Bilingual instruction in The English School

The English School is a bilingual school, with English and Finnish as the languages of instruction – with the cultures of both of these languages emphasized. The objective is to produce functionally bilingual students. English is taught at the native English level. English is also the students’ first foreign language (A1 language). To ensure strong cooperation and communication between the school and the students’ homes, information and key documents are usually provided in both English and Finnish.

The proportion of English and Finnish in instruction

Our preschool education is best characterized by total immersion with some Finnish instruction. In grades 1–4 the majority of subjects are taught in English but emphasis is also placed on Finnish language skills .

In 5th and 6th grade, and in secondary school, the proportion of Finnish instruction increases. This emphasis ensures that the students will master the concepts and terminology of each subject in both languages.

In middle school, grades 7-9, English continues to be taught at a native level. The amount of Finnish further increases to ensure that academic concepts in all subjects will be acquired also in Finnish and that a possible transition to a Finnish-medium vocational or high school can be successfully achieved.

What is important for us in bilingual instruction

At our school, bilingualism refers to both the learning of two languages and in two languages. The objective is that students acquire the ability to think in two languages, and to express their thoughts in both languages, while using the idioms
and colloquialisms of both languages and cultures with ease and fluency.

The emphasis from a strong English focus shifts gradually to a balance between the two languages as the students move through the grade levels.

The objectives of bilingual education

The goal of bilingual instruction is for students to acquire a high-level language proficiency in both languages. The long-term objective of bilingual instruction is to lay the foundations for life-long language learning and the appreciation of the diversity of languages and cultures.

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