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Browsing by study line "Changing Education"

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  • Kämper, Ella (2023)
    The mental health of university students has been a concern worldwide for years, and the issues have been increasing gradually to this date. Factors related to increased stress and mental health issues among university students include poor academic performance. To succeed in studies, students need to acquire organized study skills, which are also connected to one’s psychological well-being. By increasing psychological flexibility, it is possible to learn skills of managing stress, thoughts, and emotions and thus enhance one’s own mental well-being. Psychological flexibility is the goal of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and refers to a skill to focus on the present moment and live in the pursuit of one’s own goals and values. The connection between psychological flexibility and well-being has been studied quite extensively with quantitative measures. However, there is less research about this connection in the context of higher education institutes and university students. Also, according to the knowledge of the researcher, there has been fewer studies on the impact mechanisms of the different sub-processes of psychological flexibility and ACT. More in-depth research with qualitative methods is also needed to gain better understanding about the phenomenon. In some studies, ACT-based interventions have been found to have a positive impact on university students’ psychological well-being and study skills, but more research is needed within this context. The study was conducted applying a mixed methods approach combining repeated measures ANOVA and inductive content analysis. The research group consisted of students who participated in the web-based course, Towards Better Well-being and Studying, during fall 2021 at the University of Helsinki, Finland. For the quantitative measurements, a control group was also used, consisting of students on the waiting list for the course. The research task of this study was to gain better understanding of the possible changes in the participants’ well-being and organized study skills during the course, as well as to examine, how the students attending the course have evaluated the effectiveness of the specific modules and tasks involved during the course. Quantitative results showed that the course had a statistically significant effect on participants' organized study skills, psychological flexibility, and emotional and psychological well-being. Comparing the results of students who participated in the course with those of the control group, whose measures remained mostly the same, confirms this finding about the effects of the course on well-being, organized study skills and psychological flexibility. The results of the qualitative part of the study were in line with these findings. Based on findings from inductive content analysis, the course’s different modules were perceived as useful, and the course had an impact on the well-being of most students as well as their organized study skills. Students’ responses displayed personal development and in-depth reflection both at an individual level and at a broader and societal level. The students felt that they had gained new insights and particularly many concrete tips on how to promote their own well-being and learning, which they will continue to use in the future.
  • Marttila, Annamaria (2023)
    In this thesis I studied children’s self-regulation with the data from the “friendship skills” intervention study in early childhood education and care. Self-regulation has been found to be central factor in school readiness and academic achievements as well as in general wellbeing. The data was collected in nine different early childhood education and care units (15 child groups), consisting of 162 children (n = 82 girls, M = 5,65, SD = 0.88). The study used Educator’s Evaluation Form (EEF, self-regulation) and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ, internalising and externalising problems, prosocial behaviour) to measure self-regulation and both internalising and externalising problems and prosocial behaviour. I aimed to study associations between self-regulation and internalising and externalising problems, and self-regulation and prosocial behaviour, as well as between self-regulation and age. Another aim concerns the effect of gender on these associations. The hypotheses of the thesis were: (1a) self-regulation is negatively associated with internalising and externalising problems; (1b) self-regulation is positively associated with prosocial behaviour; (2) self-regulation is positively associated with age; and, (3) self-regulation is associated more positive with age in girls than in boys. Self-regulation was found to associate negatively with both internalising and externalising problems and positively with prosocial behaviour. Regarding age, gender was found to moderate the association between self-regulation and age (age by gender interaction) in that statistically non-significant positive association between self-regulation and age was found in girls and statistically significant negative association in boys. Gender was not found to moderate other associations. The results indicate that self-regulation may have profound affects to overall wellbeing of children. Gender-difference imply possible complexity in interconnections between self-regulation, age and gender. Additionally, boys may be in more vulnerable position regarding self-regulation especially when approaching to school entry. In discussion section, I discuss the results additionally in relation to the concept of self-regulation, which I view more broadly in developmental and educational perspectives. Moreover, I will suggest tentative model constructed for the process of self-regulation. Finally, I will give suggestions for future research.
  • Shakkarwar, Aparna (2023)
    Finland has seen an increase of immigrants in the past twenty years. Currently, newly arrived immigrant students are placed in preparatory classrooms for up to a year to provide them with the language skills they need to integrate into regular Finnish classrooms. However, municipalities can choose whether they would like to offer preparatory education, as well as how they would like to structure it. This creates possible gaps for inequities to exist within preparatory classrooms. In the 2018 PISA results, Finland had the highest gap in reading scores between immigrant and non-immigrant students out of all OECD countries with an immigrant population of higher than five percent. This demonstrates that Finland has fallen behind other countries in educating its immigrant students. Therefore, this study attempts to examine how Finnish and non-Finnish cultures are viewed and discussed in preparatory classrooms, as well as how preparatory classrooms support the well-being of students and prepare students to succeed in school. This study consisted of semi-structured interviews of students and staff members within one lower secondary school in Southern Finland. This school had two preparatory classrooms, as well as one special “P2” classroom. Interviews were analyzed using an inductive approach to thematic analysis, where four themes and five subthemes were found by using a constructionist paradigm. The results of this study were that the preparatory classrooms at this school valued and appreciated non- Finnish cultures during discussions in class, but Finnish behaviors and ideologies were seen as normal and what students should adapt to when moving to Finland. Additionally, while teachers were able to provide a positive and supportive learning environment for students, the school did not provide enough emotional support or resources for students. Finally, a lack of resources and funding meant that students were not able to get the support they needed to properly develop the Finnish language skills required to succeed in school. This study indicates there is a need for more funding and resources to be allocated to preparatory classrooms, as well as larger-scale research on the benefits and shortcomings of Finnish preparatory education.
  • Ventre, Pernilla (2023)
    Children and young people across the world are online more than ever. With this, comes the risk of experiencing online sexual harms and exploitation which can be sources of trauma and impact students’ well- being, mental health, behaviour, academic and life outcomes. Teachers can be trusted adults in their student’s lives with the ability to recognise these kinds of harms and abuse and offer effective support and intervention. Finland shows a steady increase in children and young people experiencing online child sexual harms such as online sexual harassment, grooming and exploitation and a rise in the media coverage of these issues. This seeks to discover student teacher perceptions of online child sexual harms and exploitation of children and young people, whilst examining what student teachers might need to be able to understand and respond more effectively. Data was collected with individual interviews that included open questions and action tasks with four student teachers from The University of Helsinki. The study was guided by trauma-informed theory. Interviews were analysed using a mixture of deductive and inductive approaches to thematic analysis. In doing so, three themes and five sub-themes were found. The results of this study were that student teacher participants showed varied perceptions of online sexual harms and exploitation, related to the nature of abuse, victim, and perpetrator characteristics. These perceptions influenced participant ability to recognise potentially harmful situations. Additionally, participants lacked formal training in these issues. Finally, participants expressed unanimous professional anxiety in terms of how to practically respond to incidents of online sexual harms and exploitation of students, indicating a critical need for teacher education programs at the University of Helsinki to provide a more comprehensive education for student teachers that addresses understanding, identifying, and responding to sexual harms and exploitation online.
  • Flores, Pablo (2024)
    Objectives. This article-based master’s thesis explores the use of ChatGPT in educational settings. Previous research on human-LLM remains scarce, and most literature addressing the use of GPT in educational settings is theoretical and lacking empirical evidence. The new technological developments, however, urge for a deeper understanding of its novel dynamics for the development of efficient and safe AI-systems. Consequently, our study aims explore the use of a novel guided interaction design for modeling users’ information foraging behavior when navigating GPT-generated content and the role of Computational Thinking Skills in shaping such behavior. Methods. Conducted with nine educational researchers in a doctoral-level AIEd course, our research used editable prompt templates and keywords to structure the prompt crafting process. We modeled and analyzed participants’ interactions with ChatGPT in terms of exploration (to generate and explore various information landscapes) and exploitation (to delve deeper into a specific landscape). Additionally, we conducted the Computational Thinking Scale survey. We employed descriptive statistics to describe participants’ foraging behavior, and network analysis to explore the relationship between foraging behavior and Computational Thinking Skills. Results and conclusions. Our results suggested that Algorithmic Thinking and Creativity might encourage exploitation behavior, leaning more on AI-generated information rather than pre-defined design elements. Furthermore, including participants' interests in the interaction design seemed to foster a shared conceptual space in prompt construction. This approach encouraged the use and combination of diverse interests for content creation, as opposed to relying solely on individuals' interests. Our findings also suggested that exploitation prompts are predominantly driven by GPT-generated content. While this seems to add value to AI-generated content, it raises concerns about potential overreliance, especially in educational settings. The article, entitled ‘Exploring the Use of GPT-4 when Generating Personalized Case Scenarios for Higher Education.’, follows the guidelines of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education.
  • Huang, Haoyan (2023)
    Despite that curiosity is beneficial for learning, researchers found that it is declining among adolescents. The aim of this thesis is to identify the prominent environment facilitators for youths’ curiosity from an Ecological perspective that includes both family and school. To further understand the developmental effects, two age cohorts (10-year-old and 15-year-old) were compared. In total, 5482 Finnish students (3034 aged 10, 2448 aged 15) from the OECD Survey on Social-emotional Skills were chosen and their family and school factors related to basic psychological needs were surveyed (autonomy, competence, relatedness). Using Complex Two-level Hierarchical Linear Modeling, results demonstrated that (1) parents’ criterion-referenced evaluation, relations with both parents and teachers were associated with youths’ curiosity, whereas autonomy support was not; (2) parents’ criterion-referenced evaluation played the primary role in younger youths’ curiosity, but its effect was much smaller in the elder cohort; and (3) relations with teachers was a vital driving factor for elder youths’ curiosity, though its effect was weaker on the younger. Findings extend the literature by identifying the prominent need-based supporting factors in different age periods for youths’ curiosity facilitation.
  • Mbanze, Elias (2023)
    This study investigated the impacts of serious games (digital games) on the multiplication and division skills of elementary school learners in Finnish schools. Gamification is a popular learning strategy that has been extensively applied in literature. Studies reveal that gamification, in general, is useful for improving skills in various subjects. However, there are fewer studies dealing with the impacts of serious games on learners’ multiplication and division skills. This study deals with this shortage by applying a gamified intervention in mathematics classrooms. A quasi-experimental method was applied. The participants were split into two groups: the experimental (gamified condition) and control group. Both groups took the same pre-test on simple multiplication and division tasks before the intervention was introduced. During the intervention, the experimental group were instructed through digital games while the control group received traditional instruction. The intervention period lasted for two weeks. After the intervention, a post-test was administered and the mean scores of the two groups were compared as an index of their learning outcome. The results show that there was no significant difference in the learning outcome between the experimental group and the control group, although the control group scored slightly higher than the experimental group. There was also a decrease in scores for both groups from the pre- to post-test as the groups scored higher in the pre-test than in the post-test. This is due to ceiling effect observed in the pre-test which led to the post-test to be, intentionally, made considerably more difficult than the pre-test. The observed results could be attributed to several factors, key amongst them being the short length of the intervention. Further studies should last longer than two weeks and, further, a larger sample size should be used for the results to be meaningful and generalisable. With a larger sample, correlation analyses between playtime and test scores as well as teachers’ experiences with digital games could also be carried out.
  • Gorr, Naike (2024)
    This study addresses the global concern of teacher shortages (TS), by seeking to understand the evolving landscape of the teaching profession. Currently, 26 out of 27 EU Member States report TS, and projections indicate worsening trends. The complexity of TS, originating from various factors depending on the country, region, subject, etc., necessitates a focused, yet holistic approach. Adopting a city-level approach, this study centers on Helsinki, where TS have been reported despite the profession’s high attractiveness. While existing research explored specific facets of the teaching profession, a comprehensive overview of the contemporary situation and interrelated factors is lacking. Consequently, this study aims to capture a holistic perspective by examining the recent changes, challenges, and needs of in-service teachers in Helsinki, alongside evaluating the perceived effectiveness of current support measures. The voices of teachers are captured and communicated through the Job Demands – Resource lens, a model suitable for exploring occupational factors. The teacher perspective was obtained through semi-structured interviews with in-service teachers in public comprehensive schools in Helsinki. While participation was requested from all public comprehensive schools, the final sample comprised six teachers, predominantly situated in East Helsinki. The obtained data was analyzed by conducting a thematic analysis. The analysis revealed a vicious cycle marked by increasing job demands and responsibilities, set against insufficient and declining resources. Not only are inadequate resources (e.g., materials, staff) adding to their workload, but teachers also find themselves shouldering additional responsibilities beyond content transmission, leading to a transformation of the profession. The teachers expressed great concerns about the resulting imbalance, linking it to a decline in teacher well-being. Additionally, recent policies and reforms have inadvertently contributed to these trends due to the unawareness of policymakers of classroom realities. These findings highlight the need for a holistic approach to enhance the teaching landscape, comprising among others the provision of essential resources, the refinement of the role and responsibilities of teachers, and greater awareness of classroom realities.
  • Hyyppä, Iina (2023)
    This article-based master’s thesis explores the relations between futures education and systems thinking. By exploring a cross-curricular approach on futures education, this study focuses on futures thinking, systems thinking, and the city as a complex system. Previous research has shown that futures education can increase agency to change the future. Students have, however, been shown to be facing unprecedented levels of anxiety related to the future. Hence, the objectives of this study are to explore the impact of a futures education course on students’ systems thinking by approaching futures though wishful visioning. This study aims to discover how students’ systems thinking is supported by a course on visioning the city of the future, encouraging multiple perspectives of futures. The data was gathered during a futures education course at an upper secondary school in Helsinki, Finland. In groups, 11 students wrote their visions of the city of Helsinki in 2050. The visions were challenged and revised, and all versions of the text were collected. This study looked into the revisions made to the students’ visions between the first and final versions. Using an inductive qualitative thematic analysis, this paper explored the themes emerging in the visions. The inductive themes were categorized into social, natural, and technological thematic spheres. This study explored how the interconnectedness of those themes developed during the course. Through the analysis of the overlap between the thematic spheres, this paper analysed how students’ perceptions of complexity emerged and showed developed systems thinking. This study found that students’ systems thinking developed during the futures education course. Students’ future visions portrayed deepened understandings of the interconnectedness between social, natural, and technological spheres. The revisions of students’ future visions showed increased complexity in the topics they initially discussed from merely a singular point of view. The results indicate complex development of systems thinking, pointing to the wide-ranging cross-curricular benefits of futures education. The article pertaining to this master’s thesis is to be submitted to be considered for publishing in Frontline Learning Research.
  • Khatkhedkar, Naina (2023)
    The strategic objectives of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) encompass internationalisation, global competition, enhancing educational equity, and contribution to innovation and economic growth. These objectives are realised through the HEIs’ functions of teaching, research, and community engagement. International collaborations encourage sharing and valuing different forms of knowledge. GINTL (Global Innovation Network of Teaching and Learning) is a network of Finnish Higher Education Institutions and Indian partners for co-creating solutions for global educational challenges and collaboration in education and research. This network was formed as a part of the global component of Finland’s higher education internationalisation program and has been funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture for four years (2021-2024). The study aims to offer an overview and analysis of the collaboration process of a Finnish HEI with India under GINTL. Finnish stakeholders’ accounts of collaboration with India provide valuable insights and contribute to generating new knowledge in the area of global collaboration especially in the context of India, where the literature is sparse. The data was gathered through online interviews (N=9) with the GINTL India coordination team based in a Finnish University. Qualitative thematic analysis is used to analyse the data. Along with a critical description of the collaboration process with Indian partners, the study brings forth the factors crucial for success and constraints that may cause frustrations. The findings suggest that the successful execution of activities is influenced by the funding methods, establishment of trust, disparities in work culture, and accountability concerns. Notably time related issues are a common thread among all the factors that affect collaboration activities.
