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Browsing by study line "Special Education"

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  • Rautaoja, Inka (2022)
    Goals. The aim of this thesis was to examine the relationship between the assessments made on the teacher rating scale and the results of the direct measures of language development when assessing 4-year-old children’s language skills. The second aim was to find out how well early educators identify 4-year-old children who are at risk and those not at risk for language skills when using the teacher rating scale. Previous research has shown that form-based assessment tools are considered practical and efficient ways to assess children’s early language skills. The accuracy and consistency of the assessments have not been thoroughly investigated. This thesis will provide information on whether early educators identify those children who are at greater risk for language problems than their peers. Early identification is important to targeting the right kind of support. Methods. This study is a quantitative Master’s thesis. The research data included the results of the Lene and the Lukiva tests and the assessments made on the teacher rating scale for 4-year-old children (N=189) obtained in the initial sample of the Toimi ja opi research in 2019. The relationship between the assessments made on the teacher rating scale and the results of direct measures of language development was examined using Spearman’s and Pearson’s correlation analyses. The ability of early educators to identify 4-year-old children who are at risk and those not at risk for language skills was examined through configural frequency analysis. IBM SPSS Statistics 27 and Excel were used for data analysis. Results and conclusions. The results of the Master’s thesis showed a moderate and statistically significant relationship between the assessments made on the teacher rating scale and the direct measures of language development. The strongest connection was measured between the teacher rating scale and the Lene’s language comprehension test. The results also showed that the early educators were able to identify those 4-years-old children who are at risk and those not at risk for language skills when using the teacher rating scale. The findings show that the teacher rating scale is a viable tool for early educators to assess children’s language skills and to identify those who are at risk for language problems.
  • Mattila, Helmi (2022)
    This qualitative study examined professional agency during teacher studies in the context of part time special education. The study aims to answer following questions: How does professional agency occur in the context of practical training in teacher studies? What kind of dimensions does professional agency consist of and how do these dimensions relate to each other? Agency can broadly be described as an ability to act intentionally defined by autonomy, will, freedom and choice. Professional agency occurs when professional subjects make choices, use their possibilities to influence and take a stand in ways that effect their work and professional identities. Professional agency is implemented purposefully, and it is defined by dynamic factors of the workplace. Professional agency does not occur merely as accommodation to external demands but also as realistic and critical understanding of personal boundaries and acting in accordance with them. Professional agency has been suggested as a tool for teachers to face educational reforms as it has been seen to enable cultivation of new work forms. Previous research claims that teachers’ agency should be defined in more detail. Teacher training and first years at work are significant phases in cultivating professional agency, yet research in this context is narrow. In addition, Finnish studies regarding part time special education are few. Research material consisted of 13 reports written by teacher students. Reports were produced as a part of the compulsory practical training in the pedagogical studies of special education teacher training between spring 2020 – fall 2021. The study was conducted using qualitative theory driven content analysis. In the context of special education practical training professional agency manifested in four dimensions that were agency in the workplace framework, agency in the immediate social community, agency as identity work and agency as emotional work. Furthermore, professional agency occurred in two levels, community level and individual level, within which agency has divergent goals. At the community level professional agency appeared to aim for a functional work community and pupils’ learning. At the individual level it appeared to aim for teacher students’ professional development and personal wellbeing. Results suggest that interaction in the immediate social community and emotional factors are central to the enactment of professional agency. Results are in accordance with previous studies that claim professional agency to manifest in the framework of dynamic factors at both community level and individual level. The results of this study suggest that more research on the relation between community and individual level as well as on the importance of immediate social community and emotional factors are needed.
