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  • Chumaeva, Nadezda (2010)
    Atherosclerosis is the main underlying pathology of coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease is a serious health problem in Finland, and it is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in industrialized countries. Psychological stress correlates with coronary heart disease events – myocardial infarction and sudden death, which are the most common clinical syndromes of atherosclerotic narrowing of arteries. The present series of studies examines the interaction between stress and endothelial function in relation to atherosclerosis. The study also aims to give new information on the mechanisms through which stress has its effect on atherosclerosis progression, focusing on possible relations between psychological stress and the functioning of the endothelium. Our project is based on data from one of the largest national epidemiological studies, the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study, which has monitored the development of risk factors for coronary heart disease in 3596 young adults since 1980. The present study combines experimental stress research with epidemiology and uses an advanced method for examining atherosclerosis development in healthy subjects (intima-media thickness ultrasound measurement). The physiological parameters used were heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia and pre-ejection period. Chronic stress was assessed by vital exhaustion. The ultrasound measurements that served as the indexes of preclinical atherosclerosis were carotid intima-media thickness, brachial flow-mediated dilatation and carotid artery compliance. The effects of cardiovascular risk factors found to be important were taken into account: serum cholesterols level, triglyceride level, serum insulin level and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. There were 69, 1596, 81 and 1721 participants in studies I-IV, respectively. The results showed that both chronic and acute stress may exert an effect on atherosclerosis in subjects with impaired endothelial responses. The findings are consistent with the idea that risk factors are more harmful if the endothelium is not working properly. Chronic stress was found to be a risk if it has resulted in ineffective cardiac stress reactivity or delayed recovery. Men were shown to be at increased risk for atherosclerotic progression in early life, which suggests men’s decreased stress coping ability in relation to stressful psychosocial coronary risk factors. Autonomic imbalance may be the common mechanism of the stress influence on atherosclerosis development. The results of the present study contain background information for the identification the first stages of atherosclerosis, and they may be useful for preventive medicine programs for young adults and could help to improve cardiovascular health in Finland as well as in other countries.
  • Holm, Kristiina (Waxmann, 2012)
    The purpose of this study was to develop measurement instruments to scale adolescents ethical, intercultural and interreligious sensitivities and to assess the self-evaluations of students from two Finnish urban secondary schools concerning ethical, intercultural and interreligious sensitivities. The measurement instruments developed and used in the study were the Ethical Sensitivity Scale (ESS), the Intercultural and Religious Sensitivity Scale (IRSS), the Intercultural Sensitivity Scale (ICSS) and the Interreligious Sensitivity Scale (IRRSS). The theoretical frameworks for the instruments were Narvaez s (2001) operationalization of ethical sensitivity, Bennett s (1993) Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity and Abu-Nimer s (2004) Developmental Model of Interreligious Sensitivity. The data were collected from 12-16-year-old secondary school students from Helsinki and Jyväskylä. The first set up data was gathered from 249 Lutheran students with the use of the ESS and IRSS questionnaires. The second set up data was collected from 549 students who represented various other religions including Lutheranism or were not religiously affiliated, with the use of the ICSS and IRRSS questionnaires. The research questions were as follows: (1) What are the psychometric properties of the instruments used? (2) How do students assess their own levels of ethical, intercultural and interreligious sensitivities? (3) What factors can explain the differences in ethical, intercultural and interreligious sensitivities between students? The statistical analyses of the instruments showed satisfactory results with the ESS, the ICSS and the IRRSS. However, new data are needed to develop all the instruments in the future. Further, the results report on secondary school students self-assessed ethical, intercultural and interreligious sensitivities. Lutheran secondary school students assessed their best ethical skills to be reading and expressing emotions and taking the perspectives of others. The weakest ethical skills were evaluated as working with interpersonal and group differences and identifying the consequences of options and actions. Girls assessed their ethical skills more highly than boys. In addition, academically above-average students estimated some of their ethical skills more highly than their peers of average ability. In the first sample of 249 Lutheran students, their self-evaluated intercultural and interreligious sensitivities referred to Minimization orientation toward cultural difference in which differences between cultures are recognized but ignored. In the second sample of 549 students, their intercultural and interreligious sensitivities referred to Acceptance orientation in which other cultures are experienced as different but equal. The values remained moderate though. No statistically significant differences were noted between Lutheran confirmed and non-confirmed students’ intercultural or interreligious sensitivities. Girls reported having higher intercultural and interreligious sensitivities than did boys. Further, academically above-average students assessed their intercultural sensitivity more highly than their peers of average ability.
  • Siivonen, Päivi (Suomen Kasvatustieteellinen Seura, 2010)
    The focus of this study was to examine the constructions of the educable subject of the lifelong learning (LLL) narrative in the narrative life histories of adult students at general upper secondary school for adults (GUSSA). In this study lifelong learning has been defined as a cultural narrative on education, “a system of political thinking” that is not internally consistent, but has contradictory themes embedded within it (Billig et al., 1988). As earlier research has shown and this study also confirms, the LLL narrative creates differences between those who are included and those who fall behind and are excluded from the learning society ideal. Educability expresses socially constructed interpretations on who benefit from education and who should be educated and how. The presupposition in this study has been that contradictions between the LLL narrative and the so-called traditional constructions of educability are likely to be constructed as the former relies on the all-inclusive interpretation of educability and the latter on the meritocratic model of educating individuals based on their innate abilities. The school system continues to uphold the institutionalized ethos of educability that ranks students into the categories “bright”, “mediocre”, and “poor” (Räty & Snellman, 1998) on the basis of their abilities, including gender-related differences as well as differences based on social class. Traditional age-related norms also persist, for example general upper secondary education is normatively completed in youth and not in adulthood, and the formal learning context continues to outweigh both non-formal and informal learning. Moreover, in this study the construction of social differences in relation to educability and, thereafter unequal access to education has been examined in relation to age, social class, and gender. The biographical work of the research participants forms a peephole that permits the examination of the dilemmatic nature of the constructions of educability in this study. Formal general upper secondary education in adulthood is situated on the border between the traditional and the LLL narratives on educability: participation in GUSSA inevitably means that one’s ability and competence as a student and learner becomes reassessed through the assessment criteria maintained by schools, whereas according to the principles of LLL everyone is educable; everyone is encouraged to learn throughout their lives regardless of age, social class, or gender. This study is situated in the field of adult education, sociology of education, and social psychological research on educability, having also been informed by feminist studies. Moreover, this study contributes to narrative life history research combining the structural analysis of narratives (Labov & Waletzky, 1997), i.e. mini-stories within life history, with the analysis of the life histories as structural and thematic wholes and the creation of coherence in them; thus, permitting both micro and macro analyses. On accounting for the discontinuity created by participation in general upper secondary school study in adulthood and not normatively in youth, the GUSSA students construct coherence in relation to their ability and competence as students and learners. The seven case studies illuminate the social differences constructed in relation to educability, i.e. social class, gender, age, and the “new category of student and learner”. In the data of this study, i.e. 20 general upper secondary school adult graduates’ narrative life histories primarily generated through interviews, two main coherence patterns of the adult educable subject emerge. The first performance-oriented pattern displays qualities that are closely related to the principles of LLL. Contrary to the principles of lifewide learning, however, the documentation of one’s competence through formal qualifications outweighs non-formal and informal learning in preparation for future change and the competition for further education, professional careers, and higher social positions. The second flexible learning pattern calls into question the status of formal, especially theoretical and academically oriented education; inner development is seen as more important than such external signs of development — grades and certificates. Studying and learning is constructed as a hobby and as a means to a more satisfactory life as opposed to a socially and culturally valued serious occupation leading to further education and career development. Consequently, as a curious, active, and independent learner, this educable but not readily employable subject is pushed into the periphery of lifelong learning. These two coherence patterns of the adult educable subject illuminate who is to be educated and how. The educable and readily employable LLL subject is to participate in formal education in order to achieve qualifications for working life, whereas the educable but not employable subject may utilize lifewide learning for her/his own pleasure. Key words: adult education, general upper secondary school for adults, educability, lifelong learning, narrative life history
  • Lahtinen, Riitta (Riitta Lahtinen, 2008)
    Haptices and haptemes: A case study of developmental process in touch-based communication of acquired deafblind people This research is the first systematic, longitudinal process and development description of communication using touch and body with an acquired deafblind person. The research consists of observational and analysed written and video materials mainly from two informants´ experiences during period of 14 years. The research describes the adaptation of Social-Haptic methods between a couple, and other informants´ experiences, which have been collated from biographies and through giving national and international courses. When the hearing and sight deteriorates due to having an acquired deafblind condition, communication consists of multi-systematic and adaptive methods. A person`s expressive language, spoken or Sign Language, usually remains unchanged, but the methods of receiving information could change many times during a person s lifetime. Haptices are made from haptemes that determines which regulations are analysed. When defining haptemes the definition, classification and varied meanings of touch were discovered. Haptices include sharing a personal body space, meaning of touch-contact, context and using different communication channels. Communication distances are classified as exact distance, estimated distance and touch distance. Physical distance can be termed as very long, long, medium or very close. Social body space includes the body areas involved in sending and receiving haptices and applying different types of contacts. One or two hands can produce messages by using different hand shapes and orientations. This research classifies how the body can be identified into different areas