Browsing by Subject "kasvatustiede"

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  • Hotti, Ulla Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    Abstract The research considers the academic curriculum of subject-teacher education in 2005−2008 (Teacher Education Department, University of Helsinki) developed in the spirit of the Bologna process. The purpose was to examine from a professional point of view the symbolic and operational compatibility of the curriculum at the time as experienced and assessed by subjectteacher students. The students were questioned in 2005−2006, 2006−2007 and 2007−2008 on how the academic curriculum as a learning environment showed them how to progress from novices to experts. The main research question was How favourable has the curriculum of subject-teacher education in 2005−2008 been in which to develop into a professional according to two groups, the science-mathematics oriented and the humanisties oriented? , and three subquestions were 1) How have the students assessed the symbolic compatibility (relevance) of the curriculum? 2) How have the students assessed the operational compatibility (quality) of the curriculum? and 3) Do the assessments of two groups differ from each other statistically? The research material was comprised of the teacher students´ feedback on curriculum innovation from the academic years 2005−2008 (N=1550), gathered using feedback forms consisting of quantitative and qualitative material. The research method was content analysis and approachintegrated; the quantitative material was analysed using SPSS, and the qualitative material using Atlas-ti. The research material was examined systemically within a normative-theoretical research framework: the normative framework was constructed on European and Finnish laws concerning academic teacher education and the norms and strategies of the University of Helsinki, whereas the theoretical framework was constructed on Rogers´s (2003) Innovation and Diffusion Theory (the frame theory) and as well as essential background theories concerning academic teaching, supervision and learning to teach. The Innovation and Diffusion Theory provited a relevant perspective for examining the implementation of the subject-teacher education curriculum and how students re-innovate and re-invent it. This kind of student-cent approach and examination allowed for the students´ voices to be heard teleologically, according to the strategy of University of Helsinki (2007 09): students take part in improving the quality of teacher education curriculum. According to the research results, on the one hand the curriculum met the students´ expectations, but on the other hand did not. The pedagogical studies as regards the quality of pedagogical goals and pedagogical activities were found to be compatible, on average (subject didactics, general didactics) or greater than average (teaching practice, pedagogical study) with the students ´ expectations of evolving professionally at both the strategic and operational levels. However, the results also revealed three pedagogical competence areas not compatible with the students´ expectations: information and communication technologies in education (digital learning environment), learning-process by portfolio (self-reflection) and research-based teaching and education (research methods in education). Despite both science-mathematics- and humanisties oriented students assessing the curriculum environment quite similarly, the assessments in some areas statistically differed from each other. Keywords: academic curriculum, academic pedagogy, teacher education, subject-teacher pedagogical studies, learning environment, systemic innovation, pedagogical innovation, educational innovation
  • Krzywacki, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    This research examines three aspects of becoming a teacher, teacher identity formation in mathematics teacher education: the cognitive and affective aspect, the image of an ideal teacher directing the developmental process, and as an on-going process. The formation of emerging teacher identity was approached in a social psychological framework, in which individual development takes place in social interaction with the context through various experiences. Formation of teacher identity is seen as a dynamic, on-going developmental process, in which an individual intentionally aspires after the ideal image of being a teacher by developing his/her own competence as a teacher. The starting-point was that it is possible to examine formation of teacher identity through conceptualisation of observations that the individual and others have about teacher identity in different situations. The research uses the qualitative case study approach to formation of emerging teacher identity, the individual developmental process and the socially constructed image of an ideal mathematics teacher. Two student cases, John and Mary, and the collective case of teacher educators representing socially shared views of becoming and being a mathematics teacher are presented. The development of each student was examined based on three semi-structured interviews supplemented with written products. The data-gathering took place during the 2005 2006 academic year. The collective case about the ideal image provided during the programme was composed of separate case displays of each teacher educator, which were mainly based on semi-structured interviews in spring term 2006. The intentions and aims set for students were of special interest in the interviews with teacher educators. The interview data was analysed following the modified idea of analytic induction. The formation of teacher identity is elaborated through three themes emerging from theoretical considerations and the cases. First, the profile of one s present state as a teacher may be scrutinised through separate affective and cognitive aspects associated with the teaching profession. The differences between individuals arise through dif-ferent emphasis on these aspects. Similarly, the socially constructed image of an ideal teacher may be profiled through a combination of aspects associated with the teaching profession. Second, the ideal image directing the individual developmental process is the level at which individual and social processes meet. Third, formation of teacher identity is about becoming a teacher both in the eyes of the individual self as well as of others in the context. It is a challenge in academic mathematics teacher education to support the various cognitive and affective aspects associated with being a teacher in a way that being a professional and further development could have a coherent starting-point that an individual can internalise.
