My research interests centre on analysing written and spoken texts as well as interaction in pedagogical settings, particularly in the context of Finnish language and literature education. Lately, I have focused, for example, on the processes of teaching and learning grammar, and on analysing teacher’s reasons for selecting literature for students to read. My special interests also include analyses of embodied interaction and materiality in classroom settings as well as the meaning of gender in education.
My research focuses on learners’ emerging Finnish language, multilingualism, and language-aware teaching. Recently, I have studied language socialisation among migrant pupils during the preparatory education phase, namely the first school year after migration. Much of my empirical work about language socialisation is based on two relatively extensive ethnographic research corpora that were collected under my supervision, the first of them as a longitudinal video dataset from a primary school, and the other as a cross-sectional selection of recordings, photos, and interviews from various primary and secondary schools. My research is based on the usage-based view of language, and I prefer the Construction Grammatical account of linguistic phenomena. I am a text linguist by background, and my Ph.D. thesis in 2007 discussed semantics in Finnish Old Testament translations from 1551 to 1992. I have a Title of Docent in Finnish language, with specification in Applied Linguistics.
My special fields in teacher education include literature pedagogy in first and second language education, as well as literacy and its development. As a literary scholar, my recent interest has focused on post-war fiction dealing with Finnish internal refugees, and on rhythm and metrics in poetry. I am visiting associate professor of Finnish literature in the University of Vilnius, Lithuania during 2022–2024.
My research field covers children’s literature, illustration, and the art and literature of Tove Jansson. I published my PhD about Tove Jansson’s Moomin illustrations and texts, and have written books and articles on Jansson’s work. I have also worked with exhibitions and dance and theatre performances related to Tove Jansson as well as translating her writing into Finnish. In my courses, we explore the connection between the forest and literature, and many of my courses also take place in the forest or other places significant for books and writing.
My research interests focus on writing and teaching writing in classroom settings. My doctoral dissertation (2014, Finnish language) dealt with student essays from the point of view of the intersubjective positioning of the writer. Lately, I have investigated writing within interaction in classrooms, especially middle school students’ factual writing practices and upper secondary school students’ digital literacy practices.
Ulla Karvonen is a University Lecturer in Finnish language and literature education. Karvonen’s PhD in 2019 focused on how teachers use texts as pedagogical tools in classroom interaction. Later, she has studied embodied interaction, in particular touch practices and gestures in different instructional settings. Currently, her research interests also include literacy and literature education in primary and lower secondary schools.
My dissertation discussed powerful knowledge in L1 grammar education. I am interested in what metalinguistic understanding and knowledge about grammar can offer for the reading and writing skills of students, and how this understanding can be fostered by means of functional and contextualised grammar teaching. I also research disciplinary literacy from the viewpoint of students who study in preparatory education and speak Finnish as their second language. This research and assessment project is being conducted in The Centre for Educational Assessment (CEA) at the University of Helsinki.
In spring 2024, I work as a university lecturer in L1 and literature education and drama pedagogy.