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  • Sandberg, Erja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    ADHD in the family - The support provided by the educational, social and health sectors, and the experienced impact The aim of this study was to collect and describe the experiences of families with family members who have ADHD and are in need of support from different bodies such as educational, social and health services. The study also collected and described the co-operation between such bodies over the last six decades. With the assistance of netnography, the research data was collected in 2012 to 2014 from a social network group a nationwide ADHD peer support group. The material includes both questionnaires and interviews. The interviews were used to complement the results of the questionnaires. The main unit of analysis was the family (N = 208), and in each family, one or more members had been diagnosed with or showed symptoms of ADHD. The entire family was included in the study because ADHD affects more than just the individual him/herself. ADHD is often familial, and therefore some of the families in this study had over sixty years experience of ADHD, even though the definitions have changed over the years. Despite the increase in and specification of supportive services, the participants saw the different bodies as too bureaucratic, splintered and regionally differentiated. People showing symptoms of ADHD who had notable functional impairments were not able to find the supportive measures they needed and were not able to endure long wait times due to their worsening situation. Co-operation between the different bodies was seen as a necessity. In the research material, three out of five families described such co-operation as not being realised as it is meant to be according to the law. The difficult situations of the families were demonstrated in the research material in that every third family participating in this study included a socially excluded person or someone at risk of social exclusion. In general, a lack of education, fewer chances of finding a job and associated symptoms of ADHD all contributed to social exclusion. Becoming socially excluded is a long process and not a conscious choice. The participants stated that social exclusion is a vicious circle from which escape is difficult when no support is available. After examining the family types, it can be stated that socio-demographic background variables, particularly educational capital, and the latest information on ADHD, along with support found within the family, were seen as protective factors allowing highly educated families with ADHD a greater chance to better function in Finnish society. Keywords: ADHD, family, netnography, support services, service system, social exclusion
  • Schatz, Monika (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This doctoral dissertation is a multi-faceted case study producing qualitative insights into Finland s education export policies. Drawing on education, anthropology, and critical intercultural studies, the dissertation is embedded in an interdisciplinary theoretical framework. The major contribution of this research is a critical approach that enhances understanding of Finland s newly emerging education export sector. The dissertation consists of a research summary and three original refereed studies (Schatz, 2015 and Schatz, et al., 2015, and Schatz, 2016). Conceptually and empirically, the research responds to the following research questions: RQ1: What is the context for the emergence of Finnish education export? RQ2: What are the motives and objectives of Finnish education export policies? RQ3: What is the Finnish education export product? RQ4: How do Finnish higher education institutions perceive their role as education exporters? RQ5: What kinds of ideologies underpin Finnish education export policies? The scope of the research concentrates on the Finnish education export context. In focus are two Finnish education export policy documents, published by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture in 2010 and 2013. The Finnish national education brand and empirical data gathered through questionnaires serve as supporting research data. The applied data analysis methods include Anderson s associative network memory model and Mayring s qualitative content analysis. Research literature on education export in other contexts is used to conceptually grasp the developments in Finland and to highlight differences and similarities between Finland and the international education export sector. Taken together, the findings suggest that Finland s education export ambitions are embedded in international tendencies towards the commodification of education. It is demonstrated that current Finnish education export policies are closely intertwined with public discourses on PISA rankings, Finland s national education brand, and structural changes in the Finnish higher education landscape. The data reveals a large gap between the education export policy goals and their implementation. Based on the findings, several challenges relating to the Finnish education export product and the role of Finnish higher education institutions as education exporters are highlighted. The dissertation problematizes the sustainability of Finland s education export sector and emphasizes the need for a critical debate on education export policy and practice. ________________________________________ Keywords: Education export, Finnish education, education policy dynamics, education branding, commodification of education
  • Hansen, Petteri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Over the past 30 years, the political steering of the Finnish education system has gradually shifted from being under the direct supervision of the state to adopting a development and evaluation policy based on networks and projects. Development projects, often funded by ministries, and based on governmental programmes, have also become a more common form of steering in the Finnish teacher education system. In this case study, I examine the opportunities and limits of project-based steering in the light of two development projects based on a Finnish governmental programmes. The theoretical framework of my research is grounded in Niklas Luhmann`s systems theory and especially in its application within organisational research. In order to characterise the research problem, I have applied the concepts and research methodology particularly developed by Niels Åkerstøm-Andersen. I describe projects as second-order organisations, which are placed in the overlapping area of various function and organisation systems and the purpose of which is to change the ways that organisations related to teacher education regard themselves and their environment. As the main conclusion, I argue that, instead of the realisation of predefined objectives, teacher development projects appear to respond to changing expectations. Projects as second-order organisations are constantly seeking opportunities for inter-organisational collaboration and they also render the opportunities and limits for change in teacher education more visible. Indeed, owing to the temporary nature of projects, organisations are able to use them as a means of demonstrating their responsiveness to different audiences. The projects examined in this study can also be said to play a diagnostic, cautionary, and confessional role for social education, the status of which inside teacher education has, in contrast to its psychological and didactical contents, been somewhat marginalised. Nevertheless, as a form of political steering, development projects within teacher education are associated with several serious problems with them. First and foremost, project-based steering transfers some political and administrative services to temporary organisations and, in doing so, the opportunities and limits for steering are only observable insofar as the project(s) in question continues to exist. Furthermore, projects can be seen to blur the role definition of various actors, as well as the delineations between the areas in which scientific, economic, and educational data is applied.
