Turku is a pioneer in CLIL and immersion teaching

  • Turku has a long tradition in educating pupils in a foreign language.
  • Teaching in English began in Turku in 1990.
  • Swedish immersion classes began in 1992. Swedish is the second official language of Finland and therefore it is not considered a foreign language.
  • French in 1993, German in 1994, and Russian in 1994.
  • CLIL instruction takes place on a large-scale level and is supervised by central administration.
  • The city has several bilingual day-care centres.

History of the CLIL and immersion language classes

Teaching in a foreign language began in the Turku school system in 1990. Headmaster Hannu Isolauri and Department Head Tapio Alapaattikoski of the Turku School Centre are responsible for initiating the idea. A pilot English language class was then established in PuolalaSchool at that time, and it was a part of a 2-year official experiment under the Ministry of Education. The aim of the project was to experiment with teaching in a language other than the pupils’ mother tongue.

Positive experiences and new education legislation allowed the language class activities to continue, and in 1992 the Swedish immersion classes in Kerttuli School were established as were the French CBI classes in Vähä-Heikkilä School in 1993. In 1994, the German language classes began in Puolala School and the Russian language classes began in Teräsrautela School. The Russian CBI classes were later moved to Puolala School due to better transportation connections.

Turku possesses a long tradition and steadfast experience as a provider of foreign language teaching on the comprehensive school level. Teachers have actively participated in training and the language classes partake in a number of cooperative national and international projects.