The teaching methods I have been used are diverse from the perspective of what they demand from teachers and students. I have been lecturing alone and together with a colleague. A good way of giving lectures in English is to do it with a colleague; you can share the burden of preparing materials and talking in English. For students it might be more enjoyable to follow this kind of dialogical lecturing, it becomes more like a conversation than a monologue. Participating in the lectures demands, of course, ability to follow English spoken lecturing and slides, but because we try to connect small discussions inside the lectures, also discussion skills in English in small groups from students. It is not easy to take into account the complicities involved in intercultural communication and being responsiveness and sensitive to the situation and the other participants in these kind of general discussions (see Baker, 2016).
Further, one quite common study method are different group works. Group presentations involve collaboration and discussion with peers coming from different backgrounds and having different mother languages. We have made quite a lot of work to unite our international master’s programme students with our Finnish students studying their master’s level studies in our department, because we think that it is fruitful to study together with students with different backgrounds. Some of the Finnish students are afraid of and anxious about using English language in their studies, which is undoubtedly understandable. The students in the international master’s programme are more ready to communicate in English, because they have known English to be the study language already when applying to the programme. Nonetheless, this kind of working can be also stressful for the students and they may be worried about how well they are succeeding in general, but also about working with peers they do not know beforehand and talking English. We still try to encourage them, because the results of this kind of group working are generally very positive from the perspective of the presentations and as a learning experience. The students can, if they like, to incorporate country-specific knowledge as a part of their group work and make thought-provoking comparisons, for example, on the issues of family life in different countries. What needs to be kept in mind is cultural awareness in order not to produce cultural stereotyping and categorisation, but to construct possibilities to reflect on the differences between, but also the similarities and individual differences within different cultures (see Hahl & Löfström, 2016). The group work as such demands skills to read and interpret quite abstract contents, to plan the presentation and to construct the slides and other material for the presentation, to think of how to activate the listeners, and to bear responsibility for the outcome of the group presentation. Giving a presentation means also acting /performing under the eyes of others, and speaking and communicating in English. It might be also worthwhile to reflect on how culture is made in these group presentations and discussions (Piller, 2012).
Baker, W. (2016) English as an academic lingua franca and intercultural awareness: student mobility in the transcultural university, Language and Intercultural Communication, 16:3, 437-451, DOI: 10.1080/14708477.2016.1168053
Hahl, K. & Löfström, E. (2016). Conceptualizing interculturality in multicultural teacher education, Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 11:3, 300-314. DOI:10.1080/17447143.2015.1134544
Piller, (2012). Intercultural communication: An overview. In C. B. Paulston & S. F. Kiesling & E. S. Rangel (Eds.), Handbook of intercultural discourse and communication.