  • Repo, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Bullying and its prevention in early childhood education The purpose of this research was to study the phenomenon of bullying in the preschool environment in order to expand understanding of the phenomenon and to be able to conduct effective anti-bullying practices. Thus, the aims of this research were to study the prevalence and forms of bullying and to find what kind of organizational and pedagogical practices used in preschools were related to bullying behavior and the prevention of bullying. The study also interprets qualitative research data, disclosing what meanings children give to the bullying phenomenon. Two kinds of data were collected for the study: a qualitative data from interviews of children, preschool teachers and practical nurses and parents (N = 114) and data from a survey of early education professionals (N = 771). The results of this study indicate that systematic bullying does occur in preschool groups. The interviews showed that young children were able to describe the phenomenon, and its content varied only slightly from adults speech on the topic. Results showed that 12.6% of preschool children were involved in bullying in one way or another. The most common form of bullying was exclusion from peer relationships. The findings also showed that bullying is a group phenomenon already in preschool groups. However, children with special educational needs were significantly more often involved in bullying situations than children without special educational needs. Thus, the bullying prevention programs developed in early childhood educational environments should be applied both with individual children and at child group level. A common way to intervene in bullying situations was excluding the child from the group. However, in those groups that exclusion was used as an intervention to bullying, respondents reported that they were unable to stop bullying behavior. In addition, in those groups where different pedagogical solutions were tested and evaluated often, less bullying occurred than in those groups that did not test and evaluate their practices. As a conclusion to this study, in order to prevent bullying in preschool environments, even more attention should be paid to strengthen the child group cohesion and to the pedagogical solutions when encountering misbehaving children. A child has a right to an appropriate education where he/she can learn alternative and socially acceptable ways to behave in relations with others. Key words: bullying, early childhood education, peer victimization, special educational needs, bullying prevention, discipline, bystander
  • Saari, Kirsti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The main focus of this research was to describe the educational purpose of Christian schools within their operation culture. The Christian schools founded in Finland can be seen as part of a greater movement in Europe. In this research the dialogue and encounter in the educational scheme of Finnish Christian schools were examined by asking three research questions: 1. What is the nature of the dialogue in education in Finnish Christian schools? 2. How do the teachers describe themselves as educators? 3. What are the special characteristics in the operation culture of a Christian school? The educational relationship was regarded as fundamental and in the background reflected the absolute value of each student. Communication skills were viewed as essential in the building of relationships, which also included emotion communication skills as a broader view. The teachers expressed their comprehension of the meaning of the dialogue in the building of a relationship with practical examples. Students learned to understand one another's experiences by discussion and listening to one another. The values that created a connection were mutual appreciation, honesty, taking the other one into account, and the ability for empathy. Caring was regarded as a relationship between people, as well as a genuine mutual encounter, in which all parties would listen to one another and be heard by others. The respondents thought that individual attention and time were the keys to reaching well-being and an encounter. Students' commitment to the community was supported by mutual agreements, identifying with the common world, and encounters. The appearance of Christian love agape was named as the basis for an educational relationship. The answers emphasised shared everyday life at school. According to the teachers, the willingness for personal growth enabled encounters, although growth as such was often regarded as difficult. Cognitive emphasising and emotional experiencing from a dynamic perspective, were the means by which students' ethical understanding was comprehended. The teachers named three key factors to create a confidential relationship: a respectful attitude, courage, and genuineness. Within the school operational environment, a sense of community was emphasised, in which each student was taken into account individually. The active role of parents was an essential part of the school culture. The administration of the schools appeared committed. The additional pressure in school work came from efforts to ensure the official status of the school, as well as the large amount of administrative work involved in a private school. According to the research data, there was no evidence to support any elitism that is often associated with private schools.
