The researchers belonging to the HuSoEd Group are listed and introduced here. You can find more information about each researcher through their Research portal Tuhat link below, including their contact information and latest publications and current projects.
Professor of Geography and Environmental Education, PhD
Sirpa Tani is Professor of Geography and Environmental Education who has her academic background in cultural geography and urban studies: her PhD in 1995 dealt with cinematic representations of people-environment relationships in Finnish fiction films. Her research interests include multisensory, embodied and emotional place attachment, the role of public spaces in young people’s lives, and environmental education in urban settings. In the field of geography education, she has investigated the role of powerful disciplinary knowledge and human capabilities in enhancing young people’s well-being. She is also interested in discipline-based integration of teaching and in the possibilities of constructing links between subject-specific teaching, youth work and young people’s geographies.
Professor of History and Social Studies Education, PhD
Jukka Rantala is Professor of History and Social Studies Education. His interests centre on history education and history curriculum. In the field of history education, he has carried out research on young Finns’ historical thinking and the historical consciousness of children. In the history of education, his main focus has been on the formation of Finnish teacherhood and the political ethos of Finnish teachers. He has published six scientific monographs in Finnish, treating topics of consuming history, the historical consciousness of young children, and the political orientation of Finnish teachers, among others. Currently he leads a subproject entitled “Engaging in disciplinary thinking: historical literacy practices in Finnish general upper secondary schools,” funded by the Academy of Finland from 2016–2020.
Professor of Finnish Language and Literature Education, PhD
Liisa Tainio‘s research interests centre on language use and interaction in pedagogical settings. She has studied classroom interaction from the point of view of literacy education, particularly the use of curriculum materials and digital devices, as well as other interactional phenomena, such as student initiatives, language learning, reading-alouds, teasing, and touching as social action. She is also interested in analyzing discourses in textbooks and other curriculum materials, and studying the practices of literature education. Her research interests lie on subject didactics but also include gender studies and analyses on Finnish everyday interaction.
Associate Professor (Language Didactics), PhD
Raili Hildén's field of specialization is language assessment. She has extensive experience in various developmental and administrative projects and expert duties related to subject teacher education and assessment of language learning outcomes. She currently acts as the chair of the Finnish Matriculation Examination Board Language section.
Hildén's research activities cover a number of national and international research and development projects aiming at improving language teaching and validity of assessment. Because of her extensive experience as a language teacher Dr. Hildén has been very active in the field of in-service training.
Research interests: language assessment, language teaching, teacher education, oral language skills, social impact of assessments, learner autonomy
University Lecturer (Finnish as an Additional Language Didactics), PhD, Adjunct Professor
Maria Ahlholm is Adjunct Professor in Finnish language, with specification in Applied Linguistics. Ahlholm did research in translation studies and religious language before ending up in teacher education. Cross-lingual processes have stayed in focus of her research, as her topical research interests are newly arrived students' emerging language, subject education in an additional language, emerging Finnish morphosyntax, the multilingual socialisation process in classrooms, and classroom observation. Ahlholm is developer of Toisto-method and principal investigator in Meeting in the Middle - Multilingual students in preparatory education.
University Lecturer (Geography Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor
Hannele Cantell is a university lecturer and teacher educator in geography education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. She is a nominated member of the University of Helsinki Teacher's Academy. She teaches geography education, and other environmental and sustainability themes in various courses. Her special interests are global and climate education. Cantell has an active role of co-operation with the Finnish National Agency for Education, other educational institutions, and also with NGO's within the environmental and global education sector. In addition, Hannele Cantell has been writing non-fiction books and learning/teaching materials for schools for 25 years. She has been nominated as a Non-fiction writer of the year (2011).
Research interests: geography education, global education, climate education, sustainability issues, pedagogical interaction and relationships, learning and teaching materials
University Lecturer (Finnish Language and Literature Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor
Satu Grünthal is University Lecturer in Finnish Language and Literature Education at the University of Helsinki and Adjunct Professor in Finnish literature at the Universities of Helsinki and Turku. Her main fields of interest and research include literature pedagogy, reading motivation, literary history, and poetry. Reading in multilingual and multicultural settings is one of her teaching areas. Grünthal is a member of several editorial boards in Finnish and international scientific journals and one of the editors of Jahrbuch für finnisch-deutsche Literaturbeziehungen. She holds many positions of trust in the academic and educational field, and she has co-authored text books and teaching materials in Finland and Estonia. Currently, she is involved in the research project Lukuklaani (Reading clan).
University Lecturer (Foreign Language Education), PhD
Kaisa Hahl is a university lecturer and teacher educator in foreign language education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. Hahl's PhD dealt with the internationalisation of teacher education. Hahl teaches subject teacher students in the Faculty's national and English-medium international subject teacher education programmes. She has experience from several years in working in different international projects that aim at enhancing teacher competences and the quality of teacher education.
Research interests: foreign language teaching and learning, active language learning, internationalisation of teacher education, intercultural education, English as a lingua franca
University Lecturer (Literature and Finnish Language Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor
Sirke Happonen is Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Her research and teaching area covers children's literature, picturebooks, literature pedagogy and the work of Tove Jansson. In her published doctoral thesis Vilijonkka ikkunassa ("A Fillyjonk at the Window", WSOY 2007) Happonen studied Jansson's Moomin texts and illustrations and sketches, with a special focus on illusions of movement and stasis. Happonen has also published Muumiopas ("Moomin Guide", SKS, 2012 and 2016, available also in Japanese), a half-serious encyclopedia which covers the original Moomin characters in books and comics. In 2017 Happonen edited and translated a collection of Tove Jansson's less-known short-stories, essays and illustrations. In addition, Happonen has written several articles on children's literature and Jansson and as well as pre- and afterwords to various publications, and co-operated in dance and theatre performances and exhibitions, and translated children's literature into Finnish.