  • Tarplee, Mark (2023)
    Finnish educational leaders (FELs) experience high levels of stress in their work, which has prompted interest in their psychological wellbeing. Research shows that they have various roles and responsibilities, which can lead to poor psychological wellbeing. Most studies have focused on occupational resources, in line with the Job Demands-Resources theory when investigating how psychological wellbeing of FELs can be improved. Previous research highlights an association between sleep and stress, and how they have both been affected by COVID-19. This study examines the role of sleep as an external resource and its association with the stress of FELs as an indicator of their psychological wellbeing, and cognitive stress, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study has three research questions with the following hypotheses. Firstly, that there is an association between sleep and psychological wellbeing of FELs. Secondly, that COVID-19 has had a negative effect on the psychological wellbeing of FELs. Lastly, that COVID-19 has had a negative effect on the sleep of FELs. The research sample in this study were FELs who were part of the Finnish school principal’s association and completed the Finnish Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey. The sample consisted of 1727 FELs over four years of data collection from 2019 to 2022. The measures of sleep, stress as an indicator of psychological wellbeing and additionally cognitive stress were collected using the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire II as part of the wider survey. The data was analysed using Jamovi v.2.3.21 and the types of data analysis used were Pearson correlation, linear regression analysis, comparing means and One-Way ANOVA. The study showed that this sample of FELs are generally stressed. The results showed a statistically significant association between sleep and psychological wellbeing. Sleep was also found to have an association with cognitive stress to a lesser extent. However, there were no significant findings for gender and year of study, in the association between sleep and psychological wellbeing. The results indicated that there was a slight decrease in stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a slight increase in sleeping problems, but these were not statistically significant. The study contributes to an understanding of the association between sleep and psychological wellbeing of FELs. The study highlights that further research is required to explore the association in more depth, and that FELs could consider practical strategies to sleep and wellbeing, whilst schools could consider strategies to lessen demands.
  • Liang, Zigeng (2023)
    This thesis aims to explore the main factors causing learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic by conducting a literature review. The research questions are formulated in response to the practical needs and theoretical frameworks that have emerged due to the pandemic's disruptive impact on the education sector. The purpose of the study is to identify and understand the main factors causing learning loss among students worldwide. The literature review incorporates studies from various countries and diverse educational levels to gain a global perspective on learning loss during the pandemic. By analyzing both quantitative and qualitative research, the thesis aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing learning outcomes. The methods used in this research involve a systematic review of existing literature, gathering data from academic databases and scholarly sources. The findings from the selected studies are synthesized to identify common themes and patterns of main factors causing learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic. The literature review provides a comprehensive summary of previous studies, highlighting the main factors causing learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include the disruption of in-person learning, unequal access to technology, limited parental involvement, and the impact on student's mental health. These interconnected factors collectively shape students' learning experiences during this unprecedented time.
  • Tuominen, Vilma (2024)
    The increase of multilingual children in Finnish ECEC has highlighted the need to assess its inclusivity and effectiveness in educating and caring for children from various backgrounds. As early childhood is a crucial time for the development of language, social-emotional skills, and experiences of participation, it is essential that all children are effectively supported in developing these skills and provided with experiences of belonging. This study aims to investigate multilingual children’s participation opportunities during a shared reading and discussion activity. Eleven video-recorded shared reading sessions from different ECEC groups were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Finnish was the language of instruction in all groups. Multilingual children’s behaviour was examined in reference to three categories: active engagement and participation, passive engagement with little participation, or interfering behaviour with limited engagement and participation. Based on these observations, groups were divided into three categories depending on if they were considered to have a lot, some or little participation and engagement for multilingual children. Teachers’ methods for facilitating participation and engagement were also investigated, which resulted in 6 main themes and 19 categories being identified. The analysis revealed that most multilingual children actively participated in the activity, and teachers used multiple methods to facilitate participation and engagement. However, there were several groups where some children did not participate actively and received little support and attention from the teacher. Children’s multilingual competence was also rarely made visible during the sessions, as Finnish was the only language used in all groups. While the findings were generally positive, the lack of support for some multilingual children’s participation and the prevalence of monolingual practices indicate that the use of language-aware and inclusive methods could be developed especially in reference to shared reading.