  • Jauhiainen, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Within the framework of a national science and mathematics education development program a long-term physics teachers training program was organized. The aim of the program was to enhance teachers pedagogical content knowledge, especially regarding the role of experiments in physics education. The role of experiments was discussed based on a practical teaching philosophy called perceptional approach. The research aimed at exploring teachers experience of the training program, as well as the effect it had on their beliefs about the role of experiments and the concept of interaction (interacting bodies) in teaching Newtonian mechanics. Moreover, the goal was to examine the influence of teachers' beliefs about interaction on students conceptual understanding of force. The model of pedagogical content knowledge and the model of practical conceptual change formed the frameworks for the research. The results of the teacher survey showed that teachers considered the training valuable for their daily teaching practice. The laboratory course was regarded to be most valuable. The course dealing with theoretical principles of the perceptional approach was less advantageous. Approximately 20% of the teachers had changed their beliefs in the use of experiments after the ideas represented in the training program. There were no significant differences between the experimental and control groups in the views regarding the reasons for using experiments in teaching physics. The most important objective for practical work was to enhance students learning of concepts. According to teacher interviews, some teachers were influenced by the program and the way experiments could be used in supporting the creation of meanings for concepts. However, some teachers strongly held to their previous beliefs. The effect of the training program on teachers beliefs about the concept of interaction as an organizing principle in teaching mechanics was examined using teacher interviews. The results showed no remarkable effects. However, the explicit use of interaction as a guiding principle in teaching Newtonian mechanics enhanced students conceptual understanding of force as measured with the Force Concept Inventory, which was translated into Finnish.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Rahman, Helinä (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    The aim of this study was to describe, analyse and interpret Finnish pupils communicative language use of English in interviews in basic education grades 1 - 6. The pupils communicative language use of English was studied through the analysis of communication strategies and language functions. This study was a case study which contained ethnographic features. The research questions were the following: 1. What communication strategies do Finnish pupils use to cope with the interviewer's questions in interviews? 2. What language functions do the Finnish pupils use when being interviewed in English? 3. In what ways does an English-language interviewer support the pupils coping with English? The data consisted of pupils in basic education grades 1 - 6 who were in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) classes and studied partly in English. The pupils (N=7) were interviewed once at the end of each spring term during their first six school years, which provided 42 audio-recorded interviews, each 5 - 15 minutes in length. The data was analysed through qualitative content analysis methods. The main research finding was that the pupils were able to communicate in English by using various communication strategies and language functions from grade 1 onwards. The interviewer's role in helping pupils to cope in interviews was particularly important in grades 1 - 2 when, with the help of the interviewer, the pupils managed to communicate successfully. The older the pupils were, the less help that was needed, and the interviews had more and more conversational features. There were differences in using communication strategies between pupils and grades. Some of the pupils were strongly using achievement strategies and others avoiding. In the early grades, more avoiding was identified, but with the help of the interviewer, the communication was successful. The language functions were usually informative in character, but the older pupils used more argumentative features. Both the communication strategies and language functions used by the pupils were concentrated in a few common categories in grades 4 - 6. The interviewer used many strategies to support the pupils coping in English in the interviews. He was able to change his strategies according to the pupils needs to maximise the pupils communicative language use of English as the interviewer knew the pupils beforehand. --------- The study indicated that oral practice of English over time in small group sessions with a teacher who speaks English as his native language creates a good context in which to practise the communicative language use of English with functional aims. The data also demonstrated that pupils with a multicultural background were good at communicative language use overall and that some of them were able to use several foreign languages. Keywords: communicative language use, communication strategies, language functions, interviewer's strategies, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
  • Kuusisto, Arniika (Waxmann, 2011)
