A Comparative Study on Basic Education Curricula of Finland and Turkey in Foreign Language Teaching


  • Elif Sezen İrican TOBB University of Economics and Technology


This study aims to provide information for researchers and policy-makers targeting at improving foreign (English) language education in their countries by showing the differences between the foreign language curricula of Turkey and Finland. Finnish National Core Curricula along with the new curricula launched by the Finnish National Board of Education in August 2016 were analyzed. Document analysis was used as a method, and necessary documents and links were provided by the Embassy of Finland in Ankara, the Finnish National Board of Education, and Republic of Turkey the Ministry of National Education via e-mail and mail services and Amazon. This study is unique as the reform in Finland is a brand-new issue and required to be investigated further in terms of English Language Teaching. Keywords: English language teaching policies; phenomenon-based learning; information and communication technologies; transversal competencies


Auer, C. J. (1992). A comparison of the locus of control of first and second grade students in whole language, basal reader, and eclectic instructional approach classrooms, Dissertation Abstracts International, 53 (11): 3856 PhD diss., Northern Illinois University.

Bamgbose, A. (2003). A recurring decimal: English in language policy and planning. World Englishes, 22(4), 419-431.

Bayyurt, Y. & Aptekin, C. (2000). EFL syllabus design for Turkish young learners in bilingual school contexts. J. Moon & M. Nikolov (Eds.), Research into teaching English to young learners (pp. 312-322). Pécs, Hungary: Pécs University Press.

Beane, J. A., & Lipka, R. P. (1984). Self-Concept, self-esteem, and the curriculum. Newton: Allyn and Bacon.

Benham, M. J. (1993). Fostering Self- Motivated Behavior, Personal Responsibility, and Internal Locus of Control, Eugene, Oregon. Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ERIC Document Reproduction No. ED 386 621).

Ben-Zeev, S. (1977). The influence of bilingualism on cognitive strategy and cognitive development. Child Development, 48(3), 1009-1018.

Bialystock, E. (1986). Children’s concept of word. Journal of Pscyholinguistic Research, 15(1), 13-32.

Bialystock, E. (1988). Levels of bilingualism and levels of linguistic awareness. Development Psychology, 24(4), 560-567.

Bransford, J. D., Stein, B. S., Shelton, T. S. & Owings, R. A. (1980). Cognition and adaptation: The importance of learning to learn. In J. Harvey (Ed.), Cognition, social behavior and the environment. Hillsdale, N. J. : Lawrence Erlbaum.

Byram, M. (1997). Assessing intercultural communicative competence. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Byram, M. (2000). Assessing intercultural competence in language teaching. Sprogforum, 18(6), 8-13.

Brown, A. L. (1980). Metacognitive development and reading. In R. S. Spiro, B. B. Bruce, & W. L. Brewer (Eds.), Theoretical issues in reading comprehension. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Cameron, L. (2001). Teaching languages to young learners. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to Language Pedagogy. New York: Longman.

Chapman, J.W. (1988). Learning disabled children’s self-concept. Review of Educational Research 58: 347-371.

Childress, D. (2010). “Education in the United States and Finland: A Comparative Analysis.” Paper Presentation: Undergraduate Research Conference Paper Presentation, Aurora University.

Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M. (for the New London Group) (Eds.). (2000). Multiliteracies. Literacy learning and the design of social futures. London, UK: Routledge.

Council of Europe (CoE). (2001). Common European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Council of Higher Education (YÖK). (2013). Turkish national education system. (www.studyinturkey.gov.tr).

Cummins, J. (1984). Bilingualism and special education: Issues in assessment and pedagogy. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Dervin, F., Paatela-Nieminen, M., Kuoppala, M. & Riitaoja, A. L. (2012). Multicultural Education in Finland-Renewed Intercultural Competences to the Rescue? International Journal of Multicultural Education, 14, 1-13.

Feldman, C. & Shen, M. (1971). Some language-related cognitive advantages of bilingual five-year olds. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 118, 235-244.

Fitzpatrick A. & Davies G. (eds.) (2003) The impact of Information and Communications Technologies on the teaching of foreign languages and on the role of teachers of foreign languages, EC Directorate General of Education and Culture. Available here in PDF format: http://www.ict4lt.org/en/Fitzpatrick_and_Davies.pdf.

Hampel, R., & Hauck, M. (2006). Computer-mediated language learning: Making meaning in multimodal virtual learning spaces. The JALT CALL Journal, 2(2), 3–18.

Harter, S. (1983). Developmental perspectives on the self-system. Handbook of Child Psychology, ed. E. M. Hetherington, 275-385. New York: Wiley.

Holm, G., & Londen, M. (2010). The discourse on multicultural education in Finland: Education for whom? Intercultural Education, 21(2), 107-120.

Ianco-Worall, A.D. (1972). Bilingualism and cognitive development. Child Development, 43, 1390-1400.

Işık, A. (2008). Yabancı dil eğitimimizdeki yanlışlar nereden kaynaklanıyor? [Where the mistakes are originated in our foreign language teaching] Journal of Language and Linguistics, 4(2), 15-26.

