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» What is it like to go to Viikki Teacher Training School?

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What is it like to go to Viikki Teacher Training School ?


7.45 am . The crowded bus 79 comes to the front yard of our school. “Look at those bright colours; quite modern and futuristic for a school.” You take approximately 50 steps to reach the front door. Then you open it slowly.

The echoes are quite loud as you reach the main hall. “Look at the size, it is spacious!” The 14-year-olds are playing ping pong intensively. You decide to take the stairs and go to the first floor.

You open your own locker. You put your jacket to the rack and close the locker. “Dear God, they have computers in the corridors. And everybody can use them!” It is only 7.52 am . Why don’t you have a peaceful chat with your friends?

8.10 am . Your noble teacher comes from the staff room and opens the classroom door: it is time for your English lesson. But obviously you can’t be sure about your lessons as the timetables vary every seven weeks. “They’re so talented!” You watch a film with the class. Suddenly the bells start to ring.

You go with the flow to the enormous auditorium. It is 9.35 am and time for the morning assembly. “Is this some kind of cinema or a school auditorium?” You watch the show, feeling a bit bored and tired. “But sometimes these shows can be great”, you think to yourself.

Next lesson: biology and all that gene-related stuff. “Well, obviously this PISA success is all due to great and talented teachers! ” You study viruses with the microscopes, but the bells start to ring again. It is time for you to have a recess and charge your batteries.

The relaxing 15-minute break is now over and it’s time for the third lesson of the day. And what would be 11.15 am like without a history lesson? You open your history book, watching the photographs of Breznev, Kekkonen, Adenauer and Kennedy. “Look, those pupils are so quiet and disciplined. They don’t quarrel or talk loud in the classroom.” The bells start to ring as usual. “Finally the time for the lunch break”, you think.

As it is already 12.30 pm you feel a bit hungry. You decide to check the menu: Baltic herring with potatoes. “Wow, this lunch room is quite a school restaurant. What? They don’t pay anything for their lunches?” You decide to take sour milk. Then you go to the nearest table and start to enjoy the gourmet meal that the school offers you every weekday.

45 minutes have passed and you have only one lesson left. You are sitting in an arts class, watching a painting by Rembrandt. The shadows and shades of that self-portrait tickle your mind. “They’re not only talented in languages and natural sciences, they’re also cultural!” The bells start to ring: time for you to pack your bags and go home.

You go to your locker, take your jacket, go to the ground floor, open the door and leave. Yet again the crowded bus 79 takes you away, just to be back tomorrow at the same time.

Well, it truly was nice visiting your school and learning something new about your school system here in Finland . Thank you for your kindness, but now we should go back to our home countries.


Antto Orasmaa 2C


Being a senior secondary school student in Finland


The Finnish secondary school system is based on courses. The courses last for one period. One period lasts for about six weeks plus test week. Thus, one season lasts for five periods.

In one period students can pick up not more than eight courses but usually students take six courses in a period. There is either five times 45 minute lesson in a week or three times 75 minute lesson in a week for one course. The length of lessons depends on school. For example if a student takes six courses, he/she will have either 18 times 75 minute lessons or 30 times 45 minute lessons in a week. Passing a course doesn’t mean that you only go to the lessons. You will have to pass the course exam on test week also.

Graduating from secondary school usually takes about two and a half years. The last thing in the secondary school is the matriculation examination which is about the same thing as British A-levels. Before the matriculation examination students have to go through 75 courses.

The course system is very simple. There’s always one topic for one course. Some of the courses are compulsory which means that every student will have to pass the course. For example mother tongue (Finnish) is a compulsory subject with six compulsory courses. In addition, there are also deepening and applied courses. Deepening courses are courses which prepare students for matriculation examination and they are very important. The applied courses are usually outside of the basic subjects and students usually don’t benefit in school system by passing these courses. However, the applied courses offer useful knowledge or skills.


Nikke Luukkanen

TYMI – the male singers of Viikki Teacher Training School


TYMI, the male singers of Viikki Teacher Training School , was started in 1998 and has continued practising and performing actively ever since, lead by the music teacher Pekka Tulkki. TYMI consists of around ten enthusiastic, positive (and handsome) high school boys who aren’t afraid of singing and performing for different kinds of audiences. TYMI’s repertoire is, as typically in a men’s choir, very versatile and challenging.

TYMI has usually a rehearsal once a week, but before bigger performances it practises even more often. Annual big shows of this kind are on Finland ’s Independence Day (6 December) and on Saint Lucy’s feast day (13 December). The singers of TYMI also take part in the school choir and the school’s big and popular productions. The latest production was the renowned musical Fame in the autumn of 2005. It was carried out as a joint project of numerous teachers and students and praised afterwards.

Although TYMI tries to have a certain quality in its performances, one of its mottoes is that the singers’ enthusiasm and cheerfulness are more important than the singing abilities. When the singers enjoy themselves and are self-confident, the audience enjoys the performance, too!

Ola Laaksonen 2D

Finnish language


Finnish language, in Finnish suomi, is spoken by the majority of people in Finland (92%) and of course by ethnic Finns outside Finland, mainly in Sweden, Estonia and Russia, but also in the United States and Norway. It's also one of the official minority languages in Sweden, as Swedish language is in Finland.

Finnish is a member of the Finno-Ugric language family and it's relative languages are for example Hungarian and Estonian. It's classified as an agglutinative language which means that words are formed by joining morphemes (the smallest language unit that has some sort of a meaning) together.

