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  • Kivikangas, J Matias (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Arguably, the emotions elicited by playing are the reason why people play digital games. Social interaction is an important source of emotion during game play, but research on it is rather sparse. In this dissertation I briefly review the emotion-theoretic literature in order to better understand what emotion means in the context of games, and how this should be taken into account when measuring emotions related to a game experience. Study I presents a review of the use of psychophysiological methods in game research. I show that the theoretical background behind these methods generally tends to be neglected. This could be remedied by a theoretical framework that integrates the understanding of emotions and explicitly describes the links between different emotion measures and the theoretical concepts they are professed to reflect. I present my proposition for the first step towards such a framework in Study II. I employ the sociality characteristics framework by de Kort and IJsselsteijn (2008) and my interpretation of the social factors in order to study the effect of the central social context factors on the emotional game experience. Study III presents evidence that in addition to tonic physiological levels, the relationship between the participants also affects the momentary, phasic responses to the key game events victory and defeat. In particular, although physiological signals can, to a certain extent, be used to assess emotional experiences (such as positive responses to a victory), in some cases the typical psychophysiological mappings may even be completely opposite. Interpreting these signals requires a broader theoretical understanding than what is typically acknowledged. Study IV supports the earlier findings that competition is experienced more positively than cooperation but that the effect is dependent on gender, as this was found only in males. For females, there was no difference between the two modes, and no difference in negative activation. In addition, self-reports concerning social presence suggested that this concept is not always associated with higher positive emotions, while a form of friendly rivalry (associated with lower social presence) might be experienced positively a finding apparently new in existing literature. Finally, Study V provides insight into the practical significance of the measurements with a predictive validity study, showing practical effects how the certain kinds of game experiences may lead to greater game use and preference, but that these links are not as simple as previously suggested. In sum, this work offers new knowledge on how social context factors are generally related to the game experience, on how emotions can be studied in game research and what theoretical considerations should be taken into account, and on the emotional effects of particular social context factors during play. The results are mainly useful for further basic game research, but they have also potential implications for general emotion research, the game industry, and in the long run, society at large.
  • Kelo, Marjatta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    The aim of the research, conducted between 2008 and 2011, was to obtain knowledge of patient education, to enable the development of empowering patient education, and promote nurses competence of diabetes education. To achieve this goal, an educational intervention for school-age children s diabetes education was developed and the implementation of the intervention was evaluated. The approach chosen was design-based research including preparing for, implementing and evaluating the intervention. To serve as the basis for the intervention development in the preparation phase, data concerning patient education were collected from nurses (n = 45) working in paediatric units, school-age children with a chronic illness (N = 12) and their parents (N = 19). In addition, an integrative review including 22 research articles of self-care for school-age children with diabetes was conducted and utilized. The intervention was developed as a collaborative effort by a team comprising research (N = 2), patient education (N = 2), paediatric nursing (N = 5) and diabetes management (N = 2) experts and the parents of children with a chronic illness (N = 2). The intervention ward was consulted during the design process. In the implementation phase, the nurses were instructed how to use the intervention and the intervention was applied to nursing practice for about one year. In the evaluation phase, nurses descriptions (n = 11) were collected with semi-structured interviews. In nurses patient education descriptions, their empowering behaviour consisted of a process based on the holistically assessed educational needs. The objectives were based on the patient s needs and nurses were prepared for the patient education. Patient education was implemented by interactive child- and family-centred counselling. The learning achievements were verified using several methods promoting patient participation. The elements of traditional behaviour were deficient needs assessment, deficient planning of objectives and preparation, nurse-oriented implementation and deficient evaluation of learning achievements. In the school-age children s and their parents descriptions, nursing competence consisted of knowledge and the ability to care for children and families as well as knowledge of the disease and its management. Didactic competence comprised practical examples of knowledge of teaching children and parents as well as the ability to implement the patient education process. Interpersonal competence manifested itself in the ability to have a dialogue with children and their parents. Self-care of school-age children with diabetes was formed in a learning process involving the objectives of normality, being able to cope and independence. The content of self-care was a combination of knowledge and skills. The factors related to self-care comprised the characteristics of the child; the nature of the illness and care; and support from the parents, school environment, peers and health care team. In the intervention, blood glucose monitoring education was described as a process including the assessment of learning needs, planning, implementation and evaluation. The intervention contained instructions on how to implement the process taking into account school-age children s developmental stage, the principles of teaching them and empowering patient education methods. After implementing the intervention, nurses described the successful management of the empowering patient education process that was consistent with the intervention. Three types of challenges were encountered in applying the intervention. The challenges were related to management and leadership, ambivalence with traditional and empowering patient education, and client s situation. The research produced new information to be used in patient education development. The intervention can be utilized to standardize patient education and promote empowering patient education, but more research is needed to evaluate the intervention comprehensively.