such as body orientation, varied body postures, body position levels, social actions and which side of the body is used. Spatial body space includes environmental and situational elements. Haptemes of movements are recognised as the direction of movements, change of directions on the body, directions between people, pressure, speed, frequency, size, length, duration, pause, change of rhythm, shape, macro and micro movements. Haptices share multidimensional meanings and emotions. Research describes haptices in different situations enhancing sensory information and functioning also as an independent language. Haptices includes social-haptic confirmation system, social quick messages, body drawing, contact to the people and the environment, guiding and sharing art experiences through movements. Five stages of emotional differentiation were identified as very light, light, medium, heavy and very heavy touch. Haptices give the possibility to share different art, hobby and game experiences. A new communication system development based on the analysis of the research data is classified into different phases. These are experimental initiation, social deconstruction, developing the description of Social-Haptic communication and generalisation of the theory as well as finding and conceptualising the haptices and haptemes. The use and description of haptices is a social innovation, which illustrates the adaptive function of the body and perceptual senses that can be taught to a third party. Keywords: deafblindness, hapteme, haptic, haptices, movement, social-haptic communication, social-haptic confirmation system, tactile, touch
  • Meriruoho, Markku (2012)
    Discussion Circles as a Promotor of Group Cohesion in a Classroom : An Action Research in a Classroom Group in Primary School The objective of this action research was to study group cohesion in a classroom. The objective covered three research questions: 1. How do regularly repeated discussion circles influence the group cohesion of a school class?, 2. Which factors threaten the creation of a supportive discussion culture? and 3. How can the method of discussion circles be further developed? When evaluating the development stage of group cohesion, I used the four-staged model for a classroom group presented by Richard and Patricia Schmuck (2001) and the division of development stages for discussion culture constructed by Richard Ross (1994). In the theoretical part of the study, I estimate the present state of social education in Finland and present the social psychology of education as a framework as well as the basic facts of group cohesion. Finally, I report what the method of discussion circles mean as a form of studying. The empirical phase of the research took place in a 6th grade primary school class in Southern Finland during the 2008-2009 school year. The research class comprised 25 school students aged 11-12 years. Moreover, I served not only, as a researcher, but also as a teacher of the class. The research strategy was qualitative, and the research method was the action research-based teacher as a researcher model. The study also included features of design research, because my aim was to develop the method of discussion circles further. The research data consisted of field notes based on participant observations, interviews, surveys, discussions, essays and video recordings. I chose four case-study students to obtain more precise research data. I observed these four in particular and interviewed them more often than other students in the class. The results of the study indicate that discussion circles clearly promoted group cohesion. In its progress the class partly attained the highest, The self-renewal stage. Bullying, annoying and verbally dominating students as well as friendship-based subgroups threatened the creation of a supportive discussion culture and the development of group cohesion. Out of the study arose a dynamic working model which teachers can use in their own learning environments. Keywords: discussion circles, group cohesion, social education, action research, teacher as a researcher model, group dynamic exercises
  • Hosio-Paloposki, Anne (Historiallis-yhteiskuntatiedollisen kasvatuksen tutkimus- ja kehittämiskeskus, 2006)
    Education for a Technological Society. Public School Curriculum Construction, 1945-1952. The subject of my research is the significance of technology in the construction process of the public school curriculum during the years 1945-1952. During the period the war reparation and rebuilding placed demands and actions to rationalise and dramatise industry and agriculture. Thereby the ambitions of building a technological country and the reformation of curriculum took place simultaneously. Fordistian terms of reference, of which the principles were mass production, rationalisation and standardisation, a hierarchical division of labour and partition of assignments, provided a model for the developing curriculum. In the research the curriculum is examined as an artefact, which shapes socio-technically under the influence of social and technical factors. In the perspective of socio-technical construction the artefact is represented by the viewpoints of members of relevant social groups. The groups give meaning to the curriculum artefact, which determines the components of the curriculum. The weakness of the curriculum was its ineffectiveness, which was due to three critical problems. Firstly, the curriculum was to be based on scientific work, which meant the development of schools through experiments and scientific research. Secondly, the civilised conseption in the curriculum was to be composed of theoretical knowledge, as well as practical skills. Practical education was useful for both the individual and society. Thirdly, the curriculum was to be reformed in a way that the individuality of the pupil would be taken into account. It was useful for the society that talents and natural abilities of every pupil were observed and used to direct the pupil to the proper place in the social division of labour, according to the "right man in a right place" principle. The solutions to critical problems formed the instructions of the public school curriculum, which described the nature and content of education. Technology and its development were on essential part of the whole school curriculum process. The quality words connected to the development of technology - progress, rationality and effectiveness - were also suitable qualifiers and reasons for the reform of the curriculum. On the other hand, technology set a point of comparison and demand for the development of all phases of education. The view of technology was not clearly deterministic - it was also possible to shape technological society with the help of education. The public school curriculum process indicates how originally the principles of technological systems were shaped to the language of education and accepted in educational content.
