22 SES 08 B, Teaching, Learning and Assesment in Higher Education
From the perspective of learning, the ongoing globalization process challenges higher education to strength their contents and methods of studies which promote international students´ multicultural competences, and create new ways to carry out the studies. (Ministry of Education 2009).
One option for the students and staff members in HAMK University of Applied Sciences is the course Seeing Finland through Culture (3 cr), SFTC (3 hours every second week). It is connected to the wider course Finnish Language and Culture (15 cr) which includes mainly language studies, partly embedded in daily life practices (shopping, cooking etc.). The main aim of the SFTC-course is to support the foreign students and staff members integrate themselves in Finnish society by getting familiar with Finnish culture. The course will give to the students elements through which they can build their identity to the direction of Finnishness or at least to help them understand better the character, structures, and activities of Finnish society and people. But as the very limited time it will be enough and realistic to form the aim as following: the aim is to give the foreign students information and knowledge, which are not including in their formal studies, and also to use the more memorable methods than in their other studies, in order to help them to cope in Finnish society. The course is open also to the Finnish students and staff members because of the emphasizing of internationalization of the whole community of HAMK UAS. (Dresser 2005, Vulpe & al. 2000).
In the course (SFTC) the definition of “culture” is wide. It includes history, nature and daily life which are all three seen as the dialogical parts of the phenomenon of culture (Ahponen 2001). When understanding culture as a historically shaped construction and as in the same time a daily reformed pheneomenon, the everyday behaviour of Finnish people become more understandable and also questionable for the foreign students. The idea of the influence of national history and traditions in Finnish values and attitudes is strongly present in the course. (Uusitalo & Joutsenvirta 2009, Halonen & Aro 2005.)
The method to approach and step in the Finnish culture in SFTC-course is music and other sorts of arts, as design, and visual arts. The lectures are based on the Finnish music (the teacher is pianist and conductor) which is heard both as live grand piano music and recorded. The visiting lectures (e.g. visual arts, craft and design) combine their lessons to the music and have also a rich quantity of visual material of their field. So, every lesson is not only cognitive but also on emotional experience. Non-verbal audible, visual and kinaesthetic experiences stimulate a great deal of thought among the students. These experiences have come useful in generating discussions in the group in which nobody can use his/her mother language. (Lappalainen 2005, Vilkka 2006.)
Aaltonen, H. 2007. Interkulturella broar i tonåringars teatrala händelser. (Intercultural bridges in the theatre happenings of teenages). Aikuiskasvatus 25 (4), 50-53. Ahponen, P. 2001. Kulttuurin pesäpaikka (The nest of culture). WSOY. Dresser, N. 2005. Multicultural Manners. Essential rules of etiquette for the 21st century. John Wiley & Sons. Halonen, T. & Aro, L. 2005. Suomalaiset symbolit (Finnish Symbols). Atena. Hannula, M. 2007. Suomalaisuudesta – erään sukupolven tarina. (Finnishness – the sory of one generation). niin & näin –lehden kirjasarja. Klinge, M. 1997. Brief history of Finland. Otava. Koskela, J. 2009. Kohtaamisia ja kriisejä läpi ihmiselämän (Encounters and crisis through the human life). Aikuiskasvatus 29 (4), 248-255. Lappalainen, E-M. 2005. Kulttuurisesti sensitiivinen opettajuus. Käden, kielen ja kulttuurin oppimisen yhdistäminen maahanmuuttajien koulutuksessa ja opettajan kasvupolulla. (Culturally sensitive teacherness. Combining hands, language and culture..). Oulun yliopisto: Kasvatustieteiden tiedekunta. Ministry of Education 2009. Strategy for the Internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions in Finland 2009–2015. Publications of the Ministry of Education, Finland 2009:23 Uusitalo, L. & Joutsenvirta, M. 2009. Kulttuuriosaaminen – tietotalouden taitolaji (Cultural competence – craft in information economy). Gaudeamus. Vilkka, V-M. 2006. Aistimaan pitää oppia (One have to learn to sense). Teoksessa Volanen & Friman & Lampinen & Nummela (edit.) Ammattien kutsu. Opetusministeriön julkaisuja 2006:18, 104-111. Vulpe, T., Kealey, D., Protheroe, D. & MacDonald, D. 2000. A Profile of the Interculturally Effective Person Centre for Intercultural Learning, Canadian Foreign Service Institute.
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