  • Kangas, Jonna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Children's participation in early childhood education has raised concern and discussion in the international researches lately. Young children have been considered to have lack of participation experiences in early education settings because of institutional policies, social understanding about childhood and perspectives of educators (Bae, 2009; Emilson and Folkesson, 2006; Smith, 2002). Focus of children as active agents of their own development through sociocultural learning paradigm the approach of participatory learning has been considered important in early childhood education and research (Berthelsen, Brownlee and Johansson, 2009). This approach of children's learning views participation as a developing and dynamic cultural phenomenon. This research is focusing on the educators' perspectives and the conceptions of children's participation in everyday pedagogic practices and is based on a survey conducted in early childhood education in Metropolitan area of Helsinki in 2010. The survey was realized in the VKK-Metro development and research project funded by the Ministry of Social and Health affairs. The participants represented 1114 working teams from 350 kindergartens. The working teams included 3721 educators taking care of 19 907 children. The analytical framework of research is based on an abductive approach conducted with mixed methods. The findings indicate that children's voice was considered important by educators. Also opportunities to make independent initiatives and choices were considered as a right and an item of learning and of developing of skills of participation. However children's chances to participate in decision making process and pedagogical processes were weak because of challenges of children's participation experienced by educators. These challenges were connected to both institutional issues, such as routines and adult-child-ratios, and professional skills and beliefs about children's competence. According to findings of this research children's participation is understood to include such aspects as having opportunities to have an influence in their learning and the culture of kindergartens, becoming respected and listened to by educators and having chances to practice responsibility and self-regulation. The role of educators as facilitators of children's participation is found essential and the research builds knowledge of children's participation through framework of participatory pedagogy in early education context. Through this framework the challenges of children's participation could be reflected and a culture of developing participation built in co-operation between educators, children and political and social environment of early childhood education.
  • Loukomies, Anni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    An inquiry-based site visit teaching sequence for school science was designed in co-operation with researchers and science teachers, according to the principles of Design Based Research (DBR). Out-of-school industry site visits were central in the design. Theory-based conjectures arising from the literature on motivation, interest and inquiry-based science teaching (IBST) were embodied in the design solution, and these embodied conjectures were studied in order to uncover the aspects of the design related to students motivation and interest. The design solution was researched throughout the process. The aim of the design was to generate a phenomenon to be investigated in the research stage. The aim of the research was to clarify which particular aspects of the design have appealed particular students and enhanced their motivation and interest, and what scientific content students have learnt within the project. In this research report, the iterative design process with several implementations of the site visit teaching sequence, research methodology and the results that emerged, are considered. The design process took place in the years 2007 2009. A pilot cycle, two implementation-refinement cycles and a final trial were conducted. Lower secondary school students (age 14 15) participated in the cycles. Data were collected using a mixed-methods approach. The students experiences of school science were mapped with the Evaluation of Science Inquiry Activities Questionnaire (ESIAQ) before and after the implementations. The students Self-determination theory (SDT) based motivation orientations were examined using the Academic Motivation Questionnaire (AMQ) before the implementations. Both questionnaires are based on SDT. Students with different motivational profiles and their teachers were interviewed using a semi-structured interview protocol. The interviews were analysed by employing a theory-driven content analysis approach. The students representations of the scientific content of the sequence were examined by comparing the informal mind maps they constructed before and after the sequence, and with interviews. The results of the research reveal that a teaching sequence that combines inquiry activities, industry site visits and writing tasks contains the potential to enhance students feeling of relevance of their science studies and promote motivation and interest in school science. When asked about the most motivating aspects of the teaching sequence, students emphasised different aspects depending on their motivational profile. Students with an autonomous motivation orientation emphasised the support for their independent planning and decision making and support for their personal interest, whereas amotivated students reported an increase in their feeling of the relevance of studying. The results show that students in science classes value different aspects of science learning based on their motivational profile. The site visit teaching sequence offers science teachers an appropriate way of differentiating teaching according to students different needs. Because the research problems of this research project are multifaceted, concerning the design process, students motivation and students learning of the scientific content of the sequence, the problems of design, motivation and learning are reported in three different sub-studies, each containing specific research questions, data analysis and discussion. Keywords: motivation orientation, industry site visit, design-based research, inquiry-based science teaching
