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  • 1. 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
  • 2. 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
  • 3. 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
  • 4. 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
  • 5. 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
  • 6. 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
  • 7. 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
  • 8. Disadvantages of FPM language support
    • Grading papers highly problematic
    • Lack of in-depth integration of subject and language teaching
      • (Regular meetings with course instructors)
  • 9. 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
  • 10. 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
  • 11. 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
  • 12. Advantages of BBE language support
    • Integration of subject and language teaching
    • Good working relationship
    • Compulsory English language requirements fulfilled
    • Extremely positive feedback
  • 13. Disadvantages of BBE language support
    • No language credits for exchange students
    • Voluntary participation in language support activities
    • Limited resources: focused individual support
  • 14. 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
  • 15. 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
  • 16. 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
  • 17. Disadvantages of APS language support
    • Lack of individual support for presentations
    • Very heterogeneous group
    • No support for course teachers
  • 18. 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
  • 19. 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
  • 20. Thank you!
    • For further information see our project web site: