Author(s): Leena Hernigle (1), Kaisa Kokko (2) & Liisa Ilomäki (3)
Affiliation(s): Olari lower and upper secondary school (Olarin koulu ja lukio) (1), Tapiola upper secondary school (Tapiolan lukio) (2), University of Helsinki (3)
Date of publication: May 27, 2015
The Educational Problem
There were three education problems to be solved:
- For upper secondary students, the content (the vocabulary of environmental issues in Swedish language) is difficult to learn.
- Integration of disciplines is strongly needed and encouraged
- It is necessary to teach work life competencies, such as collaborative learning and information processing.
The solution was to start from the theme, environmental issues, and use language as a tool. A concrete solution was to apply inquiry learning so that through collaborative learning, students get familiar with a demanding vocabulary. All students made a small study in groups of 2-4 participants in the language to be studied (Swedish) about “Sustainable development”, which was the theme of the course in the curriculum. The course duration was 6 weeks (an ordinary duration of the courses).
Students’ experiences: Doing an own study was authentic use of language and a meaningful way of learning the vocabulary and the theme. Students had learned also about making a study and collaborative work. In the end of the project students presented their studies and they felt that they were the experts of their own theme. Groups were very interested in knowing what the other groups had done.
Teachers’ experiences: Teachers have conducted the project now for 4 times (altogether) and they both regard the process very relevant. Students have learned collaborative work, doing a study and vocabulary embedded in the project. The next step is to improve the language learning more and more. Students have felt ownership of their work and they have been very enthusiastic about their presentations.