  • Räty, Kaisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Special support as enabler of lifelong learning in vocational adult education and training The aim of the research is to describe recent discussions of the special support in vocational adult education and training (VET for adults). The research data consist of documents (legislation, reports of working committees, research articles) and expert interviews (N=15). Qualitative content analysis has been used to analyze the data. VET for adults has an important role in lifelong learning in Finland, The aim of VET for adults is to educate competent workforce and in this way increase competitiveness of the country. VET for adults produces individual schooling opportunities and thus supports the social inclusion of adults. This study focuses on how VET for adults has aspired to fulfill the students need of (special) support. The legislation of VET for adults considers adults special needs and enables the development of special support. VET for adults has developed towards more individual training programmes and personalizing is in the centre of the competence-based qualification system. The educational institutions began to develop special support at the latest in 2006, when it was mentioned in legislation for the first time. In the research data the need of special support was defined as learning difficulties and difficulties in life management. Discussions of educability and workability were found as well. The special support was defined as a combination of counselling and special education. Additionally individual solutions and the further education of teachers in counselling and special education were emphasized. This study presents a number of revealing discussions of the special needs and special support of adults. The need of special support is recognized in international, national and institutional discussions and the educational institutions try to find different forms of support, so the educability and workability of students of VET for adults can be improved. To enable the further development of special support in VET for adults, cooperation with different municipalities and working life is needed.
  • Niemi, Anna-Maija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The study focuses on special needs education after basic education, particularly in the context of pre-vocational and vocational education and training. It analyses the positions of young people and the formation of their educational paths and choice-making. The starting point of the study is to consider the definitions given to the concepts of special and special educational needs . I ask, 1) how are special educational needs and students positions defined in pre-vocational and vocational education and training; 2) how are young people s educational paths, choices and subjectivities constructed in the practices of special needs education; and 3) how do different pedagogical practices restrict or enable participation in learning and studies of students regarded as having special educational needs? The study is positioned in the fields of sociology of education, disability studies, youth studies and gender studies. It includes five articles and a summary chapter. Methodologically, the study is multi-sited ethnographic research, contextualised in current education policy. The research data derives from two institutes of vocational education and training, while observing Metalwork and Machinery classes and Preparatory Training classes for disabled students over a six-month period. The data consist of interviews, field notes and education policy documents. In addition, the data also include life-historical interviews with 27 young adults as part of the Equality is Priority research project. My analytical approach is ethnographic and discursive. The practices of vocational education were found to be balanced between an inclusive education discourse and an individual, medical orientation that focuses on the identification of (special) needs. Visible both in the everyday life of vocational education and in education policy documents were, on the one hand, support for inclusive education, and on the other, a tendency to seek assurance from special needs statements and diagnoses. Many of the young people and professionals interviewed in the study interpreted the segregated arrangements of special needs education and the definition of special needs itself as stigmatizing. Combining the support needed by each student with general teaching was suggested as a pedagogic practice to combat stigmatization. Structural factors associated with the education system such as study field-specific entrance requirements, educational content, pedagogical practices and available support in each field influence how students regarded as having special educational needs are admitted and become attached to vocational education. For many young people applying and being accepted into upper secondary education seems to be complex and challenging. When addressing their own educational hopes and negotiating the options offered in study counselling, many did so in various roundabout ways. I propose that educational choices be seen as processes where young people shape their subjectivities and create spaces for their agency while negotiating the guidance offered by professional adults. The study suggests that in order to develop education in line with the objectives of an inclusive education policy, stereotypical definitions and meanings of special needs and disability should be constantly re-considered and questioned.