    This study investigates how the religious community as a socialization context affects the development of young people's religious identity and values, using Finnish Seventh-day Adventism as a context for the case study. The research problem is investigated through the following questions: (1) What aspects support the intergenerational transmission of values and tradition in religious home education? (2) What is the role of social capital and the social networks of the religious community in the religious socialization process? (3) How does the religious composition of the peer group at school (e.g., a denominational school in comparison to a mainstream school) affect these young people s social relations and choices and their religious identity (as challenged versus as reinforced by values at school)? And (4) How do the young people studied negotiate their religious values and religious membership in the diverse social contexts of the society at large? The mixed method study includes both quantitative and qualitative data sets (3 surveys: n=106 young adults, n=100 teenagers, n=55 parents; 2 sets of interviews: n=10 young adults and n=10 teenagers; and fieldwork data from youth summer camps). The results indicate that, in religious home education, the relationship between parents and children, the parental example of a personally meaningful way of life, and encouraging critical thinking in order for young people to make personalized value choices were important factors in socialization. Overall, positive experiences of the religion and the religious community were crucial in providing direction for later choices of values and affiliations. Education that was experienced as either too severe or too permissive was not regarded as a positive influence for accepting similar values and lifestyle choices to those of the parents. Furthermore, the religious community had an important influence on these young people s religious socialization in terms of the commitment to denominational values and lifestyle and in providing them with religious identity and rooting them in the social network of the denomination. The network of the religious community generated important social resources, or social capital, for both the youth and their families, involving both tangible and intangible benefits, and bridging and bonding effects. However, the study also illustrates the sometimes difficult negotiations the youth face in navigating between differentiation and belonging when there is a tension between the values of a minority group and the larger society, and one wants to and does belong to both. It also demonstrates the variety within both the majority and the minority communities in society, as well as the many different ways one can find a personally meaningful way of being an Adventist. In the light of the previous literature about socialization-in-context in an increasingly pluralistic society, the findings were examined at four levels: individual, family, community and societal. These were seen as both a nested structure and as constructing a funnel in which each broader level directs the influences that reach the narrower ones. The societal setting directs the position and operation of religious communities, families and individuals, and the influences that reach the developing children and young people are in many ways directed by societal, communal and family characteristics. These levels are by nature constantly changing, as well as being constructed of different parts, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, each of which alters in significance: for some negotiations on values and memberships the parental influence may be greater, whereas for others the peer group influences are. Although agency does remain somewhat connected to others, the growing youth are gradually able to take more responsibility for their own choices and their agency plays a crucial role in the process of choosing values and group memberships. Keywords: youth, community, Adventism, socialization, values, identity negotiations
  • Mietola, Reetta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    The study focuses on the formation of the conceptions of special in the everyday life of school, especially in the practices of special education and student welfare services. It analyses definitions of special and normal/ordinary in the discursive practices of everyday life. The relationship between normal and deviant is approached as a formation constantly re-built, re-defined and re-conceptualized in the everyday practices of the school. The study is positioned in the fields of sociology of education, cultural studies, gender studies, youth studies and disability studies. Theoretically it draws from feminist poststructuralist theories. Key analytical concepts of the study are subject position, subjectivity and subjectification. Methodologically the study is ethnographic. A year-long fieldwork took place in one lower secondary school, following the everyday schooling of 9th graders in special education. Data consists mainly of field notes and interviews. The report is divided into four thematically separate analytical chapters. These focus on (1) school space and spatial practices, (2) definitions of ordinary and special made in the discussions of members of the multidisciplinary student welfare team, (3) discursive practices of the special education teachers and in special education classes, and (4) hierarchies constructed in the student culture, and how students positioned as special negotiate their position and meaning in relation to these hierarchies. Main results of the study are drawn from these four themes, and how these different dimensions intertwine in the process of defining what and who is special in the school. Special and ordinary were found as very clearly demarcated and fixed in the everyday life of school, and the difference between these positions is both wide and steep. The negative images and stigma connected to special education still dominates everyday sense-making, even if the school culture has also become more sensitive to stigmatization and works to challenge and deconstruct it. The division between special and ordinary is steepest in the student culture. Student culture is very sensitive to the dividing practices and divisions made by the school institution. The special that is formed and reformed in everyday practices and repetitions of the school culture appears as a fixed position with no alternative, defined by cemented cultural meanings. The study suggests that in order to change the division between normal and special and challenge the meanings connected to special, schools needs to look for new ways of explicitly discuss and work on these meanings and the practices producing them.
