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Teaching and Study Practices in Finnish Foreign Language Classrooms

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1 Teaching and Study Practices in Finnish Foreign Language Classrooms
Seppo Tella Waseda Institute for Advanced Study Waseda University Tokyo, Japan and Department of Applied Sciences of Education University of Helsinki Pirjo Harjanne Research Centre for Foreign Language Education (ReFLEct) Department of Applied Sciences of Education University of Helsinki

2 Contents of the presentation
Introduction: - Finnish national core curricula: CLT - CLT in Finnish foreign language classrooms? KIELO—Research and Developmental Project in Foreign Language Teaching, Studying and Learning (2008–2012) KIELO research and other research on Finnish foreign language classrooms TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 2

3 Finnish national core curricula (LOPS, 2003; POPS, 2004)
Aim of language teaching: communicative language proficiency Means: communicative language teaching (CLT) What should CLT include in FL classrooms? Some salient features of CLT and TBLT (Harjanne, 2006; based on e.g. Nunan, 1989; Donato, 2000; van Lier, 2000; Brown, 2001; Richards & Rodgers, 2001; Ellis, 2003; Skehan, 2003) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 3

4 Socioculturalism in classrooms
The participation metaphor/ Socioculturalism Learning Participation in social interaction and communication Knowing TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella

5 *Functional and linguistic; the starting point: the
Theory of language *The function of language is the expression of meaning; above all interaction and communication Theory of learning *Real communication, trial and error; meaningful tasks, meaningful language to the learner Objectives *Functional and linguistic; the starting point: the student’s needs, experiences and contents *Meaningful authentic communication Communication *A communicative goal, the connection with life outside the classroom *Taking all the components of communicative language proficiency into consideration *Integrated practising of listening, reading, speaking and writing *Primary focus on meaning, secondary focus on form *Interaction, negotiating of meaning, risk-taking Student’s role *Co-operative participator in communication Teacher’s role *Mentor, instructor, needs’ analyst, task organizer, resource, feedback, researcher and learner Role of material *Task-based, authentic, supporting communicative language use

6 KIELO A Research and Developmental Project in Foreign Language Teaching, Studying and Learning (2008–2012) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 6

7 Premises of the KIELO project
the FL teacher’s cognition • conceptions of students, teaching, studying and learning based on values, beliefs, prior experience, practical knowledge and theoretical knowledge & the sociocultural context of school and language classroom • define what and how foreign languages are taught, studied—and learnt TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 7

8 The key components of KIELO’s theoretical framework
**A holistic view on Communicative Language Teaching **A communicative task as a crucial part of teaching and studying **The didactic teaching–studying–learning process (TSL process) **The FL teacher’s own personal didactics and pedagogical thinking TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 8 8

9 Research task To analyse, describe and interpret the present state of foreign language (FL) teaching in Finnish FL classrooms – the way foreign languages are taught, studied and learnt. A special focus is laid on the role, status and significance of communicative language teaching (CLT) and task-based language teaching (TBLT) as a current and topical teaching practice and as a methodological approach among FL teachers. TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 9

10 Research questions 1 What salient features and emphases are found in Finnish FL classrooms? 2 What teaching and study practices are used in Finnish FL classrooms? 3 In what ways are the teaching and study practices justified by the teachers? 4 In what ways do FL teachers implement communicative language teaching and task-based language teaching? TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 10

11 Research Setting • Exploratory practice • Mixed methods Target groups
 Research methodology •  Exploratory practice •  Mixed methods Target groups •   FL teachers •   Students TBLT 2009 TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 11

12 Exploratory Practice (Allwright, 2000; 2003; Allwright & Hanks, 2009)
Key objective: to increase understanding of the quality of language classroom life the salient features of an “ordinary” classroom’s activities Teachers and learners are equal partners in researching their own classroom lives – teaching and studying Research has to be relevant to the teacher and the students Academic researchers are research consultants TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 12

13 Research Setting • Questionnaires • Interviews • Classroom observation
 Data gathering •   Questionnaires •   Interviews •   Classroom observation •   Electronic and digital documentation Data analysis •   Content analysis •   Discourse analysis TBLT 2009 TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 13

14 Harjanne & Tella 14

15 KIELO research and other research on Finnish Foreign Language Classrooms Current research on teaching and study practices in Finnish FL classrooms is scarce. Only a few doctoral theses; most studies are Master’s theses or Bachelor’s theses; still, they are important and indicatory. TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella

16 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs
CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs. mother tongue 60% of the Finnish teachers of English: English at most 50% of the teaching time Under 10% of the Finnish teachers of English: the target language at least 75% of the teaching time (The assessment of pupils’ skills in English in eight European countries, 2002). TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 16

17 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs
CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs. mother tongue English / lower and upper secondary school / four (two and two) video-recorded lessons : 60% (lower secondary) / 51% (upper secondary) of the teacher talk was Finnish Grammar: in Finnish (Reini, 2008 / Master’s thesis) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 17

