Presenters and abstracts of ESELS 2023 are listed below in alphabetical order. For an overview of each session, please see the conference programme.


Robert Brotherus: Ilmastokriisi reaalisen ongelmana (Paper session 2.2)

Kokonaisvaltaisen ilmastokasvatuksen polkupyörämalli on opetushallituksen suosittelema, ajankohtaista ilmastokasvatusta yhdistelevä tapa kasvattaa lapsia ilmastonmuutokseen liittyen. Mallin tavoitteena on olla mukana ratkaisemassa ilmastokriisiä, yhtä nykypäivän isoimmista kysymyksistä. Tämä tutkimus tarkastelee polkupyörämallin sisältämää ajattelua ideologiakritiikin näkökulmasta. Sen tavoitteena on tutkia, kuinka polkupyörämalli edistää tai välttelee ilmastokriisin reaalisen kohtaamista eli sellaisen ristiriitaisuuden kohtaamista, joka haastaa ihmiskunnan nykyisen elämänmuodon perustavanlaatuisesti. Tutkimuksen menetelmänä on žižekiläinen ideologiakritiikki, joka koostuu ideologian oireiden tulkinnasta ja fantasian lävistämisestä. Tutkimus osoittaa, kuinka polkupyörämalli lähestyy jossain määrin ilmastokriisin reaalista, mutta päätyy kuitenkin sen välttelemiseen ideologisen operaation kautta, jonka mukaan ilmastokriisi on rat- kaistavissa ympäristövastuullisella toiminnalla. Tutkimuksen perusteella polkupyörämalli tarjoaa kulutuskeskeisen maailmankuvan muuttamiseksi kuluttamisen keinoja ja pitää sisällään fantasian ”Luonnosta” koherenttina tahona, joka on yksilön kanssa vuorovaikutuksessa. Tutkimus esittelee lopuksi žižekiläiseen filosofiaan perustuvan, vaihtoehtoisen tavan suhteutua ilmastokriisiin.


Ece Demirayak: The Effect of Therapeutic Storytelling on Piano Instruction (Paper session 2.1)

This study aims to investigate the effects of using therapeutic stories in piano instruction on self-esteem and social anxiety level, self-expression skill, motivation, and music composition process of 5-6 year old piano students. This study is expected to contribute to scientific literature, as it appears that there is no research combining therapeutic stories and piano education except for the researcher’s previous work. The results of this study are also expected to facilitate the connection of the inner world and piano instrument for children in line with the goal of art education and benefit the society. In this mixed-method research involving 14 participants, a one-group pretest-posttest design was utilized in the quantitative dimension and a multiple case study was used in the qualitative dimension. The quantitative data collection tools of the study are the Revised Preschool Anxiety Scale and the DeMoulin Self-Concept Developmental Scale. The qualitative data collection tools consist of semi-structured interviews with the students and unstructured interviews with the parents. The application process of study lasted for 8 weeks and 8 half-hour private piano lessons were held with each participant. In the first 6 lessons of the study, the researcher applied therapeutic storytelling to the participants, and in the last 2 lessons, the participants were asked to complete half of the stories. The participants designed 1 music composition for each lesson and each story. As a result of the study, the self-concept and self-esteem of the student participants did not change, but their level of anxiety and social anxiety decreased. It was also determined that the procedure applied in the study helped students express themselves, contributed to their intrinsic motivation, and students associated some musical elements with therapeutic stories.


Tsvetelina Dimitrova: An Alternative Perspective on ECEC Pedagogy (Poster session)

The key elements of Finnish early childhood education and care (ECEC) are curriculum goals, pedagogical approaches and professional expertise. Teachers are trusted to autonomously translate curriculum in quality education through pedagogical practices. Based on previous research (Alila et al, 2022; Kangas et al, 2021; Kumpulainen, 2018; Pesonen and Valkonen, 2023), demands for pedagogical expertise are strong. Good pedagogical skills correspond to quality education. Pedagogy, however, has different definitions – it could be interpreted as a style of teaching or as a philosophy. Often, it is used in terms of describing a way of teaching or ideas about education – positive, child-centered, documentation, sustainability, etc. Most research agrees that pedagogy is based in science and socio-political/economic trends but also somewhat subjective to the individual teacher (Alila et al, 2022; Kangas et al, 2021). The subjectivity factor is acknowledged in research on reflective practices for pedagogical improvement. Moate (2023) and Lanas et al (2015) discuss reflections as an important element of a teacher’s pedagogical expertise. Furthermore, Gallas (2010) suggests that, just like researchers, teachers are never entirely objective or “free of unconscious influences” (p. 2). The research questions of this Master’s thesis plan to investigate how the reflective aspect of pedagogy is addressed in teacher education and how teacher students are supported in recognizing subjectivity in pedagogy. Reflectivity and subjectivity are meant in terms of personal beliefs and experiences that affect teachers’ way of teaching. The study plans to use qualitative methods and discourse analysis in particular. Data is to be collected through documents on Finnish ECEC teacher education. Potential results could provide a perspective on pedagogy as more than a set of theories and practices that promote quality education. The study hopes to see beyond ‘how we teach’ and into ‘why we teach this way’ by acknowledging teachers’ individual beliefs (Warren, 2011).