  • Vainio, Jenny (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    This study takes its point of departure in the gender-gap phenomenon observed in most academic communities worldwide. The statistics show that academic women are less likely to advance in their university careers than their male colleagues. The female underrepresentation is especially severe in the scientific field of physics, which is the focus of this study. In order to further understand the social and historical processes behind the gender-gap phenomenon in physics, three concepts were chosen as theoretical resources of this study. Hegemony (Gramsci) captures the dialectical processes of resistance and integration behind social consent. Contradiction (Ilyenkov, Engeström) refers to the dynamics of socio-historical changes in Finnish academia. Gender is understood as a set of social and organizational processes (Acker) through which gender difference is produced in the context of university physics. This study is based on qualitative data, namely semi-structured interviews with 36 Finnish physicists, both current and former university staff. Three intermediate concepts, alignments, turning points and discursive manifestations of contradictions, were utilized as bridging the empirical data and theoretical concepts. As a data-analysis method, tools of discourse analysis and narrative analysis were used. When considering the data analysis results from the point of view of gendered career paths in physics, it can be suggested that men are more adapted to the prevailing images and norms of research work. They identified themselves with the idea of a lone scientist more often than women who preferred teamwork. Moreover, men expressed more willingness to enter the academic competition than women and it was generally easier for them to prioritize work over family than for women. At the same time, women had to adapt to the male-dominated workplace-interaction in order to survive sexual harassment. Women performed more willingness to take up administrative and supportive tasks than men who preferred research work. These different preferences and modes of interaction in the academic work might contribute to the fact that women and men are likely to pursue on different academic careers. The data analysis also indicates a set of gendered processes and historical contradictions in the academic community of physics. For instance, sexual harassment can be interpreted as an interactional gendered process that has its roots in a contradiction between traditional male- dominated interactional rules and the current community of physicists where also women are present. The issue of reconciliation of work and family suggests a symbolic gendered process where the ideal image of a scientific worker implies a male researcher without family duties. Here, a contradiction between the traditional rules of organizing research work and the contemporary community of both male and female physicists can be traced. The above-presented data-analysis results inform the concept of hegemony. The dialectical notion of hegemony calls for identifying processes through which hegemony becomes reproduced and/or contested. In the data, instances of integration and resistance were gendered and clustered around two poles. In general, women expressed resistance against what can be called a traditional mode of academic work. At the same time, men integrated with it. On the contrary, men strongly resisted some of the current developmental trends in the academic working environment whereas women seemed to integrate with them more easily. Based on these observations, it can be suggested that, in the context of Finnish universities, two types of hegemonic forces are at play. Male interviewees found their site of integration in the hegemonic idea of traditional academic work, whereas female interviewees expressed resistance against some of its features. Male resistance was targeted at the emerging hegemonic idea of a managerial university whereas female interviewees could integrate with it to an extent.
  • Talvio, Markus (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    By using their social interaction skills, teachers create an autonomous and supportive climate in the classroom. Research, however, is scarce on how teachers can develop these skills despite being emphasised as key tools in modern learning psychology. This intervention study explored the development of teachers social and emotional learning (SEL) skills during Gordon s Teacher Effectiveness Training (TET) (2003). The effects of the TET were examined at various levels of Kirkpatrick and Kirkpatrick (2006), including the effects on participants reactions, knowledge, the application of knowledge and overall well-being. In addition, a new case-based measurement instrument, the dealing with challenging interactions (DCI), was developed. Finally, the sustainability of the studied skills was examined nine months after completing TET. The intervention group consisted of 20 primary school classroom teachers and 23 secondary school subject-matter teachers in Finland. The comparison group comprised 26 subject-matter teachers who did not participate in TET. The data were collected before and after the four-day TET. In addition, data regarding the sustainability of the studied skills were collected and analysed nine months after completing the TET. In Study I, the DCI method was developed to measure the social interaction skills of teachers. The participants are presented with seven scenarios, after which they are asked what they would say or do in that situation. The answers are content analysed. DCI appeared to be a reliable and valid tool. The multi-phase quantitative analyses in Study II showed that teachers benefitted from TET. Among those who participated in TET, both knowledge and the application of knowledge improved significantly. In the comparison group, no differences between the pre- and post-test measurements were found. Study III showed that a qualitative change took place among those teachers participating in TET. Teachers learned to apply the TET skills in their responses to situations. By giving room to pupils, teachers were also more likely to support pupils autonomy and agency. In Study IV, it was found that the participants still remembered the central skills studied during TET and were able to reflect that knowledge in their own behaviour from the perspective of the TET skills. Almost all of the participants said that they would recommend TET to their colleagues. TET intervention appeared to achieve its goals since both classroom and subject-matter teachers seemed to benefit from the training on social interaction skills. While training on teachers social interaction skills is often recommended, little evidence regarding its effectiveness exists. This study adds to both the theoretical and practical development of continuing teacher education.
  • Meretniemi, Maija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This dissertation uses the approach of history of ideas and consepts to examine how the concepts of a good home and spiritual motherhood were seen by kindergarten teachers. These concepts were the guiding principles of Finnish kindergartens from approximately 1890 to 1950. The key research problem explored in the dissertation is the tension between the private and the public in the intellectual foundations of kindergarten activities, in the objectives of these activities and in the self-understanding of kindergarten teachers. The dissertation poses the following questions: How was the concept of spiritual motherhood, as emphasised in the kindergarten ideology, manifested in the professional dialogue of kindergarten teachers? What meanings were ascribed to it and what tensions were involved in its interpretations? What kinds of physical environments and everyday practices did kindergarten teachers create in kindergartens based on the concept of a good home? What arguments did kindergarten teachers use when responding to proposals and calls to expand the kindergarten day care to a full-time day care? The research material includes the diaries and letters of the major actors involved in the early stages of kindergarten education, archival resources related to the education, and biographical and interview material from providers of kindergarten education. The key figures in the study are Hanna Rothman and Elisabeth Alander, both pioneers of kindergarten education, and Elsa Borenius, who developed kindergarten work. Through these individuals, this dissertation analyses the reception aforementioned concepts as well as their processing and application in the education and work of kindergarten teachers. Introduced by Friedrich Fröbel and Henriette Schrader-Breymann, the concepts of a good home and spiritual motherhood were adopted in Finnish kindergarten work largely in their original form. The concepts were shaped by the religious convictions of Hanna Rothman and Elisabeth Alander: spiritual motherhood was close to religious motherhood, and kindergarten work in its early stages was viewed as Christian social missionary work in a pedagogical framework. As a spiritual mother, the female kindergarten educator had to place herself in the service of love for the benefit of those close to her. This expectation created tensions in education and easily resulted in teachers becoming exhausted in their work. The principle of spiritual motherhood guided the professional image of kindergarten teachers for several decades and linked the kindergarten closely with the private, rather than the public, sphere. Maternal qualities were considered professional requirements which weakened the connection between kindergarten teaching and the worlds of school and academia. Initially, kindergarten teaching was an ambivalent profession lying between motherhood and teaching. It was a caring occupation characterised by a strict ethical code and unselfishness. The Christian values of the kindergarten came under scrutiny as the work began to develop into a public social service. The ideal of a good home informed the planning of kindergarten facilities as home-like environments based on the teachers own bourgeois homes. Kindergarten teachers themselves designed the kindergarten facilities and furniture. The kitchen was considered particularly important. The sense of community and social growth were promoted through both pedagogy of work and common activities in the kindergarten. The ideal of the home, emphasis on the link between mother and child, and part-time day care in the kindergarten constituted a practice that was difficult to break when calls for the expansion of full-time day care began to come from various directions of society in the 1940s and 1950s. Kindergarten teachers opposed full-time day care by appealing to children s own good and and the principle of home as the primary environment for child rearing before school age. The teachers felt that part-time day care could satisfy the need for early childhood education. To resolve the issue of full-time day care, the kindergarten teachers suggested as early as the late 1940s that mothers work part-time or receive a maternity salary . From 1918 onwards, separate groups were established in kindergartens for school children in full-time day care, but these groups did not develop as anticipated. The ideological tradition of the pioneers of kindergarten education emphasised religion, spiritual motherhood and Fröbel s pedagogy. The rules of the Ebeneser Foundation, which provided training in the field, were tied to Christian values. This tradition conduced to the uniformity of kindergarten teacher education, but also separated it from other teacher education and may have hampered its academic development. The `shine of spiritual motherhood´wore off when the realities of the profession set in. Changes in social policy began to affect day care arrangements only after the end of my research period. The ideal of the home remained unchanged, although what originally began as private kindergarten work gradually developed into a publicly funded and managed activity. Keywords: History of the kindergarten, a good home, spiritual motherhood, pedagogy of work, part-time day care, full-time day care, day care for schoolchildren
  • Matilainen, Mia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Human Rights Education in a Finnish Upper Secondary School: Alien Yet Obvious This study focused on conceptions of human rights and human rights education (HRE) among students and teachers. I examined how human rights and HRE are understood by the students and teachers in one general upper secondary school located in southern Finland. I also examined teacher and student discourses about foreigners and immigrants. In the theoretical part of the study I dealt with the history of human rights, the different emphases in HRE and how HRE is handled within the curriculum of upper secondary schools in Finland. In the empirical part of the study I examined HRE in one particular general upper secondary school located in southern Finland where I carried out 28 student interviews and 18 teacher interviews. The study is based on qualitative theme interviews, which I analysed using qualitative content analysis. The aims of HRE as specified in UN documents on education seem not to have been achieved in the Finnish context. The students' knowledge of human rights seemed weak and very limited. Few teachers were familiar with the concept of human rights education. The concept of human rights was also unclear to many of the students. Freedom of speech was the most well-known and the most often-cited human right mentioned in the interviews. Students were not well acquainted with the different human rights instruments or the organisations dealing with human rights. In a way, human rights were both familiar and strange to the students. Materials related to HRE were used very little in the school or not at all. Yet human rights seemed to be very well implemented in the institution. The upper secondary school studied here does not seem to have substantial problems with equality among either the teachers or the students. In the interviews human rights problems were often considered someone else's problem in some other country. The teachers and students connected HRE especially with religious education, history and social studies. Human dignity is mostly dealt with in religious education, while matters concerning the history of human rights are mostly dealt with in history classes. Teachers appear to be human rights educators in the sense that they try to follow human rights principles in their daily work and respect the human dignity of everyone. The special role of a human rights educator was usually assigned to someone else — a teacher or an expert outside the school. HRE was not an intentional or conscious part of teachers´ educational work and was not seen either as belonging to the curriculum or as an obligation prescribed by international documents. There is a need to strengthen the presence of HRE in teacher education. HRE plays an important role in creating a culture of human rights. It is important to implement HRE so that the international aims for HRE will be fulfilled.