  • Bofah, Emmanuel Adu-tutu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The aim of the present set of studies in this dissertation was to examine the psychometric properties of measures of mathematics-related affect developed and normalized in one culture for use in another, how these properties transcend cross-culturally in an African context, and the methodological challenges associated with the process. Further aims were to examine the relationships between these constructs on a cross-cultural level, and to explore any associations be-tween students background variables and mathematics achievement. With these aims in mind, we conducted four original empirical studies based on different types of structural equation modeling. Studies I and II explored the problems of importing an instrument from one culture into another, and the associated methodological challenges. More specifically, Study I gives a detailed account of the processes involved in applying structural equation modeling to validate mathematics-related affective measures developed in one culture (Finland) for use in another (Ghana). Reliability estimates and confirmatory factor analyses indicated that the Ghanaian data set did not fit the original hypothesized model (seven-factor structure). A series of factor and confirmatory factor analyses indicated a four-factor structure for the Ghanaian sample. Study II examined the possible causes of the differences in the factor structures from a cross-cultural perspective. The results indicate that measurement artifacts, cultural differences, and construct validity and adaptability were possible causes of the observed differences in factor structure between the Ghanaian and the theoretical model. In conclusion, it is suggested that re-searchers should be aware of construct importation and adaptation, and of the fact that measurement errors, question order, negatively worded item, translation, and content overlap may influence the reliability and validity of survey measures. Moreover, it is necessary to consider cultural variation and the methodological approaches involved in the theoretical settings in order to make any meaningful comparative assessment. Researchers focusing on cross-cultural mathematics-related affect are recommended to acquire the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to address these issues using appropriate tools such as structural equation modeling. Study III investigated the psychometric properties (factor structure, reliabilities, method effect, and measurement invariance country and gender) of the mathematics-related affective constructs used in the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS 2011) across the five participating African countries. It also examined the relationship between these mathematically related affective constructs, as well as the associations amongst the constructs, and between the students background variables and mathematics achievement cross-culturally. The results empirically support the multidimensionality of the construct, and the measures were largely invariant across the five educational systems and gender. There was also some evidence to suggest that negatively worded items in a construct can attenuate the reliability and validity of the measures: a series of confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) revealed the need to control for the method effects associated with such items. It seems that responses to negatively worded items differ systematically across countries and are systematically linked to students achievement. The analyses also covered the relationships between the student affect, achievement, and background variables such as parental education, gender and students educational aspirations. Lower mathematics achievement was associated with students from countries reporting higher motivational belief. On the association between students mathematics-related affect, achievement, parental education, educational aspirations and gender, it seems that there are culture-specific as well as cross-cultural universal outcomes. For instance, the relationship linking parental involvement, teacher responsiveness and mathematics achievement turned out to be culture-specific whereas, boys rated their mathematics competence more highly than girls did. Parental education, gender and long-term educational aspirations also influenced student achievement and motivation, but to different extents in different countries. Study IV, based on non-recursive structural equation models, tested theoretical and methodological models of the reciprocal relationship between mathematics-related affect (e.g., self-concept) and achievement using the TIMSS 2011 cross-sectional data set. The results in different countries support the existence of a unidirectional influence of affect on achievement and of achievement on affect, and a direct feedback-loop relationship between affect and achievement. According to the evidence, the reciprocal determinism between affect and achievement is dependent on the national context. Moreover, there was a cross-cultural universal pattern among males: reporting a stronger mathematics self-concept and higher long-term educational aspirations significantly predicted higher mathematics achievement. The effects of socioeconomic status on mathematics achievement and self-concept among the students were dependent on the national context.
  • Vivitsou, Marianna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This thesis examines the intersection of social media with pedagogy. Pedagogy is a social experience and, as such, it entails communicative acts and generates discourses. These can be oral, written or ones that involve a certain type of inscription and take place in a shared, collaborative milieu. For knowledge building, collaboration patterns allow young people to work together, exchange ideas and views, and solve problems together. To open up such space for collaborative learning teachers and students need to take action. This pedagogical action is the text of pedagogy that is authored by all in order to express and serve the purposes of the participants of the pedagogical event. The pedagogical event becomes meaningful through the discourses that it generates. It is these discourses that social media promise to enhance by opening up opportunities for meaningful communication beyond limitations posed by the necessity for spatial co-presence or from following the route of a predetermined timetable. It follows then naturally that it is the meanings underlying social media and network communication that this study aims to untangle in order to gain an insight into the possibilities for better and deeper learning that arise through the pedagogical integra-tion of social media. This is however only potential. To understand whether this possibility can translate into actuality this thesis draws from Ricoeur s (1976) interpretation theory and the view of discourse as text and as action (Ricoeur 1991). To get there, the thesis discusses whether connectivity can truly make shareable and spreadable content public and how and to what degree social media do serve communicative purposes. Another way to confirm or falsify the promise of the social media is by examining whether and to what degree it serves the pedagogical purposes. Pedagogical purposes are shared purposes and, therefore, the thesis looks into the perspectives of both teachers and students, being the participants of the pedagogical event. They are also the agents whose actions form the event. Their perspectives then are important. Perspectives emerge through the discussions and analyses that shape the publications supporting the argument of the thesis. More particularly, two of the studies discuss and analyze Finnish and Greek language and science teachers experiences of social media and digital technologies integration into the pedagogical practice. The other two studies examine the experiences of students from Finland and Greece sharing and telling digital stories on a pedagogical social network. The studies of the dissertation draw from interview data. For data analysis qualitative methods, such as metaphor and content analysis, are used. Ultimately, what the discussion comes down to is an insight into whether the pedagogical practices constitute communicative practices. Practices, however, are informed by the wider context we find ourselves immersed in. In the same way that youth popular social network experience feeds into the pedagogical practice, so do teacher interactions and experiences with colleagues, training, workshops and relevant discourses inform their practices. In order to gain a deeper insight into the pedagogical purposes and the underlying thinking, therefore, the thesis discusses and analyzes teacher and student pedagogical action against the background literature and discussions on, for instance, open networks and popular social network activity. This methodological choice is, again, positioned within the framework of interpretation theory (Ricoeur 1976, 1991) and speaks to the intention to validate the thesis argument by gaining insights into and offering possible explanations of the meanings underlying social media for pedagogy and communication, being the phenomenon under investigation.
  • Airaksinen, Jaakko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Differences in well-being between neighborhoods have long been recognized. These inequalities have been explained by neighborhood effects, in other words characteristics of the neighborhoods that affect well-being. However, the direction of causality in neighborhood effects is still unknown. This dissertation examines whether inequalities in well-being between neighborhoods are caused by neighborhood characteristics social causation, or by selective residential mobility social selection. The participants in these studies were from the ongoing prospective longitudinal population-based Young Finns study. The aims of this study were: 1) to examine whether neighborhood urbanicity and socioeconomic status affected health behaviors, depressive symptoms and source of social support, and 2) to examine how those variables affect residential mobility behavior. The results suggest that people in more urban and affluent neighborhoods are more interested in their health. However, simultaneously those people drink more alcohol, and also people in more urban areas smoke more. People in more rural areas received more social support from their family, whereas people in more urban areas received more social support from their friends. While part of the results were explained by social causation, most of the effects were attributed to social selection. People who received more social support from their friends were more likely to move and to move more frequently. Also, people with better health behaviors moved longer distances. None of the individual level variables were associated with selective residential mobility between municipalities. This dissertation addressed the problem of causality in neighborhood effects. The findings do give some support for social causation in neighborhood effects, but most of the effects are explained by social selection. However, the results also imply that health behaviors or social support do not affect selective residential mobility. Therefore, it is likely that some other individual level variables govern selective residential mobility and the forming of differences in well-being between neighborhoods.
