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OKU students experience student teaching abroad in Finland and Italy

An overseas student teaching project team of eleven students and four faculty members, most of whom were graduate and undergraduates from the Second Faculty (Tennoji Campus), visited five elementary, junior high and high schools and educational facilities in Finland and Italy for lesson practice and research study between September 25 and October 7. Schools visited included the University of Jyväskylä and a practical training school attached to Åbo Akademi University in Finland and Ca' Foscari University of Venice in Italy.
 This project is an effort to apply CLIL* theory to teach lessons on science and mathematics, physical education, arts, and culture in English. The program has received grants from the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) for 6 years in a row because it also contributes to promotion of foreign culture literacy and English skills for teaching.
 The students received lesson advice from Principal Gunn Jacobsen at the combined elementary and junior high school affiliated with Åbo Akademi University, an OKU partner school in Finland. At the University of Jyväskylä, they learned about the foreign language program at the university language center and discourse analysis in CLIL from Professor Tarja Nikula, the top CLIL scholar in the world. In Italy, they attended a panel discussion with Professor Mary Coonan and doctoral course students at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, which has the only CLIL teacher training course in Europe. They also visited elementary and junior high schools in Finland and Italy, where they split into three groups and taught practice lessons named “Basketball and ICT”, “Karuta Cards and Proverbs”, and “Air Pressure” using CLIL techniques.
 Impressions from students who participated in the practice lesson and school visits included: “I was surprised by how advanced the levels of digital learning and CLIL instructor training were in Finland.” “The education revolution is being shaped by teachers.”
 A debriefing session for the project was held after the students returned to Japan, and about 50 researchers, teachers, and graduate students mainly from Tokyo, Aichi, and Kyoto attended. The students reported on how they prepared for the on-site lessons, including mock lessons and learning English, and used the actual teaching materials and a video to talk about their 13-day experience, including good feedback they recieved and difficulties they faced at the schools. Starting with this session, teachers planning to become administrators or supervisors participated in the project as students of the Graduate School of Professional Teacher Education, and asked questions about school management and educational policy.
 One participant’s impression was: “I was impressed by how the guest lessons that applied CLIL drew in the Finnish and Italian students, made them think hard, and got them to eagerly share their opinions.” Participants wanted to start doing the three lessons themselves right away, and asked the faculty members and students about specific lab equipment and instructional methods in detail.

* CLIL: Short for “Content Language Integrated Learning”. A learning approach that integrates academic learning of subjects such as mathematics/science and social studies with English language learning.