  • Niemelä, Reko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Doctoral dissertation Inclusionary practices in a Finnish pre-primary school context has been made in the context of the five-year EU project Includ-Ed (2006- 2011), which has 14 European universities as partners. The aim of the research was to find out the most supportive practices and the most unsupportive practices from a perspective of inclusion experienced by agents (persons). Agents are children, parents, teachers and administration and organisation members who were interviewed by communicative open interview. There were a total of 54 interviews. Inclusion is examined through perspectives of transformation and critical communication. Critical communicative methodology assumes that people can interpret their own behaviour and modify their actions based on that. To be able to analyse interviews, theory-based categories were used. After this, clusters were created using open categorisation. Of the results, when answering types are separated, 212 quotations were from professionals (teachers, administrators, members of organisations) whilst 88 quotations were from family and children. Professionals did make their voices heard more often than parents and children. Professionals gave over four times more transformative quotations than parents/children. Parents/children gave slightly more exclusionary quotations than professionals. In the light of research findings, parents and children are still unable to make their voices heard as well as they could, and parents attitude and preconceptions are unsupportive of inclusion. Lack of resources was the most unsupportive practice to inclusion according to the professionals. For all the agents, the most supportive practice to inclusion was co-operation. Keywords: inclusion, educational science, critical communicative methodology, content analysis, agents, ATLAS.ti
  • Venäläinen, Salla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Continuous growth in the number of immigrant students has changed the Finnish school environment. The resulting multicultural school environment is new for both teachers and students. In order to develop multicultural learning environments, there is a need to understand immigrant students everyday lives in school. In this study, home economics is seen as a fruitful school subject area for understanding these immigrant students lives as they cope with school and home cultures that may be very different from each other. Home economics includes a great deal of knowledge and skills that immigrant students need during their everyday activities outside of school. -- The main aim of the study is to clarify the characteristics of multicultural home economics classroom practices and the multicultural contacts and interaction that take place between the students and the teacher. The study includes four parts. The first part, an ethnographical prestudy, aims to understand the challenges of multicultural schoolwork with the aid of ethnographical fieldwork done in one multicultural school. The second part outlines the theoretical frames of the study and focuses on the sociocultural approach. The third part of the study presents an analysis of videodata collected in a multicultural home economics classroom. The teacher s and students interaction in the home economics classroom is analyzed through the concepts of the sociocultural approach and the cultural-historical activity theory. Firstly, this is done by analyzing the focusedness of the teacher s and the students actions as well as the questions presented and apparent disturbances during classroom interaction. Secondly, the immigrant students everyday experiences and cultural background are examined as they appear during discussions in the home economics lessons. Thirdly, the teacher s tool-use and actions as a human mediator are clarified during interaction in the classroom. The fourth part presents the results, according to which a practice-based approach in the multicultural classroom situation is a prerequisite for the teacher s and the students shared object during classroom interaction. Also, the practice-based approach facilitates students understanding during teaching and learning situations. Practice in this study is understood as collaborative teaching and learning situations that include 1) guided activating learning, 2) establishing connections with students everyday lives and 3) multiple tool-use. Guided activating learning in the classroom is defined as situations that occur and assignments that are done with a knowledgeable adult or peer and include action. The teacher s demonstrations during the practical part of the lessons seemed to be fruitful in the teaching and learning situations in the multicultural classroom. Establishing connections with students everyday lives motivated students to follow the lesson and supported understanding of meaning. Furthermore, if multiple tools (both psychological and material) were used, the students managed better with new and sometimes difficult concepts and different working habits, and accomplished the practical work more smoothly . The teacher s tool-use and role as a mediator of meaning are also highlighted in the data analysis. Hopefully, this study can provide a seedbed for situations in which knowledge produced together, as well as horizontally oriented tool-use, can make school-learned knowledge more relevant to immigrant students everyday lives, and help students to better cope with both classroom work and outside activities. KEY WORDS: home economics education, multicultural education, sociocultural perspective, classroom interaction, videoanalysis
