1. A letter to your future self
Write a letter to your future self at the beginning of your studies. What sort of expectations do you have for yourself during general upper secondary school? What sort of goals could you set for yourself? How will you benefit from your language skills during your studies and after general upper secondary school? Include the following in your letter:
Describe your language skills and the contexts in which you use them
- First, list your home languages and the languages you have learned in and outside of school.
- In your letter, describe the following
- Which languages do you have knowledge of? Be sure to also describe your knowledge of your home languages and their dialects.
- In which situations and with whom do you use each language?
- Think also in more general terms. For example, in which languages do you like to read or listen to music?
Describe your learning strategies and experiences with language learning
- What kind of language learner are you? Describe how and where you learn languages best.
Keep the letter you wrote, as you will return to it at the end of your studies.
My language repertoire
- All the languages and dialects you use with your family or relatives.
- The languages you studied at school. Remember to mention any language clubs, shorter introductory courses and language showers you have attended, including those in pre-school, basic education, and general upper secondary school. What was the language of instruction at your school?
- The languages you hear and make use of in your hobbies and free time. For example, what languages do your friends have knowledge of?
- Other languages in your life and the languages of your community. What languages are spoken in your school? Take into consideration dialects and registers*, as well.
- Finally, your aspirations: In which languages would you like enhance your skills in? Which languages would you like to start from scratch? What would you like to be able to do in different languages?
*Final question: what have you learned about dialects and registers in your Mother tongue and literature or Finnish or Swedish as a second language lessons?
3. Using languages in different contexts
Take out the inventory you made of your language skills in the task called “My language repertoire” .
Discuss in pairs:
- Where (e.g., at school, at home, in your free time) and with whom do you use different languages?
- Do you use languages in different ways at school and at home?
For teachers: This task can be used as a demonstration of oral proficiency, compiled for the purposes of the oral language proficiency certificate, in module 1, in pairs or individually.
4. Language in social media
In this task you will reflect on how you use language in different situations and for different purposes.
- Using less than 50 words, describe how you use language in social media. Remember that emoticons, memes, pictures, videos, and voice messages are also ways of using language.
- Describe briefly how your language use may vary depending on whether you are speaking with your friends or your family. You can start by thinking about whether you have noticed any differences in your use of emoticons or more casual language depending on your audience.
5. Adapting language (1/2)
Have you noticed that you adapt the language you use depending on the person with whom you are speaking? How? You can start by thinking about how you would speak to relatives younger than you, how you would explain something IT-related to an older person, or how you would speak to a potential employer at a job interview.
6. Language awareness in everyday life
(This task can also be done in pairs or groups.)
Have you noticed that different languages play different roles in your everyday life? Does your community—friends, family, neighbourhood, school, hobbies—encourage or discourage you to use different languages?
Is it generally acceptable to mix and switch between several different languages in your everyday life? If your answer is dependent on the context or the person you are talking to, how and why do they differ?
7. Language awareness and obscure jargon
- Take a look at the policy brief on clear language by the Institute for the Languages of Finland: "Clear language is inclusive and prevents exclusion"
- Find a text in any language.
- Discuss your texts in groups and reflect on how you would simplify and clarify the language used in the article.
- Compare how each of you would have simplified the text. Did you have similar suggestions? How were they different?
8. Language awareness and subject-specific language use
In this task you will reflect on the languages used in the instruction of different subjects.
- Consider the language of two different subjects that are not languages (such as P.E., music, and visual arts). In what ways is language different in the instruction of the subjects you chose?
- How do the skills you mention relate to the language you learn in language classes?
This task can also be completed in pairs or in groups.
9. Languages of everyday life
- Do you use several languages in your daily life? How?
- How could you use your knowledge of different languages to make sense of a new language?
- Do you borrow words from different languages when you can’t remember a word in another language? Give examples.
10. Making the most of rudimentary language skills
Discuss in pairs or groups.
- Have you ever been in a situation where basic knowledge of a language was useful? What happened and how did the situation progress? What language or other help did you end up using
- Come up with a situation where you meet with your pair for the first time, using a language or languages other than your first language. Play it out.
11. Adapting language (2/2)
- Have a discussion with your family, relatives, or peers about the different dialects and languages you speak. Do you know people who change their way of speaking depending on the person they are speaking with? Have you noticed you yourself adapting your way of speaking when speaking with different people? You can consider, for example, how you make use of dialects, profanities, or memes in your speech.
- Are there linguistic or cultural differences within your family, relatives, or social circle? Are there linguistic or cultural phenomena that either you or others need to explain to one another; or vice versa, phenomena that need to be explained to you? You can start by thinking about, for example, Internet culture or phenomena relating to a particular period in time.
For teachers: This task can also be used in Mother tongue and literature or Finnish/Swedish as a second language lessons.
12. Plurilingualism on video
- Find a video in which different languages are used at the same time. Are there marked differences between the situations in which different languages are used?
- In what situations do you yourself mix and combine different languages?
- Make a short video of yourself using a variety of languages.
13. Multilingualism in different contexts
- Have there been situations in your life when you have been asked to or pressured to stick to only one language? Describe some of those instances.
- In which situations are you comfortable using several languages simultaneously?
14. Describing language skills (1/2)
Take out the inventory you made of your language skills in task “2. My language repertoire“.
Think about what you can do and in which contexts you can use the languages you listed. If you find it difficult to get started, try to think of situations where you usually cope well with the languages you listed.
Try to avoid overly general descriptions, such as “I speak Swedish well and French satisfactorily”. Instead, aim to give concrete examples of what you can do with the languages you have knowledge of.
15. Describing language skills (2/2)
Take out the inventory you made of your language skills in task ”2. My language repertoire“. Familiarize yourself with the table below.
- For each language you have knowledge of, fill in a verbal description of your skills in a table like the one below.
- Fill in your proficiency level in each language according to the Evolving Language Proficiency Scale (in Finnish, see ePerusteet).
- Set yourself some goals: what skills would you like to improve
- Complete the table as you progress in general upper secondary school and add links to demonstrations of your skills in each language. At the end of your studies, place the last column in your Language CV.
You can download this table from kieliprofiili.com or create your own.
|Language||1st year||2nd year||3rd year||
3rd year spring
(Add this column to your Language CV!)
|Home language(s)||Insert here a description of your skills (verbal and CEFR level. Insert a goal, as well: What skills would you like to improve?||
|Insert additional languages|
16. Language skills for the future
- List three professions that interest you.
- Find out what sort of education and training is required for the professions you have listed.
- Check websites of higher education institutions to see what sort of language proficiency is required or valued in the admission process.
- Find out what language skills you will need in the world of work. Reflect on language skills beyond individual languages: what types of texts or communicative contexts (such as multilingual working environments or written official language) will you come across in education and in the world of work? What skills are particularly needed?
The table below includes examples of different professions and training courses. Fill in the table according to your own ideas and plans.
|Profession||Education||Language requirements in higher education (language proficiency level)||Language requirements in the world of work|
|Commercial||Bachelor of Business Administration||National languages, English (B2) + one other foreign language||Description of required language skills, such as text types (reports etc.) or communication contexts (customer service etc.)|
|Tourism||Bachelor’s / Master’s degree in Hospitality Management, Tourism|
17. Setting goals for language skills (1/2)
Draw a mind map linking your goals and the language skills required to achieve them. In what sort of contexts and for what purposes will you need language skills? What do you want for the future? What skills do you need?
You can start by drawing a mind map like the one below.
18. Internationality in further studies and the world of work
Take out the inventory you made of your language skills in the tasks called “2. My language repertoire” and ”23. My cultural competences”.
- Diverse language skills imply stronger interpersonal skills and the ability to work with different people. How do your language skills relate to the skills needed in the world of work?
- Consider how your cultural competence relates to skills needed in the world of work. In what situations and environments have you developed your cultural competences? How could you use your skills in the world of work?
- Summarise your cultural competences in a few sentences. You can place the summary you wrote in the “International competence” section of your Language CV.
19. Multilingual video application
Find a job vacancy online and prepare a mock video application in which you present yourself and your skills in several languages. Start the video in the language the job advertisement is written in. Remember to also mention your home language(s) and your cultural competences.
For teachers: The task can be used as a demonstration of oral proficiency, compiled for the purposes of the oral language proficiency certificate, or in the module covering the world of work and studying, in pairs or individually.