Good instructions probably need to be relatively short, precise and comprehensive – not an easy task. The points made by Räsänen include for example the expected genre of writing. It might be interesting to get an analysis of a financial statement as detective story or as a poem but probably we usually need to stick to the professional or academic writing. Otherwise I may need to be even more precise about the purpose, audience, models, schedules and format of my assignments. And perhaps also tell about my own resources or style of giving feedback.
Methods in EMI are basically just the same as in teaching with mother tongue. My goal is to become fluent. However, when teaching in English there is often more variation in the student’s ability to follow or understand . Some students may be very fluent native speakers and some are not. Therefore I may need to repeat a little more and perhaps use simple words and example as well as a few more (computer etc.) exercises or activities instead of lecturing.
Also some Asian students may nod their heads like they agree and understand but actually they are just conveying that they try to listen and not much can be said about the understanding. I did not know that first. Perhaps in the future more examples or questions are needed in order to check if they really understood. However, a good method is almost any method that creates strong learning, in EMI or in any language.
Challenges (related to the model of students, teachers, institutions, language, culture etc.) of teaching and learning include cognitive issues, thus being related to students and teachers. In addition, however, there is content and especially context: technology, temperature, size of the class, quality of the air as well as time. Learning and teaching do not occur in laboratory conditions but among individuals typically in a certain in space and time. For example, a typical nuisance is the when computers broke down (with lags/bugs). In different situations (business, TV, lecture, computer class) and different cultures the failure in technology, for example, may be seen more as the failure of the teacher and the pedagogy than in other cultures and situations. A back-up plan of what to do if everything seems to fall apart may be a good thing to have in a teacher’s “pedagogic toolbox”.
Finnish culture has been about sauna, viina, tar, pesäpallo, ice hockey, salty liquorice, cross-country skiing, difficult language and Sibelius. A Finnish man with linen clothes might have come from working in the field the whole day, hit his puukko to the wooden table and started eating mämmi and rye-bread.
My conception of “Finnish culture” now (whatever it may be especially after today’s lesson) is a little different. However, (partly following Bruno Latour here)it is basically real for me because it is, at least partly, my own view, my idea of the word just now and I often try to believe in me (even if I really don’t). It takes a little effort to change my view as well as the one of others.
Digital teaching and research tools have changed university work immensely. For example E-mails, databanks, Google Scholar and newer things such as tweets and Facebook and WhatsApp have increased or may increase the potential for sharing information in unprecedented ways.
But what makes a university? University as an institution has been here before us and it will be here after us. In my view university is not just knowledge but also the community: people and context. In Finland the university community is in a way quite close; for example teachers are often quite accessible and help can be asked. Still we need to encourage face-to-face communication, debate and own effort to explore the unknown.