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Training in the Country of Origin


Learning Paths from One Country to Another


LEA R N I N G PAT H Contributors to Learning Paths: Ella Saarinen Sirpa Arvonen Niina Kollár Pirjo Raunio Anna Taimi Anu Tuovinen Karoliina Väre

Printed by: Eura Print Oy

Learning Paths from One Country to Another

Learning Paths from

Layout: Idearäätäli Oy

try to Another Coun e On

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r- m a d e P ath s


Introduction: Training in the Country of Origin is a Comprehensive Process


Successful Training in the Country of Origin is a Joint Venture


Training Organisation Helping in Recruitment


Teacher Team as a Resource


Near or far – Methods of Implementing Training in the Country of Origin


Experience Brings Confidence in Organising Training in the Country of Origin


A Broader View in the Planning of Teaching


TOP 20 Checklist for Teachers in the Country of Origin


Aspects to Consider when Procuring Training in the Country of Origin


Appendix: Examples of Exercises



Introduction Training in the Country of Origin is a Comprehensive Process In training in the country of origin, employees recruited from abroad start learning Finnish and the Finnish culture already in their home country. It is easier for overseas employees to adapt to the Finnish work community, its customs and language if they can already speak Finnish when they start work. The need for language teaching in the country of origin is emphasised in sectors where language comprehension is directly connected to the quality and success of work. In nursing professions, for example, it is essential to be able to speak and understand Finnish. When recruiting from overseas, everyone concerned must have a clear understanding of the various stages of the process, all the way from the country of origin to Finland. In the planning of training in the country of origin, preparations must also be made for supporting language studies after the employee has arrived in Finland. This publication is based on experience of training in the country of origin gained through Sataedu’s Learning Paths from One Country to Another project (later referred to as Learning Paths). The project involved arranging teaching in the country of origin, in the form of contact teaching, in four countries. In Estonia, a professionally heterogenous group attended a course in June– August 2010, where Finnish and introduction to the Finnish working life were taught. There was flexibility for the students, who were able to participate in the course by attending either the morning or the evening group. In summer 2010, Sataedu implemented similar training in Bulgaria. Learning Paths paid a visit to Bulgaria to observe the training and gather experiences from it.


In summer 2011, Learning Paths provided training for Bulgarian nurses through a combination of distance and contact teaching. The training course focused on supporting the development of their professional language skills. In autumn 2011, a group of dentists was taught Finnish in the form of online tuition. In early 2012, a month-long training course was organised for a group with a heterogenous background in Poland. However, all the members of the group were coming to Finland to work for the same food company; therefore the training content was vocationally uniform. In summer 2012, Sataedu provided a Finnish language course for nurses in Bilbao, Spain, and Learning Paths provided a voluntary revision lesson for its participants. In addition to teaching in the country of origin, Learning Paths has also provided training for students in Finland; as part of the project, immigrants and their family members already in Finland for work purposes were taught occupational Finnish. This publication has been compiled on the basis of feedback from students taking part in training organised by Learning Path and Sataedu, and the observations of teachers who have taught students in their country of origin. The aim of this publication is to offer those providing or procuring country of origin training different viewpoints to consider. For example, the training organisation’s role in the selection of employees is discussed, and matters related to the organisation and planning of training. The positive and negative aspects of different teaching forms are considered, and the employer’s role in organising country of origin training is examined. This publication builds on the premise that language training in the country of origin forms part of the overseas employee’s Finnish learning process, a process that continues after they arrive in Finland. Learning the Finnish language has a direct effect on how a worker from overseas integrates and adapts to Finnish working life, and to Finnish society generally.


3 co-operation; multiculturalism training; work partner; induction



When organising training in the country of origin, the assumption is that the students have already been offered a job in Finland and they are learning Finnish for that purpose. It is important that the job is secure and that the employer is committed to co-operation with the training organisation from the outset. The student must at least know that they are ‘in reserve’ for employment in Finland, in which case they are learning Finnish in preparation for a possible opportunity to work in Finland. The waiting time in the country of origin must not be too long, so that the language skills gained are not forgotten. Maintaining learned language skills independently in the country of origin requires great motivation of the student, which is closely related to the likelihood of being employed in Finland. The significance of motivation on learning cannot be over-emphasised; it is very difficult for students with an uncertain job situation after the training course to concentrate and motivate themselves to learn Finnish. Independent job hunting in Finland may also prove to be challenging while still in the country of origin.

The Significance of the Employer and Work Community in the Recruitment Process The employer must have a clear picture from the outset of what is required of the company with respect to overseas recruitment and training. Employers have not necessarily always understood what they are committing themselves to when employing people directly from abroad. It may be difficult for them to perceive the arrival’s viewpoint, and consequently the signing of the employment contract may be postponed. Not only is this emotionally draining for the recruit, it will also make it more difficult for them to make practical arrangements, both in their home country and in Finland. For example, it is not possible to look for accommodation before securing a job. In addition to language challenges, there are other factors that create tensions in the multiculturisation of a company and work community. All members of the work community must be committed to welcoming people recruited from another country and culture into the community. Recruitment of overseas employees must be discussed openly within the work community prior to starting the recruitment process. This may easily be overlooked amid the hurry to recruit new workers, but discussing things in advance will have a significant impact on wellbeing in the workplace. Objective outside help can help in the processing of change-related fears and prejudices. Multiculturalism training for staff and management has been found to be a good forum for openly discussing prejudices regarding newcomers, and to explain the reasoning behind overseas recruitment to existing employees. Both the new overseas employee and the existing work community must be taken into account in the multiculturalism