  • Kaatrakoski, Heli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    In the public sector, an emphasis on a customer approach has spread to a number of fields of work in Finland. This thesis investigates the conveyance and development of the concept of customer in four Finnish public organisations. The point of departure for the study is the marketisation of the public sector and the New Public Management (NPM) ideology, which emphasise the benefits of business models in public sector practices. The introduction of the concept of customer is an example of such benefits, and the development of the concept is examined in this particular cultural and historical context. Previous international studies have raised challenges related to customer thinking in the public sector and concerns over official discourses that seem to simplify the fundamental societal implications produced by the customer approach. The theoretical framework of my study is cultural-historical activity theory. The data comprises interviews (53) and documents (42) from each organisation. The studied organisations represent fields of elderly care, children s day care, road management, and academic library work. The findings in the document analysis suggest that in all the studied organisations, the use of the concept of customer has increased along with the introduction of the NPM doctrine. One interesting finding is the variety of conflicting situations which the interviewees experienced regularly in their service encounters. These conflicting situations are related to dominating old organisational structures and practices, which have not developed sufficiently with regard to customer thinking. In addition to these conflicting situations, another interesting finding was shared discourses which were related to the customer approach. My interpretation in this study is that at the core of the concept of the public sector customer are the opposing forces of the private sector s understanding of human beings as responsible individuals with free choice and the public sector s emphasis on collective citizenship and the public good. The opposing forces produce not only a variety of conflicting situations, but also possibilities for the development of the concept. This thesis theoretically opens up the background ideology behind the concept of customer in the public sector and thus increases the understanding of larger ongoing societal changes. The study provides new openings in regard to empirical studies on customer thinking from the perspective of employees. Such research objectives have been limited in number in the Finnish context. One important contribution of this study in regard to studies of working life is its explanation of the origin of conflicting situations from systemic tensions instead of trying to trace their origins to the behaviour of individuals.
  • Hohti, Riikka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The subject of this thesis is everyday life in the school classroom with a focus on what matters to the children. The classroom is understood as a more-than-human context consisting of combinations and gatherings of material things, bodies, time, space and ideas. The study is located at the intersection of education, interdisciplinary childhood studies, narrative and ethnographic studies, and informed by the "material turn" of social sciences. The empirical part took place in a third- and fourth-grade class where the researcher was the class teacher. An approach called "classroom diaries" was developed in which the 10-year-old pupils wrote their observations, thoughts and stories freely. The nomadic analysis departed from the question, "What is happening in the classroom?" and proceeded through repeated readings and retellings, working with writing as inquiry. The fragmented, controversial and messy writings of the children challenged the teacher/researcher to find non-representational ways of engaging with data. The study consists of a summary part and four research articles. First, the analysis focuses on children's voices in stories that intertwine in classroom interactions. By defining three inter-related analytical spaces, the study illustrates how children s voices are not unitary or "authentic" , but emergent, constructed in reciprocal processes of telling and listening, and contingent on their social, discursive, material and physical environments and power relations. Second, the study presents the narrative approach of Children writing ethnography ("classroom diaries") as a way of engaging with children' s lives in the classroom and in research. Nomadic thinking serves to enable one to see the children's writings as emergent knowledge and to embrace the connectivity among the writings, the classroom reality, the child-ethnographers and the research, which are seen as mutually producing one another. Third, the thesis examines time and children in the classroom. The concept of entanglement is activated to bring time into connection with matter and space. The analysis concentrates on a music lesson and the musical instrument the recorder about which two children write. The recorder is seen as organising actions in the classroom, producing intense moments of now and various enactments of children and adults. The notion of time as a neutral, "outside" parameter is unsettled and both children and time are seen as hybrid. Fourth, the study develops the idea of research with children as an entangled practice. It presents a post-qualitative analysis that attempts to center children's views throughout the research and seeks to do so in ways other than through representation. The study draws attention to classroom assemblages involving time and things, as well as to temporality and materiality as parts of the research process. The study suggests engaging with children's open-ended narration by retelling and responding. These engagements highlight particular situations, the unpredictable and strange qualities of children's lives, and the significance of "tiny" things in educational environments. The study suggests that an open-ended narrative space allows children to produce rich and thought-provoking knowledge about what matters to them in the school classroom. The idea of entanglement can be employed to engage with that knowledge in ways that do not reduce the complexities of children's lives. Keywords: classroom, Children writing ethnography, voice, matter, time, space, entanglement, nomadic
