The purpose of active interaction is to improve the quality of operations, learn from others and share expertise. Participation in the activities of networks, international exchange opportunities and visits as well as development projects increase the expertise of staff and reinforce the Language Centre’s role as the provider of teaching based on research and unconventional experiments.
The University of Helsinki Language Centre is involved in the network of Finnish university language centres, FINELC, and the federation of European language centres, CercleS. The Finnish language centre days and the international CercleS conference are organised once every two years.
The University of Helsinki Language Centre cooperates closely with other institutions of higher education in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and holds an annual “mini-conference” with the Aalto University Language Centre.
The University of Helsinki Language Centre is a member of the Finnish Association for Applied Linguistics, AFinLA. In addition, staff participate readily in the events and activities of other associates in the field.
The Language Centre is interested in cooperation with general upper secondary schools. The Helsinki Upper Secondary School of Languages is the Language Centre’s “sister school”. In addition, staff serve as representatives in their field of expertise in the language and communication sector. The Language Centre has representatives, for example, in the University of Helsinki Teachers’ Academy and on the Finnish Matriculation Examination Board, the Language Proficiency Test Committee and the State Board of Language Examinations.
The Language Centre continuously develops its operations through projects and partner ventures. At present, the Language Centre is involved in two Finnish projects for the digitalisation of language learning.
FINELC 2digi – From analogue to digital
The FINELC network is coordinating a two-year project from 2017 to 2018 to produce material, instructions and educational models that support the digitalisation of language teaching. The project will produce both research and concrete models to support digital pedagogy.
DIGIJOUJOU – Flexible Finnish and Swedish learning and supervision for the needs of the future job market
This Finnish spearhead project aims to develop new digital pedagogy and diverse forms of teaching, create flexible study paths, and consolidate and expand nationwide cooperation across the boundaries of institutions of higher education.
The project involves four universities and eight universities of applied sciences. Coordinated by Aalto University, the three-year (2017–2019) spearhead project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and aims to create a new, diverse multi-media pedagogy for teaching and supervision in the national languages of Finland. Moreover, the project strives to improve language teachers’ expertise in digital pedagogy and to create flexible methods for teaching and supervision in Finnish and Swedish.
Erasmus+ provides staff with a wide range of opportunities to establish international networks. The Language Centre has several Erasmus partner universities, including long-term partners and new associates. Cooperation ranges from individual excursions to shared teaching groups. International collaboration is an integral part of the Language Centre’s operations and the development of staff skills. The Language Centre is continuously interested in new partners and partnership opportunities.
Language Centre staff make good use of the opportunities for Erasmus staff exchange, and the Language Centre hosts several teachers from Erasmus partner universities each year. The exchange arrangements enable the partners to share and compare their pedagogical ideas and practices and, thus, generate new insights.
The Language Centre provides international students arriving at the University of Helsinki with an excellent opportunity to acquaint themselves with their fellow students and participate in the Language Centre’s activities through the course assistant programme. In this way, the Language Centre opens a window to the world of the academic community. The students who participate in the course assistant programme make a valuable contribution to both teaching and internationalisation-at-home for local students.
The Language Centre engages in close cooperation with faculties, degree programmes, the University of Helsinki Student Union (HYY), University Services and the Centre for University Teaching and Learning (HYPE). The University-level administrative service staff (University Services) is also part of the Language Centre’s work community.