process. Without their colleagues’ acceptance, it is very difficult for overseasemployees to adapt to their new work community and to Finnish culture and society. It is advisable to organise separate training specifically for management. In management training it is worth discussing the challenges of managing a multicultural work environment. The process of changing a work community into a multicultural environment and adapting to it takes several years and requires consistency from the management. The atmosphere in the workplace and the attitudes of colleagues towards non-native employees have a great impact on how well the newcomers learn Finnish, and how they are encouraged to use their language skills at work. They also have an impact on how the language spoken at work is perceived; especially in the early stages, the language of a workplace is learned largely by copying the language used by colleagues. It is wise to make sure existing employees understand that colleagues who are learning Finnish may not, at least in the beginning, be able to take part in general conversations during coffee breaks or in situations where many people are talking at once. In these conversations, the tempo of speech is fast and a lot of colloquial expressions are used. Indeed, the development of language skills should primarily be assessed according to how the overseas employee fares in work situations. The receiving workplace must provide a work partner for an employee recruited from abroad. In the early stages it is advisable for the partner to be the same person all the time. Working as a partner to a new overseas employee must be voluntary, and the partner must be willing to help the new employee integrate into the working environment and its methods and practices. The existing employee selected as a partner or instructor should preferably be outgoing, active and interested. It is not necessary to speak the support language, but it is important to have a desire and the ability to explain things and instruct the person. In an ideal scenario, the partner will be involved in the person’s training already before they arrive in Finland, or is at least otherwise in contact with their future colleague. This will make it easier for both to get to know each other and will make the newcomer feel more welcome. The management must actively support the newcomer’s partner. The Finnish partner’s workplace wellbeing must also be monitored, because it is taxing to act as a support person for an overseas recruit. If there are several partners at first, one person must take the main responsibility for the newcomer’s orientation and providing help for them. If the partner changes often, the person recruited from abroad may feel like they are being passed ‘from pillar to post’. This may also happen when the partner is absent for a long time, for example on sick leave or on holiday. The partner must be given plenty of time to provide orientation for the newcomer, so that the overseas employee can find their feet in their new work environment.


The Role of Training in the Country of Origin in the Induction of New Employees The employer must be committed to providing language tuition if they want their new employees to be able to speak and understand Finnish. It is pointless to teach Finnish in the country of origin if the employer doesn’t consider it important and doesn’t emphasise the significance of language learning or adapting to the work environment. That Finnish language skills are considered important must show in practice, in that the employer accepts the investment of time and money required in language teaching. In the workplace, newcomers are given plenty of time to learn, and colleagues or subordinates from abroad are patiently listened to even when they are not sufficiently proficient in Finnish for rapid communication. The more information the training organisation receives from the work community, the better the Finnish language teaching will be able to meet the needs of the workplace. In an ideal situation, the employer expresses his own wishes regarding the language skills of the recruits and gives the training organisation specific information about the job descriptions and language used in their workplace. This means becoming acquainted with various written documents and verbal interaction situations. Photographs of the work processes and tools provide good learning material. Employees are often unable to linguistically describe the kind of language they are using in their work. When the Finnish language teacher is able to visit their student’s future workplace, they will hear the language required in that particular workplace and will be better able to focus their teaching on what is needed. Sometimes the employer provides the language teacher with sufficient occupational support, but it is still advisable to include a teacher of that particular vocation in the team of teachers teaching in the country of origin. Language usage can differ between workplaces within the same field, so the occupational teacher must also be given the opportunity to visit the workplace. Students normally find it highly motivating to learn about the workplace and job description, and they find it helps to improve their Finnish skills. Material related to the workplace helps the teacher to focus their lessons as effectively as possible. A good flow of information from the employer to the training organisation is an important aid in the planning of training; orientation to the workplace and its practices effectively begins already in the country of origin. The flow of information must also work in the opposite direction – the training organisation is equally responsible for ensuring that the employer receives information about the progress of training.


TRAINING ORGANISATION HELPING IN RECRUITMENT The employer chooses the employees who will take part in training in the country of origin. In the recruitment of nursing staff, the selection of employees is also steered by the requirements set by Valvira in order to obtain a licence to practice the profession. The training organisation may bring added value to the recruitment process if the employer considers learning the language to be a key contributor in successful recruitment. Therefore, when selecting the training organisation, it is advisable to take into account whether it can be of assistance already in the recruitment process. It is possible to test the linguistic learning abilities of foreign applicants. Testing linguistic learning abilities provides indications of which applicants are likely to learn Finnish rapidly. Testing therefore helps the employer to select employees from among job applicants. In addition to natural aptitudes, linguistic learning abilities are also affected by factors such as motivation, memory and learning strategies. Testing of linguistic learning abilities takes between three and five days, depending on the employer’s needs. This period includes both teaching and testing of learning. Although a test model of several days may seem long and resourceconsuming, it also forms part of basic language teaching in Finnish. The testing model for linguistic learning abilities also measures the applicants’ motivation: it is possible for them to influence their learning results through revision. Naturally, the situation is challenging for the students because they have to study a foreign language, knowing that they may not be able to continue their studies after testing. However, a testing model implemented over a maximum of five days is more reasonable than if the students were screened out, for example, after taking part in a course lasting a whole month.


