"Growing up radical? The role of educational institutions in guiding young people's worldview construction" is a 4-year research project conducted for the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki. The project is funded by the Academy of Finland 2018-2022.   

Project aims

The important question that remains open in the intersection of educational, psychological and sociological knowledge related to the present inquiry is, what are the factors and mechanisms influencing the individual’s worldview construction that for one lead into a positively meaningful value system and constructive citizenship and for the other into frustration, marginalization or radicalization. In order to provide answers to this question and to react to the increasingly tense atmosphere regarding the strengthening of national and religious categorization and the radicalization of youths in progressively pluralistic Europe, interdisciplinary, in-depth examination of youths’ worldview construction is needed. 

This study aims to answer the following research question: What are the worldview development trajectories like for Finnish youth, among those the young people who affiliate strongly with a particular worldview or ideology? This overarching research problem is targeted through the following research questions:

(1) How do youth understand and define “radical” or “extremist” thinking, and how do they locate their own worldview in relation to “radical” ideologies?

(2) What kinds of events, connections and experiences have been most influential in shaping the worldviews of young people?

(3) How do young people experience the role of school/educational institution as a space and place for identity and worldview construction?

Knowledge and skills relating to education for democratic citizenship and human rights education are key components of a teacher’s expertise. Despite their importance, however, no consistent training is currently offered to all teachers. The project for the development of education for democratic citizenship and human rights education in teacher training (1 August 2018–31 July 2019) explores how related learning content can be promoted in teacher training. The University of Helsinki is coordinating the project as part of the cooperation associated with the UNESCO Chair in Values, Dialogue and Human Rights in Education. Education for democratic citizenship and human rights education provide the knowledge and skills needed to promote a culture of respect for participation and human rights. Teacher training should explore values, rights and duties, and provide the knowledge and skills for participation in society, critical thinking and dialogue.

The project gathers materials regarding democracy and human rights education for teachers together with the Finnish National Agency for Education. 

KUPERA project produces research-based perspectives on cultural, worldview and language awareness for basic education. KUPERA project consists of two subprojects: evaluation and research project and material, online course and web portal project. Both projects have their own linked objectives.

KUPERA evaluation and research project explores the linguistic, cultural and worldview awareness of teaching and assessment materials of different subjects in Finnish basic education. In addition, the views of principals' and teachers' will be explored. The project produces research-based guidelines for cultural, worldview and language awareness in education.

The KUPERA material, online course and web portal project produces material for teaching and learning in basic education suited for different Finnish language proficiency level. Material specifically takes into account the needs of Finnish second-language learners. Educational material supports cultural and worldview dialogues. In addition, the project will produce a MOOC online course for teachers' initial and in-service training as well as an online portal to strengthen dialogue skills.

The 2018 Parliament of the World's Religions was held in Toronto, Canada, from 1 to 7 November 2018. Arto Kallioniemi and Heidi Rautionmaa represented University of Helsinki with a panel discussion titled Equipping Schools and Teachers to provide Interfaith Education. The aim of the discussion was to share best practices in the fields of religions and interfaith education and to discuss what the power of such education in communities around the world is.

Expected attendance will exceed 10,000 persons of faith and conscience from 80 nations and more than 200 unique spiritual backgrounds. The Parliament offers programming for all, from scholars and activists to families and children - lectures to interactive cultural experiences. Participants can be individuals whose profession or personal interests lead them to the Parliament or delegations from the guiding institutions like states, universities, or religious organizations. Parliament presenters include students, clergy, interfaith leaders, scholars, Nobel Laureates, city mayors, spiritual luminaries, best-selling authors, globally-recognized entertainers, thought leaders, state actors, and more.

The theme for the parliament draws from movements of goodwill and cross-cultural respect that are embodied in the spirit of the interfaith movement: The Promise of Inclusion, the Power of Love: Pursuing Global Understanding, Reconciliation, and Change.

The Democracy Award 2018 by the Ministry of Justice was awarded to Finnish League of Human Rights and to Women Journalists in Finland. The theme of the award was democracy and human rights education. Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen presented the award during a national Democracy Day at Town Hall. 

Arto Kallioniemi, along with Tarja Halonen (former president of Finland and the chair of the board at University of Helsinki), formed a jury who selected the award winner. 

 

Resilience and violent attitudes in education expert network, coordinated by the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, produces research-based information on the treatment, prevention, and confrontation of ideological extremism and ideologically motivated violence for education sector and for a variety of stakeholders in Finland.