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6 Everyone Needs Some Education

Before you study the text, think what you can say about Finnish schools in English. What school-related words do you remember?  Listen to the text, read it, and do the exercises. (Ennen kuin opiskelet kappaleen mieti, mitä osaat sanoa englanniksi suomalaisista kouluista. Mitä kouluun liittyviä sanoja muistat? Kuuntele teksti, lue se ja tee tehtävät.)
The next day Henry meets Beth for lunch.
Beth: I have so many questions! What can you tell me about the Finnish school system? When do children start school? How many years do they have to attend school? What options do you have after you complete your compulsory education? What about adult education?
Henry: I am not an expert but I can tell you something. I’ll show you on my laptop.
Beth: That is very interesting. Can you tell me something about your education so far?
Henry: Sure. I started school when I was six years old. In Finland that is called pre-primary school and in your system it is called kindergarten. When I was seven, I started first grade. I stayed in the same school for six years. We had to change schools when we advanced to 7th grade. After comprehensive school I decided to continue in upper secondary school. I did consider going to a vocational school, too, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted to study. I took my matriculation examinations in three years and graduated. That was a great day! 
Beth: And what are your plans for the future?
Henry: I would like to get a good job but I am not sure what I would like to study. I like sports but that is a nice hobby. I like machines and gadgets but I am not very good with my hands. If I went back to school, I wouldn’t want to study for five or six years. That is a long time. Maybe I am not very ambitious. I would like to get a full-time job and earn some money soon.
Beth: Just get online and read about different jobs and what the requirements are. I have to get back to work now or today’s workload won’t get done. It's too bad that David couldn't join us for lunch but he is working on a very important project and they must stay on schedule. Thank you for telling me about your school system. It is amazing that you can get so much for free or at a very low cost to the student. You should take advantage of that and study as much as you can. Good luck! Before I go, this website has lots of information about different jobs…


option - vaihtoehto
compulsory - pakollinen
compulsory education - oppivelvollisuus
pre-primary school - esikoulu, esiopetus
kindergarten - esikoulu
grade - vuosiluokka, arvosana, numero
advance - edetä
comprehensive school - peruskoulu
upper secondary school - lukio
consider - harkita
vocational school - ammattioppilaitos
decide - päättää, tehdä päätös
matriculation examinations - ylioppilastutkinto
gadget - koje, laite
ambitious - kunnianhimoinen
full-time job - kokopäivätyö
earn - ansaita
requirement - vaatimus
workload - työmäärä
schedule - aikataulu
amazing - ihmeellinen, hämmästyttävä
take advantage of - hyödyntää, käyttää hyväkseen
Look at the text: Why do you think Beth is so interested in the Finnish school system? What does she think about the system?
Next, practice your pronunciation: read the words and the text out loud a few times. (Harjoittele ääntämistä: lue sanat ja teksti ääneen muutamaan kertaan.)


 Photo by Claudia Snell


Exercise 6.1 The Finnish System

Go to the English pages of The Finnish National Board of Education and click on Education. Read through the 4 levels listed below. Write 4 or 5 sentences of each one in English - that is 16 - 20 sentences total - where you give some basic information of each level listed below. Use your own words.

(Mene Opetushallituksen englanninkielisille sivuille kohtaan Education. Lue, mitä siellä on kirjoitettu alla luetelluista aiheista. Kirjoita englanniksi nelja tai viisi virkettä jokaisesta - yhteensä siis 20-25 virkettä - joissa kerrot niistä perustietoja. Kirjoita omin sanoin.) Tehtävä arvioidaan arvosanalla (4-10).

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Basic Education
  • Upper Secondary Education and Training
  • Adult Education



6.2 My Education

Make an audio file and talk about your education in English. For making an audio file, see the instructions of the course. What schools have you attended? Where were they? What are you studying now? (Tee äänitiedosto, jossa kerrot omasta opiskelustasi englanniksi. Mitä kouluja olet käynyt ja milloin? Mitä opiskelet nyt?) Tehtävä arvioidaan arvosanalla (4-10).

Save your answers here:

In case you have used the recorder of Windows and you have more than one audio file:


                               Photo by Ben McLeod 


Exercise 6.3 School Subjects

Here is a list of subjects students learn in the comprehensive school in Finland: 

Mother tongue (Finnish or Swedish) Foreign languages (English, German, French, Russian)
Mathematics, Environmental and Natural Sciences, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Health Education, Religion, Ethics, History, Social Studies, Music, Visual Arts, Crafts, Physical Education, Home Economics, Educational and Vocational Guidance  
Make sure that you can pronounce them correctly. In case you need help with that, you can use this online dictionary
Can you name all those subjects in Finnish?
Next, make an audio file where you answer the following questions and submit it below.
(Yllä on luettelo peruskoulun oppiaineista. Mitä ne ovat suomeksi? Vastaa sitten kysymyksiin, ja tallenna äänitiedostosi.) Tehtävä arvioidaan arvosanalla (4-10).
  • Which subjects did you like?
  • Which subjects are important in your opinion?
  • Why?


Exercise 6.4 School Websites

Get online and visit the English pages of three Finnish schools. One should be a comprehensive school, one vocational school and one upper secondary school. Write down four things you learned about each school. Use your own words. Don’t forget to include your sources!

(Etsi netistä kolmen suomalaisen oppilaitoksen englanninkieliset nettisivut - yksi peruskoulu, yksi ammattioppilaitos ja yksi lukio. Kirjoita neljä asiaa, jotka opit jokaisesta koulusta. Kerro omin sanoin. Muista mainita lähteet!) Tehtävä arvioidaan arvosanalla (4-10).


Don't forget to write in your learner diary!

    Photo by Tim Kimrey

© Heli Viitanen

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