3 teacher team; support person; Finnish role model; reaction ability

TEACHER TEAM AS A RESOURCE Training in the country of origin can be implemented by one or several teachers. Training entails much more than just language teaching, however, which is why it is recommended that several teachers are used. In any case, one teacher must take responsibility for the progress of the entire teaching project and the students’ progress, in addition to their own teaching duties. Teamwork between the teachers helps to distribute the workload. If several teachers are engaged in the project, a single teacher in the country of origin will not have to be able to do everything: for example, one teacher can manage the legalisation issues related to practising a profession while another can teach about the cultural differences between the country of origin and Finland. Although teachers will aim to convey objective information about their own country and culture, for example, every teacher has different kinds of knowledge and skills and will differ in their approach and emphases. A team of teachers must also include a teacher of the field or profession in question. A team of teachers also provides peer support; it is important that a teacher can share issues related to the students or the group with someone else who is also familiar with them. Only an experienced teacher is capable of such independent and challenging work. The ability to speak the students’ native language helps to understand the differences between the source language and Finnish. If someone in the teacher team is proficient in the language of the country of origin, it will help others, too. Before training starts, it is recommended that the training organisation researches possible different language groups within that particular country, cultural differences and possible difficulties in learning Finnish. After all, cultural background affects almost everything. Training in the country of origin does not entail only language tuition, but teachers also act as a source of information regarding Finnish culture and society. The teachers also represent Finnish people and display the Finnish way of life through their own behaviour, for example, with regard to effective use of time. However, teachers do not have to be experts in culture or social policy; it is enough that they explain matters based on their own experience and are able to find answers, or instruct the students where to find the answers to their questions. Pe r s o n a l i t y p l a y s a n i m p o r t a n t p a r t , a n d t h e t e a c h e r ’s ro l e i s a demanding one. Teaching in the country of origin requires flexibility and a sense of humour, as well as an ability to cope with unexpected situations.


Teachers must be interested in searching for and, if necessary, adapting new teaching material, and be willing to develop new teaching methods and draw up exercises. Teachers must also know how to appropriately handle the students’ uncertainty and nervousness about the future. The teacher inevitably becomes a key support person for their students; many of them do not want to reveal their insecurities to an employer because of their position over the new recruit. The students usually have a lot of questions regarding living and working in Finland and the corporate culture of the new workplace. Teachers play an important part in the immigrant’s process of adaptation into a new culture. Through training in the country of origin, teachers develop into experts whose knowledge of different professions, cultures and languages grows continually. Learning is a process – as is teaching and growing as a teacher.


NEAR OR FAR – METHODS OF IMPLEMENTING TRAINING IN THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN Teaching in the country of origin can be implemented in many different ways. If it is not necessary for the students to be able to speak Finnish to get by in a Finnish workplace, the newcomers will want to move to Finland fairly quickly in order to start working and earning. Taking part in language training that lasts for many months is a big investment for a professional wanting to work abroad. For that reason, job offers from countries whose language the applicant does not have to learn may be more attractive than coming to Finland. A secure job and showing an interest in the newcomer’s wishes are good means of convincing the applicant that it is worthwhile to learn the language and move to Finland.

3 group; teaching support methods; flexibility

The teaching method to be used must be individually assessed in each case together with the employer. It is possible to organise training in the country of origin purely in the form of contact teaching or completely in an online environment. The training may also consist of both contact and distance teaching. Different teaching forms have their own advantages and challenges.


In training in the country of origin, teaching begins with the Finnish language basics. When deciding on course contents, the length of the course, the professional language skills students will require in their work and grammar aspects must be taken into account. Teaching content in the country of origin must focus particularly on the students’ professional vocabulary and on practising communication in the workplace – this has been made clear by students and Finnish employers alike. Content matter not connected to practising the profession itself must be left for thestudents to work on independently and in teaching that takes place after they have moved to Finland.

Teacher Nearby The overall duration of contact teaching in the country of origin depends on the level of language proficiency the students need to have when arriving in Finland. After around 200 lessons in the country of origin, the average level of language skills is A2.1 in the European framework. Employers would like newcomers to be able to speak and understand Finnish very well as soon as they arrive in Finland. If they need Finnish to be able to do their work in Finland, the new arrivals themselves would also rather attend language training lasting for several months in their country of origin. However, the employer must have realistic expectations, and

understand that teaching in the country of origin is only the start of learning Finnish for overseas recruits. When organising contact teaching in the country of origin, several p r a c t i c a l a s p e c t s m u s t b e t a ke n i n t o a c c o u n t t o e n s u re s m o o t h progress. The employer and the training organisation must begin by together establishing the aims of the teaching and the number of lessons required in order to achieve them. When planning the number of lessons weekly, the participants’ ability to study and their life situations must be taken into account. Various other activities and materials that support the main teaching, such as personal tuition, refresher lessons and independent study material, are also needed when training in the country of origin. The possibilities of organising these must be taken into account already in the planning stage. The number of lessons weekly affects the overall duration of training in the country of origin. Around 10 lessons per week is a suitable number for working students, leaving enough time for work, homework and personal life. However, unemployed students are often able to attend lessons for much more than 10 hours a week. One possibility is to organise the lessons so that employed and unemployed students form their own groups and study at a different pace from one another. That way they will be at different levels of proficiency when they arrive in Finland.


When planning the number of hours in contact teaching, flexibility must also be planned in. All students will not always be able to attend the lessons due to work or personal reasons; therefore there must be opportunity for revision lessons. Revision lessons also provide opportunity for slower learners to go over material again, helping them to keep up with the rest of the group. Moreover, the learning abilities of students are not always at an equal level, and therefore the level of ability within the group will quickly diverge. Revision and remedial lessons can also be arranged for smaller groups or individual students instead of the entire group, allowing the teacher to give more time to each student. One of the advantages of contact teaching in the country of origin is the support and security that the group gives to individual students. One’s own learning can be assessed by comparing it with that of others. Questions asked by fellow students during lessons support everyone else’s learning and can highlight aspects other students may not otherwise notice. Groups can be formed, for example, according to s u i t a b le le s s o n t i m e o r lo c a t i o n . H o w e v e r, w h e n t r a i n i n g i n t h e country of origin it is essential that the teaching group is professionally homogenous; only then can the content of the teaching be focused to meet the needs of jobs waiting in Finland. When planning training in the country of origin, the appropriate size of group must also be considered. A group of 20 students is fairly large. Studying in a smaller group is more effective and enables more personal tuition. A smaller group size also makes teaching more flexible and reorganisation due to unexpected changes to the schedule easier. Another advantage of contact teaching is that the teachers receive constant, direct feedback regarding the students’ learning and are able to adapt their teaching accordingly. The teachers can also observe the atmosphere and mood in the class and change the study methods used in order to maintain a good level of concentration. Different learning styles can thus be better accommodated in the teaching and its planning.



Happy Moments

Saturday, 28 August 2012 Today the students blew me away when they took turns in telling about their own day. I thought that analysing their own job description is very important in view of job interviews, etc. It is a real shame that I didn’t have a video camera with me, as every single one of the students was absolutely amazing when they were describing an ordinary day in their work. Obviously, some said more than others, but all the same, most of the time they found the right words and even the grammatical cases were often exactly as they should be. And they did it without any notes! They had been allowed to prepare for their presentation at home, but weren’t allowed to look at their notes while talking. For example, I was really surprised by XX’s performance. I almost went over to give him a hug when he finished his presentation, that’s how good I thought he was. But I’m not the hugging type, so I didn’t…


3 online classroom; support language; technical readiness; independent working

Teaching with Headphones On Internet-based distance teaching is the best way to enable teaching of individual students located in different countries. It is not practically possible to bring together students recruited from different countries to one place for contact teaching. For working students, training in the country of origin requires rearrangement of their schedules, and therefore training provided as distance teaching can also be a good solution in these situations. Students don’t need to spend time travelling to a specific place for distance teaching, they can get into the teaching right from their own computer. Online lessons organised by Learning Paths have used the Adobe Connect Pro and Skype applications. Using these applications, all students have been able to actively participate in the lessons. Connect Pro can utilise a video link even with a higher number of participants. The software also facilitates the showing of pictures, slide shows and information on the screen simultaneously for everyone, or distributing files via the software. Everyone can also speak and be heard if they wish. From the teacher’s point of view, distance teaching requires deeperplanning than contact teaching. Not all methods are suitable for use in web-based teaching; the teacher must act creatively and use student-oriented teaching methods. The teacher must not be the only one speaking. The teacher must allow enough time in every lesson to make sure that every student can have their turn in speaking. Verbal tasks, discussions in pairs and tasks assigned in advance, to which every student answers in turn, work well in online teaching. Homework helps to organise the lesson, providing a good structure. Homework assignments can be used as a basis for the next lesson – for example, students can learn vocabulary needed in preparation for the next lesson. Study progress is usually slower than in contact teaching because technical restrictions make it necessary to check regularly that everyone is keeping up. Lower quality online connections mean that some students may experience that the sound echoes, distorts or disappears altogether. In an ideal situation, the connections are working perfectly: every participant has as an optimal internet connection, everyone has a headset consisting of headphones and a microphone so there is no echo, and everyone can use the basic functions of the software. When arranging online studies, the significance of good technical arrangements, planning and agreed upon methods of working is magnified when higher numbers of students are participating. The ideal group size is 4–5 people, as this will enable variation in exercises in different situations.


The recommended duration of an online lesson is 1.5 to 2 hours maximum of intensive study at a time. In terms of content, one or two new subjects can be introduced during a single online session. When planning distance teaching lessons, some flexibility must be allowed for changes and to incorporate the students’ own wishes. Reliable testing of the students’ ability levels is challenging in web-based teaching. The organisation of exams and other tests requires creativity. Various verbal tests are easy to carry out, and the testing situation can easily be recorded. Conversely, testing of written skills is challenging, and it is not possible to monitor whether any assistance is used in the testing situation. With online teaching, therefore, student assessment should happen largely based on the student’s performance during the actual lessons; tests are simply one learning task among others. It is important that this is also made clear to the students immediately at the start of studies. Online teaching develops the students’ listening comprehension skills better than contact teaching in the country of origin. Web-based teaching gives students the opportunity to listen to the language in their own country and requires sharp listening skills to be able to distinguish the unique characteristics of the Finnish language. When a student’s comprehension is largely dependent on hearing, they work harder in developing their listening comprehension. The downside of online learning is that a support language is needed in the teaching. If the participants all have a different mother tongue, they will need to have sufficient proficiency in another language, such as English. Before organising training, it is imperative to ensure that everyone can speak the support language to a sufficient level to be able to take


part in web-based training. In Learning Paths online courses English has been used as the support language. As the course progresses, the teacher starts to limit the use of English, which the students have found challenging. The teacher must monitor how much the support language is used, as the purpose of training is to prepare the students for situations where only Finnish is used. In distance teaching, grouping will not take place as easily as in contact teaching. The relationship between the teacher and the students will also be more distant than in contact teaching. In online teaching, the students’ independent work outside the class, such as homework, plays an important role. In web-based teaching, self-motivated students are the most successful. Self-motivation and decisiveness are definitely positive characteristics in an employee recruited from overseas, and will be needed in independent language study when the person starts working in Finland. In addition to lessons and related homework, students can also be given independent study material. Independent exercises should be introduced to the students as a voluntary, but extremely advisable method of study. With independent study material, the students can go over what they have learned and advance their skills, in their own time and at their own pace. Teachers can also differentiate their teaching by providing different students with different study materials according to their ability level. However, independent material on its own is not enough; the students should also have the opportunity to pose questions to the teacher by e-mail or, if possible, by regularly holding a question hour. Motivated students in particular will benefit from independent study material. When planning distance learning courses for training in the country of origin, resources must be available to produce independent study materials. Distance teaching is a good short-term method for language teaching in the country of origin. However, language studies must continue in Finland. In longer term online teaching, it is advisable to supplement distance teaching with short contact teaching periods in the country of origin. Online tuition alone cannot provide students with a sufficient level of language proficiency to do well in their work.


