University of Oulu

Anna-Maija Puroila & Annu Haho (2017) Moral Functioning: Navigating the Messy Landscape of Values in Finnish Preschools, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research,61:5, 540-554, DOI: 10.1080/00313831.2016.1172499

Moral functioning : navigating the messy landscape of values in Finnish preschools

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Author: Puroila, Anna-Maija1; Haho, Annu1
Organizations: 1Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-10-18


This article employs a narrative approach to explore educators’ moral functioning in Finnish preschools. Our study is theoretically inspired by notions drawn from feminist and sociocultural studies, according to which education is understood as an entirely moral phenomenon. Within a holistic framework, moral functioning is understood as a concept that intertwines educators’ moral thinking, their actions, the situation, and the cultural context. The study aims to answer the question: What kind of moral functioning emerges from educators’ narratives in a Finnish preschool context? Research material was produced from four group interviews and interpreted through narrative analysis. Our findings reveal that four different moral layers evolved, overlapped, and intertwined in educators’ narratives: what works in a preschool context; what provides good for people; what the rules say; and what is possible to achieve in an educator’s position. We present these findings in detail and discuss their theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical implications.

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Series: Scandinavian journal of educational research
ISSN: 0031-3831
ISSN-E: 1470-1170
ISSN-L: 0031-3831
Volume: 61
Issue: 5
Pages: 540 - 554
DOI: 10.1080/00313831.2016.1172499
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
520 Other social sciences
Funding: This study was supported by Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation, NordForsk (Values education in Nordic pre-schools – Basis of education for tomorrow [grant number 53581] and the Academy of Finland (From exclusion to belonging: Developing narrative practices in day care centers and schools [grant number 264370].
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 264370
Detailed Information: 264370 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2016 Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research on 17 May 2016, available online: