The researchers belonging to the HuSoEd Group are listed and introduced here. You can find more information about each researcher through their Research portal link below, including their contact information and latest publications and current projects.

Professor of Geography and Environmental Education, PhD

Sirpa Tani is Professor of Geography and Environmental Education who has her academic background in cultural geography and urban studies: her PhD in 1995 dealt with cinematic representations of people-environment relationships in Finnish fiction films. Her research interests include multisensory, embodied and emotional place attachment, the role of public spaces in young people’s lives, and environmental education in urban settings. In the field of geography education, she has investigated the role of powerful disciplinary knowledge and human capabilities in enhancing young people’s well-being. She is also interested in discipline-based integration of teaching and in the possibilities of constructing links between subject-specific teaching, youth work and young people’s geographies. 

Link to Tani's Research portal

Professor of History and Social Studies Education, PhD

Jukka Rantala is Professor of History and Social Studies Education. His interests centre on history education and history curriculum. In the field of history education, he has carried out research on young Finns’ historical thinking and the historical consciousness of children. In the history of education, his main focus has been on the formation of Finnish teacherhood and the political ethos of Finnish teachers. He has published six scientific monographs in Finnish, treating topics of consuming history, the historical consciousness of young children, and the political orientation of Finnish teachers, among others. Currently he leads a subproject entitled “Engaging in disciplinary thinking: historical literacy practices in Finnish general upper secondary schools,” funded by the Academy of Finland from 2016–2020.

Link to Rantala's Research portal

Professor of Finnish Language and Literature Education, PhD

Liisa Tainio‘s research interests centre on language use and interaction in pedagogical settings. She has studied classroom interaction from the point of view of literacy education, particularly the use of curriculum materials and digital devices, as well as other interactional phenomena, such as student initiatives, language learning, reading-alouds, teasing, and touching as social action. She is also interested in analyzing discourses in textbooks and other curriculum materials, and studying the practices of literature education. Her research interests lie on subject didactics but also include gender studies and analyses on Finnish everyday interaction.

Tainio is involved in various research projects: Koskettava koulu (Touch in school)Koulujen monet kielet ja uskonnot (KUSKI), and Lukuklaani (Reading clan)

Link to Tainio's Research portal

Associate Professor (Language Didactics), PhD

Raili Hildén's field of specialization is language assessment. She has extensive experience in various developmental and administrative projects and expert duties related to subject teacher education and assessment of language learning outcomes. She currently acts as the chair of the Finnish Matriculation Examination Board Language section.

Hildén's research activities cover a number of national and international research and development projects aiming at improving language teaching and validity of assessment. Because of her extensive experience as a language teacher Dr. Hildén has been very active in the field of in-service training.

Research interests: language assessment, language teaching, teacher education, oral language skills, social impact of assessments, learner autonomy

Link to Hildén's Research portal

University Lecturer (Finnish as an Additional Language Didactics), PhD, Adjunct Professor

Maria Ahlholm is a university lecturer and teacher educator in Finnish language and literature education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. Her main responsibility is in pedagogy of Finnish as a new language. She is also adjunct professor in Finnish language, with specification in Applied Linguistics, at the University of Jyväskylä. Ahlholm's research interests include newly arrived students' emerging language, subject education in an additional language, emerging Finnish morphosyntax, the multilingual socialisation process in classrooms, and classroom observation.

Link to Ahlholm's Research portal


University Lecturer (Geography Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor

Hannele Cantell is a university lecturer and teacher educator in geography education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. She is a nominated member of the University of Helsinki Teacher's Academy. She teaches geography education, and other environmental and sustainability themes in various courses. Her special interests are global and climate education. Cantell has an active role of co-operation with the Finnish National Agency for Education, other educational institutions, and also with NGO's within the environmental and global education sector. In addition, Hannele Cantell has been writing non-fiction books and learning/teaching materials for schools for 25 years. She has been nominated as a Non-fiction writer of the year (2011). 

Research interests: geography education, global education, climate education, sustainability issues, pedagogical interaction and relationships, learning and teaching materials

Link to Cantell's Research portal

University Lecturer (Finnish Language and Literature Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor

Satu Grünthal is University Lecturer in Finnish Language and Literature Education at the University of Helsinki and Adjunct Professor in Finnish literature at the Universities of Helsinki and Turku. Her main fields of interest and research include literature pedagogy, reading motivation, literary history, and poetry. Reading in multilingual and multicultural settings is one of her teaching areas. Grünthal is a member of several editorial boards in Finnish and international scientific journals and one of the editors of Jahrbuch für finnisch-deutsche Literaturbeziehungen. She holds many positions of trust in the academic and educational field, and she has co-authored text books and teaching materials in Finland and Estonia. Currently, she is involved in the research project Lukuklaani (Reading clan).

Link to Grünthal's Research portal

University Lecturer (Foreign Language Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor

Kaisa Hahl is a university lecturer and teacher educator in foreign language education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. Hahl's PhD dealt with the internationalisation of teacher education. Hahl teaches subject teacher students in the Faculty's national and English-medium international subject teacher education programmes. She has experience from several years in working in different international projects that aim at enhancing teacher competences and the quality of teacher education. Hahl is also the leader in the project Early teaching of foreign languages: Developing language teaching and teacher education.

Research interests: foreign language teaching and learning, early teaching of foreign languages, active language learning, internationalisation of teacher education, intercultural education, English as a lingua franca

Link to Hahl's Research portal

University Lecturer (Literature and Finnish Language Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor

Sirke Happonen is Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Her research and teaching area covers children's literature, picturebooks, literature pedagogy and the work of Tove Jansson. In her published doctoral thesis Vilijonkka ikkunassa ("A Fillyjonk at the Window", WSOY 2007) Happonen studied Jansson's Moomin texts and illustrations and sketches, with a special focus on illusions of movement and stasis. Happonen has also published Muumiopas ("Moomin Guide", SKS, 2012 and 2016, available also in Japanese), a half-serious encyclopedia which covers the original Moomin characters in books and comics. In 2017 Happonen edited and translated a collection of Tove Jansson's less-known short-stories, essays and illustrations. In addition, Happonen has written several articles on children's literature and Jansson and as well as pre- and afterwords to various publications, and co-operated in dance and theatre performances and exhibitions, and translated children's literature into Finnish.

Link to Happonen's Research portal

University Lecturer (Environmental Education), PhD

Markus Hilander is a university lecturer in environmental education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. Hilander’s doctoral dissertation dealt with the interpretation of photographs from a geographical perspective. His research interests are environmental education, geography education and visual methodologies. Hilander is especially interested in researching visual culture; for instance, the visual catalogues of media and textbooks and drawing as a research method. In his research, Hilander uses the diverse concepts of semiotics and geography as the theoretical and methodological approach. 

Link to Hilander's Research portal

University lecturer (Finnish language and literature education), PhD

Riitta Juvonen is a university lecturer in Finnish language and literature education. She teaches Finnish language education in several courses for subject teacher students and classroom teacher students. Juvonen's PhD in 2014 dealt with Finnish-language student essays from the point of view of the intersubjective positioning of the writer. Currently, she investigates writing in classrooms, especially middle school students' factual writing practices and upper secondary school students' digital literacy practices.

Link to Juvonen's Research portal

University Lecturer (Religious/Worldview Education), PhD

Pia Koirikivi, PhD, works as a post-doctoral researcher in the Growing up radical? -research project (2018-2022) funded by the Academy of Finland. The project is interested in the elements influencing children and young people's  worldview and attitudes development trajectories especially regarding extremist ideologies. For the time of the project Koirikivi is on research leave from her post as a university lecturer and teacher educator in the field of Religious and Worldview Education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. Koirikivi's research interests focus on attitudes formation, extremist worldviews, subject teacher training and sense of membership. Koirikivi has a subject teacher qualification in the fields of religious education and psychology.

Link to Koirikivi's Research portal

University Lecturer (Foreign Language Education), PhD

Milla Luodonpää-Manni is a University Lecturer in Foreign Language Education at the University of Helsinki in Finland. She was educated at the University of Turku (Finland), where she completed her PhD in French Studies in 2016. Her interests include scientific writing, plurilingual competence and the interconnection between language and wellbeing.

Link to Luodonpää-Manni's Research Portal

University Lecturer (Religious Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor

Saila Poulter is a university lecturer and teacher educator in religious and worldview education. Her research interests include religion in public space, citizenship education, intercultural education and worldview reflection. Her publications deal with research on religion and secularism, history of religious education, integrative worldview education and postcolonial theory. Poulter is currently doing research on teacher professionalism in early childhood education. She is also a leader in the project Creating spaces for diversity of worldviews in early childhood education

Link to Poulter's Research portal

Postdoctoral researcher, PhD

Mikko Puustinen is a postdoctoral researcher. His research interests include history education, the history of Finnish teacher education as well as the education of subject teachers. In his PhD thesis Puustinen has analysed the disciplinization process of Finnish teacher education from the 1970s to the 2010s. Recently he has focused on historical literacy practices in Finnish general upper secondary schools. He has observed history teaching, analysed assessment practices and studied teachers’ historical thinking. (Photo: Joel Grandell)

Link to Puustinen's Research portal

University Lecturer (History and Social Studies Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor

Jari Salminen is a university lecturer in history and social studies education. His PhD thesis, presented at the University of Helsinki in 2002, was concerned with the structural development of private secondary schools in Finland from 1872–1920. He has since studied educational history, the historical formation of school curricula, development work in schools and history of Finnish teacher education. He has published several school histories and monographs. Salminen has had many positions of trust within the University of Helsinki and the Finnish Society for the History of Education.

Link to Salminen's Research portal

University Lecturer (Pedagogical Studies for Adult Education), PhD, Adjunct Professor

Janne Säntti is a university lecturer in pedagogical studies for adult education in the University of Helsinki, and Adjunct Professor in educational sciences. His PhD thesis deals with how teachers’ professional identities and roles changed in post-war Finland. Säntti has mainly studied Finnish teacher education in post-war Finland, especially the formation of academic teacher education in Finland. His current interests deal with digitalisation and rhetoric analysis. Säntti is a member of the editorial team of Kasvatus & Aika. Säntti is on the board of the Finnish Society for the History of Education and is the chief editor of the society’s yearbook.

Link to Säntti's Research portal