Grace Joplin Ferreira: Linguistic camouflage in autistic adults (Paper session 3.1)

Autism is a set of heterogeneous neurodevelopmental conditions, characterised by early-onset difficulties in social communication and unusually restricted, repetitive behaviour and interests. The worldwide population prevalence is about 1% (Lai, Baron-Cohen, Lombardo, 2014). This is the dominant clinical model definition of autism (Arnold, 2020) or deficit-focused bias (Pelicano and Houting, 2022) which serves to support dehumanizing attitudes by seeing autistic people as “less than human” (Pelicano and Houting, 2022) . Consequently, it is common to present results in which findings inform the autism deficits in terms of language and social skills (Helland at al, 2014; Hollo and Oliver, 2014, Laasonen, 2018, Hull et al, 2020). This doctoral dissertation aims to reverse this scenario, by criticizing the deficit-focused bias in autism studies, this study will screen the linguistic camouflage behavior of autistic adults, especially women, with a emancipatory and inclusive approach. Little is known about linguistic camouflage, to date only two studies are published, both includes children and teenagers, but not adults (Parish-Morris et al. 2017; Cola et al., 2022). Consequently, the present study is divided in three stages: first, a pilot study in Finland, second, an exploratory study in Brazil, third the data analysis of spontaneous language production in the United States. With a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, this study aims to be the first of its kind in not only understanding more about camouflage behavior via language but also giving more empowerment to autistic individuals to make use of their language abilities in a context that non-autistic embraces the neurodiversity aspect of communication.


Andrew Graham: Examining approaches to multilingualism in teacher education in Finland (Paper session 2.3)

My doctoral research seeks to contribute to the understanding of how multilingualism and multilingual education are approached in teacher education in Finland from the perspective of Finnish- and Swedish-speaking teacher educators. Along with summarising the current research on multilingualism and multilingual education in Finland and highlighting the consequent research gaps, I will present my research plan discussing the main concepts, aims and methods of the research. In Finland, the population of foreign-language speakers has almost doubled in the past decade making up 8.3% of the total population as of 2021 (Statistics Finland, 2022), meaning classrooms are receiving more diverse and multilingual learners whose native languages are not Finnish or Swedish. Recent PISA results for Finland show significant underperformance in reading for immigrant-background pupils (OECD, 2019), and strong evidence indicates that language is one of the dominant causes of underachievement in school (Bergroth et al., 2021; Beacco et al., 2016). Therefore, by ignoring the linguistic needs of newcomer pupils, an inequitable situation could arise in which pupil participation and access to learning is impeded. Important questions to address, and which I aim to answer through my doctoral research, are how are Finnish universities preparing teachers to work in more diverse and multilingual settings? How do teacher educators believe teachers can better support the linguistic needs of minority students? Are there significant differences in how Finnish- and Swedish-speaking teacher educators approach topics pertaining to multilingualism and the implementation of multilingual pedagogies?


Emma Heikkilä: How to catch emotions in space and lived experience: Methodology for seizing emotion (Paper session 3.2)

In my doctoral thesis, I will study the role of emotions in relation to social sustainability in teacher education. The focus is to develop theoretical, methodological and empiric knowledge on emotions in teacher education on social sustainability. In the thesis, emotions are theorised majorly in the footsteps of Sara Ahmed (2006; 2014). Instead of focusing on emotions as a private matter, I view emotions also as a social and shared phenomenon (Ahmed, 2014; Boler, 1999). With this theoretical framework, I study emotions as relational and something that do not arise from within ‘the individual’, nor from ‘the social’ but as something that create the boundaries between ‘the individual’ and ‘the social’ (Ahmed, 2014). My analysis will encompass how emotions circulate, ‘stick’ and create boundaries in the context of teacher education.

How to catch emotions when working with Ahmed’s theories? In my presentation I will show parts of my research plan on my two upcoming studies of my doctoral research using methods in an experimental way to find emotions. That is, the focus is on the methods for data production and collection. I will approach my research topic with qualitative and creative methods drawing on a post-intentional phenomenological approach (Vagle, 2019). In Study 1, I will discuss observation (e.g., Reger, 2002) and art-based mapping (Higgins et al., 2016) as a way to investigate what emotions do in the daily classroom environment of teacher education. In Study 2, I will discuss methods of group interviews (e.g., Liljestrom, 2010) using Photo Elicitation (Richard & Lahman, 2015) in order to evoke emotions and discussion on emotions. Following, I will conduct individual interviews with using phenomenological interview as method (van Manen, 2016). Concludingly, I discuss critically about the presented methods.


Ida Huttunen: Adolescents’ socio-emotional skills and school engagement during COVID-19 (Poster session)

COVID-19 pandemic created unique challenges for young students’ academic wellbeing as they quickly had to adapt to changes in learning environments such as decreases in sense of belonging due to distance learning. According to previous studies and the Finnish national curriculum (2014), socio-emotional skills can serve as a resource that fosters students’ academic wellbeing. Based on the OECD framework (Kankaras-Suarez-Alvarez, 2019) this study targeted to identify profiles of four key socio-emotional skills (academic buoyancy, belonginess, curiosity, and grit) among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic and examine how these profiles differ in terms of gender and school engagement. The data was collected as part of the Bridging the Gaps longitudinal study in fall 2020 from the Helsinki metropolitan area via an online survey. The participants were 8th grade students born in 2006 (N=1364, of which 40.0% females, 37.9% males and 1.9% non-binary). The profiles were identified using Two step -cluster analysis. Four different socio-emotional skill profiles were identified: Low socio-emotional skills (26.8 %), High academic buoyancy and high belonginess (30.1%), High grit, curiosity, and belonginess (22.7 %), and High socio-emotional skills (20.4 %). All the profiles varied by school engagement. Students in the High socio-emotional skills profile reported the highest school engagement, whereas students in the Low socio-emotional skills profile reported the lowest level of school engagement. The profiles also varied by gender. The results implied that students differ in terms of socio-emotional skills. Moreover, the results showed the importance of socio-emotional skills for adolescents’ academic wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. In future studies it is important to examine further how adolescents’ socio-emotional skills develop after the COVID-19. We also need more research on how students’ background factors are related to their socio-emotional skills in order to develop more targeted interventions and to better support all students’ wellbeing.


Pia Ilomanni: Examining primary students’ mathematics motivation profiles (Paper session 1.1)

Finnish primary students’ mathematics performance is well above average in international comparison, but research shows that it is declining. Students’ motivation in relation to their mathematics performance hasn’t been as strong as could be expected. This development in students’ mathematics performance has highlighted the importance of mathematics competence and motivation research. We used the person-centered approach to investigate Finnish third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students’ mathematics motivation profiles. In addition, we explored differences between the motivation profiles regarding students’ mathematics identity, performance, and their parents’ mathematics-related attitudes. Participants were 304 Southern Finnish third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students from five separate schools and their parents/guardians (N=241). The surveys were conducted during spring of 2021 in the pilot stage of an international research project focusing on students’ mathematical motivation. A latent profile analysis (LPA) based on 304 third, fourth, and fifth-grade students revealed three distinct types of math-related motivation profiles: highly motivated, non-motivated and indifferent. Further investigation of the profiles showed that students’ higher mathematics identity is represented strongly in highly motivated group, as are students’ mathematics performance scores. Parents’ self-reported perceived low mathematics competence is highly represented in those students belonging to the non-motivated profile.


Kati Jääskö-Santala: Finnish pre- and in-service teachers conceptions of neuroplasticity (Poster session)

This study examined Finnish pre- and in-service teachers´ (N=323) implicit beliefs of learning and conceptions of neuroplasticity. Dweck´s (2000) inventory was used to examine teachers´ mindsets regarding intelligence and giftedness. Mindsets are individuals´ implicit beliefs regarding the malleability of these qualities and abilities. People with a fixed mindset believe human qualities are static and unalterable, whereas people with a growth mindset believe that basic qualities are malleable and can be developed through effort and deliberate practice. The mindset theory is founded on a positive psychology approach on the malleability of human intelligence, which is consistent with neuroscientific research on the adaptive brain. Previous research has shown that teachers’ mindsets play a significant role in their pedagogical thinking and practices. Teachers who have a thorough understanding of plasticity, potential, and intelligence, are more likely to adopt growth mindsets and a belief that all their students can learn – and thus to execute strategies that focus on improving knowledge and skills. The majority of teachers held a growth mindset. Nonetheless, in line with previous findings, intelligence was perceived to be slightly more malleable than giftedness. Regarding neuroplasticity conceptions, exploratory factor analysis was conducted to examine the factor structure of the test instrument. The original items yielded two factors with acceptable internal consistency. The first factor ”Scientific concepts” measures the level of general knowledge of the brain and the second factor ”Neuromyths” the prevalence of neuromyths. We used a one-way MANOVA to determine whether there is a difference between different teacher groups on their scientific conceptions on neuroplasticity (Factor 1) and beliefs in neuromyths (Factor 2). According to preliminary results, teachers who had a growth mindset regarding intelligence exhibited a slightly lower degree of belief in neuromyths than teachers with a fixed mindset.


Suvi Kanerva: Perceived teacher social support profiles of students with problematic absences (Poster session)

This study aimed at 1) identifying different teacher social support profiles of the Finnish basic education students with problematic absences, and 2) investigating possible differences between identified profiles regarding students’ attendance, academic achievement (GPA), loneliness, age, gender, Finnish as a second language (S2) status, and mother’s education. The sample included 7454 (girls=3819, boys=3238, others=397) students who reported 2 weeks or more absences during the Spring semester. Sample was part of a large-scale nationally representative research project Schooling, teaching, and well-being in the school community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The level of perceived teacher social support was investigated using the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (Malecki et al., 2014) for teacher support. A latent profile analysis (LPA) in MPLUS revealed three teacher support profiles: “low support”, “moderate support”, and “high support”. Profiles differed clearly on all four types of teacher support. Covariate analyses show that gender was the only included variable that did not explain memberships in specific profiles. Low GPA, older age, higher number of absences, repeated feelings of loneliness, and not knowing your S2 status explained membership in “low support” profile. Medium GPA, older age, mother’s lower education level, repeated feelings of loneliness, and fewer absences explained membership in “moderate support” profile. High GPA, younger age, never feeling lonely, mother’s higher education level, and knowing you are a S2 student explained membership in “high support” profile. Results suggest that for students with problematic absences might be protected from the effects of long or repeated absences on academic achievement by perceiving strong teacher social support.


Tomi Kiviluoma: Naïve biology persists in higher education – conceptual change in undergraduates (Poster session)

My dissertation aims to increase our understanding of expertise development in life science university students. The interaction between fundamental conceptual understanding and systems thinking skills in life science education remains understudied. Therefore, this research project will not only advance the academic field of higher education and expertise development but will also provide insights that will ultimately benefit life sciences and sustainability education. I’d like to hold a poster presentation based on study I of my dissertation (article writing in process). This study explored the development of conceptual understanding of photosynthesis and cell respiration, and ecosystem dynamics. These topics represent the most fundamental processes and phenomena in the field of biology and life sciences and are at the heart of successful efforts to mitigate the effects of climate crisis. Students (N = 50) at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences at UH participated in three measurement points where the same questionnaire with open-ended tasks was repeated once every autumn between 2019 and 2021. A mixed-methods approach was used for quantitative scoring of the answers and qualitative thematic analysis to describe the development of individual students’ conceptual understanding. During the undergraduate studies, the students’ understanding generally improved as demonstrated by the increase in mean scores. While students utilized increasingly scientific terminology in the second and third tests, many still lacked the framework for profound understanding of these complex phenomena. Individual students’ answers remained strikingly similar throughout the three years. I intend to present a more descriptive breakdown of the four learner profiles I have identified based on the thematic analysis of the answers. In general, we can infer that life science undergraduate courses enrich the students’ knowledge of details and terminology, but too rarely foster a transformative learning of emergent processes and phenomena.


Polina Kordik: The Role of Self-efficacy, Language Proficiency, and the Length of the Training (Paper session 3.2)

Continuous professional development and training are integral parts of the teaching profession. However, the effectiveness and success of it depend on numerous factors which may foster or hinder conceptual change. In my talk, I would like to share the key ideas and questions of my research proposal that aims at clarifying the role of some of these factors: self-efficacy beliefs (SEB), the length of training and the language proficiency of language teachers in the process of conceptual change, using the theoretical framework of Language Teacher Conceptual Change (LTCC) in a longitudinal study (Kubanyiova 2012). The participants of this study are L2 English teachers, who make 80% of English teachers worldwide (Canagarajah, 2005). Their SEBs have been neglected by researchers, even though they have been the fundamental pillar of language teaching (Selvi 2019). Research has established a link between self-efficacy of L2 language teachers and their language proficiency (Choi & Lee 2016; Hiver 2013). However, it is not clear from previous studies, which factor influences the other. The role of SEB in concept change is even less clear, as SEB is generally considered to foster change, while strong SEB may create intolerance for it (Pintrich 1999, Sinatra 2005). Finally, the length of the training has proved to be significant for the robustness of change in university teacher training (Postareff et al 2007). This finding has not, however, been tested on wider audience and in the context of language teaching. The results of this research may contribute to: – The practice of teacher education by exploring the interrelation between language proficiency, SEB, and the length of training. This knowledge may help educational stakeholders make informed choices on training trajectories. Globally, the project may positively influence the low retention rates of English teachers worldwide (Ulvik et al 2009) and high-quality educational practices. I would be delighted to share my research ideas with my peers and receive their feedback.


Ninni Lankinen: Multilingual students’ aspirations and post-comprehensive educational choices (Paper session 1.2)

Transition from comprehensive education to upper secondary education is a crucial phase in determining individuals’ study paths and, eventually, future careers. While the choices are made by individual students, research shows that the choices differ by students’ socioeconomic background and beliefs on their own possibilities. Moreover, it is believed that the educational system and society guides different genders as well as linguistically and culturally diverse students towards different occupational paths. In this presentation I show data from an ethnographic study with thirteen 9th grade girls, who have a multilingual, immigrant background. My objective is to analyze the reasons they give to describe their choices for upper secondary education. I ask the following questions: What kind of cultural and social capital (Bourdieu, 1986) do the students have, and how do they utilize it when making post-comprehensive educational choices? What is the role of school-language skills in this decision-making? I will discuss aspirations of multilingual pupils with migrant backgrounds and show preliminary results of my research data. The presentation at hand is part of the first sub-study of my dissertation Multilingual transitions – Post-comprehensive educational choices of multilingual pupils with immigrant background. The research data of this presentation was produced by using ethnographic methodology in two lower secondary schools in the Metropolitan Helsinki area. The data consists of ethnographic field notes from the school year 2022–2023 and two separate interviews with each pupil. The first set of interviews was conducted at the end of fall semester 2022 and the second set at the end of spring semester 2023. Both schools have a large amount of non-native Finnish speakers as students, and they are situated in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. The data has been analyzed using the cultural reproduction theory (Boone & Van Houtte, 2013; Salovaara, 2021). My presentation will provide some preliminary results on the analysis of the students’ narratives on their plans. Special focus will be given to choices which can be understood as unexpected, such as applying to a general upper secondary school distant from the pupil’s own residential area, usually located in socioeconomically more advantaged areas.