  • Beck, Sacha (2023)
    Multilingualism is an inherent characteristic of human societies around the world, which is continuously reinforced by recent societal events such as migration or globalization. Yet educational contexts have only recently started to dedicate more attention to multilingualism in education. Education systems still fail to fully recognize and value multilingual learners’ competences, sometimes resulting in language-based exclusion. To address this, the present study examines the issue of continuities and discontinuities in terms of language use, between familial and educational contexts in multilingual contexts. Special attention is also given to language attitudes and ideologies, to investigate their impact and influence on linguistic practices. With the help of a sociolinguistic questionnaire giving insights into language ecologies in educational and familial contexts, a cross-cultural comparative analysis is conducted along with an in-depth analysis of one situation of languages in contact. This in-depth analysis addresses the educational policy level, questioning how policies can establish bridges to build continuity with the familial domain. The findings suggest that diverse situations occur across different sociocultural contexts. Nevertheless, some similarities emerged in the analysis, revealing that certain educational contexts promote continuity with the familial domain to a certain extent, while others do not promote continuity at all. Language attitudes and ideologies have a strong role on language practices and can contribute to the maintenance and vitality of certain languages, or jeopardize others. The in-depth analysis of one contact situation suggests that, in this context, the educational policy level attempted to promote some continuity, putting emphasis on mother tongue education and the development of multilingual competences for children. Nonetheless, explicit references to promote continuity between familial and educational contexts in terms of language use was missing. In addition, several sources pointed to the challenges of implementing such educational policies due to practical constraints such as the lack of qualified teachers or of a sufficiently high number of pupils participating in these initiatives. The analysis confirms that sociolinguistic questionnaires focusing on eliciting information on the ecology of languages can be a valuable source of data for education and policy-making. Although not designed for educational purposes, the data provided extremely insightful information. Therefore, this thesis highlights that tailored sociolinguistic questionnaires can represent a rich source of information for evidence-based policymaking. Overall, this study acknowledges the advancement and positive consideration given to multilingual education in different sociocultural contexts, and at different educational levels. However, more efforts are needed in order to meet multilingual learners’ needs, provide equitable chances and promote social justice in education. Reconsidering multilingualism not only as a right but also as a richness for individuals and society is a concrete example of the goals ahead. This study thus concludes by pleading for more action at all educational levels and beyond, to promote truly inclusive multilingual education and contribute to the important endeavor of changing education.
  • Potts, Samantha (2023)
    Objectives. This thesis will use Russian-American psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner’s  Bioecological theory of Human Development. This theory applies to the topic of trauma because it suitably explains the complexity of trauma through the theory’s outline of human development occurring in complex multiple layers of influence and differing levels of reciprocal interaction. In addition, it is considered to be a cross-cultural theory. Methods. Method for this thesis is a narrative literature review. A Narrative literature reviews have a less rigid structure than a systematic literature review, but still considered a qualitative analysis. As it name illudes to a narrative literature review is a narration of a carefully curated collection of articles, analyzed through the lens of the researchers own experiences, and through the use of a grounding theory. Although this method is more typcal for a bachelor’s thesis, it should not be underestimated as the literature review is the starting point of any research, to discover what has already been studied in order to build upon that. Selection of Topic: Trauma is not a new topic. As mentioned in the history of trauma section, its roots are in the battle fatigue experienced by soldiers returning from World Wars I and II. However, as a topic in education is relatively new, and the extent of its novelty also depends on geography. In the United States, it has been researched and written about, and foundations and centers on the topic have been created. In the Nordic countries, trauma’s effect on learning has not received comparable levels of attention.  Results and conclusions. Are teachers aware of trauma, its manifestations, and how manifestations of trauma can mimic manifestations of learning disabilities? Is the one question this thesis asked and the answer is some do. This literature review has demonstrated that certain countries or regions, particuarly the U.S have extensive published research on trauma as well as a plethora of resources in a range of academic fields studying it. It also highlights the glaring gaps in research and literature on this topic in certain regions, most notably the Nordic countries. This leads me to ask why have the Nordic countries, especially Finland, the world leader in education, are not researching this topic and applying findings to teacher training and improving learning outcomes.
