Supporting disciplinary thinking and personal genealogy with the help of DNA tests

How teachers can acquire and use disciplinary knowledge in their teaching

In this study, we examine student teachers’ perceptions regarding their own family trees, the origins of Finns, and the effects of personal DNA tests in their knowledge management. The aim of this research is to gain information through the results of personal DNA tests, in addition to multidisciplinary instruction in students’ ways of explaining their personal genealogy and Finnish lineage. Furthermore, we examine how students’ readiness towards disciplinary-based integrative instruction will develop during this project. (Professor Jukka Rantala, Professor Hannu Salmi, PhD Marja Pirttivaara, PhD Helena Thuneberg)

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Solving the origin of the Finns: A study of the impact of interdisciplinary instruction in the perceptions of student teachers to carry out discipline-based integration (Article in Finnish in Ainedidaktiikka 3(1), 63-81.)

The article presents the study relating to a discipline-based integration course for student teachers (N = 160) carried out in the University of Helsinki between January and May in 2018. The content of the course was the origin of the Finns. Pre and post tests were conducted to obtain students’ perceptions of their own abilities relating to the discipline-based integration and their readiness to carry it out in the future. In addition to the attitude scales, the test included writing tasks to analyse students’ disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge. The course showed to increase students’ faith in their own abilities to fulfill discipline-based integration. Particularly, those students who valued the ten-hours of lectures on archaeology, philology, history and genealogy thought that their disciplinary-based integrative instruction ability was improved in consequence of the course. However, also those students who did not participate in the lectures experienced the course useful. Undoubtedly, they benefited from knowledge, which has trickled in connection with the group discussions from the fellow students during the course. Another explanation seems to be the results of personal DNA tests which increased students’ interest towards the theme of the course. The study indicates the potential of the discipline-based integrative course in fostering students’ attitudes and knowledge management for discipline-based integration. It also emphasizes the importance of blending the formal instruction with informal learning in forming significant learning experiences.