A Dentist’s New Beginning Interview in Pori on 12 April 2012: Matt Poznanski, age 48v. A sense of adventure and the desire to learn new things brought 48-year-old dentist Matt Poznanski to Finland. Matt was born in Poland and has lived in England for two decades. He had his own practice and a good job in London. However, Matt became interested in Finland and its culture after meeting some Finns in his home country. Being divorced and a father of grown-up children, his family situation didn’t place restrictions on an adventure in another country. So Matt decided to start taking steps to fulfil his dream. He sent his CV to Finland via the internet, and after a while he got a response. An interview was conducted online, and he was offered a job at a dental clinic in the city of Pori. After receiving confirmation of his employment in Finland, Matt decided immediately to start learning Finnish and he began taking private language lessons. Matt had only taken a couple of lessons when Learning Paths offered him the opportunity to study Finnish online. Matt says that he was extremely happy to be able to study Finnish at home. By arranging his work shifts and with the help of a flexible teacher, he was able to fit in his lessons before starting work for the day.


All in all, Matt feels that the online teaching was successful, although the language seemed difficult at first. Finnish was completely different from any other language he knew. According to Matt, the Connect Pro application acted as a good platform for web-based training. Matt says that he learned especially to listen to this strange new language, because the teaching relied so much on sound. The study material and exercises received by e-mail continued to support his studies all along the way. At first, it was difficult to understand the grammar, and the rapid pace of the course seemed hard, but his determination to learn Finnish before arriving in Finland had a positive effect on Matt’s attitude and learning. Matt arrived in Finland in November 2011. He found that his image of a peaceful Finland really was true. After arriving in Finland, Matt also understood the benefits of learning Finnish in advance. Being able to speak Finnish even a little and having a basic knowledge of Finland were an incredible help for him as a newcomer. A few weeks after arriving in the country Matt’s Finnish language studies continued in the form of contact teaching. The course focused on dentistry vocabulary and discussions carried out between patients and colleagues. In Matt’s opinion, learning occupational Finnish and especially the teaching carried out in the workplace were an excellent idea, as it is important for him to be able to do well in his work. Matt says that he has started to adapt to the new culture and he is happy with his life in Finland. He hears Finnish around him all the time and the Finnish words he keeps hearing become more and more familiar. The adventure is just beginning, the difficulties of the first few months will soon be behind him, and he can now speak Finnish better than at the basic level.


One Entity, Two Teaching Methods

The manner in which training progresses must be planned carefully in advance, ensuring that the students will be able to take part in contact teaching periods. The schedules and arrangements for both teaching methods should ideally be agreed together with the students. Before the start of training, it is necessary to make sure that the students have the prerequisites for taking part in distance teaching – basic computer skills, a computer and a good internet connection.

systematic planning; study phases 4

Combining distance teaching with contact teaching reduces costs in comparison to providing only contact training in the country of origin. Teaching facilities don’t need to be rented on a continuous basis. Distance teaching also reduces the students’ travel costs. When contact and distance teaching are combined in training in the country of origin, it is essential to consider how the time is divided between the two methods. It is advisable to arrange distance teaching interspersed with contact teaching. That way, the teachers will be able to monitor the progress of training and the students’ learning better than if contact and distance teaching are implemented only as consecutive blocks. Working together with students during the contact teaching periods, the teachers can get to know their students better than in distance teaching alone.

In contact teaching, teachers have several working methods at their disposal. For example, it is not possible to act out different scenarios and functional exercises anywhere else than in a classroom teaching environment. In combination teaching, it is also advisable to divide teaching content into whichever method is more appropriate for each s u b j e c t . S u b j e c t s t h a t a re p re s u m e d t o b e t h e m o s t d i f f i c u lt t o understand are better to include in contact teaching. For example, when teaching nursing professionals in the country of origin, it is easier to practise patient situations in contact teaching than online. Distance teaching periods can be used for revising subjects and more m e c h a n i c a l re p e t i t i o n . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , i t i s a l s o i m p o r t a n t t o practise communicative exercises in distance teaching. When both teaching m e t h o d s a re u s e d i n t r a i n i n g i n t h e c o u n t r y o f o r i g i n , d i s t a n c e teaching easily takes on a supportive maintenance role in relation to contact teaching. Training must be planned in such a way that progress is also made during distance teaching periods, so that they do not become merely revision of what has been learned in contact teaching.


EXPERIENCE BRINGS CONFIDENCE IN ORGANISING TRAINING IN THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN The best organiser of training-related practical matters is the training organisation. Plenty of time must be given to arrange practical matters, such as renting of teaching premises, because things do not always p ro g re s s a s ex p e c t e d . T h e m o s t e f fe c t i v e w a y t o m a ke p r a c t i c a l arrangements is to do it on location; for example, the functioning of the teaching facility affects the success of the course, and therefore s o m e o n e h a s t o g o a n d v i e w i t . T h e p re m i s e s m u s t p ro v i d e t h e opportunity to divide the students into groups, and they must be accessible and close to transport links so that the students will find it easy to get there. Verbal agreements must be avoided when renting teaching premises and accommodation; all the necessary details must be agreed in writing, in order to avoid any ambiguity at a later date. When making practical arrangements, it is extremely useful to be able to speak the language of the country in which training will take place. If a local agent is not available, an interpreter will be very useful. Other help might also be available; for example, a local EURES adviser is a good partner when arranging language training in another country. The adviser will also be able to provide assistance already in the recruitment stage. Small matters, such as copying arrangements, can hamper the training course to a surprising extent if they have not been properly planned in advance. It is worth using the local agents and their knowledge. During training, it is also possible to ask the students for advice when local knowledge is needed. Cultural differences and different ways of doing things must also be kept in mind; the local agent will also help with these issues.


