The aim of the ODYSSEUS research and development project is to examine, study and develop the partial integration of worldview subject teaching at a teacher training school of the University of Helsinki.

The project identifies problems, challenges and opportunities created by the integration of disciplines. Moreover, the research creates solutions to these both at the levels of curricula and teaching planning as well as pedagogical implementation.

Towards curricular integration of worldview subjects

Curriculum design work in the project aims at creating a foundation for how religion (syllabi in Lutheran, Orthodox, Catholic, and Islamic religions) and ethics could be taught in a partially integrated way in primary and lower secondary schools. Research in the project focuses on investigating what kinds of issues, knowledge and skills related to the content and ethos of teaching worldview subjects the transition brings about and how teachers handle them.

Teachers developing their own work

The project involves developer teachers, who in the school year 2022–2023 plan their future worldview teaching as a partly integrated arrangement, participate in professional peer group activities and work on the curriculum together with the principal specialist. Methodologically, the research project follows the principles of participatory action research, which aims at the production of knowledge and the development of activities in real-life operating environments through problem-solving measures so that both the research subjects and the researchers actively participate in the transition process.

When integrating teaching on worldview subjects, it is important to understand the premise from which teachers plan, implement and assess their teaching. From the perspective of action research and practice-oriented methodology, teachers are, as it were, co-researchers, and as a consequence participate in the writing of project publications related to the subject matter.

The project follows the professional development process of the developer teachers in relation to the pedagogical and content competence with regard to the integration of worldview education. The research aims to describe and understand the transition and development process being created through teachers’ thinking, which serves as a foundation for views on integrated worldview education.

Creating research-based solutions for schools across the country

Experiences and competence based on the development and research can be utilised nationwide. At the moment, many schools implement integrated teaching, but it is not based on research, and there is no comprehensive information about these local solutions.