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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching


My research themes:  

  • Research on educational interaction from early education to youth work contexts, particularly processes of student agency and engagement
  • Cultural-historical (CHAT) research on adult-child joint play and play-based pedagogies
  • Research on educational change and interventions, teachers’ professional development, dialectical contradictions in teachers’ work, and discursive methodologies in understanding sustained change in work practices

Distinctive to my research is to conduct methodologically rigorous empirical research that contributes to educational theory development with impact on educational practice. Characteristic to me as an academic scholar is to deeply engage with innovative pedagogical environments and educational settings that exceed typical institutional boundaries of education, and to ’live through’ and analyze together with the participating practitioners and the children the challenges and potentials they face when developing their practice. I am interested in the dialectical processes of institutional educational change from the perspective of practitioners and students and their agency development.


Teaching expertise:

  • Educational Psychology
  • Early Education and Care
  • Classroom Teacher Education
  • Phenomenon-Based Learning
  • Play-Based Pedagogies
  • Childhood Studies
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Video-based participatory ethnography
  • Activity theory and socio-cultural paradigm

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • Educational Psychology
  • Play pedagogy
  • Ethnography
  • student agency
  • School engagement
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Discourse Analysis
  • interaction

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Publications 2002 2020

Estudantes de licenciatura aprendendo a trabalhar com projetos de aprendizagem baseados em fenômenos - Um caso da Finlândia

Talvio, M., Rainio, A., Häkkinen, E. & Vartiainen, V-L., 2020, (Accepted/In press) Educação Centrada em Estudantes: práticas e conversações. Insfran, F. F. N. & Lopes, J. C. (eds.). CRV

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific

Micro-policies of adult-child joint play in the context of the Finnish ECEC system

Paananen, M. & Rainio, A. P., Sep 2019, “Rethinking Play as Pedagogy”. Routledge, (Thinking about Pedagogy in Early Education).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

The dialectics of agency in educational ethnography

Rainio, A. & Hilppö, J., 2017, In : Ethnography and Education. 12, 1, p. 78-94 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Children’s Sense of Agency in Preschool: A Sociocultural Investigation

Hilppö, J., Lipponen, L., Kumpulainen, K. & Rainio, A., 2016, In : International journal of early years education.. 24, 2, p. 157-171 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Dealing with the contradiction of agency and control during dialogic teaching

Rajala, A., Kumpulainen, K., Rainio, A. P., Hilppö, J. & Lipponen, L., 26 Sep 2016, In : Learning, Culture and Social Interaction. 10, p. 17-26 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Projects 2009 2020

Activities 2006 2019

CEDiR seminar "Theorising and Analysing Markers of Sustained Change in Professional Dialogues in Interventions"

Anna Rainio (Invited speaker)
17 Jan 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

University of Cambridge (U.K.), Faculty of Education

Anna Rainio (Visiting researcher)
5 Jan 201923 Jan 2019

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

"Leikkiä ikä kaikki" MLL-tutkimussäätiön seminaari

Anna Rainio (Speaker)
1 Oct 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Conference 2018

Anna Rainio (Speaker: Presenter), Riikka Hofmann (Speaker: Presenter)
16 Apr 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Talks