G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Korkeakoulutetut kotoutujat suomen kielen käyttäjinä : toimjuus, tunteet ja käsitykset (2020)

Scotson, M. (2020). Korkeakoulutetut kotoutujat suomen kielen käyttäjinä : toimjuus, tunteet ja käsitykset [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU dissertations, 271. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8259-1

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Scotson, Mia

eISBN: 978-951-39-8259-1

Journal or series: JYU dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 271

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (150 sivua, 64 sivua useina numerointijaksoina)

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: Finnish

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8259-1

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


This dissertation focuses on highly educated, English-speaking immigrants studying in integration training in the Helsinki metropolitan area and explores their experiences of using Finnish in informal, out-of-class contexts. Theoreti-cally, this study draws on the ecological and sociocultural approach to language learning, according to which language is learned when used in everyday situations. However, the use of language learning opportunities – or affordances – requires agency on the part of the learner. This study focuses on the nature of language user agency and the factors that affect it, above all the language user’s emotions and beliefs and the role of the sociocultural environment. The data of this qualitative study consist of a questionnaire, visual narratives, a writing task, recorded experiences, an email questionnaire and interviews which were conducted in two phases: the first round at the end of the integration training for adult immigrants and the second round after a one-year period. The data were analyzed mainly by content analysis, and the findings of the three sub-studies are reported in three research articles. The findings show that the agency of language users is a multifaceted, dynamic phenomenon, one influenced by factors arising from both the individual and the sociocultural environment. A language user’s emotions and beliefs are intertwined, and they are crucial to agency and the use of Finnish. For example, interaction in Finnish may be hindered by the fear of making mistakes, which combines the negative emotions of the language user with beliefs about one’s own competence and language learning. The main environmental factor that supported the agency was the scaffolding provided by the interlocutor. In this study, the language learner’s agency and the factors influencing it are described using Vygotsky’s (2004) concept of perezhivanie, that is, cognitive-emotional experience. The pedagogical implication of this study is that taking into account language learners’ emotions and beliefs in language teaching would support agency and out-of-class Finnish language use.

Keywords: migrants; Finnish as a second language; language learning; informal learning; language skills; use of language; human agency; integration of migrants; language teaching

Free keywords: agency; beliefs; emotions; highly educated immigrants; informal learning; second language learning

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 21:35