Language teachers' qualification

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Woods
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Language teachers' qualification

Postby Woods » 2016-02-26, 10:27

What does one need to become a language teacher in Finland - a C2 certificate in that language + any degree with a validated teaching subject?

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Naava
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Re: Language teachers' qualification

Postby Naava » 2016-02-26, 13:09

If you want to teach in normal schools, you need to have a master's degree and at least 60 credits of the subject you want to teach. For teaching in high school you need 120 credits. You need also pedagogic studies (another 60 credits).
I think you have to prove somehow that your studies equal Finnish university studies, but I don't know where or how. :D

I'm not sure about schools for adult learners, they could have different requirements. You can also be a substitute teacher even without any degrees or studies as long as you know the language.

Greetings from a language-teacher-to-be-maybe-someday-i-hope. :P

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Woods
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Re: Language teachers' qualification

Postby Woods » 2016-02-26, 13:48

Disappointing... I thought proving that you're competent in what you'll be doing would be enough. But that sounds like here - only philologists can teach languages and nobody among people with different qualification (who usually know the language better) will take three years to study something they already know in order to teach it.

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Re: Language teachers' qualification

Postby Naava » 2016-02-26, 16:58

May I ask you what you mean by "people with different qualification (who usually know the language better) will take three years to study something they already know in order to teach it"? What are these qualifications? And how did you get three years? Master's degree takes at least five years. :| Or did you mean in Bulgaria?

But yeah, if you haven't got the degree and the pedagogic studies, I'm afraid you can't teach. :/ Maybe you could give private lessons? They're not very popular here (=in the cities I've lived in) but who knows, someone might be interested.

Kansalaisopisto could be a good choice too. It's for all ages, an optional school where you can study basically everything: sports, singing, arts, and languages. I checked what they say:
"Tuntiopettajana voi myös toimia jonkin erikoisalan ammattilainen, vaikka virallinen opettajan pedagoginen pätevyys puuttuisikin."
Which in short is that you can be a teacher if you're a professional in some special field, even if you don't have the pedagogic studies. I've also seen some foreign teachers teaching only in the target language and English, so I think you wouldn't need to know Finnish very well for it.

/edit: I noticed they have English pages too.

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Woods
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Re: Language teachers' qualification

Postby Woods » 2016-02-28, 19:32

I don't mean my particular qualification at the moment - my question was in general.

I've studied law in France and I haven't finished it. But if I had, that would be more than proof that I speak excellent French, and I would have the master's degree as well (after four years) - so why not being allowed to teach without having studied French as a subject? I wouldn't mind the pedagogical studies for one year - but I would not spend years studying the subject I've already mastered. What's more I might have passed some sort of pedagogical qualification during my course of study even if it's in a different subject. Well, I might not have read some books from the classical French literature, but people who study the language do not study this either.

It's good to know about these kansalaisiopistot - is this an equivalent to the danish folkhøjskoler? Are they generally free or where do tuition fees range? Are there scholarships? I'll spend spend some time checking most of them's webpages - but I'm using the occasion to sneak a question, since most info is in Finnish only. I may try to enrol in one of those's Finnish courses.

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Virankannos
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Re: Language teachers' qualification

Postby Virankannos » 2016-03-10, 16:10

Woods wrote:I've studied law in France and I haven't finished it. But if I had, that would be more than proof that I speak excellent French, and I would have the master's degree as well (after four years) - so why not being allowed to teach without having studied French as a subject?
Just a general remark: I'm sure that getting a law degree in a French university would entail that you have a very good command of French. However, teaching a language well requires more than just knowing how to use the language. One should be acquainted with grammar, semantics, pragmatics and many other intricacies in order to be able to come up with ways to explain and illustrate them to the learners. In my experience, the most frustrating language teacher is the one that after asking why or how a given feature in the language works, just says something along the lines of "this is just how it is, learn it by heart". Sure, s/he probably knows how to do it but how does that help me, the learner? Knowing the language is one thing and passing it on to others is another.

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Re: Language teachers' qualification

Postby Woods » 2016-03-10, 21:39

Virankannos wrote:One should be acquainted with grammar, semantics, pragmatics…

I don’t agree. I think one should know how to make themselves interesting and memorable, and be able to use the language well in a real field – that’s all.

Well, I agree on being acquainted with the grammar – but that comes with teaching and thinking about the language, and it’s the second most important thing – the first one being how skilfully one uses the language in real life. And to my understanding law is far superiour to French literature and this is like comparing first grade mathematics with a master’s degree in genetics – if you have the second, you definitely know how to count from 1 to 10.


Virankannos wrote:In my experience, the most frustrating language teacher is the one that after asking why or how a given feature in the language works, just says something along the lines of "this is just how it is, learn it by heart"

Well, of course this is not acceptable – if one has accepted the responsibility to teach, they should of course find the answers to the questions they’re being asked. But this doesn’t mean that they need to have studied comparative grammar of all languages beforehand. In my experience, people who are skilled at the languages I speak are not the ones who’ve studied them in university, but those who have studied something serious in countries where they’re spoken (like law and architecture being good examples), or are just intelligent enough and have lived in the country long enough. I can learn from the way they use the language and then make sense of it myself. At the same time, I’ve encountered philologists who recite grammar rules day and night but cannot make a single sentence out of the box, or even make themselves sound idiomatic in case they’re not from the country themselves (but the ones who are usually suck at grammar – the Scandinavians (without the Danes) being an exception).

So formal qualification is not the real criterion for me. Language certificates, on the other hand, might be – because they test on skill, not on what subject has been studied in university!


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