  • Toikka, Joanna (2022)
    Aim. The aim of this study was to examine the experiences of adults on the autism spectrum of being themselves and the factors related to masking in higher education and transitioning to working life. Previous studies have shown that many people on the autism spectrum feel the need to mask their characteristics typical of the autism spectrum. It has been found that masking can have negative effects on the mental health and wellbeing of the person who masks. This study reveals the experiences of adults on the autism spectrum of being themselves and which factors are related to masking. Methods. The data of the study consisted of the interviews collected for the international IMAGE project. The participants were adults on the autism spectrum from Finland (n=7) and the United Kingdom (n=5). The data was analyzed in the phenomenological framework using qualitative, data-driven content analysis. Results and conclusions. The results showed that the diagnosis of autism spectrum was reported mainly for a specific reason, not spontaneously. Experiences of being accepted ranged from positive to negative, and it was particularly challenging to be oneself in extracurricular activities. Three themes emerged in the factors related to masking. First, masking and openness on the other hand were associated with the concern about their consequences: participants considered possible negative consequences on job search, other people and themselves. Another factor related to masking was social environment. Masking increased when the person on the autism spectrum did not know their company, while knowledge about the autism spectrum and friendly attitude reduced it. What is more, one’s own opinion of the autism spectrum was related to masking. A positive attitude towards the autism spectrum reduced the need for masking, while one's own or others' negative experiences of being open about the autism spectrum increased its hiding. In higher education and workplaces, it would be important to reinforce factors that increase the possibility for the people on the autism spectrum to be themselves and not mask if they wish so.
  • Hirvonen, Satu (2022)
    Objectives. The purpose of this Master’s thesis is to assess the methodological quality of intervention studies examining the effect of digital learning games on the reading skills of children with or at risk of reading difficulties. Learning games can serve as a tool to motivate and engage in learning when a child needs more time and repetition to learn. Learning games are utilized in teaching, but the results for their effectiveness vary. The target groups for special needs education are small and heterogeneous in their skills, which makes it challenging to demonstrate the effectiveness of interventions. Methods. The dissertation was carried out as a systematic literature review using PRISMA guidelines. The studies to be evaluated were retrieved from the databases ERIC (Proquest), PsycINFO (Ovid), SCOPUS (Elsevier), Academic Search Complete (EBSCO) and Web of Science. The studies selected for review (n = 13) were published between years 2011 and 2022, were peer-reviewed and English-language intervention studies. The target group was children with reading difficulties or at a risk of reading difficulties, and the intervention sought to influence reading skills through digital learning games. The evaluation was carried out based on the criteria of the EPHPP framework. Results and conclusions. The majority (8) of the intervention studies were rated as strong, three as moderate and two as weak. For the study design, all were assessed as strong for evaluation, while for selection bias and blinding, all studies were rated as only moderate. For confounders, all but one was rated as moderate. Weak ratings were given to only a few studies for data collection methods and withdrawals and dropouts. Based on the results of this study, there is the most room for improvement in the reporting of these two parts to ensure the reliability of the studies.
  • Visti, Ruut (2022)
    Aims. The purpose of this master’s thesis was to study how the chosen theoretical frame-work of inclusion (by Ainscow et al, 2006) fits to describe news about special education and the need for support in comprehensive school. Both nationally and internationally, inclusion is one of the main values that guides the organization of education. In research inclusion and special education are usually linked together and inclusion has different definitions. In this thesis special education is seen as a part of inclusion and it is analyzed through the chosen inclusion model. The aim is to find out what different dimensions of inclusion can be found in the data, which groups are mentioned in the news and what kind of similarities and differ-ences can be found between the groups. Methods. The data was collected by using selected topic tags from the website of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle). The news that was used as a data in this thesis was published 2011–2021 (N =164). The method used in this qualitative thesis is theory-based content analysis. Results and conclusion. The selected inclusion model suited well to describe different dimensions of news about special education and need for support. The analysis was based on the inclusion model by Ainscow et al (2006) and the dimensions of the model were found in the data. In the model, special education and the need for support are seen in two different ways. First, inclusion can be seen as support for different groups of pupils, that need support for their learning and schoolgoing. On the other hand, inclusion can be seen as values and actions towards more inclusive school for all. In the data inclusion was seen in both ways, but more often by groups than by values and actions that make school more inclusive for all. There were more similarities than differences between the groups, and it was found that news handled pupil groups by three dimensions: 1) ways to support pupils, 2) how to recognize need for support and factors that are behind the need for support, and 3) the lack of support. In studies, inclusion is often understood by the placement of students with special educational needs (SEN) and therefore the placement of SEN-students dominates discussion. The discussion about the placement of SEN-pupils was also strongly present in the data of this thesis.