  • Suhonen, Eira (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    How toddlers with special needs adjust to the daycare setting A multiple case study of how the relationships with adults and children are built The aim in this study is to describe how toddlers with special needs adjust to daycare. The emotional well-being and involvement in daycare activities of toddlers are especially investigated in this study. The relationship and how it is built between an adult and a child, a child and a child is examined. The daycare is examined through the socio-cultural theory as a pedagogical institution, where the child adapts by participating in social and cultural activities with the others. The development of the child is the result of the experiences that are gained through the constant relationship between the child, the family and social context. By the attachment theory the inner self-regulation, that allows the child safely adapt to new situations, develops most in the relationship between the child under 3years of age and the attending adult. The relationships between toddlers in daycare are usually built by the coincidental encounters in play and daily activities. In these relationships, the toddler gets the information of themselves and the other children. The complexity of the rules in the setting that organize the social action is challenging for the children and they need constant support from the adults. The participants of the study were five toddlers with special needs. When applying to daycare they were less than three years old and they got the specialist statement for their special needs, and the reference for daycare. The children were observed by recording their attending in the daycare once in the 3-4 months from the first day in daycare. Approximately 15 hours of material that was analysed with the Transana-program. The qualitative material was analysed by first collecting a descriptive model that explains and theorises the phenomenon. By the summery of the narrative it is placed a hypothesis that is tested by quantitative methods using correlations and variance analyses and general linear modeling that is used to count the differences between repeated measures and connections between different variables. The results of the study are built theoretically for the consistent conception between the theory and the findings in research. The toddlers in the study were all dependent on the support given by the adults in all the situations in the daycare. They could not associate with the other children without the support of the adults and their involvement in activities was low. The engagement of an adult in interaction was necessary for the children’s involvement in activities, and the co-operation with the other children. The engagement of teachers was statistically significantly higher than the engagement of other professions.
  • Alijoki, Alisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The purpose of this follow-up study is to analyse stages of learning and teaching of children with special needs in pre-school and the first two grades of elementary school. The target group included 270 children with special needs. The three year follow-up period for each child began during the pre-school year, and continued until the spring of the second grade in elementary school. Various diagnoses were detected among children in the study group. The disorders were categorised in six classes: the developmentally delayed, children with language development disorder, children with emotional and behavioural disorders, children with attention deficit, children with other non-cognitive disorders and children with extensive developmental disorders. The study's starting point was the situation in pre-school: how the children were placed in pre-school, and what kinds of support they were offered? The purpose of the study was to describe how children with special needs move from different types of groups in pre-school to the different types of classes in the first two grades of elementary school. I also examined how well the children with special needs succeeded in the first two grades of elementary school. An additional purpose was to find out what connections there may be between the paths taken by children with special needs when they move from pre-school to elementary school, the types of support they get, and how they succeed academically in elementary school. The data were gathered mainly by means of questionnaires. In addition the children were studied by means of tests designed to estimate their academic skills at the end of the second grade. In analysing the data I used both quantitative and qualitative methods. Six paths were identified among the children in the study group, based on whether a child was in a group or a class given special teaching or in an ordinary group or class during pre-school and the first two grades of elementary school. In this study, about 53% of the children with special needs moved from pre-school to a regular class in elementary school, and about 47% of the children received special education in elementary school. Among the ordinary groups (n = 69) in pre-school the majority of children (73 %) moved to a regular class in elementary school. Among the children receiving special education (n = 201) in pre-school, 46% moved to a regular class in elementary school. That path turned out to be the one followed by the greatest number of children. Only rarely did children move from an ordinary group in pre-school to a special education class in elementary school. Examination of the results according to the children's transition paths also links together with the viewpoint of integration and segregation. This study indicates that in pre-school special education groups, a significantly greater number of methods supporting children's development were used than in the conventional education groups. The difference was at its greatest inconnection with the use of so-called special rehabilitation methods. A quite wide range of variation was observed in how the children succeeded in elementary school. Success in the tests designed to estimate the children's academic skills was poor for 31% of the children (n = 230) in the first grade study group. For 69 % of the children, however, success in the tests was at least satisfactory. In the second grade study group 34 % of the children (N = 216) got through all the three tests estimating academic skills acceptably. According to this study, a number of children with special needs require special support throughout pre-school and the first two grades of elementary school. The results show that if the children received special support during the pre-school year, a number were able to participate in regular education in elementary school. Keywords: a child with special needs, measures of support, transitions, achievements in school