T eacher ’s B log

Photocopying Experiences

There’s a really slow, old-fashioned photocopier here! It only makes one-sided copies and it takes ages. Luckily I made a lot of copies already in Huittinen, otherwise I’d be in trouble. Besides, the secretary is on holiday and there’s only the principal and some builders here at the moment. I keep disturbing the principal because there’s no one else I could ask for help. The principal showed me how to use the photocopier, and today I asked if he could print out an exercise I have on my memory stick. He just smiles and is happy to help. :) I’m not sure what he’s thinking.

An Example of Training in the Country of Origin Training was organised in Poland for employees recruited by a food factory. The process is a good example of how the training organisation was fully involved already in the recruitment stage. The aims and timetables were agreed together with the employer, and a preliminary course plan based on them was compiled. Interviews and assessments of linguistic learning abilities were carried out in Poland three weeks before the training started. Testing of students’ learning progress continued throughout the training course. The employees selected by the employer were offered a secure contract of employment. This gave the students certainty about employment and the future, which motivated them to study Finnish. The training organisation accompanied the employer on the recruitment trip and carried out the testing of prospective recruits’ linguistic learning abilities. Practical issues related to organising the training were also arranged during the recruitment trip. An effort was made to plan the course content as fully as possible before the start of training, but the plans were adjusted during the course according to the students’ learning pace. The training course lasted four weeks and was implemented entirely as contact teaching. Lessons were held four days a week, focusing on producing and understanding colloquial speech. There were two study groups.


The day group consisted of unemployed people who were able to study for four hours at a time. Those in the evening group were working during the course and studied for three hours at a time. For the day group, four hours was a suitable amount of time; for the evening group, shorterlessons were suitable because working had a noticeable effect on their ability to concentrate on studying. The length and number of hours in the training course were suitable, because employees in the food industry do not directly need Finnish to be able to carry out their work. On the last day of training, the students were able to present short play dialogues in Finnish – subjects included working at a food factory, going shopping and studying Finnish. The recruited employees had many questions about Finland, so the teacher and the employer were in close contact to exchange information. The future employees needed accommodation in Finland and help in childcare arrangements. In practical issues related to living in Finland, the employer was helped by a recruiting project. Language teaching continued after the students arrived in Finland. In the Finnish workplace instructions were given in their own language. In other situations, the majority of students used English as the support language. This resulted in a slight regression in Finnish language skills between arrival and the continuation of the newcomers’ language training. Other reasons included concentrating on the start of work and the challenges of physical work.



Employee interviews recruitment and testing of linguistic learning abilities

An Example of Training in the Country of Origin

3 mother tongue; cultural differences; understanding of working life

A BROADER VIEW IN THE PLANNING OF TEACHING When Finnish is taught in the country of origin, almost without exception the language teaching and learning starts from the very basics. If the students share a common mother tongue, its use as a support language can be recommended at the beginning of the training course. Students have been happy to be able to ask questions in their own language in the early stages of training. A Finnish teacher whose native language is the language of the students is able to give insights into learning the Finnish language from their own experiences and learning process. A teacher whose mother tongue is the same as that of the students is uniquely able to explain basic principles of their own language to other Finnish teachers in the training course, if necessary; this gives other teachers better ability to understand possible challenges brought by the students’ native language. However, this requires excellent language skills of the teacher, requiring mastery of both the students’ mother tongue and Finnish. According to feedback from students, the majority of students regarded it as positive that teachers with Finnish as their mother tongue continued to teach them after the initial stage; they felt that they are learning ‘genuine’ Finnish. According to the learning results and teacher experiences, the use of English does not seem to help in the learning of Finnish. The advantages of a common language are clear when needing to explain training practices, for example, or issues related to arriving in Finland. Continuous use of the support language may, however, even slow down learning in the long run; students tend not to make the effort to find out the meaning of words or try to describe them in other ways if they trust that they can get by in English. Nonetheless, when a person arrives from overseas to work in Finland, they usually have to adapt to communicating in Finnish; only very few companies have a working language other than Finnish. The basics of living and working in Finland must also be taught as part of training in the country of origin. Due to the limited time available, it must be determined already at the planning stage which issues are important to know immediately on arrival in Finland, and what can be learned at a later date. Many factors affect the subjects discussed during each particular training course. For example, if the recruits have a family, then information about childcare or where the spouse can find work become important subjects. What about finding a home in Finland – will they need to find it themselves or will either the employer or training organisation help them? It is also advisable to take time within the training to study the key cultural differences between the country of origin and the new country. There is not enough time to deal with everything in the country of origin, but key


differences should be addressed before the overseas employee arrives in Finland. This will help prevent the most common misunderstandings and mishaps. In addition to developing an understanding of the culture in general, training in the country of origin must include an introduction to working culture. Working culture must be studied on many levels: in addition to rules and regulations of working in Finland, working life in different sectors and individual workplaces must also be studied. If the training course in the country of origin is very short, this section can, for example, also be partly carried out in a language other than Finnish. However, also studying topics related to the working culture in Finnish has proved popular with students.

It is advisable to teach professionalism, vocational terminology and issues related to the job right from the beginning of the training course. Of course it is also important for employees recruited from abroad to learn standard Finnish, enabling them to communicate with others in scenarios such as coffee breaks. Nevertheless, there are many more opportunities to learn standard language after arriving in Finland (for example, in adult education centres and through independent study) than to study the professional Finnish needed at work, so this must take precedence. Time constraints naturally limit the amount and depth of teaching content, especially in language training provided in the country of origin. This means that many important things are not addressed; therefore, issues not directly connected to the work in question should be left out. There must also be enough time for revision. Teachers must listen to the group when planning their teaching, and they must be flexible enough to modify their plans.

professionalism; authenticity; extra materials 4

Learning Occupational Vocabulary

The balance between various aspects of language and the relationship between language skills and knowledge must be considered in the planning of teaching content. How much time is devoted to practising written skills, for example? Will writing play a key role in the students’ future work, or would it be more important to practise their discussion skills? What kind of language is used in the profession and in the workplace? When deciding on the main emphases of teaching, the relationship between written and spoken language should also be considered. These factors depend on the language used in the workplace.


