Early Career Teachers Professional Agency Across Four European countries   – Key for Sustainable Educational Change?

2018 – 2022, Academy of Finland

The study aims to gain better understanding on the imperatives of active and intentional early career in-service teacher learning by exploring early-career in-service teachers’ professional agency and its’ regulators across the four European countries (Finland, Sweden, UK and the Netherlands) providing different types of environments for early career teacher learning. The project will provide new knowledge on

A) the dynamics of early career teachers’ sense of professional agency in the classroom and in the professional community, B) association between the teachers’ sense of professional agency, perceived working environment fit, experienced burnout and risk of attrition, C) differ-ences/similarities on experienced agency, perceived fit, burnout and risk of attrition across the countries, D) on early career agency profiles across the countries and D) by providing validated cross-cultural instrument for exploring early career teachers’ sense of professional agency.

Both quantitative and qualitative comparative cross-sectional data will be gathered in the project(the sample of 400–500 teachers in every national context, N= 2000).

PI-group: Tiina Soini (UTA), Janne Pietarinen (UEF), Kirsi Pyhältö (OU, HU) & Auli Toom (HY)

Projects financial administration is placed in University of Tampere. The Project is scientifically led by the PI-group.


Teachers’ Strategies Matter – Unknown Resource for Buffering School Differences in Student Learning and Well-being

2016 – 2020, Academy of Finland

The study focuses on exploring the complexity of transactional mechanisms between strategies used by the teachers, occupational well-being and student adjustment in terms of school-level differences. Moreover, it intends to add to previous research on the relationship between learning and well-being:

- by providing an understanding of the mechanism through which learning and well-being are interrelated
– by analysing the development of and key determinants for teachers’ and students’ well-being based on a large-scale, multilevel longitudinal empirical design
– by identifying the kinds of collective action strategies contributing to both students’ and teachers’ well-being at the school level
– by analysing the collective resources adopted in the school community for managing the external and internal stressors caused by low neighbourhood SES

PI-group: Janne Pietarinen (UEF), Kirsi Pyhältö (OU, HU) & Tiina Soini (UTA)

Projects financial administration is placed in University of Eastern Finland. The Project is scientifically led by the PI-group.

From Student Teacher to Experienced Teacher:
Learning an Active Professional Agency

2012 – 2016, Academy of Finland

The study focuses on exploring teacher learning in terms of teachers’ professional agency. It intends to extend previous research on teacher learning:
– by providing understanding on teacher learning and effects of professional transitions for teacher learning based on a large scale longitudinal empirical design
– by introducing an instrument for exploring different ingredients of teacher learning in a variety of contexts, including teacher training and school
– by comparing learning patterns of beginning and experienced teachers and different teacher groups and
– by introducing an integrative concept professional agency for analyzing complexity of teacher learning.

PI-group: Kirsi Pyhältö (HU), Janne Pietarinen (UEF), Tiina Soini-Ikonen (UTA) & Auli Toom (HU)

Project’s financial administration is placed in the University of Helsinki, Department of Teacher Education. The project is scientifically led by the PI group. The teacher education units of these universities act also as sites of research.


School matters. Towards a research based school development

2013 – 2018, Ministry of Education and Culture

The national research project concentrates on developmental processes in the large scale school reform, with a particular focus on preconditions and processes accumulating learning, increasing well-being and supporting agency in every actor level of the school system (from national administration to area and local level, schools and eventually to pupils experiences in comprehensive schools around Finland). The project is linked with the implementation of the national curriculum reform effecting teaching and learning in every school district and individual school in Finland.

PI-group: Tiina Soini-Ikonen (UTA), Kirsi Pyhältö (Hu) & Janne Pietarinen (UEF)


Learning, agency and pedagogical well-being in comprehensive school

2009 – 2014, Ministry of Education

The large-scale research project explores learning and well-being in the Finnish comprehensive school. The main empirical focuses are 1) the development of students’ school experiences (sense of agency, belonging and pedagogical well-being) and school engagement, and 2) changes in teachers’ pedagogical well-being and professional development in the context of school development.

Project’s administration: Project’s financial administration is divided into three universities; HU, UTA and UEF. The project is scientifically led by the PI group, which also makes decisions regarding the use of funding in cooperating universities.

PI-group: Janne Pietarinen (UEF), Kirsi Pyhältö (HU) & Tiina Soini (UTA)

Research group’s doctoral students have individual grants for their dissertation projects, which are linked to larger project presented above. Current funders are Finnish Cultural Foundation,  Finnish Academy of Science and Letters/Eino Jutikkala Fund, Wihuri Foundation and funded doctoral programs of Universities of Helsinki, Tampere and Eastern Finland.