From a reader/listener to a speaker/writer: Student views confirm the need to develop English courses further towards productive, interactive skills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Over the past decades, Finland has become more international, and the need for academic and professional language skills has increased and shifted towards productive skills. In this paper, I shall provide an overview of this development as seen through course catalogues from four decades, and compare it with real student needs, strengths and weaknesses. The material consists of course descriptions from the 1970s to the present, which are used to trace the evolution and development of English courses taught at the University of Helsinki Language Centre. These were contrasted with 365 CEFR self-assessments my students completed at the beginning of their faculty-specific English courses (English Academic and Professional Skills) and another data set consisting of 20 interviews of graduates who have used languages professionally. The results show that the language courses have been developed so that they focus more on productive skills, which the students find demanding but essential for coping academically and professionally. For new teachers developing their English courses, this paper provides a context to be considered in the development process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage Learning in Higher Education
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)445-468
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • 6121 Languages

Cite this