  • Bernelius, Venla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    The differentiation of public schools and the growing popularity of school choice in Helsinki have become widely discussed issues in Finland marked by internationally acclaimed PISA-results during recent years. At the same time researchers have documented a noticeable growth in the spatial socioeconomic and ethnic segregation within the city. The aim of this doctoral thesis is to analyse the effects of growing spatial segregation to schools and study the mechanisms by which the differentiation of schools and individual pupils outcomes is connected to the changing socio-spatial structure of the city. The theoretical standpoint is one of the central questions in the field of urban geography: the way in which urban socio-spatial structure affects individuals and social processes. The main research question is, whether internationally described processes of urban segregation and school segregation can be shown to operate also in the egalitarian Finnish context, and whether there are signals of neighbourhood effects or school effects within the neighbourhoods and schools of Helsinki. The quantitative research has been conducted through several individual research designs, which have been designed to focus on the key mechanisms linked to processes of segregation. The research shows that the changing patterns of spatial socioeconomic and ethnic differentiation have a profound effect to the conditions in which the urban schools operate, especially through the differentiation of the schools student base. Similarly the schools reputation and popularity are connected to the socio-spatial characteristics of the neighbourhoods in ways which shape school choices and housing choices the made by educationally motivated families. One of the key observations is that the rejection of schools in relatively disadvantaged neighbourhoods is particularly consistent. The results provide evidence of processes of segregation in the neighbourhoods and schools in Helsinki, as well as suggest that there is a possibility of a trend of polarisation through the relative disadvantage and advantage of certain neighbourhoods and schools in the observed processes. The interconnected developments can affect both urban schools and neighbourhoods in the future, if the (un)popularity of certain schools influences not only the school choices, but also the housing choices of urban families.
  • Brotherus, Annu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2004)
  • Ruokonen, Inkeri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2005)
  • Heikkilä, Veli Matti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    In the future the number of the disabled drivers requiring a special evaluation of their driving ability will increase due to the ageing population, as well as the progress of adaptive technology. This places pressure on the development of the driving evaluation system. Despite quite intensive research there is still no consensus concerning what is the factual situation in a driver evaluation (methodology), which measures should be included in an evaluation (methods), and how an evaluation has to be carried out (practise). In order to find answers to these questions we carried out empirical studies, and simultaneously elaborated upon a conceptual model for driving and a driving evaluation. The findings of empirical studies can be condensed into the following points: 1) A driving ability defined by the on-road driving test is associated with different laboratory measures depending on the study groups. Faults in the laboratory tests predicted faults in the on-road driving test in the novice group, whereas slowness in the laboratory predicted driving faults in the experienced drivers group. 2) The Parkinson study clearly showed that even an experienced clinician cannot reliably accomplish an evaluation of a disabled person’s driving ability without collaboration with other specialists. 3) The main finding of the stroke study was that the use of a multidisciplinary team as a source of information harmonises the specialists’ evaluations. 4) The patient studies demonstrated that the disabled persons themselves, as well as their spouses, are as a rule not reliable evaluators. 5) From the safety point of view, perceptible operations with the control devices are not crucial, but correct mental actions which the driver carries out with the help of the control devices are of greatest importance. 6) Personality factors including higher-order needs and motives, attitudes and a degree of self-awareness, particularly a sense of illness, are decisive when evaluating a disabled person’s driving ability. Personality is also the main source of resources concerning compensations for lower-order physical deficiencies and restrictions. From work with the conceptual model we drew the following methodological conclusions: First, the driver has to be considered as a holistic subject of the activity, as a multilevel hierarchically organised system of an organism, a temperament, an individuality, and a personality where the personality is the leading subsystem from the standpoint of safety. Second, driving as a human form of a sociopractical activity, is also a hierarchically organised dynamic system. Third, in an evaluation of driving ability it is a question of matching these two hierarchically organised structures: a subject of an activity and a proper activity. Fourth, an evaluation has to be person centred but not disease-, function- or method centred. On the basis of our study a multidisciplinary team (practitioner, driving school teacher, psychologist, occupational therapist) is recommended for use in demanding driver evaluations. Primary in a driver’s evaluations is a coherent conceptual model while concrete methods of evaluations may vary. However, the on-road test must always be performed if possible.
  • Saher, Marieke (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The series of studies addresses several everyday beliefs about food and health from the perspective of everyday thinking and paranormal beliefs. They are "you are what you eat" beliefs, attitudes towards genetically modified and organic foods, and belief in alternative medicine. The survey studies included from 239 to 3261 Finnish participants. It was found that food consumption can have far-stretching consequences for the impressions of the eater in a "you are what you eat" manner. The results also demonstrated that belief in alternative medicine was related to belief in the paranormal, as were to a lesser degree attitudes towards genetically modified and organic foods. The study also addressed paranormal beliefs and belief in alternative medicine from the perspective of category observance. Paranormal believers as well as believers in alternative medicine were much more liberal than skeptics in violating categorical boundaries and attributed, for example, intentionality (mental) to body growth (biological) and life (biological) to energy (physical). In addition, the study addressed the relation of these attitudes and beliefs with preferred thinking style. The results demonstrated that belief in alternative medicine was especially appealing to intuitive thinkers, while rational thinking was unrelated to it. The same pattern was demonstrated for negative attitudes towards genetically modified food and positive attitudes towards organic food. In addition, it was demonstrated, however, that such unscientific notions may exist not instead of but parallel with "better knowledge". In sum, the present thesis contributes to the understanding of superstitious elements in various everyday attitudes and beliefs, and investigates their relationship with general inclinations towards belief in the paranormal. It appears that some very common everyday beliefs and attitudes about food and health contain elements of a superstitious nature. Involving conceptual enmeshment they go beyond mere associations, and can coincide with scientifically valid views on the same topic.
  • Nuutinen, Maaria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The point of departure in this dissertation was the practical safety problem of unanticipated, unfamiliar events and unexpected changes in the environment, the demanding situations which the operators should take care of in the complex socio-technical systems. The aim of this thesis was to increase the understanding of demanding situations and of the resources for coping with these situations by presenting a new construct, a conceptual model called Expert Identity (ExId) as a way to open up new solutions to the problem of demanding situations and by testing the model in empirical studies on operator work. The premises of the Core-Task Analysis (CTA) framework were adopted as a starting point: core-task oriented working practices promote the system efficiency (incl. safety, productivity and well-being targets) and that should be supported. The negative effects of stress were summarised and the possible countermeasures related to the operators' personal resources such as experience, expertise, sense of control, conceptions of work and self etc. were considered. ExId was proposed as a way to bring emotional-energetic depth into the work analysis and to supplement CTA-based practical methods to discover development challenges and to contribute to the development of complex socio-technical systems. The potential of ExId to promote understanding of operator work was demonstrated in the context of the six empirical studies on operator work. Each of these studies had its own practical objectives within the corresponding quite broad focuses of the studies. The concluding research questions were: 1) Are the assumptions made in ExId on the basis of the different theories and previous studies supported by the empirical findings? 2) Does the ExId construct promote understanding of the operator work in empirical studies? 3) What are the strengths and weaknesses of the ExId construct? The layers and the assumptions of the development of expert identity appeared to gain evidence. The new conceptual model worked as a part of an analysis of different kinds of data, as a part of different methods used for different purposes, in different work contexts. The results showed that the operators had problems in taking care of the core task resulting from the discrepancy between the demands and resources (either personal or external). The changes of work, the difficulties in reaching the real content of work in the organisation and the limits of the practical means of support had complicated the problem and limited the possibilities of the development actions within the case organisations. Personal resources seemed to be sensitive to the changes, adaptation is taking place, but not deeply or quickly enough. Furthermore, the results showed several characteristics of the studied contexts that complicated the operators' possibilities to grow into or with the demands and to develop practices, expertise and expert identity matching the core task. They were: discontinuation of the work demands, discrepancy between conceptions of work held in the other parts of organisation, visions and the reality faced by the operators, emphasis on the individual efforts and situational solutions. The potential of ExId to open up new paths to solving the problem of the demanding situations and its ability to enable studies on practices in the field was considered in the discussion. The results were interpreted as promising enough to encourage the conduction of further studies on ExId. This dissertation proposes especially contribution to supporting the workers in recognising the changing demands and their possibilities for growing with them when aiming to support human performance in complex socio-technical systems, both in designing the systems and solving the existing problems.
