies (i.e., achievement goal orientations) in interpreting and approaching learning situations and tasks. The evolving nature of motivational states was also acknowledged. Accordingly, Study I examined how sixth-grade students (N = 208) with different achievement goal orientation profiles differed in their perceptions of and preferences for the classroom environment. In Study II, the focus was on the changes in and interaction between ninth-grade students (N = 100) situational interest and self-efficacy during a problem-solving task. An experimental design was used in Studies III and IV to examine the changes in situational interest among fourth to sixth grade students as a function of student and task characteristics. Study III tested the predictive relationships between achievement goal orientations, individual interest, prior knowledge, the task condition and situational interest (N = 57), whereas Study IV focused on the interaction effect of the students goal orientation group and the task characteristics (N = 140). Studies II, III and IV also examined the predictors of task-related learning outcomes. Variable- and person-centred methodological approaches resulted in the following findings. First, students with different motivational profiles varied in their perceptions of and preferences for certain features of their classroom environment (Study I). Second, the students goal orientations and individual interest influenced the arousal of and changes in situational interest during a learning task (Studies III & IV). Third, the evolvement of situational interest and self-efficacy turned out to be interrelated (Study II), and the changes in these constructs during the task to be dependent on both the students individual characteristics and the task features (Studies II, III & IV). Fourth, students with different motivational profiles investigated in Study IV showed different patterns of change in their situational interest depending on the task condition. In terms of learning outcomes, in addition to prior knowledge or competence, motivational factors also had independent effects on performance. For example, self-efficacy predicted learning outcomes (Study II), and there were indications that an increase in situational interest had a beneficial effect on learning (Studies II & III). ------ To conclude, the results indicated that characteristic motivational tendencies influence the way students perceive and interpret environmental cues and approach learning tasks. The evolvement of their motivational states turned out to be dependent on different types of student and task characteristics, and their interaction. Consequently, it is argued that both individual and situational factors, and their possible interactions, should be taken into account when examining students motivational states and task engagement. The findings also emphasize the importance of recognizing individual differences in students motivational resources, or lack of them, in everyday learning situations.
  • Paane-Tiainen, Tuulia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Will the wall break down. The Doctor Network as an aim changes regional co-operation in the Kymenlaakso Hospital District The Kymenlaakso Hospital District saw the development of an information technology Project know called Lääkäriverkko (the Doctor Network), which included a Konsu-databased programme to achieve higher qual-ity patient treatment (consultation). The goal of the project was to find a territorial solution, or improvement, for problems with of the Health care system (staggered health care, gradation). The referral practice and its development was the functional activity instrument in the Lääkäriverkko. The territorial co-operation network was the social context for this reforming activity. This study began as a survey study, but continued as an ethnographic study after completion of the original Lääkäriverkko project and the Konsu programme (1998-2003). After the project ended little by little I took a fresh look at the why Lääkäriverkko misfired. In this scientific study I have strived examined to determine the meaning of different important behavioural factors which affect to human activity. The goal is to change organisational and operational structures as well as socio-behavioural patterns, and to introduce a new holis-tic way of thinking or computer-technological application software which will affect the activity of people and social processes as a whole. As a subject/topic, such this kind of a situation is still current in many changing processes of the health care system. My research approach is an ethnographic and activity-analytic case study, which I have enriched with many-sided and diverse, clarifying research materials and triangular diagrams. The aim has also been to create new information, perspectives and factors in the behaviour of those participants involved in removing this activity process and project. As a researcher, I am a professional verifier and have observed a natural, chronological changing process: the planning of the Lääkäriverkko and Konsu programme to its historical end. The empiri-cal part is proceeding narratively within the formulation and clarification of five hypotheses which tell, ex-plain and reveal the hindrances and possibilities of co-operation and human-computer interaction (HCI). The guiding line in the analysis is activity theory, but although I have also used various theorists who have stud-ied social changes and processes in information technology and business life. The activity system is a pri-mary research focus and analysis unit, but otherwise I do not follow orthodoxically the traditions of evolving labour research. In the Lääkäriverkko, the main intention was to introduce and stabilise a new activity form/co-operation and e-referral-system, and simultaneously to put the Konsu programme to real use in the social context. The Konsu programme, with its preventing and advancing factors, was also considered a stimulus of new thinking and a reformative instrument for doctor´s co-operation and usage of the new tech-nological application. Focusing on preventing and advancing factors in human-computer interaction (HCI) and consultation, the main problems were in strong levels of the health care system - especially the distinction between primary and secondary health care, medical specialisation, the division of labour - and activity-chain interruptions and cuts, both of which turned out to be profound and institutionalised in the slow-down of the changing organ-isational process. The main dilemma in human-computer interaction (HCI) and in social interaction (net-work) seemed not only to be related to (negative) attitudes and forms of co-operation in general, but the de-gree of commitment to and acceptance of new ways of thinking were also problematic issues and turning points in the survey. The level of co-operation - against all expectations did not develop from co-ordination to co-operation, although there were some implications of such a process in behaviour of the some Konsu us-ers. In conclusion, it turned out that in using and introducing new ideas and technologies (in this case, electronic referral-practice and consultation) and participating in (social) changing processes, it is important to support the learning and many-sided reflection of the process, in addition to taking into consideration the collective sense of human activity in it is entirety. People have different needs and motives, and in the development of co-operation among primary health care and specialised medical care actors and doctors, they must to realise and admit to mutual dependency. Moreover, a new pragmatic script for referral-consultation and co-operation is needed. Keywords: activity theory, referral-consultation activity, information technology, need, division of labour and territorial co-operation
  • Putkinen, Vesa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Musical experience may have the potential to influence functional brain development. The present thesis investigated how the maturation of neural auditory discrimination in childhood varies according to the amount of informal musical activities (e.g., singing and musical play) and formal musical training. Neural auditory discrimination was examined by recording auditory event-related potentials (ERP) to different types of sound changes with electroencephalography (EEG) in children of various ages. The relation of these responses to the amount of informal musical activities was examined in 2 3-year-old children. Furthermore, the development of the responses from early school-age until preadolescence was compared between children receiving formal musical training and musically nontrained children. With regard to typical maturation, the results suggest that neural auditory discrimination is still immature at the age of 2 3 years and continues to develop at least until pre-adolescence. Both informal musical experience and formal musical training were found to modulate various stages of neural auditory discrimination. Specifically, in the 2 3-year-old children, a high amount of informal musical activities was associated with response profiles consistent with enhanced processing of auditory changes and lowered distractibility. Furthermore, during school-age, musically trained children showed more rapid development of neural auditory discrimination than nontrained children especially for music-like sounds. Importantly, no differences were seen between the musically trained and nontrained children at the early stages of the training. Therefore, the group differences that emerged at later ages were most likely due to training and did not reflect pre-existing functional differences between the groups. Thus, the results (i) highlight the usefulness of change-related auditory ERPs as biomarkers for the maturation of auditory processing, (ii) provide novel evidence for the role of informal musical activities in shaping auditory skills in early childhood, and (iii) demonstrate that formal musical training shapes the development of neural auditory discrimination.