  • Nislin, Mari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The aim of this thesis was to investigate early childhood professionals (ECP) stress regulation, work-related well-being and pedagogical work in kindergartens, as well as to determine whether these factors were connected. The demands that ECPs encounter at work and the resources available to them as well as the extent to which they experience engagement or burnout were analysed in order to increase understanding of the challenges involved in work that is simultaneously demanding and rewarding. In this thesis pedagogical work was seen as an indicator of ECP s job performance and quality of the early childhood education service. Furthermore, the focus was on physiological aspects relating to stress regulation. The goal was to enhance knowledge of working life in the field of early childhood education by utilising an interdisciplinary, integrative approach and multiple methodologies. The study was part of two larger projects undertaken by the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Helsinki and involved two separate data sets. The first set was collected in 2009 from 117 ECPs in 24 kindergartens in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Participants in the second study (2012) were 89 ECPs from 21 integrated special kindergarten groups in the city of Helsinki. Data were collected through salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase measurements, observational assessments of pedagogical work and surveys measuring work-related well-being. The results indicated that the ECPs generally found their work resources to be adequate, and, on average, their stress regulation was balanced. On average, the ECPs experienced high levels of work engagement, yet there were also participants who were less positive and showed moderate signs of burnout. In addition, the results demonstrated the importance of social support, especially the role of the supervisor, which proved to be one of the key factors positively enhancing well-being at work. The main findings demonstrated the close relationship between ECPs stress regulation and the quality of pedagogical work in teams. However, no associations between different biomarkers and work engagement and burnout were found. This study is novel in that it combines approaches from different disciplines to investigate work-related well-being among ECPs. The study highlights the importance of teamwork not only as fundamental to high-quality early childhood education, but also in supporting the well-being of ECPs. The findings can be applied in future studies and used to inform interventions intended to enhance working conditions in kindergartens.
  • Wallinheimo, Kirsi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The general aim of this study was 1) to do research on multiform foreign language teaching and studying in a virtual environment and 2) to develop diverse ways of using information and communication technologies in multiform foreign language teaching and studying. The scientific problem focuses on what foreign language teaching and studying in a virtual environment actually consists of. The research questions concerned 1) studying a foreign language in a virtual environment, as assessed by the students; 2) the new content brought by the students into the virtual environment 3) the students' experiences of multiform teaching in a virtual environment and 4) the suitability of a virtual environment, especially the use of Moodle, for studying a foreign language. One group of students of Swedish (n = 22) at the University of Helsinki Language Centre took part in this study. The study was carried out as a pedagogically-oriented case study, including certain features of ethnographic and action research and in which the students teacher acted as a researcher of her own work. The teaching and studying in the virtual environment were implemented using the learning management system, Moodle. The research data were gathered through audio recordings, electronic questionnaires, interviews and a user activity report stored in Moodle. The data were analysed with qualitative content analysis methods. The main research findings were that students studied in a way that inclined towards a constructivist and sociocultural approach. The study practices that were strongly represented were active, expertise-sharing and contextualised. The content introduced by the students into their studying included a range of authentic materials, which aligned well with the goals of the teaching. The students also indicated that their families and peers supported their studies. This is a matter of virtuality, that is, a sense of remote connection made possible by the network. The students experienced the teaching as being in accordance with a constructivist and sociocultural approach. In the teaching, the active, emotional and contextual practices were the most strongly represented in the data. The features of the groupware which the students as a group or as individuals could themselves adapt were seen as beneficial. The customisable features of the groupware supported community learning and thereby contributed to virtual teamwork. The static properties of the program were seen as its disadvantages. The didactic virtual environment theory as presented in this study as well as the research findings can be widely utilised in pre-service and in-service teacher education, as well as, more generally, when developing the use of ICTs in the teaching and studying of foreign languages. Keywords: multiform foreign language teaching and studying, didactic virtual environment, didactic foreign language teaching studying learning process, Swedish, university language centre teaching, information and communication technologies, Virtual Learning Environment
  • Valtonen, Juha (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The main task of this teacher educational study is to explore the relationships between the pre-teacher-education socialization environments and class teacher students beliefs of quality physical education and their perceived strengths in teaching physical education in the primary school. This study focuses on gender, success in physical education, leisure physical activity, schooling and work experience in sports or teaching as socialization environments. To answer the research questions, five peer reviewed studies were published in scientific journals between years 2011 and 2015. The articles together with this synopsis form the doctoral thesis. The data were collected using an online questionnaire presented to the class teacher students at the beginning of their first year studies in physical education. The resulting 412 participants comprised 341 (83 %) female and 71 (17 %) male students and covered 88 % of the first year class teacher students at the University of Helsinki, Finland during the academic years 2006 2009. The data were categorized according to the qualitative and quantitative contents of the answers. Cross tabulation and binary logistic regression were the main statistical analyzes. The results indicate that the pre-education acculturative socialization environments are related to different emphases on the beliefs of good physical education and especially on the perceived strengths in teaching physical education. The physically advanced socialization environments tended to be related to subject-focused perceived strengths. On the contrary, the physically more modest social environments appeared more often to be connected to pupil-focused perceived strengths. Parallel, but weaker relationships between socialization environments and conceptions of good physical education were found. Teacher educators need to pay attention to these different approaches as challenges to development the teacher education studies. More research is needed to explore how the acculturative socialization environments affect teacher education and the work of teachers during the different phases of their professional career.