PhD, MA, Adjunct Professor
Pirjo Harjanne is Adjunct Professor of Foreign Language Education, University of Helsinki Teachers’ Academy Fellow, and Principal Investigator. Harjanne has the qualifications necessary for a professorship in FL education (the expert opinions at Jyväskylä University, 2011 and Turku University, 2014). She has had many responsibilities in the developmental work at the Department of Education, University of Helsinki, and has a lot of experience in supervision (e.g., doctoral theses, master’s theses). She has worked as an invited lecturer and researcher at Stockholm University (2013–2014). She has contributed to international EU projects (e.g., WebCEF, CEFcult) and has a lot of international research co-operation (Japan, Chile, Spain, Sweden). She is currently Director of the national and international KIELO Project, focusing on FL teaching, studying and learning. She is also an active in-service teacher educator in Finland and abroad.
Research interests: foreign language teaching, studying and learning; communicative language teaching and practice; oral language proficiency; language and intercultural communication; FL teacher students’ cognition and professional developement during the pedagogical studies
University Lecturer (Environmental Sciences Education) (acting), PhD
Markus Hilander is a university lecturer in environmental sciences education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. Hilander's doctoral dissertation dealt with the interpretation of photographs from a geographical perspective. His research interests are environmental sciences education, geography education and visual methodologies. Hilander is especially interested in researching visual culture; for instance, the visual catalogues of media and textbooks and drawing as a research method. In his research, Hilander uses the versatile concepts of semiotics and geography as the theoretical and methodological approach.
University lecturer (Finnish language and literature education), PhD
Riitta Juvonen is a university lecturer in Finnish language and literature education. She teaches Finnish language education in several courses for subject teacher students and classroom teacher students. Juvonen's PhD in 2014 dealt with Finnish-language student essays from the point of view of the intersubjective positioning of the writer. Currently, she investigates writing in classrooms, especially middle school students' factual writing practices and upper secondary school students' digital literacy practices.
Project Planner, MA
Ninni Lankinen is working as project planner in Meeting in the Middle project. She is also a teacher of Finnish as a second language. She is interested in oral language learning and developing ways of utilising multilingualism and translanguaging in learning.
University Lecturer (History and Social Studies Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor
Jan Löfström did research in gender studies and in historical anthropology before ending up in teacher education. His research interests are social studies as a school subject, adolescents’ historical consciousness, politics of history, history and social studies in the matriculation examination, intercultural history teaching, and economic education. He is an exam constructor and former member in the Board of Matriculation Examination. From 2018 on he is also a researcher (25 %) at the Linnaeus University, working in a research project on intersections of historical and moral consciousness.
University Lecturer (Religious/Worldview Education), PhD
Pia-Maria Niemi, PhD, works as a full-time university lecturer and teacher educator in the field of Religious and Worldview Education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. Niemi’s research interests focus on intercultural and inter-worldview education, subject teacher training and sense of membership in schools. Niemi also has a subject teacher qualification in the fields of religious education and psychology.
University Lecturer (Religious Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor
Saila Poulter is currently working on issues of integrated worldview education and intercultural issues in teacher education. She has an extensive knowledge in planning and implementing various courses in university relating to religious and worldview education, educational science, multicultural studies, early childhood education, teaching in bachelor’s seminar and tutoring student teachers’ work practice. She is also supervisor for six doctoral candidates. Her publications deal with research on religion and secularism, religious education, citizenship education, school history and postcolonial theory. Poulter’s research interests include teacher’s worldview reflection, inclusive worldview education, religion in public space and citizenship engagement of young people.
University Lecturer (History and Social Studies Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor
Jari Salminen is a university lecturer in history and social studies education. His PhD thesis, presented at the University of Helsinki in 2002, was concerned with the structural development of private secondary schools in Finland from 1872–1920. He has since studied educational history, the historical formation of school curricula, development work in schools and history of Finnish teacher education. He has published several school histories and monographs. Salminen has had many positions of trust within the University of Helsinki and the Finnish Society for the History of Education.
University Lecturer (Pedagogical Studies for Adult Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor
Janne Säntti is a university lecturer in pedagogical studies for adult education in the University of Helsinki, and Adjunct Professor in educational sciences. His PhD thesis deals with how teachers’ professional identities and roles changed in post-war Finland. Säntti has mainly studied Finnish teacher education in post-war Finland, especially the formation of academic teacher education in Finland. His current interests deal with digitalisation and rhetoric analysis. Säntti is a member of the editorial team of Kasvatus & Aika. Säntti is on the board of the Finnish Society for the History of Education and is the chief editor of the society’s yearbook.
Associate Researcher, PhD
Mihaela-Viorica Ruşitoru is doctor in Educational Sciences and associate researcher at the Universities of Franche-Comté and Helsinki. Being a specialist in lifelong learning policies developed by the International Organisations, the European Union and the national governments, Mihaela graduated in Orthodox Theology - Social Work in Cluj-Napoca as well as in Law, Political Sciences, Ethics and Human Rights in Strasbourg. She worked at the European Court of Human Rights, Council of Europe, European Science Foundation and has conducted research in Finland, France, Romania and the United Kingdom. Her publications are related to drug addiction, lifelong learning policies, right to education, digitalisation, gerontagogy and religious education.