  • Särkämö, Teppo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Listening to music involves a widely distributed bilateral network of brain regions that controls many auditory perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and motor functions. Exposure to music can also temporarily improve mood, reduce stress, and enhance cognitive performance as well as promote neural plasticity. However, very little is currently known about the relationship between music perception and auditory and cognitive processes or about the potential therapeutic effects of listening to music after neural damage. This thesis explores the interplay of auditory, cognitive, and emotional factors related to music processing after a middle cerebral artery (MCA) stroke. In the acute recovery phase, 60 MCA stroke patients were randomly assigned to a music listening group, an audio book listening group, or a control group. All patients underwent neuropsychological assessments, magnetoencephalography (MEG) measurements, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans repeatedly during a six-month post-stroke period. The results revealed that amusia, a deficit of music perception, is a common and persistent deficit after a stroke, especially if the stroke affects the frontal and temporal brain areas in the right hemisphere. Amusia is clearly associated with deficits in both auditory encoding, as indicated by the magnetic mismatch negativity (MMNm) response, and domain-general cognitive processes, such as attention, working memory, and executive functions. Furthermore, both music and audio book listening increased the MMNm, whereas only music listening improved the recovery of verbal memory and focused attention as well as prevented a depressed and confused mood during the first post-stroke months. These findings indicate a close link between musical, auditory, and cognitive processes in the brain. Importantly, they also encourage the use of listening to music as a rehabilitative leisure activity after a stroke and suggest that the auditory environment can induce long-term plastic changes in the recovering brain.
  • Harjanne, Pirjo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Communicative oral practice in Swedish through collaborative schema-based and elaboration tasks The general aim of this study was to learn how to better understand foreign language communicative oral practice and to develop it as part of communicative language teaching. The language-specific aim was to study how Swedish was being practised communicatively and orally in a classroom context as part of the didactic teaching-studying-learning process, and how the students' communicative oral practice in Swedish was carried out through collaborative schema-based and elaboration tasks. The scientific problem of this study focused on the essence of foreign language communicative oral proficiency. The research questions were concerned with 1) the students' involvement in carrying out the given oral tasks; 2) the features of communication and interaction strategies; 3) thematic vocabulary, and 4) the students' experiences and conceptions of the communicative oral tasks used. The study consisted of two groups of students from a Helsinki-area school (a group of upper secondary school students, Swedish Level A, Courses 2 and 3, n=9; and a group of basic education students, Swedish Level B, Course 2, n=13). The study was carried out as a pedagogically oriented case study which included certain features of ethnographic research and where the students' teacher acted as a researcher of her own work. The communicative oral practice contained five different tasks. The research data were gathered through systematic observation, audio recordings and by a questionnaire. The data were analysed through ethnographic content analysis methods. The main research finding was that a good deal of social interaction, collaboration and communication took place between the students when involved in communicative oral practice in Swedish. The students took almost optimal advantage of the allocated training time. They mostly used Swedish when participating in interactional communication. Finnish was mostly used by the students when they were deciding how to carry out a given task, aiming at intersubjectivity or negotiating meaning. The students were relaxed when practising Swedish. They also asked for and gave linguistic help in the spirit of collaborative learning principles. This resulted in interaction between students that highlighted certain features of negotiation of meaning, scaffolding and collaborative dialogue. Asking for and giving help in language issues concentrated mainly on vocabulary, and only in a few cases on grammar or pronunciation. The students also needed the teacher as a mentor. As well, the students had an enjoyable time when practising, which was most often related to carrying out the oral tasks. The thematic vocabulary used by the students corresponded well to the thematic lexis that served as a basis for the practice. At its most efficient, this lexis was most evident when the basic education students were carrying out schema-based tasks. The students' questionnaire answers agreed with the research findings gained through systematic observation and the analysis of audio recordings. The communicative tasks planned by the teacher and implemented by the students were very much in line. The language-didactic theory as presented in this study and the research findings can be widely utilised in pre-service and in-service teacher education, as well as, more generally, when developing communicative language teaching. Key words: communicative oral practice; the Swedish language; foreign language; didactic teaching-studying-learning process; communicative language teaching; collaborative task; schema-based task; elaboration task.