  • Riekki, Tapani (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    The present thesis consists of six studies that investigate different cognitive factors that contribute to believing and unbelieving in paranormal, superstitious, magical, and supernatural (commonly referred to as paranormal beliefs). Earlier studies have found several factors reaching from personality factors to cognitive factors to cultural factors that contribute to believing. However, the research has neglected the important factor of what sets paranormal beliefs apart from other beliefs. In addition, although we know a lot about demographical and personality features that contribute to differences in paranormal beliefs, neuro-cognitive differences are still not well known or empirically tested. One explanation that takes into account the difference between paranormal beliefs and other beliefs is that paranormal beliefs stem from core knowledge confusions about the ontological properties of mental, physical, and biological phenomena. The first study of the thesis tried to gain insight into the neural basis of core knowledge confusions in an event-related electroencephalography study. The next two studies tested the possibility that cognitive inhibition, the ability to flexibly switch between thinking modes and if needed, to inhibit unwanted or irrelevant thoughts, could contribute to believing and unbelieving. In these two studies group differences between paranormal believers and skeptics were first compared by using tests of cognitive inhibition and secondly by using brain imaging. Brain imaging was done during a task that invoked paranormal interpretations. The last three studies of the thesis examined the role of the social information processing differences between paranormal believers and skeptics. Methods included brain imagining, behavioral experiments, and self-report measurements. In the first study, we tested how conceptions about the mind are related to beliefs and core knowledge confusions. In the second and third of these studies, we tested group differences between paranormal believers and skeptics by using brain imaging and a behavioral test. We investigated if the groups differ in attribution of intentions to randomly moving objects and in tendency for illusory face perception. The results suggest that core knowledge confusions are based on intuitive world knowledge and that this intuitive world knowledge is less categorized among paranormal believers than among skeptics. Cognitive inhibition was also found to contribute to paranormal beliefs: strong cognitive inhibition downplays paranormal beliefs. Social information processing was connected to paranormal beliefs in several ways. First, understanding mind and its properties in a Cartesian dualistic way was associated with paranormal beliefs and ontological confusions preceded them. Second, believers when compared to skeptics assigned more intentions to randomly moving objects. This was associated with activation of the mentalizing system at the brain level. Finally, we found out that paranormal believers were more prone to illusory face perception than skeptics were. The results underline that if one seeks to understand believing and especially unbelieving, which both are complex phenomena, individual differences in cognitive processing must be taken into account.
  • Andonov, Leena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    The aim of the study is to describe the consultation discussions between the teacher, parents and the student. The structure and the interaction of the conversation is in the focus of the study. The study explicates the organization of the interaction and orientation of the participants in the conversation. The study approaches conversation as a dynamic activity and studies it from the point of view of the participants. Assessment is one of the themes involved in the teacher-parent-student consultation discussions. Assessment as a duty of the school brings an institutional aspect in the conversation, but the ways it is implemented and expressed varies in the conversational situations. Participants communication and interaction in the situation influences the ways the consultation discussions are carried out. The framework of the study is based on the ethno methodological approach where a social situation and its meaning is seen negotiated by the participants. The interest of the study is to find out how the participants implement mutual understanding and how it can be observed in their interaction. Quantitatively, the interaction of the participants is described in the framework of the interaction analysis and linked to the socio-emotional and rational aspects of the interaction. The empirical part of the study consists of data collected with questionnaires and videotaped conversations. The main research problems of the study are, how the teachers and parents described the consultation discussions and how the interaction of the teacher, the parent and the student is organized during the conversation. The background of the study is linked to the previous studies concerning co-operation between the teacher and the parent and home-school relationship. This part of the study aims to enlighten how the consultation discussions are part of the co-operation in the school context. The questionnaires link the consultation discussions to the every day co-operation between the teacher and the family. Expectations and results described by the parents and teachers are analysed. Videotaped data is both analysed quantitatively based on interaction analysis and approached with the ethno methodological interpretation. The interest of my study is, how people participate in the situation of consultation discussion, how they orientate in it and influence the conversation. The analyses of the consultation discussions are based on the both quantitative interaction analysis and ethno methodological frame analysis. With the theoretical approach of my study I want to describe and enlighten the organization of the interaction and ways of orientation of the participants in consultation discussions. Keywords: consultation discussion, interaction, evaluation, orientation in the conversation, home-school cooperation, quantitative interaction analysis, frame analysis
  • Vitikka, Erja (Suomen kasvatustieteellinen seura, 2009)
    Structuring of the Curriculum Design: Content and Pedagogy Constructing the Whole The object of this qualitative study is to structure curriculum design by drawing from the characteristics of subject content and pedagogy. The aim is to first outline the forms of content and pedagogy within the National Core Curriculum for Basic Education. By analysing these forms I then aim to construct a general view of the curriculum’s structure and its developmental potential as it relates to both current and future pedagogical and intellectual interests. The written curriculum is examined as part of the educational guidance system, which means that it is an administrative and juridical document that governs teacher action and has a pedagogical and intellectual character. Didactical schools, curriculum ideologies and curriculum-determinants are all discussed as means of approaching the curriculum model. Curriculum content itself is defined by the different forms and conceptions of knowledge. The representation of curriculum content can be defined to be either specific or integrated. Curriculum pedagogy is in turn defined on the basis of the prevailing conception of learning and teaching. The pedagogy within the curriculum can be open or closed depending on the extent of pedagogical freedom allowed. An examination of the pedagogical dimension also covers the subject of the interfaces between formal