T eacher ’s B log

Technology to the Rescue

March 2011 We tried a slightly different kind of method for teaching vocational Finnish to groups of foreigners working in the metal industry in Finland. We used only Finnish and avoided written exercises, which are really not a priority in their line of work. We only concentrated on the section of language that they have to master. We tried having two groups, one of which also did some exercises and the other used tape recorders. The students working with tape recorders had plenty of listening and speaking exercises, meaning they recorded their own speech. In the metal industry, speech comprehension and speaking are deemed to be more important than grammar, and in this respect it is easier to learn to understand orders and instructions in the workplace or deal with a situation by asking questions. The speech of students in the verbal language group improved more than that of those in the group that did more written exercises; the ability to ask and explain was learned particularly well.

When teaching vocational Finnish, the occupation is a key focus in all studies. The Finnish language exercises are compiled from occupational terminology, and wherever possible the example sentences and exercises are based on material that fits the vocation. Even the Finnish grammar exercises are implemented using occupational vocabulary. This increases interest and motivates learning. Designing exercises for a specific occupational group also shows respect towards the students, and the students learn to directly use sentences and vocabulary that they will be using in their work. In the early stages, language learning happens primarily through example, from which students start to expand their vocabulary and structures. Not all occupational groups have textbooks for teaching occupational language. Teaching material can be collected from various sources, taking the employer’s line of business and wishes into account. If there is an occupationally specific textbook available, it is useful to include it in


the teaching. It is possible to use standard Finnish language textbooks for some exercises, but they do not offer the desired vocational aspect. Students can also use books in their independent study. One challenge in training in the country of origin is that Finnish language study material is not available in all countries. Material can be found on the internet for studying Finnish independently, and this can be used for supplementing course teaching. Teachers must advise their students about these possibilities and how to use them effectively. T h e b e s t t e a c h i n g m a t e r i a l i s a u t h e n t i c m a t e r i a l o b t a i n e d f ro m t h e actual workplace. Especially for immigrants starting in a particular job, the clearest and most effective teaching utilises the receiving workp l a c e’s o w n d o c u m e n t s , i n s t r u c t i o n s , i n d u c t i o n m a t e r i a l a n d fo r m s . This kind of material includes plenty of vocational terminology, and the student will learn Finnish in the country of origin whilst also starting to learn about the Finnish working culture before arriving.


Case History

Friday, 6 August 2012 I gave the students a new exercise, in which they had to look at a picture and figure out what is wrong with little Lily, and then write a case history and give care instructions. Everyone’s style was different, but the students did better than I thought they would. I am really happy with the outcome! At first I thought that a few of them had used the Google translation tool, but now I think I may have been wrong; they had just made good use of old texts that we had used in class. And that is more than acceptable! Today we will write a short dialogue between a doctor and a patient. I will also give them homework to dictate a report on a case study and record it – now there’s a challenge!


TOP 20


1. Before the training in the country of origin starts, make a plan together with the employer to determine how Finnish language teaching will continue after the employee arrives in Finland. 2. Take care of the practical arrangements, such as the teaching facilities, well in advance before the training course starts. 3. Do not take anything for granted. Make sure you have all agreements in writing. 4. Utilise local agents in the training arrangements. 5. Draw up a teaching plan, taking the employer’s wishes and needs into account. 6. Choose the teachers with care. 7. When planning training content, take into account the occupation and job description of the recruits. 8. Get support for vocational language teaching from experts in that field and the employer. 9. Take into account the significance of an employment contract – or the lack of it – on student motivation. 10. Anticipate the impact of the students’ life situation and place of residence on the study arrangements, study plan and learning results. 11. Make sure that the students are also informed of the progress of training and the recruitment process as a whole. 12. Consider which materials you can provide for students to familiarise themselves with before the course. 13. Remind the employer to explain about overseas recruitment and its reasons to their existing staff. 14. Find out if there is a need to provide multiculturalism training for the staff and management. 15. Use the company’s own new employee induction material in the language training. 16. Prepare to find out the answers to students’ questions, sometimes at short notice. 17. Also give the students opportunity for independent language study. 18. Keep the employer up to date about matters related to the course. 19. Listen to feedback from the students. 20. Be reliable and keep to whatever has been agreed.




In successful implementation of training in the country of origin, it is important that the training organisation is involved already in the recruitment stage; this way the employer and the training organisation are committed to mutual co-operation. If competitive bidding on the training in the country of origin is organised by a third party (e.g. recruitment agencies, finance providers), the following matters must be taken into account when asking for tenders:

• • • • • • • • • •

The organisation of the practical arrangements of training The testing of linguistic learning abilities as part of employee selection The incorporation of vocational and workplace-specific Finnish language teaching into the study plan Forming the study group according to the occupational field The relationship of group size to training aims The incorporation of Finnish culture and social studies into the study plan Taking into account the employer’s needs and the recruited employees’ life situations, language skills and places of residence when selecting the teaching method (contact/distance teaching) Revision lessons and production of independent study material Defining the number of weekly lessons and the total duration of training, taking into account the students’ life situations and the objectives of training Continuation of language training in Finland

It is advisable to also include the following in the tender: • • •

Multiculturalism training for the receiving work community and the selected training organisation’s capacity/expertise to implement it Utilisation of a teacher speaking the students’ mother tongue in the early stages of training, in the case of a linguistically homogenous group Responsibility for supporting the recruited employees in the process of applying for a licence or other requirements in order to practice their profession

When selecting the training organisation, the teachers’ expertise and experience must be given particular emphasis; the choice of training provider should not be made purely on the basis of the lowest price.


