For the past two days, I have offered lectures and instructional facilitation for a group of teachers of further education, (this means faculty who work in polytechnics – professional programs that are application-oriented). This group works with the Collaborative Intensity project based in Metropolia College and the project I am providing Fulbright support. I provided dialogue and stimulus lectures/discussion about their work in the project start-up. They are developing partnerships with various public and private organizations to integrate their academic programs and instruction with the work life of that organization. For example, about half of the individuals work with health care programs, so they are working with hospitals and municipal health care services to identify ways to integrate with them through practical involvements of their students, research projects, and other possibilities.
I found the group to be intently engaged, but reticent to speak during our time together. They suggested that it was the Finnish way. So, the next day, they were both more responsive, but I had also structured more exercises for them to brainstorm and share beyond my discussions of communities of practice, the inclusion of adult students with young students, and the initial development of partnerships. I am always amazed at the ability of other individuals who are not native English speakers to listen, understand, and speak in English. These folks were amazing as they struggled sometimes with locating a technical English word for their Finnish activities. I also found them to appreciate the sharing of their past work at integration with their colleagues. I would hope these experiences have a positive impact on their future work.