Children in their learning environments: theoretical perspectives.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


This research is a theoretical analysis of the learning environments in which the personal world view of children develop at the beginning of their school careers. This project started as an empirical study, but in the process it
became clear that in order to understand and interpret the results, a coherent theoretical framework should be elaborated.
The main focus in this series of studies has been on the home environment of 7-8-year old boys and girls in the context of child-rearing practices at home (Hirsto 1998, 2001a, 2001b). The first study concerned parental
roles in child-rearing and child-rearing practices of boys and girls. The second study surveyed teachers’ representations of their pupils home environment. These two studies are briefly reviewed here.
The learning environment is seen as a socialisation environment in which children are in continuous interaction. The starting point for the study was Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological model and the theory of pragmatic constructivism (Rauste-von Wright & von Wright 1994; Rauste-von Wright 1999a, 1999b; von Wright 1996a, 1996b).
The socialisation environment of children is analysed on the basis of ecological contexts, which have been defined by Bronfenbrenner (1979), Bronfenbrenner & Morris (1998) and Hurrelmann (1988). These models were
elaborated by adopting the concept of the endosystem, which is considered to represent a person as an open, systemic whole. “Open” refers to the nature of people as intentional doers, who seek stimulation and feedback
on their actions, and “systemic” to the fact that different levels (hormonal, motoric, psychological) are in continuous interaction and affect each other.
The personal world view (see Rauste-von Wright 1979, 1986) is defined here as part of the endosystem, and is both empirical and theoretical in concept. On the one hand, it directs the actions and interpretations of a
person in certain contexts, and on the other, it is a tool for conceptualising and understanding other people’s actions. The concept of the self is central to the personal world view. Thus, people’s beliefs about themselves and
about their relations with the environment are thought to affect their actions. The concept of the self is approached from the perspective of G. H. Mead (1934/1972), who suggests that it develops thought social interaction. This is the context in which boys and girls are also thought to
construct their views of themselves.
Home and school collaboration is considered here as a means of integrating learning environments in which the child is in continuous interaction. This in turn may contribute to the construction of a coherent personal world
The main results of the earlier studies are discussed in the context of the theoretical framework.

KEYWORDS: personal world view, learning environment, socialisation processes, school beginner, ecological model, bioecological model, endosystem
Original languageFinnish
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Print ISBNs951-45-9863-6, 951-45-9864-4
Electronic ISBNsISSN 1457-6856
Publication statusPublished - 2001
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Note regarding dissertation

Väitöskirja koostui yhteensä kolmesta monografiasta: Teoreettisesta yhteenvedosta, ja kahdesta empiirisestä osasta.

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences

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