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Models of language support for instruction given in English: Examples from Forestry, Natural and Social Sciences Roy Siddall & Anu Virkkunen-Fullenwider University of Helsinki Language Centre Background Internationalization in higher education Increasing student mobility

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Models of language support for instruction given in English: Examples from Forestry, Natural and Social Sciences

Roy Siddall & Anu Virkkunen-Fullenwider

University of Helsinki

Language Centre

background
Background
  • Internationalization in higher education
  • Increasing student mobility
  • Rising number of international students at Helsinki University
  • Concurrent increase in teaching through English
  • Communication difficulties can interfere with teaching and learning of the subject
analysis of language needs
Analysis of language needs
  • 1998-9: Detailed analysis of potential need for language support to facilitate teaching through English (TTE)
  • Strengths and weaknesses of Finnish and foreign students
  • Support needed by students
  • Support needed by instructors
  • Development of support systems
aims of this presentation
Aims of this presentation
  • Describe 3 examples of TTE support in separate faculties
  • Examine the advantages and disadvantages
  • Present the outcomes from the language teacher perspective
1 forest products marketing fpm
1. Forest Products Marketing (FPM)
  • Department of Forest Economics
  • One-year programme
    • Oldest programme in taught in English (>10 yrs)
  • 4 business English courses taught in English
    • All compulsory if English elected
    • Additional to degree language requirements
  • Each course separately assessed
  • Final grade for business English is weighted course average
fpm language support
FPM Language support
  • Students mostly Finnish
  • Arrangement with Language Centre teachers ~5 yrs ago
  • Individual support given in all courses
    • special emphasis on productive skills
  • Seminar papers written in English: checked by LC teacher
  • No systematic support given to subject teachers
advantages of fpm language support
Advantages of FPM Language support
  • Advanced business English in both receptive and productive skills
  • Easier for course teachers to:
    • Understand their students
    • Be able to read their papers
  • Increases student confidence
  • Better cross-comparability with similar programmes taught elsewhere
disadvantages of fpm language support
Disadvantages of FPM language support
  • Grading papers highly problematic
  • Lack of in-depth integration of subject and language teaching
    • (Regular meetings with course instructors)
2 boreal biota and ecology programme bbe
2. Boreal Biota and Ecology Programme (BBE)
  • Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
  • One-term study programme, established 1993
  • All courses taught in English (~36 ECTS total)
  • Caters for Finnish and foreign exchange students
bbe language support
BBE language support
  • In-depth analysis of the programme and language support needs in 2001
  • Teacher observation, analysis of handouts and other material
  • Individual and group conferencing with the instructors in the programme
  • Analysis of all courses: Reports given to the instructors
  • Negotiated language support based on the analysis
bbe language support11
BBE language support
  • Cultural awareness training
  • Academic writing instruction
  • Pronunciation (ecological terms)
  • Individual support focused on a single course
    • reading comprehension
    • writing assignments
    • oral presentation
advantages of bbe language support
Advantages of BBE language support
  • Integration of subject and language teaching
  • Good working relationship
  • Compulsory English language requirements fulfilled
  • Extremely positive feedback
disadvantages of bbe language support
Disadvantages of BBE language support
  • No language credits for exchange students
  • Voluntary participation in language support activities
  • Limited resources: focused individual support
3 argonaut study programme asp
3. Argonaut Study Programme (ASP)
  • Dept of Communication, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • International programme established 1996: 50-60 ECTS
  • Cooperation with Language Centre ~2 yrs
  • Mostly foreign students; few Finns
asp language support
ASP language support
  • Support focused on seminar-based course; many separate speakers (NNS)
  • Cultural awareness training for staff and students
  • Support for group presentations (video-recording and analysis)
  • Individual support with writing assignments
advantages of asp support
Advantages of ASP support
  • Close cooperation between language and subject teachers
  • Cultural awareness training helps group dynamics to develop
  • Language teachers “spot teach” during the course
  • Individual writing support
  • Compulsory English language requirements fulfilled
disadvantages of aps language support
Disadvantages of APS language support
  • Lack of individual support for presentations
  • Very heterogeneous group
  • No support for course teachers
overall outcomes
Overall outcomes
  • Positive attitude of teachers and students towards working with language teachers
  • Language teacher (LT) has a better opportunity to concentrate on the particular needs of the students
  • Development of working relationship between LTs and departments
  • Lifelong learning for LTs
recommendations
Recommendations
  • Integrate language support with subject teaching
    • (Language credits)
  • Greatest needs for developing productive skills in English
  • If resources limited, focus rather than spread the support
  • Increasing need to support staff teaching through English
thank you
Thank you!
  • For further information see our project web site:

http://kielikeskus.helsinki.fi/TTE