  • Tapio, Hanna-Sofia (2022)
    The objective of the thesis is to find out how different environmental factors and the quality of school adults' interaction affect the well-being of students and the easing and escalation of challenging situations. The topic of the thesis is important because the mental symptoms and challenging situations of students have been perceived to have increased in the school world. Data was collected through interviews (n = 4). The interviewees were young people who had completed primary school and who had received support from a special rehabilitation class for mental symptoms. The study is phenomenological and its research design is data-driven content analysis. The material has been systematically analyzed by coding and classification. The core of the thesis was the interaction chains observed in the data and the well-being factors. The chains of interaction that ended in a negative outcome included a school adult’s blaming, indifferent, punitive, derogatory, uncertain, or unknown response. Interactions with a positive outcome included seeking a solution, being compassionate, or strengthening positive behavior. In addition to the quality of the interaction, the well-being factors at school also had a particular impact on the prevention of challenging situations and the promotion of pupil well-being. The most significant well-being factors that emerged from the data were the small group, the close-knit group in the class, the best friend in the class, a few friends in the class, differentiated and individualized tasks, and the ability to choose one’s own doing or task. These factors were able to prevent, e.g., challenging social situations as well as challenging school tasks, which often occurred in the triggers of the chains of interaction. In addition, the importance of permanence in the school world was emphasized in the well-being factors.
  • Mattila, Venla (2022)
    Aims. The aim of this master’s thesis was to examine the association between poor gross motor skills, fine motor skills and early mathematical skills in 4-years-old-children. Previous research has shown that both gross and fine motor skills are associated with academic performance at school age, especially in mathematics, but research is still limited for under school age children. This study provides additional information on how poor gross motor skills are associated with fine motor skills and early mathematical skills before school age. Methods. This study was conducted using quantitative methods. IMB SPSS Statistics 27 was used for the data analysis. The data of this thesis was obtained from the Toimi ja opi -study and included 188 Finnish children aged four years in 2019. The research data was test results of the FMS (fundamental motor skills) test, fine motor skills tests and the Finnish Early Numeracy Test (Lukukäsitetesti). Gross motor skills were measured using the FMS (TGMD-3, KTK, MABC) -test. Fine motor skills were measured with three fine motor skills (LENE, BAS, WISC-3) tests. Early mathematical skills were measured using the Finnish Early Numeracy Test, that is based on number sequence skills and relational skills. In the results, means were examined with correlations and one-way analysis of variance. The association and relationship between the FMS and the Finnish Early Numeracy Test were analysed with Pearson correlation coefficients and the one-way ANOVA. Results and conclusions. The results of this master's thesis showed a statistically significant correlations between gross motor skills, fine motor skills and early mathematical skills. The results showed a statistically significant difference between poor gross motor skills and normally developing gross motor skills in the mean scores of the fine motor skills test and the Finnish Early Numeracy Test. The lower the score the child scored on the gross motor skills test, the lower the scores were on the fine motor skills test and early mathematical skills test. Results showed that the association between these skills can be seen already before school-age. Results underline the notion that in early childhood education should pay attention to identify the poor performance in motor skills in children and when they are observed, need the possible other difficulties be surveyed, so the support can be started at early stage. Early support can prevent the later difficulties in learning and development.
  • Majuri, Hanna (2022)
    The purpose of this study is to elucidate the experiences of parents of children with special needs when encountering professionals and to understand the meaning of these encounters. Child’s special needs affect parents in many ways and there is more parental burnout among parents of children with special needs. Parents of children with special needs regularly encounter professionals from social services, health services and schools and family-centeredness has become one of the values that conduct services planning. Family-centered practices recognizes parents as the experts on their child, acknowledges the individuality of the families, promotes partnership, and are based on the family’s strengths. In previous studies parents described parents as the experts on their child but stated that professionals do not always acknowledge their expertise. System is described fragmented, and parents experience that professionals do not see the complexity of their lives. The study is based on thirteen semi-structured qualitative interviews with parents of children with special needs. The interview material was analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Results showed that when encountering professionals parents experienced that parents and professionals had different roles. The roles of the professionals were companion, expert, know-it-all, and border guard. The roles of the parents were expert, organizer, and fighter. System affected encounters as it was experienced fragmented, and it contained different rules. Also, diagnosis and resources affected encounters. Encounters, occupational skills, services, and information sharing were experienced coincidental. Encounters evoke emotions and emotions affected encounters. Based on the results, it can be concluded that from parents’ perspectives there are issues that hinder family-centered practices. Encounters also have issues that increase parents’ burden. System should be improved so that it matches better the needs of the families, for example there could be a coordinating professional. Professionals should acknowledge parents’ expertise and consider parents’ emotions when encountering them.
