Marko van den Berg is a teacher trainer. His current position is at the Normal Lyceum which is the Teacher Training School at the University of Helsinki. He has also been working continuously as a university lecturer in the Faculty of Educational Sciences. Marko van den Berg finished his PhD in 2007. His post-doctoral scientific interests relate to the historical consciousness of the young people, as well as attitudes of Finnish youth concerning different kinds of social questions. Recently, van den Berg has been studying the command of historical literature among high school students. He has also participated in textbook projects (history and civics) and been an expert in working committees that reformed the history and civics core curricula for comprehensive school. Marko van den Berg has served several times as a Pestalozzi program trainer.

Minna-Riitta Luukka, PhD, a professor of Finnish language (JYU), is an expert in text and discourse analysis and literacies, especially writing. She has conducted research on classroom interaction, academic discourses and texts, media texts and the youth’s everyday media uses, as well as published articles on mother tongue teaching, especially the teaching of writing and literacies. She has been in charge of two 3-year projects funded by the Academy of Finland. The previous one dealt with challenges for future literacy pedagogies and ninth graders’ literacy practices in both school and out-of-school contexts. She has served as an expert in the process of reforming the Finnish National Core Curricula and she is a member of the Finnish Matriculation Examination Board. In HisLit-project she will focus on analysing written and multimodal historical texts and literacy events around them in classrooms.

Simo Mikkonen is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow (20014-2019) and Adjunct Professor of Russian history at the Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä. In his PhD thesis (2007) Mikkonen examined Soviet cultural politics. Since, he has specialized in transnational history and cultural networks between Eastern and Western Europe. More recently, he has investigated historical thinking and pedagogy of history at university level. Previously Mikkonen has acted as an instructor at the Adult Educators Pedagogical Studies and has been the pedagogical head of the department.

Najat Ouakrim-Soivio is a postdoctoral researcher. She has previously studied the assessment of learning outcomes in history and social studies in secondary schools within Finland, and the validity of grades at the end of secondary schools in Finland. During 2011–2013, the project of assessing the learning outcomes in history and social studies was carried out for the first time. Ouakrim-Soivio was the project manager for this nation-wide assessment. She has acted as an expert during the two previous processes of reforming the Finnish National Core Curricula (2004 and 2014) and was a representative of the Ministry of Education in the Steering Group for National Core Curriculum for basic education (2014).

Mikko Puustinen is a postdoctoral researcher. His research interests include history education, the history of Finnish teacher education as well as the education of subject teachers. In his PhD thesis Puustinen has focused on the disciplinization process of subject teacher education from the 1970s to the 2010s.  He has used rhetorical analysis to examine documents, which have regulated and guided teacher education in Finland. In the HisLit-project, his focus is on observing history teaching, studying teachers’ historical thinking and analyzing texts and assessment tasks, which teachers use in their work.

Jukka Rantala is a professor of History and Social Studies Education. His PhD thesis in 1997 dealt with the attempted political purges of Finnish teachers after the Second World War. Rantala has been working as a teacher educator since 1991. 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 the topics of consuming history, the historical consciousness of young children, and the political orientation of Finnish teachers, among others. He has been an editor for several academic anthologies. He is also a nonfiction author, having published textbooks and teaching material for comprehensive school and university.

Matti Rautiainen is a Senior Lecturer of history and social sciences and Head of the Department of Teacher Education. Rautiainen is also Adjunct Professor of education of history and social studies. He is a member of several research projects examining pedagogy and teacher development, aiming at changing educational culture and pedagogical practices for better schools and learning environments. In learning and teaching of history, Rautiainen has paid particular attention on the development of problem-based learning and the nature of historical knowledge. He is also an author of fiction, particularly crime novels.

Johanna Saario, PhD, a lecturer of Finnish as a second language (JYU), has studied literacy practices in social studies, especially from the angle of students with an immigrant background and learning in their second language. She has also been a team member of the project focusing on ninth graders’ literacy practices in both school and out-of-school contexts, led by Minna-Riitta Luukka and funded by the Academy of Finland. In HisLit-project, she studies the literacy practices and knowledge construction of history in both classroom interaction and in students texts, with a special focus on multilingual students learning in their second language.

Sari Sulkunen, PhD, a senior lecturer (JYU), has studied literacy proficiency of Finnish children, adolescents and adults, and factors associated with and explaining literacy proficiency, as well as  reading engagement. She has worked on several international reading literacy studies, most recently on a project examining the relationship between literacy proficiency and age based on the PIAAC-data (Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies). She was a member of the European Union’s High-level Group on Literacy and is currently a member of the reading expert group for the PISA 2018 literacy framework. In HisLit-project, her main focus is on the conceptual relationship between multiliteracy and disciplinary literacy as well as on assessment for learning.

Anna Veijola is a teacher trainer and teacher of history and social sciences. Her current position is at the Jyväskylä Teacher Training School (Jyväskylän normaalikoulu). She has been a teacher of history and social sciences since 2002. She has also worked for many years as a University Teacher teaching pedagogy of history at the Department of Teacher Education, University of Jyväskylä. In her PhD thesis (2013) she examined development of teacher trainees’ pedagogical thinking over a four-year period. Currently, she investigates historical thinking and historical literacy of students in primary and secondary education, as well as develops methods for improved teaching of critical thinking skills.

Doctoral students

Amna Khawaja is a PhD student whose doctoral thesis will be carried out in collaboration with this research project. The working title of her doctoral thesis is Assessing and Developing Historical Literacy in Basic and Upper Secondary Education in Finland.



Marika Manninen is a PhD student whose doctoral thesis will be carried out in collaboration with this research project. The working title of her doctoral thesis is The Realization of the objectives in the National Core Curriculum related to historical thinking in Basic Education.



Hilkka Paldanius is a doctoral student of Finnish language in the University of Jyväskylä. For her master’s thesis, she studied the genre of expository essays in the matriculation examination of health education. In HisLit-project she studies the essays that students produce in history lessons, with a focus on the genre and the discourse of the essays, and the use of historical documents as a basis for knowledge construction in students’ writing.


Ida Vesterinen is a PhD student whose doctoral thesis will be carried out in collaboration with this research project. The working title of her doctoral thesis is Historical thinking amongst 13-16-year-old Finnish students.