Laura Heinonen: Reality bites - oppimista yhteisöissä

Please note: This talk is in Finnish. Every TEDxOtaniemiED talk will get translations (in closed captions) as soon as we can add them to the videos, so that they can be enjoyed as widely as possible. Check back soon!

Laura Heinonen (B.Ed.) is an experienced developer of education and study communities. In 2011-2013 Heinonen was in charge of the Kyky project, which aimed at enhancing Finnish university students’ study and learning skills by fostering dialogue between student associations and universities. Today she is a wellbeing expert in a social work organization and argues for the importance of group interaction in creating study motivation, wellbeing and happiness.

At TEDxOtaniemiED Laura will explain us how a very simple idea can be very effective.

How did you get the idea for your TEDx talk?

How else, together with other people. The organizers had invited me to speak, because I had been working with study ability and community building in different universities' studying communities. Especially my work with study ability had highlighted the need for groups. Also, I had just started a new job, working with the wellbeing of vocational students in AMIS-project. In the project, I had the opportunity to work with the best people in the business, such as Antti Maunu. He has researched the importance of groups and the social dimensions of wellbeing.

I believe that students will fit better into work life, and for example into student associations, better than into their studies, for the simple reason that they offer a sense of belonging, chances to be seen and to accepted in a group.

What would you like to happen to your talk and your message?

I hope that the talk will awaken people to accept the fact that we all need groups, where we can belong. By putting resources into building groups and supporting them, we can get more results and meaning, whether it be in schools and educational institutions or in working life. Too many students don't feel attached to any group that is relevant to their studies. School bullying, hate speech in the net, disfunctional work environments; these are all part of the same phenomenon. It is also a phenomenon which can be changed. Ask me more, and I will tell you how!

What are you doing next?

I'm at my best, when I can help groups and communities develop their functioning and internal cooperation. I shall be doing that in the future, until the years' end at my current job in the AMIS-project and as a freelancer instuctor. At the same time, I'm starting an inspirational collaboration with Me itse -associations' Helsinki area group. Hopefully my soon to be finished Masters' thesis will further the agency of people with intellectual disabilities. My thesis will study the life experiences of women with intellectual disabilities.

Where can people find you?

Not by googling, because I there are many people with the exact same name! The best ways to reach me are by Twitter and gmail at laura.ehei.

The talk is illustrated with Sketchnotes by Linda Saukko-Rauta at 

The talk is illustrated with Sketchnotes by Linda Saukko-Rauta at