18 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs
CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs. mother tongue KIELO research English / lower and upper secondary school Interviews of the teachers (N=11), observation of lessons (N=11) The aim of the teachers: maximum use of English in the lessons TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 18

19 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs
CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs. mother tongue Observation At the beginning of the lesson: English / 11 Instructions: English / 5, English and Finnish / 4, Finnish and English 2 Grammar: Finnish / 8, English / 3 General conversation: English / 5, English and Finnish / 4, Finnish and English 2 Private conversation: English / 3, English and Finnish / 4, Finnish and English / 4 Dicipline: English / 6, English and Finnish / 1, Finnish and English / 4 Intervention in the students’ use of Finnish: yes / 4, not always / 3, no / 4 TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 19

20 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs
CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs. mother tongue The experienced teachers used much more English than the inexperienced teachers The students used much more English, when the teacher used English and especially, when they were encouraged to speak English (Kuoppala, 2009 / Pedagogical thesis) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 20

21 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs
CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs. mother tongue KIELO research English / lower secondary school Classroom observation (1–3 lessons per 5 teachers) and a questionnaire Instructions / 5 teachers: primarily English >> Observation: Finnish and English Grammar / 5 teachers: Finnish Small talk / The teachers: English > Observation: English To praise the students / The teachers: English > Observation: English TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 21

22 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs
CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Target language vs. mother tongue Paying attention to the students’ use of Finnish / 5 teachers: try to pay attention to the use of Finnish > Observation: The teachers asked the students to be quiet or they let them continue in Finnish but didn’t encourage them to speak English (Järnberg, 2009 / Pedagogical thesis) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 22

23 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching
English / lower secondary school: Teaching and studying focused on linguistic items isolated from meanings and language functions (Alanen, 2000) English / upper secondary school: Little (if any) evidence of student-centredness or of the student’s role as an active user of the target language (Nikula, 2007) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 23

24 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching
English / primary school: The teacher had a high level of control and focused her teaching on isolated linguistic units The teacher usually used English communicatively only for a few minutes during a lesson (Hinkkanen & Säde, 2003 / Master’s thesis) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 24

25 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching
English / primary school: The pupils: The exercise book exercises and listening to and reading the textbook chapters played a major role Their use of English was minimal, as even discussion tasks in pairs were written down in their copybooks (Jalkanen & Ruuska, 2007 / Master’s thesis) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 25

26 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching
English / upper secondary school Classroom ethnography, conversation analysis / One double-lesson of English (a part of a larger data collection of face-to-face ordinary EFL lessons) The nature of EFL conversation in classroom: The teacher had control, focusing on checking the exercises Teacher-centred Genuine conversation was scarce (Turunen, 2007 / Master’s thesis) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 26

27 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching
English/ primary school Three case studies about drama; teacher as a researcher, observation, interviews of the teachers, questionnaires to the pupils Drama enabled to simulate authentic communication in English to practise all the components of communicative competence (Ropponen, 2006 / Master’s thesis) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 27

28 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching
Swedish / lower and upper secondary school Microethnography, exploratory practice, teacher as a researcher / audio-recorded lessons, a questionnaire Oral practice of Swedish with the aid of collaborative scheme-based and elaboration tasks Student-centred lessons Teacher: a mentor Students: active participators in communication in Swedish TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 28

29 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching
The students’ communication: co-construction of the dialogue peer-scaffolding much more attention to meaning than form Conclusion: students’ collaboration and interactional communication came true, having the connection with life outside the classroom. (Harjanne, 2006 / Doctoral thesis) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 29

30 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching
KIELO research What tasks do FL teachers at a university of applied sciences use in their lessons? A questionnaire to 8 FL teachers (English, Spanish, French, Swedish, German and Russian) (> 9 teachers participated!) Many more oral than written tasks The oral tasks were more communicative than the written tasks Co-operative tasks Authentic materials, self-edited materials About same number of group work and individual tasks About same amount of teacher-centred and student-centred teaching (Naumanen, 2009 / Pedagogical thesis) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 30 30

31 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching
KIELO research What kind of foreign language teaching do the pupils at lower secondary school find interesting? A questionnaire, N=42 Group work and projects in addition to grammar >> to hear and use foreign languages More speaking in foreign languages Varied FL teaching including culture and communication (Keskinen, 2009 / Pedagogical thesis) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 31 31

32 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching
KIELO research Which teaching approaches do the FL teachers in primary school and lower secondary school prefer on their lessons and why? A questionnaire (N=23) Teacher-centred (58% of the teachers), a need to control Student-centred and co-operative (42% of the teachers), to activate the students to inspire, participate and take more responsibility TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 32 32

33 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching
Authoritarian teaching style (59% of the teachers) clear rules and goals > learning if too much control to the students > non-learning; Democratic teaching style (33% of the teachers) to enable the students to participate and to assume more responsibility (Lehtinen, 2009 / Pedagogical thesis) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 33 33