education and informal learning, which must be taken into consideration when developing school pedagogy and therefore also in the curriculum. The data of the study consists of two curriculum documents: The Finnish National Core Curriculum for Basic Education issued in 1994 and the present National core curriculum for basic education issued in 2004. The primary method used in the study is theory-based content analysis. On the one hand the aim of the analysis is to determine if the structure, i.e., model, of the curricula is built from unconnected, self-contained elements, or whether the separate parts make a coherent whole. On the other hand, the aim is also to examine the pedagogical features the two curricula contain. The basis of the study is not the systematic comparison of the curriculum documents, yet an analysis of two very distinct documents must also be based on an examination of their inherent differences. The results of the study show that the content in the analysed documents is not integrated. The boundaries between divisions are clearly defined and the curricula are subject-oriented and based on theoretical propositional knowledge. The pedagogy is mainly closed and based on strong guidance of content, structured student evaluation and measurable learning experiences. However, curriculum documents do have representations of integrated content: the themes covered early on in the core curriculum guidelines of 1994 permeate systematically the different divisions of the curriculum. The core curriculum guidelines of 2004 in turn reveal skills which create connections between subjects. The guidelines’ utilise out-of-school environments and accommodate learner experiences, and focus on flexible studying and emphasize individual learner needs. These characteristics reveal an open form of pedagogy. In light of these results, it is possible to reach an understanding of the content and pedagogical development possibilities of the curriculum. The essential viewpoints are then the setting of thematically-oriented aims as a basis for content development, the curriculum’s pedagogical structuring on the basis of the learning process and the enhancement of connections between curricular content and pedagogy in a purposeful way. Keywords: curriculum, curriculum theory, curriculum design, core curriculum guidelines, teaching content, pedagogy
  • Säntti, Janne (Suomen kasvatustieteellinen seura, 2007)
    From the field to the academic sphere how teachers professional identities and roles have changed in post-war Finland This study explores teacher autobiographies. The span of the writings extends mainly from the Second World War to the new millennium. The autobiographers are mostly elementary and secondary school teachers in Finland, although there are a few who have worked in vocational schools, polytechnic institutes or one of the various adult education centres. The researcher is aware of the diversity among those educational institutions and their teachers, but wanted to concentrate on similarities rather than differences. The autobiographers have been explored with four different research questions in view. The first was to identify professional and personal elements and themes mentioned by teachers in writing about themselves. The second was to identify the factors that have affected those elements and themes. The third was to examine the kinds of literary forms teachers used in their autobiographies. The fourth was the most crucial and an endeavour to connect the previous questions: how teachers professional identities and roles have changed during the period studied. In the first five chapters the teachers voices come through clearly. Two of these chapters are organized in chronological order. The first is about childhood, youth and the time spent in school, the second deals with the years studying in university or teachers college and finally being recruited to the teachers. In these chapters the rural background of many teachers stands out, an issue that also emerged symbolically or de facto in the autobiographies. The chronological scheme changes to a thematic order, in which social matters (students, parents, colleagues) and teachers working circumstances are dealt with. Four selected autobiographies are examined closely. In these autobiographies five different types of teacher narratives can be identified. To begin with, teachers stressed their vocation, which is quite a normal work orientation for those working in the educational field. Others emphasised how they were looking for professional development; a few wrote about personal advancement as well. There are also narratives by teachers who simply drifted into the profession of teaching, while a few teachers felt unwelcome in their own schools. As for the changes that teachers have witnessed, there are also some themes that are widely shared. Most pointed out how the teacher has become more foster parent than educator, as real parents have withdrawn from their responsibilities of raising children. This theme was frequently broached, although attitude towards it and ways of handling the phenomenon differed substantially. Teachers also stressed how their profession has lost the aura and prestige it once had. At the same time teachers are being expected to collaborate more with their colleagues, which is not in line with the centuries-old tradition of working alone. Teachers seem to be in a state of flux, buffeted by elements of stability and change interacting simultaneously. Many teachers are demanding a re-examination of their working reality. Teachers long and intimate relationship with society and the state may be at a crossroads. Key words: teachers professional identity and role, autobiographical study, post-war Finland
  • Koivusaari, Ritva (2009)
    The present study examined how personality and social psychological factors affect third and fourth graders' computer-mediated communication. Personality was analysed in terms of the following strategies: optimism, pessimism and defensive pessimism. Students worked either individually or in dyads which were paired homogeneously or heterogeneously according to the strategies. Moreover, the present study compared horizontal and vertical interaction. The study also examined the role that popularity plays, and students were divided into groups based on their popularity level. The results show that an optimistic strategy is useful. Optimism was found to be related to the active production and processing of ideas. Although previous research has identified drawbacks to pessimism in achievement settings, this study shows that the pessimistic strategy is not as debilitating a strategy as is usually assumed. Pessimistic students were able to process their ideas. However, defensive pessimists were somewhat cautious in introducing or changing ideas. Heterogeneous dyads were not beneficial configurations with respect to producing, introducing, or changing ideas. Moreover, many differences were found to exist between the horizontal and vertical interaction; specifically, the students expressed more opinions and feelings when teachers took no part in the discussions. Strong emotions were observed especially in the horizontal interaction. Further, group working skills were found to be more important for boys than for girls, while rejected students were not at a disadvantage compared to popular ones. Schools can encourage emotional and social learning. The present study shows that students can use computers to express their feelings. In addition, students who are unpopular in non-computer contexts or students who use pessimism can benefit from computers. Participation in computer discussions can give unpopular children a chance to develop confidence when relating to peers.
  • Rajander, Silja (Suomen kasvatustieteellinen seura, 2010)
    Based on a one-year ethnographic study of a primary school in Finland with specialised classes in Finnish and English (referred to as bilingual classes by research participants), this research traces patterns of how nationed, raced, classed and gendered differences are produced and gain meaning in school. I examine several aspects of these differences: the ways the teachers and parents make sense of school and of school choice; the repertoires of self put forward by teachers, parents and pupils of the bilingual classes; and the insitutional and classroom practices in Sunny Lane School (pseudonym). My purpose is to examine how the construction of differentness is related to the policy of school choice. I approach this questions from a knowledge problematic, and explore connections and disjunctions between the interpretations of teachers and those of parents, as well as between what teachers and parents expressed or said and the practices they engaged in. My data consists of fieldnotes generated through a one-year period of ethnographic study in Sunny Lane School, and of ethnographic interviews with teachers and parents primarily of the bilingual classes. This data focuses on the initial stages of the bilingual classes, which included the application and testing processes for these classes, and on Grades 1─3. In my analysis, I pursue poststructural feminist theorisations on questions of knowledge, power and subjectivity, which foreground an understanding of the constitutive force of discourse and the performative, partial, and relational nature of knowledge. I begin by situating my ethnographic field in relation to wider developments, namely, the emergence of school choice and the rhetoric of curricular reform and language education in Finland. I move on from there to ask how teachers discuss the introduction of these specialised classes, then trace pupils paths to these classes, their parents goals related to school choice, teachers constructions of the pupils and parents of bilingual classes, and how these shape the ways in which school and classroom practices unfold. School choice, I argue, functioned as a spatial practice, defining who belongs in school and demarcating the position of teachers, parents and pupils in school. Notions of classed and ethnicised differences entered the ways teachers and parents made sense of school choice. Teachers idealised school in terms of social cohesiveness and constructed social cohesion as a task for school to perform. The hopes parents iterated were connected to ensuring their children s futurity, to their perceptions of the advantages of fluency in English, but also to the differences they believed to exist between the social milieus of different schools. Ideals such as openmindedness and cosmopolitanism were also articulated by parents, and these ideals assumed different content for ethnic majority and minority parents. Teachers discussed the introduction of bilingual classes as being a means to ensure the school s future, and emphasised bilingual classes as fitting into the rubric of Finnish comprehensive schooling which, they maintained, is committed to equality. Parents were expected to accommodate their views and adopt the position of the responsible, supportive parent that was suggested to them by teachers. Teachers assumed a posture teachers of appreciating different cultures, while maintaining Finnishness as common ground in school. Discussion on pupils knowledge and experience of other countries took place often in bilingual classes, and various cultural theme events were organized on occasion. In school, pupils are taught to identify themselves in terms of cultural belonging. The rhetoric promoted by teachers was one of inclusiveness, which was also applied to describe the task of qualifying pupils for bilingual classes, qualifying which pupils can belong. Bilingual classes were idealised as taking a neutral, impartial posture toward difference by ethnic majority teachers and parents, and the relationship of school choice to classed advantage, for example, was something teachers, as well as parents, preferred not to discuss. Pupils were addressed by teachers during lessons in ways that assumed self responsibility and diligence, and they assumed the discursive category of being good, competent pupils made available to them. While this allowed them to position themselves favourably in school, their participation in a bilingual class was marked by the pressure to succeed well in school.
  • Oulasvirta, Antti (Psykologian laitos, 2006)
    Distraction in the workplace is increasingly more common in the information age. Several tasks and sources of information compete for a worker's limited cognitive capacities in human-computer interaction (HCI). In some situations even very brief interruptions can have detrimental effects on memory. Nevertheless, in other situations where persons are continuously interrupted, virtually no interruption costs emerge. This dissertation attempts to reveal the mental conditions and causalities differentiating the two outcomes. The explanation, building on the theory of long-term working memory (LTWM; Ericsson and Kintsch, 1995), focuses on the active, skillful aspects of human cognition that enable the storage of task information beyond the temporary and unstable storage provided by short-term working memory (STWM). Its key postulate is called a retrieval structure an abstract, hierarchical knowledge representation built into long-term memory that can be utilized to encode, update, and retrieve products of cognitive processes carried out during skilled task performance. If certain criteria of practice and task processing are met, LTWM allows for the storage of large representations for long time periods, yet these representations can be accessed with the accuracy, reliability, and speed typical of STWM. The main thesis of the dissertation is that the ability to endure interruptions depends on the efficiency in which LTWM can be recruited for maintaing information. An observational study and a field experiment provide ecological evidence for this thesis. Mobile users were found to be able to carry out heavy interleaving and sequencing of tasks while interacting, and they exhibited several intricate time-sharing strategies to orchestrate interruptions in a way sensitive to both external and internal demands. Interruptions are inevitable, because they arise as natural consequences of the top-down and bottom-up control of multitasking. In this process the function of LTWM is to keep some representations ready for reactivation and others in a more passive state to prevent interference. The psychological reality of the main thesis received confirmatory evidence in a series of laboratory experiments. They indicate that after encoding into LTWM, task representations are safeguarded from interruptions, regardless of their intensity, complexity, or pacing. However, when LTWM cannot be deployed, the problems posed by interference in long-term memory and the limited capacity of the STWM surface. A major contribution of the dissertation is the analysis of when users must resort to poorer maintenance strategies, like temporal cues and STWM-based rehearsal. First, one experiment showed that task orientations can be associated with radically different patterns of retrieval cue encodings. Thus the nature of the processing of the interface determines which features will be available as retrieval cues and which must be maintained by other means. In another study it was demonstrated that if the speed of encoding into LTWM, a skill-dependent parameter, is slower than the processing speed allowed for by the task, interruption costs emerge. Contrary to the predictions of competing theories, these costs turned out to involve intrusions in addition to omissions. Finally, it was learned that in rapid visually oriented interaction, perceptual-procedural expectations guide task resumption, and neither STWM nor LTWM are utilized due to the fact that access is too slow. These findings imply a change in thinking about the design of interfaces. Several novel principles of design are presented, basing on the idea of supporting the deployment of LTWM in the main task.
  • Ouakrim-Soivio, Najat (Opetushallitus, 2013)
    This study investigated assessment differences between schools in relation to the grades given to pupils and to the competencies revealed by the assessment of learning outcomes conducted by the Finnish National Board of Education. The validity of the grades teachers gave were studied as a gauge of learning. The National Core Curriculum for Basic Education for Social Studies and History determined the learning objectives for these outcomes. The grades given to pupils in the final assessment and the competencies shown in the assessment of learning outcomes in social studies were compared to grades and outcomes in history. The background to this study has shown that since the beginning of the 21st century, frequent discrepancies have arisen in the assessment of learning outcomes with regard to competencies in mathematics and mother tongue. These discrepancies have been observed between the grades given to pupils and the competence shown in the follow-up assessment in different schools. Pupils at the same level of competence received a different grade. Similarly, the assessment of learning outcomes in social studies and history showed that systematic discrepancies in the social sciences exist between the competence shown in the follow-up study and the grades given by the schools. The sample in this study comprised 4 158 pupils: 3 616 from Finnish- language schools and 545 from Swedish- language schools. The research data in social studies and history enabled, for the first time, the comparison of two separate subjects using data produced by the same pupils and schools as well as by using two parallel measurements: school grades and the competence shown in the follow-up assessment. This research enabled a closer study of the validity of school grades as a measure of competence. This is because the data comprised grades and results of the assessment of the same pupils in two different subjects. Validity can be defined as an absence of systematic errors. Should systematic errors occur, the validity of at least one of the meters can then be questioned. The data collected in social studies and history made it possible to demonstrate conformity between the schools competence levels and grades: when a school s competence level was high, also the grades of its pupils were higher than the average. It seems that teachers adjust their grades to the general competence level of their class. When the description of key knowledge and skills does not serve as a basis for evaluation, one can argue that there is no resultant equity in final grading. To ensure consistent final assessment, the Core Curriculum should provide teachers with more support for evaluation, by for example, defining grading criteria more clearly or by creating separate material for criteria-based evaluation.
  • Waitinen, Matti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Objectives. This study concentrated on the aspect of physical safety in the learning environment of primary and secondary schools in Helsinki. Taking a broad perspective, the study analysed the safety culture of Helsinki schools, ranked them with a point rating system, and thoroughly investigated reasons behind their differences. Safety culture in educa-tional institutions has not been studied previously although research related to safety culture in business is abundant and some studies have considered safety culture in the healthcare sector. The study focused on the attitudes and practices of teachers concerning safety. The main research question is as follows: "What factors related to safety culture distinguish schools with an exceptional safety culture from those weaker one?" Research methods. The study used a mixed-methods approach. It s quantitative part charted the safety attitudes, values and expertise of employees in selected schools. The study also analysed physical safety in selected schools through specific safety inspections. The 14 schools in the study were selected randomly, two from each district. Altogether 388 of 475 employees returned a Webropol questionnaire (N= 475, 81,68 %). The qualitative part of the study analysed the reasons behind perceived differences in school s safety cul-ture using theme interviews with school principals. Elements of a phenomenographic research approach were also used. Results and conclusions. According to the study the distinctive features of good safety cultures in the Helsinki schools included a well-developed understanding of safety hazards and the requirements of basic safety, good safety management practices, a developed understanding of the systematic nature of safety, an appreciation of safety evidenced through everyday practices and open and communal safety-related work. The study offers result-based safety culture improvements for teachers, those responsible for school safety, principals, educational administrators, teacher educators and authorities.
