Highlighting practical relevance as a teaching strategy in social sciences / Studying languages other than English as a major or a minor – focus on motivation

8.3.2017, 13:00 – 14:00, Sali/sal/lecture hall 15

Anne Huhtala (Humanistinen tiedekunta), Anta Kursiša (Humanistinen tiedekunta), Marjo Vesalainen (Yliopistopedagogiikan keskus HYPE), Katrin Komp (Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta), Aasa Karimo (Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta), Anne Kouvonen (Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta), Liisa Myyry (Yliopistopedagogiikan keskus HYPE)

1. Katrin Komp (Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta), Aasa Karimo (Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta), Anne Kouvonen (Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta), Liisa Myyry (Yliopistopedagogiikan keskus HYPE)

Social sciences deal with the world that we directly observe in our everyday lives. Be it who in your family goes shopping for groceries, what happens when you cannot find a job, or how neighbourhoods change when the expanded metro system in Helsinki opens social sciences can shed light on all these phenomena and more. We suggest that this practical relevance can benefit teaching of social sciences. If students realize the practical relevance, they can comprehend the course content more easily and apply it more independently. This session explores how social science lecturers can help students make the connection between the course content and their everyday experiences. To do this, this session creates a dialogue between social science lecturers, a student, and an educational expert. Drs Anne Kouvonen and Kathrin Komp give examples on how they have highlighted the practical relevance in their social science theory and methods teaching. Aasa Karimo is a sociology student, who explains how she realized the practical relevance of her studies. Dr Liisa Myyry, finally, reflects on these observations and explains them from an educational science point of view.

2. Anne Huhtala (Humanistinen tiedekunta), Anta Kursiša (Humanistinen tiedekunta), Marjo Vesalainen (Yliopistopedagogiikan keskus HYPE)

There is quite a lot of narrative research on the study experiences of first-year language students and student teachers (e.g., Kalaja, 2015). However, advanced L2-students’ stories have not received equally much attention. This is especially true concerning stories written by students of languages other than English.

In this presentation, we look more closely at the L2 motivation of advanced Finnish speaking students who study languages other than English as their major or one of their minors. We are interested in finding out what still keeps these language students motivated to study their L2 and how they see themselves as learners and users of these languages.

Our theoretical frame of reference is the socio-dynamic perspective developed by Dörnyei and his colleagues (e.g., Ushioda & Dörnyei, 2009). According to this theoretical perspective, L2 motivation is a complex phenomenon resulting from the dynamic interaction between an individual’s hopes and dreams, perceived social pressure and actual  learning experiences (Dörnyei, 2009, 2014). The central concepts of Dörnyei’s L2 motivational self-system are: ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self and L2 learning experience.

Our data consist of stories written by advanced Finnish-speaking university students of languages other than English. We have collected our data in the form of written narratives. In our opinion, they make it possible to study “motivation-in-context” (Ushioda & Dörnyei, 2012). The data is analyzed using a narrative methodology (Polkinghorne, 1995), especially concentrating on themes referring to motivational factors. We have looked at students’ reflections on their initial L2-study decision and their L2-motivation during the studies. In this presentation we present motivational factors that can be seen to unite the narratives, as well as factors where the narratives differ from each other.