  • Talosela, Minttu (2021)
    Finnish special class teachers and special teachers in primary and secondary education work in various settings. The reform of special education has changed the work. Lacking normative work descriptions, the tasks and responsibilities of special education teachers can vary vastly. On the other hand, there can be recognized a historical continuum of the work models of special class teachers and special teachers. The purpose of this study was to explore the conceptions of special class teachers and special teachers associated to work descriptions along with the perceptions of their everyday work and its tasks. A qualitative research approach was used. Research data consisted of six interviews in total with both special class teachers and special teachers. Qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis were used to analyze the data. Following the content analysis, the work of both special education teacher professions can be conceptualized in the categories of teaching, co-operation, and background work. Teaching was considered the primary objective of the work of special education teachers. Two new categories, meta-work and community building were suggested based on the interview data. In thematic analysis, the inclination of special education teachers to pursue the good of their students was found in close relation to their perceived working mandates.
  • Riuttanen, Juulia (2022)
    Goals. The aim of this thesis was to find out how practicing mental health skills impacts on students’ experience of their well-being and mental health skills. Mental health skills include socioemotional skills, resilience, coping skills, self-esteem, recognizing and using strengths together with everyday wellness skills. Previous research has shown that mental health promotion programs have succeed to promote students’ well-being and mental health skills for example, peer relationships, self-esteem as well as resilience and coping skills. However, these mental health promotion programs have also shown uneven effect on students’ well-being. In some cases, only part of the students participated in the program reports the positive effect or there is no reported effect at all. Methods. This study is a quantitative master’s thesis. The research data was collected in one primary school in Uusimaa in Finland. The data consists of survey results that were collected during the school year of 2021-2022 from 229 primary students. The students practiced mental health skills with “The Mental Health Skills Badge” -learning and teaching module during one school year. Students estimated their well-being and mental health skills before (in August) (N=229) and after (in May) (N=203) the practicing. The survey was conducted by Webropol survey tool. The data was analyzed by IMB SPSS Statistics 27-program. The analysis method of the study was a t-test. The differences between the students’ initial and final measurements were also investigated by comparing the deviations of the answers. Results and conclusions. The results of the study showed that practicing mental health skills during one school year does not have impact on students’ well-being or mental health skills. These results show that promoting students’ well-being and mental health skills is a very challenging task. In the future, Finnish basic education should pay attention to teaching mental health issues systematically and effectively. These findings also show that when introducing a new set of teaching and learning materials, attention should be paid to its complete implementation.
  • Leinos, Minna (2022)
    Teacher education is a continuum of initial teacher education, induction and in-service training. The development of the teacher education has been set as a goal in the Education policy report in 2021. Several projects have been started to support the development work. Earlier research has mainly focused on new teachers induction education and to the needs of new teachers. Also, the need of in-service training for teachers has been studied. There have been very few studies focusing on the in-service training needs of special education teachers. The aim of this study is to find out what kind of professional advice special education teachers ask for in a social media group, and what kind of in-service training needs emerge in these conversations. The Facebook group called Erkkamaikat is a closed group of appr. 8.6 thousand members. The group is intended for special education teachers. The discussion in Erkkamaikat group is lively, and many participants request help for their job as a special education teacher. The discussion also includes topics of which participants need more information or training. The research material contains dicussions which have been started in Erkkamaikat group 1.8.2021-30.11.2021, and comments of those discussions. Material was collected during November and December at 2021. The material was analysed using the qualitative content analysis. The conclusion of analysis was that the themes of the professional questions of special education teachers could be divided into three main categories: work framework, background work and hands-on work. Each main category contained sub-categories. In addition, there was a category called sundries that includes questions that could not be included in any other sub-category and did not join up with each others. Many categories of the questions of special education teachers can also be seen as a need for in-service training. Additionally, participants required in-service training about holding a pupil, and extension of compulsory education. Many of participants also liked to have a peer to share experiences with. It seems that the special education teachers in the social media group ask help for themes of which the information can be found in professional literature or by education but also for themes from which t is better to ask advice from the peers. Also, the need for peer-mentoring occurred in the discussions.