Among foreigners Finnish language is usually known (if known at all) as a difficult language to learn, pronounce and understand. There are very few languages that are related to it and Finnish differs from for example English very clearly. He and she are both denoted by one word, hän and there are no articles (a, an and the) like in English. Words are often very long due to the structure of the language; there are numerous grammatical cases and compound words are often used. These grammatical features and the difference in vocabulary from other languages make the language really hard for a foreigner to learn.

I interviewed Mr. Tony Shaw on his feelings for Finnish language. He is a 54-year-old man originally from England, who has lived in Finland for about 20 years.

· How did you learn Finnish?

"I learned it slowly in the "Finnish for foreigners" -language group in the University of Helsinki."

· Which are the easiest things to learn in Finnish?

"Songs are easiest to learn."

· Which are the most difficult?

"Partitiivi (partitive) is the hardest."

· What do you like most about the Finnish language?

"I like the clear pronunciation."

· What do you dislike the most?

"The double vowels."

The Finnish standard language used in newscasts, speeches and other formal situations, and the spoken language used in daily conversations differ from each other quite extensively. Due to that difference, it's yet more difficult for a foreigner to understand and learn Finnish, even if the person had studied the language. Here are a few examples of the differences between the spoken and the more formal language. The following are in Helsinki dialect and would be different if said in another dialect.

formal language spoken language English
he ostavat ne ostaa they buy
hänen tuolinsa sen tuoli his chair
oletteko tulossa illalla ootteks te tulos illal are you (plural) coming tonight
en tiedä en tiiä I don't know

Finnish language has a little over ten dialects which are divided into two distinct groups, the Western dialects and the Eastern dialects. The dialects and the Finnish spoken language are entirely intelligible among Finns, but again very hard for a foreigner to understand. Here is the same sentence first in English, then in formal Finnish and then in Savonian dialect. I'm sure you'll see that the difference between the formal Finnish language and the Savonian dialect is substantial.

English : Mikko is having trouble getting into his house because he forgot the key inside.

Finnish : Mikolla on vaikeuksia päästä taloonsa, koska unohti avaimen sisään.

Savonian dialect : Mikolla ov vaekeoksija piästä talloonsa, koska unohti avvaemen sissään.

As there are only about six million Finnish speakers in the world, Finnish is quite a unique language. That surely helps every Finn remember the importance and value of the language and that it should be cherished and carefully protected.



Katariina Rikkonen 1D

Finnish school system


In Finland the comprehensive school, which lasts for 9 years, is compulsory to everybody. It consists of two parts: 6-year lower comprehensive school and 3-year upper comprehensive school.

Finnish children start school at the age of seven. In lower comprehensive they study for example reading and writing, maths and biology. At the age of 12 or 13 children move on to upper comprehensive school, where they get a bit more freedom and responsibility. They start to study a few more subjects like physics, chemistry and home economics. They can also choose some extra courses like music, visual arts or foreign languages. The comprehensive school is totally free of charge including food and materials.

After comprehensive school the young can choose between different options. They can start working or take a year off. If their grades are not good enough, they can go to the 10th grade to improve their grades. However, the two most popular options are vocational school and upper secondary school, which both last 3-4 years. In a vocational school you will have a profession straight after the studies, but it is not as valued as studies in an upper secondary school. In both schools you have to pay for your school books, but everything else is free.

In upper secondary school a year consists of 5 terms. In each term pupils usually study 5-8 courses. At the end of each term there is an exam week. Here you have much more freedom than earlier. To finish upper secondary you have to pass at least 75 courses: 45-49 of them are compulsory and the rest you can choose freely. At the end of the upper secondary school most students do the matriculation examination corresponding to the British A-levels.


Merja Suhonen and Jiao Wang

The second-year ball -
a magnificent experience


One of the most enjoyable things in upper secondary school is the second-year ball. It is arranged after the school leaving ceremony in February. The ball has traditionally been a celebration of becoming the oldest students in school. It also associates students more to each other.

The practicing begins as early as in December. Usually there are about twelve dances that the students practice and show to the audience. In our school the students dance two times: first for parents and relatives, then for younger students. I think it would be more rewarding to dance more times. It’s frustrating to perform just two times when you have practiced for so long.

Often the partners become a problem, since there are usually more girls than boys in upper secondary schools. So, it’s common to dance with a partner from a different school. One option is also to dance with a first-year student. Fortunately, almost everybody gets a dance partner.

One important thing is also the way you dress. Originally the idea was that girls dressed in an old-fashioned dress, but nowadays it’s more common to have something more like an evening gown. The boys have it easy, as they just need to have an elegant suit.

The ball is a very glamorous event that everybody should experience. Especially the ball, but also the practicing is very rewarding. Dancing itself is magnificent, and when you can do it with people you like, it’s even more satisfying.


Elisa Gylling 2b

What is it like to go to Viikki Teacher Training School ?


At first, I would like to tell you little about our school building because, at least in my opinion, it doesn’t look like a typical school from the outside. It’s quite modern and big. Some have even said that it’s too modern, but I think that it’s only up-to-date. Besides, in my opinion it’s more important that the school you’re going to is comfortable inside.

I think that we have a nice and pleasant working environment here in Viikki Teacher Training School . Firstly, we have qualified teachers and modern technology. Secondly, everybody here is friends with each other, so no one has to be alone. I also have to say that the food in our school is really good. In addition, we have a free snack for students who have lessons after three.

We also have these student teachers in our school. They aren’t graduated yet, but they’re practising teaching. In general, student teachers can teach as well as the real teachers.

In a word, I don’t know a better high school than Viikki Teacher Training School !


Written by: Cloudberry