34 Conclusions from research on Finnish FL classrooms
The results are in line with many international research results (e.g,. Karavas-Doukas, 1996; D. Li, 1998; Sato & Kleinsasser, 1999): Most second language (L2) teachers claim to use CLT approach Communicative FL classrooms still seem to be in the minority (teaching still being teacher-centred and focused on grammar) (Gatbonton & Segalowitz, 2005) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 34 34

35 Conclusions from research on Finnish FL classrooms
The language tasks used mirror the teachers’ views on FL proficiency, teaching, studying and learning. The language tasks used seem to have a decisive role on defining what happens in FL classrooms. TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 35 35

36 CLT vs. ‘traditional’ language teaching Tasks
KIELO research What kind of tasks do the exercise books in French at lower secondary school include in Finland, Sweden and Canada? Task classification modified on basis of Nunan (1989), Skehan (1998) and Littlewood (2004) TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 36 36

37 Tasks in French Non-communicative 49.2% 62.6% 49.8% Pre- communicative
A Finnish book (132 tasks) A Swedish book (390 tasks) A Canadian book (295 tasks) Non-communicative 49.2% 62.6% 49.8% Pre- communicative 37.1% 32.1% 38.3% Communicative 13.6% 5.4% 11.9% TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 37 37

38 Why do FL teachers prefer ‘traditional’ (teacher-centred, focus on grammar) language teaching?
It’s hard for the FL teachers used to teach grammatical rules and isolated words and word lists, to see that communicative tasks improve learning (Gatbonton & Segalowitz, 2005) The FL teachers’ beliefs determine their teaching crucially (e.g., Borg, 2006) Misunderstandings of communicative language teaching and of a communicative task: Purely oral practice, no grammar teaching or practising TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 38

39 on teaching and study practices in Finnish FL classrooms
KIELO research on teaching and study practices in Finnish FL classrooms is continued… What, how and why? TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 39 39

40 References TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 40
Alanen, R. (2000). Kolmannen muodon tapaus: Miten kieliopista puhutaan englannin kielen luokassa. [The case of the third form: How grammar is discussed in English classroom.] Teoksessa P. Kalaja & L. Nieminen (toim.), Kielikoulussa – kieli koulussa (ss. 139–163). AFinLAn vuosikirja, 58. Jyväskylä: Suomen soveltavan kielitieteen yhdistys AFinLA. Allwright, D. (2000). Exploratory Practice: an 'appropriate methodology' for language teacher development? Paper presented at the 8th IALS Symposium for Language Teacher educators, Edinburgh, Scotland, Politics, Policy and Culture in Language Teacher education. Allwright, D. (2003). Exploratory practice: Rethinking practitioner research in language teaching. Language Teaching Research, 7(2), 113–141. Retrieved June 9, 2009, from Allwright, D. & Hanks, J. (2009). The Developing Language Learner. An Introduction to Exploratory Practice. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Bergman, J., Oksanen, H., & Veikkolainen, K. (2009). Viestinnällisyys ranskan oppikirjojen tehtävissä Suomessa, Ruotsissa ja Kanadassa. Pedagoginen tutkielma. [Communicativeness in the exercises of the textbooks of French in Finland, Sweden and Canada]. Aineenopettajankoulutus. Soveltavan kasvatustieteen laitos. Helsingin yliopisto. [Pedagogical thesis, unpublished.] Breen, M. (2001). Navigating the discourse: on what is learned in the language classroom. In Candlin, C. & Mercer, N. (eds.) English language teaching in its social context. London: Routledge, 306–322. Brown, D. H. (2001). Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. 2nd edition. San Francisco, CA: State University. Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based language learning and teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gatbonton, E., & Segalowitz, N. (2005). Rethinking communicative language teaching: A focus on access to fluency. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 61(3), 325–353. Harjanne, P. (2006). ”Mut ei tää oo hei midsommarista!” – ruotsin kielen viestinnällinen suullinen harjoittelu yhteistoiminnallisten skeema- ja elaborointitehtävien avulla. [‘But hey, this ain’t ‘bout Midsummer!’—Communicative oral practice in Swedish through collaborative schema-based and elaboration tasks]. University of Helsinki. Department of Applied Sciences of Education. Research Report Available at Hinkkanen, H.-M., & Säde, A.-M. (2003). Puhutaanko kielestä vai kielellä? Tapaustutkimus englannin kielen tunnilla käytetyn kielen kohteista, sisällöistä ja merkityksistä. [Shall we talk about a foreign language or in a foreign language? A case study of the targets, content and meanings of the language used in English lessons].Kasvatustieteen pro gradu -tutkielma. Opettajankoulutuslaitos, Jyväskylän yliopisto. [Master’s thesis]. Retrieved June 9, 2009, from https://jyx.jyu.fi/dspace/bitstream/handle/ /10443/G pdf?sequence=1 TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 40

41 TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 41
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42 TBLT 2009 Harjanne & Tella Harjanne & Tella 42
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