  • van Dam, Sofie (2023)
    Objectives. Research revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic caused stress (Cooke et al. 2020). Whether or not this also applied to principals in Finland will be tested in this study. This study discovers in what way there is a difference in the self-reported as well as the physiological stress of Finnish principals between 2019 and 2020. Researchers have found a connection between stress and social support among principals (Beausaert et al., 2016; Upadyaya et al., 2021). This thesis investigates in what way there is a connection between self-reported and physiological stress of 2020 and the experienced help and support for the Covid-19 procedures. Based on previous studies by Upadyaya et al. (2021) and a someway similar investigation by Beausaert et al. (2016), the hypothesis was that the dataset will reveal a connection between stress and social support. The research questions of this study are: 1. In what way do the principals’ physiological and self-reported stress levels for 2020 differ from 2019? 2. In what way is there a connection between principals’ self-reported as well as physiological stress and the experienced help and support for the Covid-19 procedures? Methods. All the physiological, as well as questionnaire data that are used in this study were collected in 2019 and 2020 by Katariina Salmela-Aro’s research group at the University of Helsinki. The physiological data was retrieved with Firstbeat’s device: Bodyguard 2. In this study, a selection of questionnaire data, and SDNN values that were retrieved during working time (8 a.m. till 5 p.m.) and sleeping time (midnight till 6 a.m.) have been used. Results and conclusions. The self-reported scales of “Cognitive Stress Symptoms”, “Stress” and “Somatic Stress Symptoms” between 2019 and 2020 were analysed as well as the physiological data. A significant result has been found only in the cognitive stress symptoms. Surprisingly, cognitive stress symptoms decreased in 2020, compared to 2019. A significant connection between the self-reported stress of “Cognitive Stress Symptoms”, “Stress” and “Somatic Stress Symptoms” with the experienced help and support of the Covid-19 procedures from Guardians of pupils/students have been found. As well as a significant connection between self-reported “Stress” with the experienced help and support of the Covid-19 procedures from the State level. The physiological data recorded during the night correlated significantly with ‘’Guardians of pupils/students’’, ‘’Municipal education board’’ and the ‘’State level’.
  • Jaakkola, Mira (2023)
    Personal practical theories (PPTs) of early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals have not been widely studied. Personal beliefs, values and theoretical knowledge form the PPT that affects the decisions a professional makes in everyday work. Therefore, PPT can be considered as an integral element of professionalism in the ECEC field. Professionals' PPTs are often hidden and if not acknowledged and discussed, mutual understanding among professionals may be difficult to achieve. This qualitative study aims to provide some insight into the beliefs, values and knowledge of ECEC professionals, and describe the commonalities found in the PPTs of professionals. The data in this study was gathered from nine (9) semi-structured interviews in Finland. The respondents equally represented different disciplines that prevail in ECEC: pedagogy, social pedagogy and child nursing. The ‘onion model of levels in reflection’ developed by Fred Korthagen (2017) was utilised as a framework in formulating the interview questions and when interpreting the data with reflexive thematic analysis. The main finding in this thesis was the complexity and paradoxical nature of ECEC work which the professionals described. Similarly, the PPT of ECEC professional could be described as a region with a variety of complex dimensions. There were some common themes to be found in the data, one of them being advocating the best interest of children. Another important finding was the understanding of the cruciality of teamwork in ECEC. Consequently, the various PPTs of ECEC professionals should all be valued equally as this enables striving towards shared goals. Furthermore, discussing about PPTs among team members in genuine dialogue may foster the well-being of employees, and ultimately of children in the group. This study suggests that all ECEC professionals should engage self-reflection in order to recognise their underlying beliefs and values that affect their everyday work. This is a practice which enables professional development and also demonstrates ethical responsibility.
