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Browsing by study line "Muuttuva kasvatus ja koulutus"

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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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’.
  • 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.
  • Sheehan, Marcus (2023)
    Objectives. The development of a strong ethnic identity is crucial for minority students throughout their school years. A sense of invisibility and stereotype threat may develop in the absence of a strong identity. Therefore, a rich representation of ethnicity is essential to the development of ethnic identity. This study aims to determine how minority representation is reflected in Finnish school textbooks, particularly how minorities racialized as non-white are depicted through the images found in textbooks. As earlier reports and research show that students from immigrant backgrounds perform lower than students from non-immigrant backgrounds and meaningful representation is important to avoid stereotype threat, it becomes important to examine how minorities are represented in Finnish textbooks used by all students. Methods. A content analysis was conducted to gain a greater comprehension of how minorities are portrayed in Finnish middle school textbooks which affects the development of ethnic identity. To gain insight into how students may perceive the presence of minorities in their textbooks, I examined 227 images found in several textbooks from the two main Finnish textbook publishers. Based on the variables set out, representation was categorized into categories of social hierarchy between the majority racialized as white and minority racialized as non-white found in the textbooks. Results and conclusions. Overall, the representation was 76 % for the majority racialized as white and 23.4% for the minority racialized as non-white. The greatest disparity in representation between majority and minority backgrounds was observed among professionals and academics, with the majority background appearing 80% more than the minority. On the other end of the social ladder, 'peasants' from minority backgrounds were represented more than those from majority backgrounds. The research indicates that textbooks do not give a full account of the varied backgrounds of minority students, which can have a detrimental effect on their ethnic identity and result in a sense of invisibility and stereotype threat.
  • Liikanen, Elena (2023)
    Objectives: Are serious games enjoyed by the students, are they effective for learning and who exactly benefits from them? These questions are raised by the scientific evidence on enjoyability and effectiveness of serious games being contradictory. In parallel, there is a practical need to ensure that everyone has similar opportunities to thrive in school. The purpose of this thesis was to compare learning with serious games and traditional instructional style. Temperament and enjoyment were decided to take into account in the analysis, as both possibly play a role in learning with either of the instructional styles. Enjoyment has also been claimed to play a role considering the effectiveness of serious games, and it is also important from a student satisfaction point of view. Hence, it was also investigated which instructional style (game or traditional learning) students enjoy more. Lastly, the connection of temperament and enjoyment was investigated. Methods: Altogether 66 Finnish fourth grade students participated in the study, 31 in the control group and 35 in the intervention group. Class teachers were instructed to either take up a serious game website called Loru Games for learning multiplication and division (intervention group) or keep teaching as normally (control group) for the period of two weeks. In both groups, teachers were sent links to pre- and post-tests assessing multiplication and division skills. Teachers also filled in temperament (EAS: Emotionality, Activity, Sociability) questionnaires about the students. Paired samples t-tests were run to investigate which instructional style was enjoyed more. Correlational analyses were run to examine the connection between temperament and learning with either instructional style and the possible connection between enjoyment and temperament. Results: The participants in the intervention group rated game learning significantly higher compared to the traditional instruction. It was also found that there was no association between enjoying either of the instructional styles and temperament. Lastly, it was found that the participants’ learning scores (post-test scores) were not associated with temperament or instructional style. Based on this study It seems that serious games are an enjoyable learning method for the students and it does not seem that there is a need for concern about only some students reaping the benefits of either of the instructional styles, at least where temperament is concerned.
  • Zhang, Xinlan (2023)
    Tiivistelmä - Referat - Abstract The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of sustainability education in Chinese primary education. Society has attained unprecedented level of development as a result of science and technology, while simultaneously there is a growing call for a sustainable future. Due to the huge population and lack of awareness of sustainability in the Chinese context, education plays an important role in facilitating the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that are needed to address the current sustainability challenges. More importantly, in China, sustainability education has not been popularized in primary and secondary schools, and various obstacles and barriers remain to the implementation of sustainability education in primary schools. The study focuses on analysing the connections between the newly published national curriculum standard in 2022 and 12 science textbooks currently used in Chinese primary schools. Throughout the research, the sequence of science textbook contents relevant to sustainability education is analysed to identify the specific teaching and learning contents, within textbooks. Qualitative content analysis and descriptive analysis are conducted to systematically describe the national curriculum standard and textbook contents related to sustainability education. Meanwhile, Python will also be used as a tool to deal with word frequency. The research will result in a theory-based model to show how sustainability education is integrated and worked in Chinese primary science education textbooks. The model is represented as a Chinese knot, representing relations of 13 elements of the learning contents and 4 core competencies. Chinese knots are traditionally believed to indicate a promising future, which also coincides the concept of sustainable development. Additionally, research-based suggestions will be discussed regarding sustainability education in Chinese primary education.
  • Kis, Monika (2023)
    Finnish school principals’ extreme stress and burnout reached worrying proportions in the past years that raised research interest. Job demands rose excessively, undermining their wellbeing. Lately, the primary research focus shifted from school principals’ stress to identifying factors that support wellbeing in their challenging work. This study examines school principals’ personal resources (psychological flexibility, grit, buoyancy) regarding combating stress and enhancing wellbeing. The theoretical framework is based on wellbeing studies, focusing especially on the eudaimonic and subjective nature of it, job demands-resources model, and personal resources. The data of the study consists of questionnaire data and physiological measurements. The levels of personal resources and self-reported stress were measured by using the extended Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire-II. The physiological measurements were obtained with the mobile heart rate monitoring device Firstbeat BodyGuard 2. Altogether 456 principals answered the questionnaire and 29 participated in the physiological data collection. The data analysis was conducted with Jamovi statistical program, using Pearson correlation and linear regression. The results showed that Finnish principals’ wellbeing was vitally influenced by the use of personal resources, which were associated with lower levels of stress: 29% of stress variance explained by them. Nevertheless, the sensitivity analysis highlighted that buoyancy itself significantly explained 27 % of self-reported stress. The correlation model between personal resources and physiological stress indicated that 15% of the measured stress variance could be explained when controlled for age and gender. However, none of the variables in the results showed statistical significance. Even though both self-reported and measured data suggested elevated stress levels, based on the analysis direct association between them could not be assumed due to the small sample size (N=29). This study contributes to a deeper understanding of personal resources and stress of Finnish school principals. These findings can support principals’ wellbeing and possible buoyancy-based intervention studies.
  • Lehner, Sophie (2023)
    Objectives. The purpose of this thesis was to explore how students perceive queer in/visibility in higher education. Queer is defined as a concept that includes queer pedagogy, queer theory, as well as queer as an identity. Previous research has shown that queering educational institutions was not sufficiently happening. This study aims to give an overview of the current state of queer visibility in higher education by investigating how students in one education faculty perceive queer in higher education. The major question driving the inquiry was if and in what way queer was visible or invisible to the students. Methods. The study was conducted by applying a thematic analysis to participants responses to a writing prompt. The thematic analysis was operationalised through inductive and deductive coding. The deductive coding was based on the theoretical concepts of invisibility as well as on the Ward-Gale model. Inductive coding was used to complement the analysis. Results and conclusions. The results of the study show a profound invisibility of queerness in higher education and limited visibility. Queer visibility was mostly connected to individual students’ visibility and the queer community. There is a clear lack of visibility in staff, curriculum, and higher education structures. The outcomes demonstrate the harm this can do on students’ well-being. Some participants portray being queer as something that is hard but also that it could have been easier if there had been more education on the topic. The study initially aimed to expand the Ward-Gale model; however, the results demonstrate that elements of the existing model are not being implemented in the higher education institution that served as the site of this study. I suggest that further research needs to be done on this topic and strongly urges institutions of higher education to increase queer visibility. Furthermore, I suggest implementing teacher trainings, making use of queer teaching materials, encouraging teachers to queer their teaching style, and organising queer events. One way to begin enhancing queer visibility is to implement the Ward-Gale model that is presented in this study. The article will be submitted for publishing to the European Journal of Higher Education.
  • Puumalainen, Julia (2023)
    Objectives. The social role of children has been established over the years and the strengthening of children’s participation is strictly based on international human rights obligations such as the Constitution Law and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Several theorists such as Hart (1992), Shier (2001), Lundy (2007) and Turja (2011) have also defined children’s participation creating different models. Although the importance of children’s participation and hearing children’s opinions are emphasized in several studies and reports (E.g., Karlsson, 2012; Stenvall, 2021; Turja, 2011; Weckström, 2021), it is not always implemented appropriately. The aim of this study is to describe children’s participation experiences and opportunities to participate in decision making. This study focuses on children in ECEC and in 6th grade in three municipalities with different demographical locations and population. Another purpose is to examine the role of adults in participation through children's narratives. In particular, the research makes use of Lundy's (2007) and Turja's (2011) participation models, where participation is seen as a multidimensional entity. The research focuses on the experiences of children in ECEC and children in the 6th grade of primary school to see how age affects those participation experiences. In addition, the review considers the effects of geographical location on the realization of equal participation. Methods. This thesis has been done as part of a sub-study belonging to a larger multidisciplinary research project that was commissioned and funded by the Ministry of Education: 'Multidisciplinary research project on the effects of demographic trends to education' and the sub study 'Equity, children's rights, and the child impact assessment.’ This study was carried out in workshop interviews with children and the data was analyzed using theory-based content analysis. Results and conclusions The data revealed many factors strengthening and weakening children's participation. The results of this study are linked to environments and communities. Children's participation is formed, and it culminates in community and respectful interactions.