Who am I and what do I think about teaching and learning?
Teaching Finnish with more than 20 years of experience
My name is Jutta Kosola and I am a Finnish language educator from Helsinki. I started as a Finnish language teacher in the last millennium and throughout my long career I have gained a lifetime of knowledge about teaching and learning the Finnish language.
Fantastically interesting Finnish language
Looking at one’s mother tongue through the eyes of an outsider is fascinating. In my opinion, it is most inspiring when I open the knots of the Finnish language together with the student, when the student’s own insights are combined with the explanations, and guidance given by the teacher.
The teacher empowers their students
As a teacher, I empower my students to learn. Each student’s level of understanding is assessed, and learning materials are provided accordingly. I monitor and evaluate a student’s progress and offer encouraging feedback, which solidifies the student’s growth and development. The individual student’s life situation and other factors that may affect learning are considered when customizing lesson plans, so as not to make the process of learning Finnish burdensome. Learning is difficult when a student is stressed. Sometimes it is worth taking a breath and reviewing what was previously learned. More challenging lessons are appropriate for those times that a student is in the right mindset. Learning is more personalised and efficient with a private teacher than in a language course with many participants.
Collaborating to work towards a goal
Goal-setting is the most important part of the learning process. I reflect with each student on their ultimate learning goal and we work together to break them down into more manageable pieces. A student can easily get lost along their journey if their goal is unclear or too large. This can lead to time and energy lost on things that do not bring them closer to their destination. Learning is a student’s job, but as a teacher, I use expert guidance to offer the right materials, timely feedback, and innovative lessons to make the learning process effective, inspiring, and fun.
Here is a bit about my own path of becoming a Finnish language teacher.
Finnish was not always my field of study. Initially, I studied Russian translation at the University of Tampere and Russian language and literature at the University of Helsinki before I finally landed on Finnish as my major. I graduated from the University of Helsinki with a master’s degree in Finnish in 1997.
It was not my original intention to teach Finnish either! In 1999, I was hired by the Karjaa Course Center (now Axxell), discovered the popular Finnish language textbook Elämän Suola, and read the teacher’s guide written by Yrjö Lauranto. That is when I began my journey as a teacher, with the help of this guide by Lauranto. My official pedagogical studies were completed at the University of Helsinki in 2002.
My career at Axxell lasted over 22 years. Throughout the over two decades with Axxell, I was given a diversity of assignments and had many types of experiences – various professional development trainings, students from all over the world, and countless projects. Not only did I teach many lessons, but I also gained a vast amount of knowledge. Throughout those 22 years, I have taught students of all levels in Finnish language courses of all speeds. I have taught Finnish in integration trainings, vocational trainings, workplace-tailored trainings, and language test trainings. For over 10 years, I have also acquired expertise as a language proficiency assessment expert at Testipiste (a Helsinki-based language proficiency assessment center).