Jamie Lee: “Racism… is the air they’re breathing” Racism, mental health support, and strugg (Paper session 3.1)

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.


Pepita Niemelä: Prevention of threat and danger incidents as a part of class-teacher education (Paper session 3.2)

Section 29 of the Basic Education Act and Section 8 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act give students and school staff a right to safe learning and working environment. However – as seen from the increased reports of various safety incidents (OAJ, 2019) – this obligation is not fulfilled in all schools. This dissertation is devised in two parts. In the first part, I will analyse the curriculums of Finnish class teacher education from the perspective of preventing threat and danger incidents (e.g., school violence). The first part will produce information on the status of Finnish class teacher education and the premises of competence the students have. The second part consists of the implementation of a threat and danger prevention intervention (Prima-edu, 2023) and analysing its effects following immediately and after a control period. I will measure the effects of the intervention by studying the change in students’ self-efficacy in threat and danger incidents. Self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997) is the person’s own interpretation of how well they can achieve the intended outcome in a selected situation with the necessary means. The level of self-efficacy affects the willingness to act in different difficult situations (Bandura, 1997). By influencing teacher-student self-efficacy in threat and danger incidents I aim to increase both their sense of safety and readiness to act in difficult situations. The intervention consists of theoretical and practical segments. In the theoretical segment, we will go through the means of anticipatory communication, the situations that require protection by means of the right of self-defence, and the legislation regarding different threat and danger incidents. In the practical segment, we will study the basics of non-violent physical prevention for situations, where the student is dangerous for themselves or others. A year after the intervention I will compare the self-efficacy of the intervention participants to a control group.


Kezia Olive: Dimensional Comparisons in Adolescents’ Gendered Task Value Development (Poster session)

Relatively little work has examined how dimensional comparisons contribute to the development of different task value facets (intrinsic, attainment, utility, and cost). We set forth to clarify this and highlight the significant effect of gender in the process. With structural equation modeling, we assessed 1455 Finnish students from grade 7 to 8 (M age at grade 7 = 12.8 years old, 53% females) to demonstrate the relation between (gendered) prior achievement (in Finnish language and Math), and their subsequent values. We found support for positive social comparison effect (within-domain) effect of achievement on all value facets, and negative dimensional comparison (cross-domain) effect: Higher Finnish achievement was associated with lower intrinsic value and higher cost in Math. We did not find evidence for gender moderation: boys and girls most likely interpret their achievements to values similarly. In contrast, our mediation model showed that gender influenced values above and beyond students’ dimensional comparison of achievements. These findings indicate that dimensional comparison of achievement indeed play a significant role in shaping students’ subsequent values, yet students potentially utilize a different source of information above and beyond comparison of achievement to develop their values when their gender identities are considered.


Iina Pousi: Measuring perceptions of reflective thinking in the context of teacher education (Poster session)

Although reflective thinking is widely examined in the teacher education context, little research has been undertaken on thoroughly validating an instrument that allows collecting larger datasets about student teachers’ perceptions of their reflective thinking. Based on data from a sample of Finnish student teachers, a Finnish version of the Reflective Thinking Questionnaire (RTQ) was validated using confirmatory factor analysis. In addition, the invariance of the scale was explored among two different teacher education programs. Finally, the nomological validity was explored in relation to metacognitive awareness. Analysis confirmed the existence of three scales of reflective thinking: content, process, and critical reflection. Furthermore, measurement invariance analyses revealed that the factor structure of the RTQ stayed consistent across early education and primary school student teachers. Finally, reflective thinking as a second-order construct was highly positively correlated with metacognitive awareness. Taken together, findings from the current study support the applied use of RTQ to measure reflective thinking in teacher education.


Ita Puusepp: Students’ mindsets: Associations with physiology during task engagement (Paper session 1.1)

This thesis examined how elementary school students’ mindsets—beliefs about the malleability of human abilities—are associated with their physiology during working on educationally relevant tasks. The focus was on students’ neurocognitive correlates of error and feedback processing, and the temporal dynamics of their physiological arousal while working on a task. For this, four sub-studies were conducted. Study I piloted the experimental design: a classification task was used and differences between fixed- and growth-minded second graders’ (N = 10) neural processing of errors were found. Studies II-IV utilized an arithmetic task, during which performance feedback was given. Study II indicated that third graders’ (N = 97) mindset about math ability to associate with the difference between their brain responses elicited by positive and negative feedback. In Study III, students (N = 100) were followed from Grade 3 to Grade 4 and a more fixed mindset about both general intelligence and math ability was found to be associated with greater attention allocation to positive feedback. These associations were driven by the effects of mindsets on attention allocation in Grade 4. In Grade 4, a similar trend for attentional processing of negative feedback emerged. The effects of both mindsets were marginally stronger when the participants were in Grade 4. In Study IV, a person-oriented approach was used to investigate how students’ physiological arousal changes during the arithmetic task. Three subgroups of fourth graders (N = 86) with differing temporal dynamics of arousal were identified: Decreasing arousal, Increasing arousal, Decreasing and Increasing arousal. In the Decreasing arousal profile there were more students classified as holding a Fixed mindset tendency than would be expected if the physiological profile membership and mindset would be independent. These results indicate that already in elementary school students’ mindsets are so ingrained that they associate with students’ feedback processing and arousal-related processes on a physiological level.