  • Kang, Nayeong (2023)
    The aim of this thesis is to investigate the experienced primary school teachers' implementation of the key characteristics of project-based learning (PBL) in South Korea. Six key characteristics of PBL were used in this study as the theoretical framework. The characteristics are driving questions, learning goals, scientific activities, collaborative activities, using digital tools, and creating artefacts. The other focus of this study is analysing the challenges that the teachers faced when implementing PBL. The study had two research questions. The first one examined how primary school teachers in South Korea implement the key characteristics of PBL, and the second one focused on what kinds of challenges they have when applying PBL. The data were collected by semi-structured online interviews of seven primary school teachers. Their project plan documents designed and implemented by the teachers were used as additional data. The collected data were analysed with qualitative content analysis mainly in an inductive way. The main findings are that the experienced teachers in South Korea employed PBL as follows: the teachers (1) designed PBL based on the curriculum and the students' interests, (2) tried to reflect the students' opinion, (3) created a PBL environment, (4) had the students practice related skills, (5) facilitated the students' learning, (6) designed collaborative work, (7) utilised digital tools, and (8) gave an opportunity to showcase the results of the learning. The study indicated that the teachers faced challenges such as managing time, ambiguity, and diversity. The teachers also described several challenges related to student engagement, collaborative work, lack of skills, resources, school support, and teacher expertise. These results confirm earlier research in other countries. The results and suggestions of the study can provide new insights of experienced teachers’ PBL implementation to teachers, schools, and curriculum developers wishing to implement PBL in classrooms. The findings revealed the strategies of PBL implementation, the need to guarantee teacher autonomy more in the curriculum and need of training for teachers’ professional development.
  • Yin, Ziwei (2023)
    Aims. The aim of the present study was to investigate how Chinese high school students’ psychological needs frustration in physical education courses relate to their school achievement, which was reflecting by the change of physical fitness test results. According to the concept of Self-Determination Theory (SDT), humans have three fundamental needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Previous studies have shown that satisfying psychological needs lead to positive outcomes, while thwarting psychological needs cause negative outcomes. This research links Chinese high school students’ psychological needs frustration to their school achievement within PE context, which was conducted to assess the stability of school achievement in physical tests over time for students with different needs frustration groups. Methods. 518 students (274 male, 244 female) from three Senior High Schools in Beijing completed an online questionnaire during school days. Two-Step Cluster analysis in SPSS was used to group students into homogeneous clusters based on their scores for psychological needs thwarting. A mixed analysis of variance (ANOVA) was carried out to measure the between-group and within-group differences. Results and conclusions. Three distinct psychological needs profiles were identified: high frustration (20.3%), moderate frustration (54.6%), and low frustration (25.1%). For school achievement, it was discovered that students who reported high levels of frustration received the lowest grades in both high school entrance exams and current exams, whereas those who reported low levels of frustration received the highest grades. The mixed ANOVA results showed a significant difference in physical test scores between entrance exams and current exams, indicating a decline in physical performance over time across all three identified profiles. Overall, this study contributes to our understanding of the complex interplay between psychological needs fulfilment and academic performance, which could inform future research and interventions in this field.
  • Lee, Jamie (2023)
    Previous research has shown that racism and discrimination negatively impact mental health and that students in Finland from immigrant families are more likely to report loneliness, anxiety, lack of close friendship, and poorer school belonging than their native counterparts. Furthermore, international schools, which is the empirical context of this thesis, have been criticized for being highly Western and white, leaving out important topics concerning BIPOC that would be expected to obtain an “international” education. Therefore, there is a need for more research into the lived experiences of racism of YPOC in an international school context and ways to support their wellbeing. To address this need, this thesis aims to investigate in what ways YPOC studying at an international school in the Greater Helsinki area cope with racism and how they find support. I focus on how race, racialisation, and racism affect their lived experiences and their sense of belonging, and how YPOC construct their racial and ethnic identities within white-dominated spaces. I also highlight sources of support for YPOC and how peer support is a means of supporting student wellbeing. The study was conducted using a participatory approach, with data collected through notes taken from a series of peer support group sessions I co-facilitated, as well as interviews. The planning of the research focus and facilitation of peer support group sessions took place in collaboration with a youth mental health association The data was analysed using a reflexive thematic approach to highlight themes in stories shared by the participating youth while acknowledging the value of research subjectivity. YPOC shared experiences of constantly being seen under the white gaze, being made aware of their race and Otherness in everyday life. They shared challenges with defining their identity and finding belonging and community, especially in transnational spaces. Finally, they affirmed peer support as a strategy for coping with the effects of racism, demonstrating the need for safe spaces for YPOC. This research indicates the need for contextualised mental health support for YPOC and action towards deconstructing institutional racism and Eurocentrism in the international school context.