  • Hilppö, Jaakko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This dissertation focuses on children s sense of agency. The aim is to investigate the kinds of agentic experiences children undergo in their everyday lives and examine the kinds of events and activities in which these experiences take place. The dissertation thereby seeks to contribute to current understandings of the particularity of individual engagement in collective activities and enrich descriptions of the connectedness of individual and social level processes. To understand children s agentic experiences from their perspective, this dissertation employs and develops co-participatory visual methods for studying children s sense of agency. The empirical data analyzed here come from two different case studies in which preschoolers and elementary school pupils documented their agentic experiences, and then reflected on these experiences in either open-ended interviews or joint focus groups. The empirical analysis focuses on the social construction of children s sense of agency in these reflection situations. In addition, the role of the visual tools as part of the reflection situations is examined via embodied interaction analysis. The results of the dissertation demonstrate the different ways in which children experience their agency in everyday life. Analysis of how sense of agency is socially constructed provides evidence that children s accounts of their agentic experiences range from straightforward statements to complex reports. Furthermore, the results suggest that children s agentic experiences take place in mundane and ordinary events in addition to special occasions. The results also show how the visual tools served acted as mediational means in the telling and listening that took taking place in the reflection situations. Overall, the dissertation results suggest that parents, educators, and other professionals who want to encourage and foster children s sense of agency could benefit from paying attention to the small agentic moments in children s daily lives as potential growth points for the children s awareness of their own agency. The visual documentation methods employed and developed in the course of this research could function as a meaningful pedagogical practice in this regard.
  • 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.
  • Tuohilampi, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The negative development of mathematics-related affect during comprehensive school years is a worldwide phenomenon. This research elaborates that development, the methods and approaches to measure the development, and some possibilities of making a change in such a development. In the first study, we examined the longitudinal development of Finnish comprehensive school students affect. We were especially interested in the development of the separate affective components, i.e. cognitive (referring to beliefs and conceptions), motivational and emotional components. The study confirmed that Finnish students affect deteriorates rather dramatically during the comprehensive school years. The timing of the deterioration differs depending on the component: the positivity of the enjoyment of mathematics decreased as early as during primary school years, whereas self-efficacy became more negative during the lower secondary school years. Gender differences were also found, as the deterioration was more dramatic among girls than among boys. Since the use of traditional questionnaires addressing students individual level of affect has been criticized by a number of researchers, in the second study we analyzed the consequences of imposing methods and concepts from the researcher s own culture onto another. We had two different cultures (Western - individual: Finland, and Latin - collectivist: Chile) as a context. The elaboration was done at the individual level of mathematics-related affect. As a result, we identified most of the dilemmas that are claimed to relate to cross-cultural studies. We argued that traditional cross-cultural studies of mathematics- related affect have contained a risk of making unjustified interpretations. In the third study, we went deeper into the contextual levels of mathematics-related affect. We examined pupils affect structures simultaneously at the individual, interindividual (social) and cultural levels. We found out that culture made a difference about what level of affect was more positive. This was interpreted as a sign of the level s different significances in different cultures. This study also confirmed that in cross-cultural comparisons more than only one level of context should be covered. In the fourth and fifth studies we examined longitudinal affective development of Finnish students on both the individual and the interindividual levels. We also investigated the impact of an intervention, aimed to make mathematics classes more active, on those levels. According to the results, the intervention had an impact on the affective learning environment, i.e. the interindividual level of affect. We also noticed that pupils in Finland very seldom experience their mathematics classes as emotionally engaging, positive or inspiring. We argued that without an emotional bond, mathematics is unlikely to become significant to pupils. This was seen as one possible explanation for the negative development of the individual level of affect. Based on the results, it is suggested that more emphasis should be given to engaging social interaction and to students opportunities to work actively together.