Hanna Reinius: Teachers’ perceived opportunities to influence school culture transformation (Poster session)

The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers’ viewpoints regarding school culture transformation and collaborative development work. Teachers’ active role in school development has been recognized as important in school culture transformation (Hargreaves & O’Connor, 2018; Senge et al., 2012). Leadership practices, such as distributed leadership and organizational support, aim to engage teachers and foster their participation and contribution opportunities (Harris et al., 2007; Spillane et al., 2017). However, studies have shown that teachers’ earlier experiences and beliefs shape their participation activities (Biesta et al., 2015; Hammerness, 2001; Keys, 2007; Lockton & Fargason, 2019; Molla & Nolan, 2020). To facilitate school culture transformation and the development of pedagogical practices, it is important to understand how teachers position themselves as school developers. This interview study aimed to explore what kinds of views teachers express regarding school development work and teacher collaboration, along with how these views influence their perceived contribution possibilities. Altogether, 35 teachers from three schools in Helsinki, Finland, were interviewed. The qualitative three-phase content analysis revealed five teacher profiles and, thus, five different ways of approaching school culture transformation: 1) Visioner, 2) Responsibility bearer, 3) Participating observer, 4) Traditionalist, and 5) Stressed withdrawer. Teachers’ orientation to school development work and received organizational support influenced teachers’ perceived contribution possibilities. Furthermore, the identified profiles experienced the needed organizational support for school development work differently; for some, it was mainly common time for collaboration, while for others, it meant reorganized structures. The results indicate that diverse support is needed to engage the whole teacher community in school culture transformation and that school leaders need to pay attention to how the distributed leadership model benefits all teachers, not just the visionary ones.


Inka Ronkainen: Students’ situational motivation in a climate education PBL module (Paper session 1.1)

This study aims to determine what kind of situational motivation profiles can be identified among upper secondary students participating in a project-based learning climate education module as a part of a physics course. Moreover, this study aims to answer the question of which type of learning situations students find most motivating. In this study, the multidisciplinary module in an upper secondary school physics course focusing on climate change was conducted using project-based learning (PBL). Project-based learning is a situated learning method that emphasizes students’ active role in learning, engagement in collaboration and scientific practices and constructing artefacts, such as climate change models (Krajcik & Shin, 2014). The motivation is studied using the expectancy-value theory (EVT), which explains how students’ success expectancies and subjective values affect their achievement and their choices in studies (Eccles et al., 1983). Student motivation will be studied using quantitative methods with momentary assessments and the person-oriented approach, so we can see student motivation patterns both situationally and on the student level. These preliminary results can be used to find ways to acknowledge the diversity of learning situations from the motivational perspective and find out what engages students in project-based learning.


Maria Saloranta: Examining racialization in Swedish-speaking daycares in Finland (Paper session 1.2)

The aim of the research is to strengthen all children´s right to inclusion in ECEC activities. This will be achieved through examining how small children include and exclude others. Previous research show that children’s play can reflect and reproduce social and cultural inequalities, including those based on race and ethnicity (Lappalainen & Odenbring, 2020; Corsaro, 2003; Howard, 2019; Loodberg & Abera, 2022). This study uses an intersectional frame (e.g. Hill Collins & Bilge, 2016). We use critical race- and whiteness theory to examine how children position themselves through racialization and how whiteness as norm affects the social positions (e.g., Howard, 2019; Gorski & Dalton, 2020). The study adopted a qualitative research design, using ethnographic data collection methods including participant observation and informal discussion with children and staff members (Köngäs & Määttä, 2021). The data is collected from 8 Swedish-speaking daycares in the capital region of Finland and analyzed using a qualitative content analysis approach (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005). Permission for this research was gained from each municipality, the daycare director, staff, as well as caregivers with participant consent forms (TENK, 2019). The children were asked for consent continuously. Findings show how children use racialization when including or excluding others and how this is linked to social positions and affect peer relationships. The results contribute to a general picture of the dynamics of children´s interactions at daycare. The findings of the study provide empirical grounding to work towards an equal and inclusive early childhood education and care for all children.