  • Johnson Longfor, Rita Waye (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    The aim of this study was to describe, analyse and interpret secondary school language teachers conceptions and methods of teaching English as a second language in Cameroon, the justification of their methods and how they scaffolded their students study processes. This was investigated through the following three research questions: (1) What are the main language teaching methods of Cameroon teachers of English as a second language? (2) In what ways do Cameroon teachers of English as a second language justify the language teaching methods they use? (3) In what ways do Cameroon teachers of English as a second language scaffold their students study processes? The data were gathered from five Cameroon teachers of English as a second language from six classes (Form 1 5) in three schools through participant observation. 1) Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the five teachers after lesson observations, 2) a focus group interview was conducted with six teachers of English, 3) a national pedagogic inspector for English second language teaching at the Cameroon Ministry of Education was also interviewed, and 4) informal discussions were held with the participants in order to get a better view of the context and participants. In addition to this, a number of documents were consulted: the Cameroon syllabus/scheme of work, a ministerial circular defining the objectives and organisation of bilingualism at secondary schools in Cameroon, and professional development objectives of the Cameroon English Language and Literature Teachers Association (CAMELTA). The field work period lasted from February 2010 until June 2010. The data were analysed through qualitative content analysis methods. The findings of the present study indicate that the five teachers main language teaching methods were not in line with communicative language teaching methodology since the English second language teaching was highly teacher-centred and the emphasis was on grammar and examinations. Discussions on meaningful language input, functional and skill language learning theories, however, pointed to their awareness of communicative principles. The justification for the use of a non-communicative approach focused on restrictions in the school context, the home context and restrictions coming from the Cameroon Ministry of Education. These contextual restrictions nevertheless affected the five teachers teaching and their conceptions of ESL on personal and professional levels. However, as this study indicates, justifications underpinned by theory and not drawing solely on personal maxims and opting for the best of poor alternatives can still have a positive impact on the language teaching situation. In everyday language teaching, scaffolding English second language students was an important consideration and the students study processes was scaffolded in many ways. The analysed data show encouraging signs of English second language teachers willingness to engage in scaffolding within lesson frameworks, provide a safe supportive study environment, inquire into and pay attention to students previous knowledge, but the results also reflect that the knowledge of when to fully withdraw scaffolding to help the student gain independence was still undeveloped. The highly examination-oriented environment, the teachers practical approach to teaching English as a second language and the non-support of the Cameroon Ministry of Education in the professional development of language teachers are some of the current problems in the teaching of English as a second language. The findings of this study suggest that the Cameroon Ministry of Education should play a more active role in promoting the didactic teaching studying learning process of English as a second official language in Cameroon and in changing the conceptions of how to teach this language. The findings emphasise the need for designing professional development courses, providing opportunities for teachers to reflect on and discuss their teaching experiences and for redefining their role as professionals. Keywords: English as a second language; communicative language teaching; language teachers pedagogical justifications; scaffolding; teaching studying learning process; didactics; professional development
  • Gerouki, Margarita (2010)
    This study examines how sex education is currently developed and implemented in Greek primary schools. The four publications that comprise it explore the following themes: (1) the position and visibility of sex education as one of the topics for health education programme development; (2) the inhibiting and enhancing factors in the development and implementation of primary school sex education programmes; (3) how issues of sex, sexuality, the human body and romantic relationships are visually and textually represented in primary school textbooks; (4) the impact of sex education on teachers and pupils; and (5) teachers experiences as practitioners who deal with sexuality- related issues at school. -- The research was based on conducting multiple sub-studies using a mixed-methods approach. Specifically, qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analysed. The initial quantitative data that had been obtained by questionnaire