  • Känä, Emilia (2022)
    The aim of this study was to find out how well the special needs of children are recognized, evaluated and monitored, how changes are made to the level of support and what factors affects the realization of the support that a child needs. This study produces topical information about support practices in municipalities. Previous studies on three-tier support in early childhood education have not been conducted, thus this study provides new insights into the practices of three-tier support model. The subject of the study is very topical. Three-tiered support is under development in early childhood education and information is needed on the practices implemented. Emilia Känä, Lotta Meismaa and Piia Lahti have created indicator of this study and collected the research material in 2020 as part of Opettaja työnsä tutkijana –course at Helsinki University in collaboration with the Board of Education. The survey was conducted as stratified random sampling. A total of 209 ECEC leaders, 186 Finnish speaking and 23 Swedish speaking, answered to the questionnaire from 198 different municipalities in Finland including Åland. 62,3 % of the Finnish municipalities responded to the survey. Answers were analyzed combining quantitative and qualitative analyses. Conclusions are presented with tables and examples form research material. The results showed that the special needs of children are recognized quite well, but the practices for evaluating and monitoring the need for support are diverse. According to findings of this research, some municipalities lack a plan, policy or tool for monitoring support. Research shows, that there are differences and similarities between municipals at different levels of three-tiered support model. Most differences were found in the practice of intensified and special support. Research shows that municipalities can provide support quite well, but there are still various reasons why the needed support is not put into practice. The study highlighted the reasons related to personnel and the municipality as well its lack of resources. Conclusion is that practices are diverse at the national level and equality is not achieved. A national support model is needed and ECEC law and the National curriculum for ECEC are need to be changed to ensure equal support.
  • Haapamäki, Siru (2022)
    Objectives. For this thesis, the objectives were to find out, what kind of factors effect school absenteeism in Finnish compulsory schools and how school absenteeism effects youth’s conceptions of the future. Risk factors can be divided into individual, school, family, and community factors. Other objective for this thesis was to find out, how youth perceive the future and are there differences between youth attending school and school absentees. Conceptions of the future were divided into educational aspirations and visions about the future. Previous research has found out that school absentees have lower educational aspirations and more negative visons about the future than youth attending school. In this thesis will be found out, which risk factors affect most on school absenteeism in Finnish compulsory schools, and how the future shows out on school absentees. Methods. This thesis is a quantitative master’s thesis. Used data was School Health Promotion study in 2019 (Kouluterveyskysely), which is collected by Finnish institute for health and welfare (THL). Data included 8th and 9th grade students (N = 87 020). Data was processed in IMB SPSS Statistics 27 -program. Methods for this thesis were multinomial logistic regression analysis, cross-tabulation, and t-test. Results and conclusions. The biggest risk factors for school absenteeism were dissatisfaction with school, substance use, bullying other youth, perceived difficulties in concentrating, and difficulties in sleeping. Parents’, especially mother’s higher education protected youth from school absenteeism. The main results of this thesis were mainly in line with previous research. School absentees perceived the future more negatively and had lower educational aspirations than youth attending school. There was a statistically significant difference between the conceptions of the future between the groups. School absentees were more likely not to want to continue education after compulsory education. By the results of this thesis, risk factors for school absenteeism can be recognized more accurately, students’ comprehensive well-being can be supported better, and student counselling can be improved.
  • Dey, Mira (2021)
    Bullying victimization is a multidimensional phenomenon which can be explained by many risk factors. Youths in lower secondary school are particularly vulnerable and may have conflicts with peers which, in turn, can increase the risk of being bullied at school. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of bullying victimization in lower secondary school and possible underlying factors in bullying victimization. In this study, the goal is to examine how sense of belonging at school, immigrant background, socioeconomic status and gender explain the variation in bullying victimization at school. In addition, the aim of this study is to observe the mean difference in bullying victimization between immigrant students and non-immigrant students. The data of this study is from a student answers to the questionnaire used in the PISA (2018) study. A total of 5649 students from different areas in Finland participated in the PISA study in 2018. The participants were mainly 15 to 16 years old lower secondary school students. To analyze the data, IBM Statistics SPSS -27 software and The IEA International Database Analyzer (version 4.0.39) were used. A linear regression analysis and an independent samples t-test were used as the analysis methods. The results from this study indicated that the sense of belonging at school was the strongest and statistically significant explanatory variable of bullying victimization at school. Immigrant background and socioeconomic status were also statistically significant but their explanatory powers were very small. The results from the t-test showed that the mean difference in bullying victimization between immigrant and non-immigrant students was statistically significant but the effect size was weak. The analysis also revealed that verbal and social bullying experiences were more common than physical bullying experiences. Boys were more likely than girls to experience physical bullying and girls were more likely than boys to experience social bullying. It is crucial to pay attention to the social bonds and climate at school to decrease the risk of bullying victimization.