  • Laamanen, Tarja-Kaarina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The complexity of the current world is contributing to an increased dependency on innovative approaches and competences for solving open-ended problems and adjusting to multi-layered work environments. Creative ideation is valued not only in traditional creative fields such as design, craft and art, but also in all areas of work life. In design ideation the focus is on seeing beyond the obvious and developing personal constraints on the design task. Therefore, it can be seen as increasing the creativity in problem solving in general. Ideation is important as it is the basis for the rest of the design process. However, the research concerning design ideation is still sparse in Finland, as previous research has emphasised the entire design process. Accordingly there is lack of knowledge, concepts and definitions of ideation to support communication in designing and design education. The aim of this study was to understand design ideation and aspects that inspire and guide designers in the idea generation process. The study explored the conceptual and material premises for ideation, ways of creating novel standpoints towards ideation and the nature of the design context. The study used multiple qualitative methods; data were collected from a virtual e-learning database, by interviewing and using a mobile, context-sensitive data-collecting tool. The data-analyses applied qualitative content analysis. The study explored student teachers and professional designers design thinking in the ideation focusing on material resources and materially embodied practices for generating and transforming representations. The findings illustrated that interpreting sources of inspiration requires processes such as the use of analogical thinking and abstraction. In addition, creative ideation is a gradual development of ideas. The designer constrains the design situation through creation of visual-material ideas until a suitable idea(s) emerge. The findings encourage viewing design ideation as a multi-modal process in which representations are important triggers for ideation. The exploratory process of generating and transforming representations is a holistic making-related activity that is best supported by interaction with peers and different types of externalization methods. The study proposes two objectives that design tasks in education should address. Firstly, the ideation phase should include deliberate practices and a variety of techniques for manipulating representations to develop visual ideas. Secondly, the ideation process should embed meaning-making for personal engagement and exploration to pursue ideation towards wider contexts of learning. Keywords: Idea generation, design representations, design practices, creativity, materiality, design learning
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pesonen, Henri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Sense of belonging has been defined as the degree to which an individual feels included, accepted, and supported by others in a variety of social settings, for example, a school context. Previous research on sense of belonging has mainly focused on students with special needs in inclusive schools. There appears to be a shortage of research on sense of belonging in different school placements (general and special) and in post-school life for individuals with intensive special education needs. The purpose of this thesis, which consists of three related, internationally published peer-reviewed articles (Studies I-III), was to examine to what extent sense of belonging can be supported in school and in post-school life for students with intensive special education needs in Finland. Particular focus was placed on the voices of those students in order to understand how best to create a positive school climate that supports sense of belonging for all. Teacher perceptions of the implemented three-tiered support model (Finland' s Basic Education Act 642/2010) and school visit data were utilized to contextualize the students conceptions and experiences. Study I examined conceptions associated with sense of belonging in general and special school placements for middle-school students with intensive special education needs (N = 5). Phenomenographic methods of analysis were utilized in Study I. In Study II, which was based on the narratives of two females (ages 26 and 29) with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the focus was on sense of belonging and various life transition issues that may appear in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood in the absence of appropriate social supports. Qualitative narrative approaches were used in Study II to analyze interview and document data in order to create life transition stories. Study III examined the implementation of new, special education legislation in Finland (Basic Education Act 642/2010) among students with intensive special education needs. The material for Study III consisted of (1) survey data on teacher perceptions (N = 526) of the implementation of the education legislation and the current organization of special education services, and (2) observations of the implementation of the legislation in schools (N = 12) across Finland. The analysis of the survey data in Study III was based on sequential mixed-methods design. The school observation data were analyzed qualitatively. In Study I, the qualitative phenomenographic analyses of interview transcripts revealed various conceptions regarding the students sense of belonging in different school placements (general and special). The students had undergone numerous placements in which their sense of belonging had been jeopardized, as disturbing relationships with teachers and peers seemed to have affected the students mental and physical well-being, resulting in disturbing behaviors in their earlier educational settings. Despite the various placements, the students felt better in their current, special, school, which had a positive climate. The results of Study II demonstrated that lack of social support increases the number of school placements and transitions and causes biases in forming