Presenting Research for a General Audience: Experiences from a Finnish Science Event

In late November of 2021, the Listiac team in Vaasa partook in a so called Science Carnival, an event where researchers presented their current projects for a general audience. The event was organised by the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland (SLS) in collaboration with universities and universities of applied sciences in the Vaasa region.

Three members of the Vaasa team, Project Leader Siv Björklund, Doctoral Candidate Jenny Haagensen and Project Coordinator Sanna Pakarinen, held a bilingual presentation in the local shopping center in downtown Vaasa. The presentation materials were in both Swedish and Finnish, and the presentation was given in Swedish by Siv and Jenny and in Finnish by Sanna. 

The presenters was pleased to see attendees sitting in the audience and standing around and behind the temporary stage in the shopping center on a Saturday morning. The event was also live streamed. The recording of the Listiac presentation is now available on the SLS YouTube channel. The theme of the presentation was multiple languages in the classroom – a benefit for pupils. More specifically, it raised the issue of creating spaces where teachers support the language of instruction and at the same time value pupils’ other languages.

Doctoral Candidate Jenny Haagensen discussing an example from the Listiac research data.

As an introduction the Vaasa team described the Listiac project and its aims and reflection tools. In order to make the presentation more interactive, the attendees were encouraged to draw or describe their versions of a linguistically sensitive teacher. The exercise is based on the Listiac reflection tools, and the members of the Listiac research team have written about linguistically sensitive teachers of the future on the blog. At this point of the presentation, the audience had not seen any examples from actual research data. The Vaasa team was curious to see how the audience would perceive a linguistically sensitive teacher based on their own experiences and thoughts and the information the presenters provided. 

The attendees returned both drawings and written descriptions, and according to them, a linguistically sensitive teacher:

As the examples above indicate, the attendees highlighted a variety of attributes. Many of these have been featured in previous Listiac research as well.

The aim of the presentation was to introduce some of the Listiac terminology to a general audience and get the attendees to think about linguistically sensitive teaching and linguistically sensitive teachers. The Vaasa team is of the opinion that the audience had captured many important and relevant aspects during the short exercise. Hopefully it sparked someone’s interest in learning more. The presenters would like to thank all the contributors and the audience in both person and online.

Written by Sanna Pakarinen

Åbo Akademi University

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