Antti Seitamaa: The paradox of recent vocational education and training policy reform in Finland (Paper session 2.3)

Each government comes up with a new agenda for reforming the Finnish vocational education and training (VET) system. There is a sharp contrast between the Finnish leftwing and rightwing when it comes to VET reform, with the former emphasizing equality of outcome (social inclusion) and the latter promoting equality of opportunity (social efficiency). In the last few decades, VET has become far more individualized and working life centered, as Finland has struggled to keep up with transformations in the global economy. I present some of the top contours of recent developments in the struggle over the structure and purpose of vocational education and training in Finland. My empirical data consists of expert interviews with 32 leading policymakers, conducted between 2020-2021. I will contrast key findings from my interview data with a cursory overview of the reform agendas included in the government programs for VET since 2011, including the one that is currently being negotiated by Petteri Orpo. I argue that actors from the economic and political fields exert far more influence on VET policy than they do on other sectors of education, and this can be seen in how the Finnish vocational education and training policy field has been governed. Other sectors of education should not content themselves with isolating or ignoring ‘VET’, so as to prevent contagion from the ‘bug’ of working life and other new illnesses. What has been done to VET can only be overturned by building more solidarity and creating new lines of communication across the entire education system.


Natalia Stalchenko: Longitudinal relations between early language performance and family background  (Paper session 2.1)

Authors: Natalia Stalchenko(a), Anna Widlund(b), Ritva Ketonen(a), Pirjo Aunio(a) (a) Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki (b) Faculty of Education and Welfare Studies, Åbo Akademi University Abstract Early language proficiency predicts later academic achievement (Kastner et al., 2001). Previous studies found associations between children’s language performance and family socio-economic status (Rowe, 2008), siblings in family (Havron et al., 2019) and gender (Eriksson et al., 2012). The current study aims to explore the longitudinal relationship between language performance and various family demographics, including parent education, family income, sibling order and count, and home language in 3- to 6-year-old preschool children (N = 420) in Finland. Language performance was assessed using LUKIVA (Puolakanaho et al., 2011) and LENE (Korpilahti, 2007; Valtonen & Mustonen, 2007) tests for four consecutive timepoints, from 2019 to 2023. The family demographics were collected using surveys. Currently, data collection is complete and data analysis is in progress. Preliminary results revealed positive correlation between parent education and language performance during timepoints 1 – 3, while sibling count correlated negatively with some of the language test scores during timepoints 1 – 3. For the conference, the relations will be analysed using multivariate regression analysis. The variables other than gender and language spoken at home will be assessed for each time point to account for changes in families’ characteristics or conditions through the years observed. The results of the study will expand on the knowledge of various factors concerning early language development, including in multilingual children.


Miikka Turkkila: Materialist framings broadening views on learning and the future of assessment (Paper session 2.3)

Traditionally learning can be seen through three different metaphors. However, current discussions on materialist framings are broadening how we perceive learning. The different materialist frames view, for example, agency and the agency of the material and non-humans differently. However, common is that materials are not considered as mere resources, but it is acknowledged that actions on matter affect humans also. This implies that materials used in learning activities affect learning and learning is situated within assemblages or networks of humans and non-humans. Learning becomes entangled phenomena between human and non-humans. This is especially relevant for science education as the disciplinary knowledge of science is created with digital and technological devices. As disciplinary knowledge creation, education has become entangled with technology and pedagogy cannot be separated from technology. Through these different entanglements learning is seen as complex phenomena with several interdependent elements, not just the material and students. One such key pedagogical element is assessment. Assessment is guided by curriculum and learning goals and thus it has agency on teaching practices imposing over all classroom activity. Unfortunately, there has been hardly any discussions how we should broaden the perspectives on assessment based on the materialist frames. If the new perceptions are not used to guide assessment practices together with teaching practices, there is a risk that the insights for learning provided by these frames are forgotten. Thus, we should ask how to do assessment in the future.


Salla Veijonaho: Climate change distress, coping strategies and pro-environmental behavior (Paper session 2.1)

Climate change distress, coping strategies and pro-environmental behavior: A three-wave longitudinal study among Finnish comprehensive school students. Climate change is the most fundamental threat of our time. It also affects human well-being, and young people can be particularly vulnerable to its effects (Sanson et al., 2018). Previous research shows that distress caused by awareness about climate change is widespread among adolescents all around world (Hickman et al., 2021). Adolescents’ coping strategies play a role in how they deal with climate change distress and engage in pro-environmental behavior (Ojala, 2012). These strategies can be divided into problem, emotional and meaning focused coping strategies (Ojala, 2012). There is an absence of previous longitudinal studies on youth and climate change from the perspective of developmental psychology. Hence, the present study aims to investigate longitudinal relations between adolescents’ climate change distress (cognitive-emotional impairment, behavioral impairment & cynicism), coping strategies (emotional, problem & meaning focused coping) and pro-environmental behavior on the within-person level. To address the aim of the study, longitudinal data collected in three waves will be used. The data was collected in May 2021 (N = 796), 2022 (N = 901, retention rate = 59,6%) and 2023 (expected n = over 800) from Finnish comprehensive school students born in 2005-2008. To evaluate the directions of direct and indirect longitudinal within-person effects between climate change distress, coping strategies and pro-environmental behavior, Random Intercept Cross-lagged Panel Model will be implemented. Initial results were estimated based on the first and the second waves. A normal causation model was built to illustrate the relations of the variables with cross-lagged associations on the between-persons level (Fig 1). The model showed that Time 1 problem focused coping strategy predicted Time 2 pro-environmental behavior while Time 1 emotional focused coping strategy predicted increase in Time 2 cynicism. Time 1 meaning focused coping strategy predicted decrease in Time 2 emotional coping and behavioral impairment. There was no significant cross-lagged effect of climate change distress on coping strategies or pro-environmental behavior. The initial results endorse the key role of coping strategies in climate change adaptation. Models on the within-person level will be estimated after the 3rd wave of data is collected.