  • Mikkonen, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    This dissertation empirically explored interest as a motivational force in university studies, including the role it currently plays and possible ways of enhancing this role as a student motivator. The general research questions were as follows: 1) What role does interest play in university studies? 2) What explains academic success if studying is not based on interest? 3) How do different learning environments support or impede interest-based studying? Four empirical studies addressed these questions. Study 1 (n=536) compared first-year students explanations of their disciplinary choices in three fields: veterinary medicine, humanities and law. Study 2 (n=28) focused on the role of individual interest in the humanities and veterinary medicine, fields which are very different from each other as regards their nature of studying. Study 3 (n=52) explored veterinary students motivation and study practices in relation to their study success. Study 4 (n=16) explored veterinary students interest experience in individual lectures on a daily basis. By comparing different fields and focusing on one study field in more detail, it was possible to obtain a many-sided picture of the role of interest in different learning environments. Questionnaires and quantitative methods have often been used to measure interest in academic learning. The present work is based mostly on qualitative data, and qualitative methods were applied to add to the previous research. Study 1 explored students open-ended answers, and these provided a basis for the interviews in Study 2. Study 3 explored veterinary students portfolios in a longitudinal setting. For Study 4, a diary including both qualitative and quantitative measures was designed to capture veterinary students interest experience. Qualitative content analysis was applied in all four studies, but quantitative analyses were also added. The thesis showed that university students often explain their disciplinary choices in terms of interest. Because interest is related to high-quality learning, the students seemed to have a good foundation for successful studies. However, the learning environments did not always support interest-based studying; Time-management and coping skills were found to be more important than interest in terms of study success. The results also indicated that interest is not the only motivational variable behind university studies. For example, future goals are needed in order to complete a degree. Even so, the results clearly indicated that it would be worth supporting interest-based studying both in professionally and generally oriented study fields. This support is important not only to promote high-quality learning but also meaningful studying, student well-being, and life-long learning.
  • Kaasinen, Arja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The purpose of the research was to determine how well Finnish pupils and students of different ages recognize plant species, which variables explain recognition of plant species, what plants and nature mean to the subjects and how plant species identification should be taught in general education in Finland. The subjects were pupils from: every class level of the primary schools (grades 1 6); lower- secondary school (grades 7 9); high school (grades I II); university departments of teacher education and classroom teachers and teachers from university involved with environmental teaching and also experts from education and botany. A total of 883 people took part in the research. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used. The quantitative methods were: a) plant species recognition test, where 70 plant species photos were shown to subjects and b) an experiment in which three experimental groups had a plant recognition test on the nature trail and the three comparison groups were tested on recognition of the same species in classroom. The testing materials consisted of 31 real plants outdoors and 31 photos taken of these real plant species that were shown to pupils from fourth, fifth and sixth classes (grade levels) from primary school. The qualitative methods were a questionnaire administered to pupils from elementary school and high school and students from the department of teacher education, to teachers from university and interviews, where 3 5 pupils and students who recognized the plant species best or worst in the recognition test were selected to be interviewed. Furthermore, classroom teachers from primary school and experts were interviewed. The research results showed that on average plant species were recognized insufficiently on every level of education. There was also variation between answers from primary school to university teachers. However, species recognition skills improved from primary school to university teachers. Among other things, sex and place of residence explained species recognition skills, because girls and pupils from rural areas knew plant species statistically significantly better than boys or pupil from cities. Almost every pupil, student and all classroom teachers wanted to recognize plant species better. Many pupils mentioned that a motivating teaching method would be to go outdoors and investigate the plant species themselves. University teachers and experts also mentioned that the best and most efficient learning and teaching method for species recognition skills, is to practice in nature. We should teach plant species in nature, using many senses and teaching methods. Also new technology could be used in teaching species recognition skills. Keywords: plant species recognition, plant species education, general education