majestic white cathedral with domes and pillars against blue sky
Photo by Marlene Leppänen on

Meeting the Minister of Education

languagecampusAs part of the presentation of plans for a united language campus (KieliKampus) at JYU, Marlen along with student-researchers Jenni, Otto & Kate was invited to discuss his teaching philosophy and students’ acheivements in research and professional writing. In the audience were faculty, staff & administrators of JYU as well as representatives of the Finnish Ministry of Education.

Jenni Kankaanpää from Finland (one of Marlen’s 3rd year psychology students), who performed photographic auto-ethnography in order to examine self-esteem and body image, discussed the recent acceptance of her research into the European Federation of Psychology Students Association Annual Congress while Otto Tuomela from Finland (one of Marlen’s 4th year philosophy students) discussed his qualitative investigation of secondary school philosophy students’ attitudes towards religious education. Both Jenni and Otto will also work as Course Assistants in Marlen’s 2011 Academic Writing, Reading & Communication classes, mentoring future student researchers.

Kate Warren of England discussed how her research on UK recycling policies and practices (as part of Marlen’s Master’s level Critical Info Management/Professional Writing course) has prepared her for her Master’s thesis in Renewable Energy Management. All three students will have their work showcased during a poster presentation at the internationally-attended New Dynamics in Language Learning conference in Jyväskylä, Finland in June, 2011. Kate wrote on her Facebook page, “I spoke in front of 150 people including directors and the Finnish minister of education today about the importance of learning languages… one of the best experiences of my life, thanks Marlen.”

Following the presentation, Marlen and his students were invited to repeat their presentation for additional members of the Ministry of Education in Helsinki, Finland during fall, 2011. It was an exciting experience illustrating the significance of writing across the curriculum and content-integrated approaches to language and composition education.

To view their presentation in English and Finnish, click me.

From L to R: Jenni Kankaanpää, Otto Tuomela, Kate Warren, Dr. Marlen Harrison. Anita Lehikoisen of the Ministry of Education seated at right.