was followed by the collection and analysis of qualitative data. The qualitative data were acquired by way of examining one particular case, various texts, interviews with teachers and self-reflective material. The results of the sub-studies are presented in a more detailed manner in the study s four publications. -- In general, the sub-studies found that sex education as an educational activity occupies a marginal place within the instructional practices of Greek primary school teachers, since the subject is hardly mentioned in classroom material, such as textbooks. However, engaging in the provision of sex education programmes can become a meaningful and rewarding experience for many teachers as well as pupils and their families. Further, teachers classroom experiences pointed to school settings as sexualized environments. These contextual factors and conditions nevertheless affected teachers practices and perceptions on a personal and professional level.Health indicators in Greece provide a picture of a population that faces various sexual health related problems. However, as many studies (including this work) indicate, sex education programmes that meet specific standards can have a positive impact on students overall health and well-being. Sex education teaching has always been a controversial issue. Its successful implementation in Greece demands knowledgeable educators and responsible policy-makers. The findings of this study suggest that the content of Greek primary school textbooks needs to be revised in order to include texts and pictures that deal with the human body and human sexuality, encourage pupils to become involved in designing the content and methods of programmes and give teachers the opportunity to reflect on and discuss their experiences. Keywords: sex education, primary school, Greece
  • Parpala, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    The aim of this dissertation was to adapt a questionnaire for assessing students’ approaches to learning and their experiences of the teaching-learning environment. The aim was to explore the validity of the modified Experiences of Teaching and Learning Questionnaire (ETLQ) by examining how the instruments measure the underlying dimensions of student experiences and their learning. The focus was on the relation between students’ experiences of their teaching-learning environment and their approaches to learning. Moreover, the relation between students’ experiences and students’ and teachers’ conceptions of good teaching was examined. In Study I the focus was on the use of the ETLQ in two different contexts: Finnish and British. The study aimed to explore the similarities and differences between the factor structures that emerged from both data sets. The results showed that the factor structures concerning students’ experiences of their teaching-learning environment and their approaches to learning were highly similar in the two contexts. Study I also examined how students’ experiences of the teaching-learning environment are related to their approaches to learning in the two contexts. The results showed that students’ positive experiences of their teaching-learning environment were positively related to their deep approach to learning and negatively to the surface approach to learning in both the Finnish and British data sets. This result was replicated in Study II, which examined the relation between approaches to learning and experiences of the teaching-learning environment on a group level. Furthermore, Study II aimed to explore students’ approaches to learning and their experiences of the teaching-learning environment in different disciplines. The results showed that the deep approach to learning was more common in the soft sciences than in the hard sciences. In Study III, students’ conceptions of good teaching were explored by using qualitative methods, more precisely, by open-ended questions. The aim was to examine students’ conceptions, disciplinary differences and their relation to students’ approaches to learning. The focus was on three disciplines, which differed in terms of students’ experiences of their teaching-learning environment. The results showed that students’ conceptions of good teaching were in line with the theory of good teaching and there were disciplinary differences in their conceptions. Study IV examined university teachers’ conceptions of good teaching, which corresponded to the learning-focused approach to teaching. Furthermore, another aim in this doctoral dissertation was to compare the students’ and teachers’ conceptions of good teaching, the results of which showed that these conceptions appear to have similarities. The four studies indicated that the ETLQ appears to be a sufficiently robust measurement instrument in different contexts. Moreover, its strength is its ability to be at the same time a valid research instrument and a practical tool for enhancing the quality of students’ learning. In addition, the four studies emphasise that in order to enhance teaching and learning in higher education, various perspectives have to be taken into account. This study sheds light on the interaction between students’ approaches to learning, their conceptions of good teaching, their experiences of the teaching-learning environment, and finally, the disciplinary culture.