Hahl, K., Savijärvi, M., & Wallinheimo, K. (2020). Varhennetun kieltenopetuksen käytäntöjä: opettajien kokemuksia onnistumisista ja haasteista. Teoksessa R. Hilden & K. Hahl (toim.), Kielididaktiikan katse tulevaisuuteen: Haasteita, mahdollisuuksia ja uusia avauksia kielten opetukseen s. 77–103). Ainedidaktisen tutkimusseuran julkaisuja. Helsingin yliopisto.
Abstract (article written in Finnish): In this article we show what kind of practical experiences teachers and early childhood education personnel have had in projects related to early teaching of foreign languages (ETFL), what preparedness they have had for ETFL and what tips they have to give for its meaningful implementation. The research data was gathered as the initial survey in three implementations of in-service education for ETFL that we have analysed with content analysis. The results show that the participants (N=78) had positive experiences of their EFTL projects but they had also encountered challenges in their implementation. Practical challenges consisted of a shortage of teaching materials, large group sizes and a lack of common planning time. Pedagogical challenges included inadequate guidelines and uncertainty of teaching methods. Respondents suggested as practical tips the use of multifaceted and activating working methods, teacher cooperation, making language as part of the everyday and creating classroom routines. Based on the results and to improve practices, we recommend that time is allocated for the development of cooperation skills between different teachers, the strengthening of digital skills, and the planning of interdisciplinary learning modules together.
Hahl, K. & Pietarila, M. (2021). Class Teachers, Subject Teachers and Double Qualified: Conceptions of Teachers’ Skills in Early Foreign Language Learning in Finland. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 13(5), 713–725.
Abstract: The shift to an earlier start in foreign language teaching in Finland took place nationwide in 2020. Both class teachers and subject teachers faced a new situation. They would be teaching children younger than before, or they would be teaching a completely new subject for them. This article examines teachers’ conceptions of the skills and qualities, including the required language skills, that are important for a teacher in early language teaching. The data for this study were gathered through essays that teachers (n=44, subject teachers, class teachers, and double qualified teachers) turned in as tasks during an in-service teacher training for early teaching of foreign languages. The essays were analyzed with content analysis. The findings show that teachers found it the most essential that early language teachers have inspiration for the job and are able to inspire learners. They also considered it important that teachers focus on the learners and the learning environment, as well as have skills for early years pedagogy. The teachers did not consider foreign language education or language skills as important as the other skills but yet wished for teachers to be able to communicate in the target language in the class.