Date and venue of the event: 30 November - 1 December 2022, online workshop
Local organiser: Anu Halvari, Senior Adviser (Education), Finnish National Agency for Education
Experts and moderators: Katri Kuukka, Senior Adviser (Education), Finnish National Agency for Education, and Nermina Wikström, Director of Education, Swedish National Agency for Education / National Curricula/ Pre-school and Compulsory School.
Participants: Primary and secondary school in Finnish as second language, English language, one head teacher, and special education teachers.
In the wake of two covid-19 years and in the midst of recent game-changing events in Europe, we organized a two-day workshop to introduce the ROADMAP in Finland. On a national level a lot of work has been done to build an understanding of what language awareness means in the context of school. But changing linguistic landscapes in society and at schools needs rethinking in terms of school values, practices and procedures. ROADMAP is a tool to address these concerns, in a very tangible manner.
In practice, the challenge in Finland was to get a sufficient number of participants because of scheduling constraints, possibly also because the main language of the workshop was English. It was therefore decided that the first day would be held in English, the second in Finnish.
The content of the first day was an introduction to the background of the ROADMAP project and the tool itself. At the end of the day, the participants were asked to “play school”, i.e. use the self-assessment tool in practice. Each one chose the role of a different stakeholder (teacher, head teacher, student, parent, other school staff) in the framework of the make-believe ‘Potato School’. Everyone was excited to receive the report.
The next day started with a review of the report and of some promising practices. The second day – which was in Finnish - also included presentations on developing a language-aware school in the context of the Finnish curriculum and on language-aware culture and leadership. Finally, there was also time to reflect on the participants' own school development plans and to sum up the day together.
We held the workshop to a small but inquisitive group of practitioners, with a thought in mind to pilot how best to deliver the ROADMAP in the months and years to come to the Finnish audiences. As workshop organizers we learnt valuable lessons on how to proceed. Most likely the next steps will be addressing especially head teachers, and take the ROADMAP to different stakeholder meetings and in-service training sessions.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) for all the support and flexibility we have been given in organising the workshop.
Anu Halvari and Katri Kuukka