  • Meriläinen, Raija (SuPer, Suomen lähi- ja perushoitajien liittto, 2011)
    In the present research Finnish education policy-makers describe the transformation in upper secondary education in the 1990s. They answered questions related to equality and all-round education. The timeline of the research extends from the early development of the welfare state and equality policy to the 2000s. Its focus is on upper secondary education, which, in this paper, denotes general upper secondary education and vocational upper secondary education. The chronological analysis proceeds from the education committee of 1971 up to the youth education experiment of the 1990s. The voices of the then policy-makers are heard in this research. They were the ones who planned the reforms and/or made the decisions. This being the case, the interviewees include cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries, representatives of organisations and the research community as well as civil servants. The research material can be construed as contextual interpretations of the past, influenced by both the times and places where the narrations were given. The persons interviewed described their experiences and views on education policy. In their narratives they illustrated the transformation that occurred in relation to equality and all-round education. The narrative interviews painted a picture of the upper secondary education transformation and the matriculation examination as having a slowing effect on education policy reforms. It was not until the 1990s when the said examination began to make a difference to students in vocational upper secondary education Those interviewed named the persons who, in their opinion, had the most say in Finnish education policy. This list comprised a small circle of people who more or less agreed on the grand values of education policy, i.e. all-round education and equality. Only a small minority represented a radical view of equality, being true believers in universal upper secondary education implemented in accordance with comprehensive school reform. Finnish education policy was led from the perspective of traditional conception of equality from the 1970s to the 1980s. The transformation finally occurred in the 1990s when equality was understood to mean individual needs and the right to choose. As was the case with matriculation education, the insistence on all-round education also hampered the development of universal upper secondary education. The interviews revealed that any attempts to increase the academic syllabus of vocational education caused organisations as well as other policy-makers to oppose such development well into the 1980s. It was not until the youth education experiment of the 1990s that vocational education finally carved a path to higher education, when the polytechnic schools were made permanent. Three principal groups of key players emerged in the research: ministers of education, civil servants and organisations. The research showed that the ministers and civil servant education policy-makers of the 1990s also included only handful women. The circle of policy-makers was small and represented similar schools of thought. In the 1970s era of government committees, representatives of organisations actively participated in education policy. When the committee establishment was discontinued, this eliminated lobbying venues for the organisations. Nonetheless, the organisations regained their policymaking status in the 1990s. New lobbying organisations included the Finnish Entrepreneurs and the Union of Finnish Upper Secondary School Students. However, in contrast to the 1970s, only rarely would individuals rise from the ranks of organisations to the cadre of policy-makers. The interviewees had a twofold view of neo-liberalism Contrary to other policy-makers, representatives of the research community and organisations concur that neo-liberalism did exist in education policy decision-making in the 1990s.
  • van den Berg, Marko (Historiallis-yhteiskuntatiedollisen kasvatuksen tutkimus- ja kehittämiskeskus, 2007)
    One history in a multicomplex world The quintessence of history and grand historical narratives in the historical consciousness of class teacher students The study analyses the conception of history amongst class teacher students at the University of Helsinki. It also explores the expectations about the future that the students have on the basis of their views on history. The conceptions of the students are analysed against the background of the notion of one history which has been part of Western thought in the modern era and which is at the centre of the theoretical framework of this study. The Enlightenment project and the erosion of the role of the Church paved the way for the notion that history is an linear narrative of the progress of humankind and in which, implicitly, the Western countries are endowed with a special role as the vanguards of progress. In recent times these assumptions have been criticised by postmodernists and proponents of New History. The material of the study consists of interviews of twenty-two 19 26 years old class teacher students at the University of Helsinki. The topics in the interviews were the developments of the past and the future trajectories. The students conceived history as a field of knowledge that provides a unifying view on the world and helps to make today s world intelligible. Finnish history and global history were invested with features of a grand narrative of progress. In global history, progress and development were seen as characteristic of the Western world primarily. The students regarded the post-war Finnish history as a qualified success story in that they deplored the erosion of collectivist values and the rise of selfishness in recent decades. History was not conceived as a process of progress that would self-evidently continue in the future, but rather more as a field of contingency and cyclical change.The students regarded the increasing predominance of the market forces over democratically elected agencies, the antagonism between the West and the other parts of the world, and environmental risks as the major threats. Notwithstanding this general.pessimism about the future, the students had a very positive view of their own personal prospects. Keywords: historical consciouness, one history, future expectations