Pathway Teacher Testimonial: Ilari Frantsi

Ilari Frantsi teaches Pathway courses on preparatory mathematics, mathematical economics, and economics. He teaches students from all over the world, conducting his lessons via Zoom. Additionally, he uses our online learning tool Claned to communicate with the students. In this article, we sat with Ilari to discuss his experience teaching the Pathway to Finland courses.

Why pathway to Finland?

Pathway to Finland program certainly helps you prepare for higher education studies and reach the skill level needed for university admission. After completing the program, you surely will be eligible to progress to degree studies at one of our partner universities in Finland! Read more about the Pathway to Finland here.

What is the best part about teaching pathway students?

“The majority of the students are very motivated. They do their assignments really well, and the group is full of great people. So far, the students have been academically very smart!”

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What difficulties have you noticed?

“Finnish schools and universities have lot of essay writing. I have noticed that my pathway students are not that used to writing essays. When writing essays, it is important to stick to the given topic and read the materials well.”

In the Pathway courses, students specifically practice essay writing and get feedback from their teachers.

What teaching methods do you use?

“My goal is to make the courses as interactive as possible. I have tried to link the math problems to the students’ lives. This way the math problems are relevant to their situation: studying and working in Finland. Additionally, the math assignments are linked to the future courses.”

“The math courses include an exam as well as homework. The students can choose 2-3 assignments to turn in, but it is not mandatory. However, if the students return them before the exam, they get feedback on what is going well, and where they still need practice. If the assignments are correct, they will get 20% towards their mark based on the assignments. These assignments are a great learning tool, as you already learn the basics before the exam.”

During his lessons, Ilari asks a lot of questions and tries to get the students involved in the conversation.

“I ask the students about their current knowledge, and from there we work forwards step by step.”

“In economics, I take a more innovative approach. The lessons are two hours, and I give two questions to the students. I will ask them questions about the situation in their own country about the economy. The assignment is to answer with one paragraph. We will read through some of the answers and get an idea of what is happening around the world. This is a way to connect theory to practice. I find that it is easier for students to participate in the conversation when the topic is regarding their own countries.”

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What is it like to study in the pathway program?

Studying online in our Pathway to Finland program includes a lot of independent studying and requires motivation. Luckily, our online learning tool Claned certainly makes communication with the teachers easy.

Claned makes interactions with the students quite easy. Many of the students contact me on Claned. There we can have conversations and give feedback.”

Pathway students should attend the lessons at least 80% of the time to pass the courses.

“For me, more important than the attendance is that the students turn in their assignments on time and that they have not copied their answers from anywhere.”

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In your opinion, what is it like to study at Finnish universities?

“Studying is not just reading and then taking the exam. There are quite a lot of group projects which I personally like. It allows students to co-operate and to solve problems together. The teachers are quite relaxed and fair. Overall, studying is quite free and independent”

Ilari has recently done some further studies himself. He did pedagogical studies at the University of Jyväskylä and currently, he is studying special pedagogics.

” For mature students, the flexibility of Finnish universities works well. I get to choose how I do my courses, whether I will do an essay or an exam. There are a lot of conversations between the students, who come from different backgrounds. There are also online exams and other online materials that make studying flexible.”

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What would you tell students losing motivation in the middle of their studies?

“If the course is truly something you want to do; work hard and figure out the studying methods that work for you. Think about what is making you lose motivation.”

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