Peitsa Veteli: Avoin data 21. vuosisadan kansalaisten kasvatuksessa (Paper session 2.2)

Monimutkaistuva maailma asettaa opiskelijoille muuttuvia taitovaatimuksia, joihin muutoinkin aikapaineesta kärsivissä kouluissa on vaikeaa vastata nopeasti. Aineistopohjaisten tiede- ja datalukutaitojen kehittäminen koulukasvatuksessa vaatii panostusta niiden pitkäaikaiseen käyttöön mielekkäissä yhteyksissä. “Oikean maailman” tieteellisten kokeiden, teollisuusprosessien ja hallinnollisten instituutioiden puolelta on nykyään saatavilla suuria määriä vapaasti tutkittavia aineistoja, joita hyödyntämällä pystytään nostamaan opetuksen autenttisuutta ja kuromaan usein koettua kuilua koulun ja muun yhteiskunnan välillä. Tulevaisuustaitoja ja nuorten uramahdollisuuksia ajatellen on tärkeää, ettei ohjelmointityökalujen hyödyntäminen lukiotasolla jää vain valinnaisten kurssien tai LUMA-aineiden taakse, vaan esiintyisi matalalla kynnyksellä laajasti opetuksen arjessa. Puheessa esitellään Fysiikan tutkimuslaitos HIP:in Avoin data opetuksessa -projektia, laskennallisten esseiden mahdollisuuksia ja palautetta kentältä vuosilta 2016-2023.


Minna Vilkman: “Right skills” in Learning. The Power Network in VET. (Paper session 3.1)

Based on Michel Foucault’s (1977) theory, systems of power are never solid: power is situated as strategic positions which change depending on settings, environment, and participants. In the paper based on my first PhD article, I apply Foucault’s idea of position in the power network in vocational education and training (VET). With discursive analysis, I explore how aims and competences are spoken of in the official curricula texts and by teachers and employers, and what type of strategic positions the discourses reveal. While I have only recently started to collect data, I have preliminary analysis on a technical field –I will interview people from a service field in autumn. However, my findings already show that teachers and employers share differing views, which can sometimes be settled, but neither seems to be content with the curricula. Some employers found grading system too complicated and many of them mentioned that they send unskilled and unmotivated youth back to school. However, VET teachers are obligated to find work-place learning spots for all the students –not only the most competent ones which employers want-, and they feel that youth are often not given tasks suitable to their educational aims. The power network gives employers quite a lot of power, but they also are surprisingly soft when it comes to grading: they do not want to give negative feedback to students who finish their work-place learning period. Teachers often act as mediators, but they can also mobilize employers by matching youth with suitable workplaces or asking employers to fire students if they do not show up in time or behave as workers should. Teachers may have strong opinions on the official aims in VET, but they also feel that educational policies take power away from them and they need to obey whichever “stupidity” comes up.


Hillevi Vyyryläinen: Neuropsychiatric governance – the nepsy concept in Finnish comprehensive schools (Poster session)

I study the nepsy concept in Finnish comprehensive schools. Nepsy, referring to neuropsychiatry, has become a popular way of structuring educational challenges in compulsory education: so-called nepsy coaches have emerged at schools and nepsy training is marketed to teaching staff. Despite its popularity the concept of nepsy does not have a clear definition but is associated with a range of symptom descriptions from learning difficulties to autism spectrum. Common to these definitions is the assumption of so-called neurodiversity among individuals. Bluntly put, the range of difficulties in schooling is responded through an individualized biomedical discourse. I explore the nepsy concept from a critical discursive perspective. I consider this concept in the context of psychiatrization which refers to structuring human experience through psychiatric concepts and practices – discourse. The emergence of nepsy mirrors this trend. Responding to structural challenges in an individual-centred way by drawing on the neuropsychiatric discourse is not only an illustration of psychiatrization, but also therapisation, a phenomenon of turning everyday life problems into therapeutic issues that require intervention. The solution seems to lie in the thinking and feelings of the individual who needs counselling or coaching. The aim of the study is to launch critical scientific discussion on a growing conceptual trend. As educators we need to understand what is done through the nepsy concept. I examine the structural needs it responds to and the subjectivities it produces. The dissertation consists of three sub-studies all of which apply critical discourse analysis in different ways. I study the literature surrounding the nepsy concept, interview nepsy coaches and examine the meanings and discursive acts around the nepsy concept produced by teachers and principals. The results of the research may highlight issues negotiated through nepsy and the values underlying the discourses.