Narrative teaching experiment – Moving on your own

Co-authored by Susanna Hakkarainen, Miliza Paloviita & Iiris Wilenius

A Narrative Teaching Experiment in a Home Economics Class

In our blog post, we open the content of Opettaja työnsä tutkijana (Experimental teaching) course teaching experiment. The course is part of the home economics teacher ‘s field of study and is usually completed at Master’s stage. The aim of this development project was for us to deepen our own pedagogical thinking and to develop a research approach in the study of pedagogical phenomena. Another aim was also to examine pedagogical phenomena with an analytical scientific approach and to outline the work of the teacher and the development of teaching in a community and societal context. As a part of this course project, we focused as well on teaching methods that are different, practiced remote teaching and paid attention to gender sensitivity. These starting points were constantly present in the development of our work.

Presentation day prezi

This teaching experiment was conducted at Northern Satakunta, in a secondary school for ninth graders in the spring of 2021. The school is in an area where students usually move elsewhere after primary school to study. That is why moving on your own was chosen as a topic. The teaching experiment was one 60-minute-long sessions for two different groups. The experiment was conducted remotely on Zoom platform so that we were visible on the whiteboard and the teacher’s laptop was turned toward the classroom with visual and auditory connectivity. The technical solutions worked partly but we felt it WASN’T as good as it could be.

According to Rantanen & Palojoki (2015, 74), learning does not happen automatically with mobile devices and tablets, but successful learning requires harnessing these techniques into pedagogically meaningful teaching methods. This was reflected when we were planning our lessons. The structure of the lesson was modified after the first lesson, this was required as part of the experimental project. Prior to the actual lessons, we filmed short welcome videos designed to make us more familiar to the students. These videos included an introduction as well as a small personal story about moving away from home. The videos were available to watch via link on YouTube.

Our teaching was guided by the socio-constructivist conception of learning that is about doing, thinking, and researching with others. The use of language, body and different senses are essential to learning and thinking. In addition to learning new things, the student learns to reflect on their learning, experiences, and feelings (POPS, 2014, 17, 29). The aims of the teaching experiment were that students would understand the concepts and events associated with moving on your own and find information from the right place at the right time in the future. The objectives according to the curriculum were, L3 everyday skills, L4 multilingual skills, L5 information and communications technology skills. And from Home Economics objectives were, T5 guide students to act ergonomically, T7 to identify everyday construction, and T10 to acquire and evaluate reliable information.

Home Economics is usually a functional subject with the possibility to utilize different means of learning. This teaching experiment experimented with a narrative, body and rhythms, and functionality as a method for remote learning. Narrative or other linguistic expression appropriate to student’s age group allows them to view the object being studied through their own living environment and culture (Niemi, 2013, 69, 71). Our narrative story featured gender neutral character named Valo, who was moving away from home after secondary school. Gender conscious teaching identifies and dismantles the gendered structures of society and culture (Salmela, 2018, 10–11). The story contained topics associated with moving on your own. It included applying for an apartment, acquiring an electricity contract, changing address, obtaining insurance and budget planning. These different tasks varied depending on the topic as they emerged from the story. The purpose of the story and assignments was to introduce students to the concepts and events involved in moving from home. The challenges of remote teaching in terms of interaction, functionality, and inclusion, were addressed through a variety of pedagogical and didactic means.

Short version of Valo’s story at the presentation

We used Google’s Jamboard, where the students collected some of the answers from the exercise, and Flinga, to which the students transferred the answers from Alias’s type game task. In Alias, students speculated what items Valo needs for the new apartment. During the story, we also practiced folding a shirt under the guidance of a teaching trainee. This task related to packing. We also practiced ergonomic lifting, which is a part of moving itself. And in the second lesson, instead of ergonomically lifting, we tried rhythm and clapping to dismantle one task. We also maintained interaction with the class by asking students what they had answered for each task. At the end of the lesson, students received a link to a Google Forms survey asking about their experiences of the lesson.

Folding a hoodie with students via zoom

The teaching experiment was an educational experience and provided new ideas for implementing pedagogical and didactical methods in Home Economics teaching. But there is still room for the experiment to be developed.

We considered that it would have been worthwhile to hold more than two lessons, to allow for a more functional structure. Functionality and interaction in remote teaching also requires practice. According to Rantanen & Palojoki (2015, 83), meaningful involvement has a positive effect on the joy of learning and fun experiences in teaching situations. Teaching remotely to an unfamiliar class is already an experience that helps to understand how important student knowledge, interaction, and close contact are in teaching. Teaching remotely can often turn into behaviorist or individual work. Despite the difficulties due to the situation, we felt that it was worthwhile to try new and different pedagogical and didactic methods in Home Economics teaching.

Link to the report


Niemi, R. (2013). Kolmiäänisiä kokemuksia narratiivisesta opetusmenetelmästä ohjatussa opetusharjoittelussa. Teoksessa Eero Ropo & Maiju Huttunen (toim.) Puheenvuoroja narratiivisuudesta opetuksessa ja oppimisessa. Tampere: Tampere University Press 2013, 85–104.

OTT. (2021). Opettaja työnsä tutkijana. Helsingin yliopisto.

POPS.(2014). Perusopetuksen opetussuunnitelma. Opetushallitus.

Rantanen, M., Palojoki, P. (2015). Kotitalous verkko-opetuksena. Teoksessa: Janhonen-Abruquah, H. & Palojoki, P. (toim.). (2015).  Luova ja vastuullinen kotitalousopetus – Creative and responsible home economics education. Kotitalous- ja käsityötieteiden julkaisuja, nr. 38. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press.

Salmela, R. (2018). Sukupuolitietoisen opetuksen konkretisoituminen perusopetuksessa -Perusopetuksen opettajien tulkintoja sukupuolitietoisen opetuksen toteutumisesta heidän omassa opetuksessaan. Saatavilla:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *