Welcome to Finland

This blog is made to make your visit to Helsinki easy. You will find here information about living and moving in Helsinki. Your program and other materials will be attached here as well.

About teachers and language teaching in Finland

Teacher’s profession is in Finland higly respectated. The esteem is as high as that of lawyers and physicians. Due to this high esteem many youngsters apply after the immatricualtion exams to the universities entrance exams of the teacher education, but only approximately 10 % of the candidates pass the exams and are able to begin with the teacher training.

In Finland all teachers have a master’s degree except the kinder garten teachers who have a bachelor’s degree. The language teachers ususally teach two or even three foreign languages. At the university the future teachers study a one major subject like English where they do their masters thesis and additionally, one or even two minor subjects like French or German. In addition to the subject studies the future teachers have to do teachers pedagogical studies, where they learn how to teach this particular subject. The future language teachers study language didactics, math and science teachers study science didactics. History and social studies have their own didactics as well as sport teachers study sports pedagogy. In your program we get acquainted with the language didactis, that bases on the most recent international and Finnish research. Your teachers are professor, mr. Seppo Tella and adjuct professor, ms. Pirjo Harjanne, who are the leading language scientists and university pedagogs in this country.

At school the students can choose their language courses between a range of languages: English, French, German, Latin, Spanish and even Chinese and Japanese. The offer of languages vary from school to another, but the most popular language chosen is English. The school children choose their first compulsory language at their 3rd class, when they are 9 years old (In Finland children begin the school at the age of 7) It is usually English, French or Swedish. As you may know, Finland has two national languages: Finnish and Swedish. Those who have Swedish as a mother tongue can begin the language studies of Finnish on the 4th class. Finnish speakers can begin the voluntary Swedish classes at the same time. The second national language will be compulsory on the 7th class, when the pupils are 12 years old. On the 4th class they can also choose another voluntary language course depending on the language offer of the school. The language studies continue in the secondary school as they have began in the primary level. In the upper secondary school the students can choose between courses of more languages, if they wish.

The curriculum of Finnish language teaching and evaluation of proficiency bases on CEFR, Common European Framework of Reference, see more http://www.cambridgeenglishteacher.org/what_is_this. You will also get acquainted with the CEFR in order to understand what is expected from the students at school and what kind of methods are used and, as the Finnish teacher education is research based, what kind of theory is on the background.

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