  • Bird, Susanna (2022)
    Goals. Deci and Ryan's (2000) self determination theory has been researched in the context of schools. The significance of the basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence and relat-edness on learning, motivation and well being has been proven through much research. This re-search aims to find out how these basic psychological needs are found in the memories of pris-oners, what kind of strengthening or weakening aspects of motivation and well being can be found in the memories and to take a look at the weaknesses and strengths of school systems that can be found in the memories of the prisoners. Method. The material used, VASORA, which was collected from 11 Finnish prisons. 243 pris-oners answered an open questionnaire in which they were asked to depict their school memo-ries, more specifically, their memories of peer relationships, teacher relationships and coping in different studies. The research is qualitative in nature and the data analysis method used in this study was content analysis. Results and conclusions. The key finding was that basic psychological needs were not suffi-ciently met during the prisoners' school period. Bullying, loneliness, learning difficulties, prob-lems of concentration and hyperactivity, absence and other factors that weaken the well be-ing were highlighted in the data. For developing schools, it is key to note these weak spots of the system in which the student is in danger of sliding towards exclusion.
  • Elomaa, Nora (2022)
    My master's thesis examines the dimensions of well-being in sixth-graders (school engagement, self-esteem, school burnout and depression) as well as their relations to each other. This thesis focuses on how social factors can predict the dimensions of well-being. Previous studies have shown that adolescent's school engagement has a positive effect even later in working life. According to research the support of classmates, teacher and family is related to the well-being in adolescents. The results of this study can be used to develop tools for support the well-being of adolescents. In addition, it might be useful for the future research of adolescents’ well-being. This is a quantitative study, and the research material was collected as part of the #Uuttakoulua - project. However, my thesis is not part of the project. The data was collected in three different schools in the metropolitan area surrounding Helsinki, and it consist of 156 respondents; 99 of them belongs to the experimental group with strength-based education and 57 belongs to the comparison group. Participants in the study were sixth-graders and their answers were filled by an online questionnaire. IBM SPSS Statistics 27 was used for data analysis. I used statistical methods to answer my research questions (independent sample t-test, means - standard deviations, Pearson correlation coefficient, linear regression analysis). The results showed that the well-being of sixth-graders is generally good. They experienced more school engagement and higher self-esteem than school burnout and depression. The dimensions of well-being correlate statistically significantly with each other, for example self-esteem and depression had a quite strong negative correlation. Based on the results, support of the family seemed to have a more significant impact on students’ well-being than other social factors.
  • Nikupaavo, Beeda (2022)
    Bullying and conflicts between peers have been a topic of discussion and research for years. Although a lot of attention is paid to bullying in particular in our society, and measures to prevent it are constantly being developed, it still occurs in many schools. Research has shown that bullying is a multi-faceted phenomenon that is influenced by a variety of risk factors at the individual, class and school levels. It’s important to address conflicts and bullying immediately and by adequate means. Sometimes, however the situations escalate and especially then they can threaten both the well-being of the individuals involved as well as the school community. Aseman Lapset provides support for schools in resolving challenging and prolonged bullying and conflict cases in the form of K-0 project. The purpose of this study is to examine bullying and conflicts in the school context from the viewpoint of K-0 employees and to find out what kind of factors may influence the prolongation of these cases. This study was conducted as a qualitative study with phenomenological-hermeneutic features. Thematic interviews were used to collect the data. The interviews were conducted in the autumn of 2021, and a total of nine (N=9) K-0 employees participated in three group interviews. The data was transcribed and then analyzed using data-driven content analysis. The themes that were described by the interviewees in this study were related to school culture, students and their families, and more broadly to society in general. These included school climate and anti-bullying/conflict practices, peer relationships, individual needs of the students, strong emotional responses of the parents involved, and the availability of community support services. Especially school culture and its different aspects were emphasized in the interviews.