a sense of belonging. The findings further suggested that providing social assistance and positive life experiences during emerging adulthood (ages 18-25) seems to matter most in forming a strong sense of belonging in life. Furthermore, the findings of both Studies I and II suggested that, for individuals with intensive special education needs, adapting one s behavior in order to feel a sense of belonging (Juvonen, 2006) might be associated with hiding the unique characteristics of a person s special needs. Study III found that teachers values and beliefs seem to influence the organization of special education (e.g., affecting the overall school climate). Furthermore, some schools and teachers implemented the law s integration requirement by placing all students with intensive special needs in separate units or school buildings, whereas other schools placed students in general education. The findings suggest that students with intensive special education needs can feel a sense of belonging primarily in schools in which adults work in multidisciplinary collaboration, which helps to create an accepting and supportive school climate. In the post-school phase, it appeared that positive experiences during emerging adulthood (between the ages of 18 and 25) seem to matter most in generating a strong sense of belonging to a community. Hence, individuals with intensive special needs would benefit from ongoing support from the time they first enter school with continuation through the post-school transition phase and into adulthood. Also, the results hypothetically imply that the school principal plays a significant role in creating a school climate that supports a sense of belonging for all students. The results of this thesis also shed light on several limitations that prevent generalizations from being made. Therefore, further study is unquestionably needed. This thesis has provided an initial exploration into the under-researched area of sense of belonging in different school placements and in post-school life for students with intensive special education needs. Keywords: sense of belonging, intensive special education needs, school placement, transition, teachers values and beliefs, school climate
  • Siirilä, Jani (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    In 2004, the United Nations announced the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014. One of the objectives was to include sustainable development at all national education levels via the curricula. In Finland goals of the decade implement RCE (Regional Centre of Expertise) network. The study explored how the concept of sustainable development was constructed in the national education system through the curricula. Altogether 26 representatives were selected from the RCE Espoo network. The study explored how the representatives understood the integrated concept of sustainable development, including its ecological, economic and social dimensions. The representatives were interviewed, and the data were analyzed using concept maps. The construction of the concept of sustainable development was broad and multidimensional in nature. It focused on several dimensions of sustainable development: the ecological dimension of the sustainable use of natural resources, the economic dimension of a sustainable economy based on limited planetary resources, and the social dimension of a welfare society. Constructing the concept of sustainable development was compared to society s commitment to sustainable development as expressed by the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development. The construction of the concept of sustainable development by the representatives was mainly alike to commitment to sustainable development but the emphasis of the goals A carbon-neutral society and Sustainable local communities were low. The latter goal included the aspect of climate change and adapting to it. The reform in the Finnish curricula predicts social change, one in which the meaning of developmental sustainability and a sustainable way of life will become stronger. The national education system should take society s commitment to sustainable development into account. The shared goals at all educational levels are 1) to have accomplished citizens who understand the meaning of sustainable development in their lives, and 2) to achieve a sustainable society and future.
  • Janhonen, Kristiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This dissertation examines food education from the perspectives of adolescents participation and agency. The study builds on a social constructivist understanding of learning and draws methodological inspiration from child-hood sociology. The empirical part of the study is based on two data-sets: Nordic survey data (N=1539) collected in 2006−2007 and data from a qualitative case study (2012−2013), which focused on 9th grade students in one Finnish school (14−17 years). The dissertation is compiled from four original publications. Articles I and II examine Nordic adolescents school lunch patterns and their considerations of meal choices in the family context. Articles III and IV examine adolescents school lunch practices as an educational resource and the challenges of school-based participatory research with young people. The results drawn from the comparative Nordic data-set function as a broader background, against which the results from the qualitative case study are discussed in this summary. The study is based on an interdisciplinary and multimethod research design, and has combined qualitative and quantitative data in an interpretive integration (i.e., a combination of qualitative and quantitative results at the stage of theoretical interpretation). The overall aim of the dissertation is to explore how adolescents views on their food practices could be more thoroughly used as an educational resource and how their participation and agency could be better supported in food education. This dissertation concludes that future work on adolescents participation and agency in food education would benefit from enhancing intergenerational dialogue and from approaching food-related learning as dynamic processes that reach beyond formal schooling.