Early Language Learning in Primary School Finland: Case study on eTwinning project (English, Finnish)

Author(s): European Schoolnet
Institution/Organisation: Oriveden Keskuskoulu (FI)

1 Profile of school

1.1 Main characteristics

The school is situated in the Orivesi town centre. It is a primary school containing pre-school and the grades 1 to 6. The students are from 6 to 13 years of age. There are approximately 240 students and a teaching staff of 10 class teachers, three special needs teachers, an English teacher, two pre-school teachers and four school assistants. The school is the biggest primary school in Orivesi region. Altogether there are 9 primary schools, seven of which are small village schools with only 2-3 teachers. It is a state funded school and it is coeducational. The main language of tuition is Finnish and this is the mother tongue of the children.

1.2 Language teaching in the schools

In Finland everybody has to study Swedish, but those studies don't start until in the 7th grade. In Orivesi students can study German, French or Russian as optional courses in the 8th and 9th grades. English starts in the 3rd grade when the children are 8-9 years old and continues to grade 6 when the children are 12-13, and all pupils are taught the language. There are two lessons of English every week.

The teacher involved uses Information Communication Technology (ICT) extensively in her work in the classroom and the pupils are experienced users of computers, digital cameras and camcorders.

International collaboration activities have been a feature of the work of the school, and, in this context, it has been involved in eTwinning projects since 2005.  These projects are carried out as part of the school curriculum with the 5th and 6th grades, pupils aged 11 – 13 years, therefore all pupils take part. The work is teacher-based although the policy of the school supports the teacher in this work. The class size averages 20 pupils.


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