A P P E N D IX Examples of Exercises Exercise 1. Worksheet In the ward, there are 5 patients in room number 4. Here is the worksheet information about these patients. Look at the worksheet and answer the questions.



1-2 aut rolli p-tuoli vyövaippa yö Tenapants päivä C-pap yö

RR, pulssiPainoSeuraa virtsausta Ks. varpaat


Bertta KOTI

1 aut rolli NL

EKG Tarv. happea viiksillä Huom. lääkkeiden anto



P-tuoli/suihkutuoli virtsapullo

INR, CRP Seuraa. että pysyy osastolla Huom. takamuksen iho


Helmi KOTI


Seuraa turvotusta, painaako kipsi, sormien väri Seur. huimaus, sekavuus


Tarja KOTI

Vuodepotilas KK Vyövaippa

Nestemäinen ruoka! Tark. oik. säären sidokset Jalan koukistus max.60 astetta

What kind of a patient is Marja? From where was Marja admitted to the ward? What issues must be observed in Marja’s case? From where was Bertta admitted to the ward? Does Bertta need any auxiliary equipment? What issues must be taken into account in Bertta’s case? What kind of a patient is Mauno? Which tests will Mauno undergo? What must be taken into account in Mauno’s case? What kind of a patient is Helmi? What auxiliary equipment does Helmi use? What issues must be observed with Helmi?


What kind of a patient is Tarja? Can the patient eat any food? What issues must the nurse pay particular attention to when working with Tarja?

Exercise 2. The HOI form A.) How do you ask: 1.

? – Maria Korppi.


? – 120942-126P.


? – Minun mieheni, Martti Korppi.


? – Se on Honkatie 3.


? –Kyllä, se on yhä Honkatie.


? – Ei, nyt se on 0457689771.

B.) Connect each question to the right answer. 1. Minkä vuoksi hakeuduitte hoitoon?

a. Se on kolmio rivitalossa.

2. Millaisia oireita teillä on ollut?

b. Kyllä, valmistan sen itse.

3. Onko teillä aiempia sairauksia?

c. En vaan poika ja miniä 3 kertaa viikossa.

4. Millainen asunto teillä on?

d. Minua alkoi huimata heti aamusta.

5. Onko asunnossa rappusia?

e. Syön verenpainelääkkeitä.

6. Asutteko yksin?

f. En vaan puolisoni kanssa.

7. Käyttekö itse kaupassa?

g. Minusta olemme selviytyneet miehen kanssa ihan hyvin kaksistaan.

8. Onko teillä ulkopuolista apua esimerkiksi siivouksessa?

h. Sukulaiset käyvät auttamassa raskaimmissa töissä.

9. Teettekö itse ruokanne?

i. Kyllä, penisilliinille.

10. Miten hyvin pärjäätte mielestänne kotona?

j. En oikein pääse liikkumaan hyvin. Jalat eivät kanna.

11. Oletteko yliherkkä jollekin lääkkeelle tai ruoka-aineelle?

k. Siellä ei ole lainkaan portaita.

C.) What do the following words mean? Describe in your own words. • • • • •

tulosyy sosiaalinen tilanne lähiomainen kotiapu hoidon tavoitteet

D.) Did you admit patients to the ward when you were working in your home country? If so, what questions did you ask the patient? Discuss together.


Exercise 3. Write a regime for the patient. A.) What kind of dental care regime would you give to the patient? EXAMPLE: muistaa + hampaiden hoito → MUISTA hampaiden hoito! hoitaa + hampaita joka päivä → pestä + hampaat aamulla ja illalla → käyttää + hammasharjaa ja fluorihammastahnaa → harjata + hampaita 2-3 min. → puhdistaa + hammasvälit kahdesti viikossa → vaihtaa + hammasharja säännöllisesti → syödä + ksylitolipurukumia noin 3 kertaa päivässä → välttää + sokeripitoisia ruokia ja välipaloja → käydä + säännöllisesti hammaslääkärissä → (käyttää = use, välttää = avoid, säännöllisesti = regularly, sokeripitoinen = sugary, välipala = snack)

B.) Think of examples of instructions: EXAMPLE: If you want to see a dentist… call the dental practice and make an appointment! 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.


Jos Jos Jos Jos Jos Jos

sinulla on hammassärkyä (=toothache)… paikka irtoaa (=filling comes loose) hampaasta… hampaalle tapahtuu tapaturma (=an accident happens)… sinun hampaita vihloo (=hurts) kun juot kylmää (=cold)… sinua pelottaa (=afraid) hammaslääkärissä… haluat puhdistaa hampaat hyvin…

Exercise 4. Patient records: Please explain the following words/abbreviations: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Tark. , optg = Suuhyg. hkp = KOH, puhd. motiv. = ositt. puhjen. viisuri ex. = Läh. suukirurg. = Seur. aika v. kul, varaa itse =

→ Write a longer patient record based on these words. What have you done to the patient?

Exercise 5. Introducing yourself A.) Read the dialogue. Teacher: Student: Teacher: Student: Teacher: sä tuut? Student: Teacher: Student:

Mikä sun nimi on? Mun nimi on Maciej. Hei Maciej. Mitä kuuluu? Kiitos hyvää. Entä sulle? Kiitti, hyvää kuuluu. Mä oon Niina. Mä oon opettaja. Mistä maasta Mä tuun Puolasta. Mä oon puolalainen. Mä oon suomalainen. Oon töissä Puolassa. Missä sä oot töissä? Mä oon töissä Suomessa. Oon töissä tehtaassa.

B.) Please answer the questions about yourself. Mikä sun nimi on?

Mistä maasta sä tuut?

Minkä maalainen sä oot?

Missä sä oot töissä?


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try to Another Coun e On

T a il o


r- m a d e P ath s

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