Texts, literacy events and practices (Luukka)

This sub-project of the HisLit-project is based on the Department of Languages (JYU) and it is led by Minna-Riitta Luukka.

In this study, we approach literacy within a sociocultural frame as a set of culturally defined practices used in various literacy events in which different texts are presented.  This approach expands the research towards the framework of the latest international literacy studies that adopt the systemic-functional framework, and the linguistic analyses focus on meanings and functions in authentic contexts rather than on forms and structures. Literacy is viewed as comprising both reading and writing; therefore, we will also analyse students’ writings – the texts they produce and the literacy events and practices involved in the writing processes.

In this sub-project, we study particularly texts used in history classrooms, collaborative reading and writing practices, student essays in history and students’ proficiency in historical literacy. A special attention is given to students with immigrant background. Moreover, in collaboration with other sub-projects we focus on teaching and assessing historical literacy.  More…


Discipline-based teaching, learning, and assessment (Rantala)

This HisLit sub-project is based at the Faculty of Educational Sciences (University of Helsinki) and is led by Jukka Rantala.

In Finland, there seems to be at least two separate issues within history teaching and learning. Firstly, in spite of our discipline-based curriculum, students are learning basically substantive knowledge. An explanation for this can be attributed to how students see the essence of history—perhaps thinking that history is still learned by rote. This could be because of the way in which teachers are teaching. Our purpose is to study how teachers and students see the meaning of history learning and history itself and to produce material for teachers to better teach historical literacy.

The other problem we face is that immigrant students have difficulties in reaching academic secondary education (general upper secondary school/high school). Those students who are studying at the secondary level often have difficulties because of weak Finnish or a different background of historical culture. Our aim is to find out if the problems are mainly language-based, therefore we try to study methods that are beyond the textual ways of teaching and assessing history.  More…


Teaching historical literacy outside the box (Mikkonen)

This HisLit sub-project is based at the Department of History and Ethnology (JYU) and is led by Simo Mikkonen.

For us, historical knowledge is not memorization of years and names, but critical thinking, understanding of cause and consequence, ability to empathize with people of the past, and comprehending of temporality. In addition, history is strongly linguistic discipline requiring ability to analyze, interpret and produce different texts and representations.

In this sub-project, we examine the ability of Finnish students to analyze historical texts, and proficiency to produce valid interpretations based on them. We approach these themes by developing inquiry based learning in history. Our interests include historical thinking, historical literacy as well as conceptions and meaning of history. In addition to studying how to improve students’ historical literacy and historical thinking, we compile materials for teaching historical literacy.  More…