  • Eerola, Iida (2022)
    The starting point of this master’s thesis is the Act on General Upper Secondary Education, which entered into force in 2019, and the subsequent general upper secondary school reform, which obligates general upper secondary schools to provide special needs education and learning support for their students. The purpose of this thesis is to understand the job description of general upper secondary school part-time special needs teachers, as described by the special needs teachers themselves. In addition, the purpose of this thesis is to understand what kind of support students in general upper secondary school need. The aim of this thesis is to make the job description of general upper secondary school special needs teachers clearer and more approachable. Also, the goal is to make the support needs of general upper secondary school students understandable. Only little research has yet been carried out on these themes. This thesis was qualitative, and the thematic interviews formed the material of the thesis. The data was analysed through data-driven content analysis. Seven general upper secondary school special needs teachers participated in the interview. The results of the thesis conclude that the job description of the general upper secondary school special needs teachers is divided into three categories, each of which have various subcategories. In the job description, the following three categories stood out: identifying support needs, support for studying, and co-operation. Out of the job description, the most amount of the time was spent identifying reading difficulties and writing statements following the identification. Support for studying appeared in the job description as both support for learning and support for general well-being. The job description also essentially included co-operation between different actors. Students needed support in studying relating to both learning and well-being. Students especially needed support in time management and with problems concerning concentration as well as being able to identify and deal with learning difficulties. Students also needed widespread support in maintaining well-being, of which anxiety and depression were especially highlight
  • Alatulkkila, Saara (2021)
    Research on adolescents’ life satisfaction has increased only in recent years. Previous research has indicated that many variables are in association with life satisfaction. However, there has been need for more research on variables that affect adolescents’ life satisfaction and overall subjective well-being. In this thesis, it is researched how positive emotions, sense of belonging at school, self-efficacy, gender, and socioeconomic status affect life satisfaction of Finnish adolescents by way of the PISA 2018 research data. In addition, the differences between girls and boys in life satisfaction, positive emotions, sense of belonging at school, and self-efficacy are examined. The data used in this study were the answers to the PISA 2018 student questionnaire. The data represented the entire Finland, and the sample size was large (n = 5649). Analyses of the data were carried out with IBM SPSS 27 and the IEA International Database Analyzer (version 4.0.39). Analytical methods used in this study were linear regression analysis and independent samples t-test. According to the regression analysis, independent variables explained 39 % of the variance of life satisfaction, in which case the effect size was quite large. All variables, except socioeconomic status, had statistically significant effects on life satisfaction. The most predictive of all independent variables seemed to be positive emotions (β = .42, p < .001). As for the t-tests, they showed statistically significant differences between girls and boys’ mean values in both life satisfaction and sense of belonging at school. However, effect sizes were quite small. According to the results, positive emotions, sense of belonging at school, self-efficacy and gender affect adolescents’ life satisfaction. There are also differences in life satisfaction and sense of belonging at school between genders.
  • Pölönen, Mimmi-Emilia (2022)
    Positive pedagogy is a pedagogical approach that has gained popularity in recent years. In this thesis, I research how the culture of abledness appears in the discourses of the positive pedagogy guide Huomaa hyvä! - Näin ohjaat lasta ja nuorta löytämään luonteenvahvuutensa. I connect the increased popularity of positive pedagogy to the rise of therapeutic ethos in education, which includes for example the popularisation of interventions in mental health and wellbeing as well as the way societal issues are located in individuals as disorders. My aim is to understand how abledness is discursively constructed and how these developing definitions of abledness support special education in its goal to improve equality. I examine discursive conventions in the context of disability studies (and especially crip theory), using the concept of compulsory able-bodiedness by Robert McRuer. In the analysis I follow critical discourse analysis. I categorise three intertwined discourses from the material: the discourses of natural potential, becoming fully human, and abled happiness. Abledness is linked to being human in all three discourses. The meaning of abledness is mostly found in being dynamic – abledness essentially means to become more abled. I identify that compulsory able-bodiedness does not extend to everyone in the material – it’s compulsiveness is limited. The naturalised responsibility to improve one’s character strengths only applies to those who are able enough to begin with.