Jaatinen, R., & Saarivirta, T. (2014). The Evolution of English Language Teaching during Societal Transition in Finland – A mutual relationship or a distinctive process?. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(11).

Kırkgöz, Y. (2005). English language teaching in Turkey: Challenges for the 21st century. In G. Braine (Ed.), Teaching English to the world: History, curriculum, and practice (pp. 159-175). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Kirkgoz, Y. (2007). English language teaching in Turkey policy changes and their implementations. RELC Journal, 38(2), 216-228.

Klein, J. D., & Keller, J. M. (1990). Influence of student ability, locus of control, and type of instructional control on performance and confidence. Journal of Educational Research, 83 (3), 140-46.

Kocaoluk, M. . & Kocaoluk, F. (2001). lköretim Okulu Programı 1-8. Ankara: Kocaoluk Yayınevi

Krashen, S. (1988). Second language acquisition and second language learning. New York: NY: Prentice Hall.

Kress, G. (2003). Literacy in the new media age. London, UK: Routledge.

Kumpulainen, M., & Saari, s. (eds) (2006) Koulutuksen määrälliset indikaattorit 2006.Quantitative indicators of education 2006: Helsinki.

Lawrence, D. (1996). Enhancing self-esteem in the classroom. London: PCP Ltd.

Lerner, B. (1996). Self-esteem and excellence: The choice and the paradox. American Educator 20 (2), 9-13.

Linnakylä, P., & Malin, A. (2006). Tukeeko sanomalehtien lukeminen oppimista? Sanomalehtien lukemisaktiivisuus ja oppimistulokset. Multiprint Oy. Helsinki: Sanomalehtien liitto.

Marlowe, B., & M. Page. (2005). Creating and sustaining the construc-tivist classroom. 2nd ed. CA: Corwin.

Marsh, H. W., Byrne, B. & Shavelson, R. J. (1988). A multifaceted academic self-concept. Its’ hierarchical structure and its’ relation to academic achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 366-380.

Ministry of National Education. (2013). Basic education curriculum. MEB: Talim Terbiye Kurulu Başkanlığı, Ankara.

National Board of Education (2012). Finnish education in a nutshell. (Helsinki, Finnish National Board of Education).

National Board of Education (2014). National core curriculum for basic education. (www.oph.fi)

OECD. (2007). Reviews of national policies for education: Basic education in Turkey. (ISBN 978-92-64-03009-1).

OECD. (2012). Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators, Indicator D2 (www.oecd.org/edu/eag2012).

OECD. (2013). Education policy outlook: Turkey. OECD Publishing, Paris.

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Population structure [e-publication]. ISSN=1797-5395. 2015, Appendix table 2. Population according to language 1980-2015. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 14.1.2017].

Oktay, E. (2014). Setting Learning Objectives in Translation at the Department of Foreign Language Teaching through the Concept of Competence. ERIC, 9 (5), 943-951.

Peregoy, S., & Boyle, O. (2008). Reading, writing, and learning in ESL. (5th ed.) Boston: Pearson.

Pöyhönen, S. (2008). Foreign language teaching in basic and secondary education in Finland: Current situation and future challenges. Invited keynote paper presented at congress: Apprendimento delle lingue straniere e la formazion e degli insegnanti, Rovereto, IPRASE del Trentino, Italy, 15.3.2008.

Räsänen, R. (2005). Etninen moninaisuus koulujen haasteena [Ethnic diversity as a challenge for schools] In Kiilakoski T., Tomperi T. and Vuorikoski M. (Eds.) Kenen kasvatus? kriittinen pedagogiikka ja toisinkasvatuksen mahdollisuus. Tampere: Vastapaino.

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. Schemes of Work for ICT in Kent Country Council, 2014.

UNESCO. (2002). Education for sustainability. World Summit on Sustainable Development Johannesburg, 26 August – 4 September 2002.

Rennie, L.J. (1991). The relationship between affect and achievement in science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28 (2), 193-09.

Rinne, R. (2000). The globalisation of education: Finnish education on the doorstep of the new EU millenium. Educational Review, 52(2), 131-142.

Rodriguez, T. A. (2001). From the known to the unknown: Using cognates to teach English to Spanish speaking literates. Reading Teacher, 54 (8), 744-746.

Royce, T. (2002). Multimodality in the TESOL classroom: Exploring visual-verbal synergy. TESOL Quarterly, 36(2), 191–205.

Sahlberg, P. (2007). Education policies for raising student learning: the Finnish approach. Journal of Education Policy, 22 (2), 147-171.

Sarıçoban, G. (2012). Foreign language education policies in Turkey. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46, 2643-2648.

Sarıçoban, G. & Sarıçoban, A. (2012). Atatürk and the history of foreign language education. The Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 8(1), 24-49.

Solak, E. (2013). Foreign language teaching at primary education in Finland and Turkey. The Journal of International Social Research, 28(6), 296-301.

Solley, C.M. & Stagner, R. (1956). Effect of magnitude of temporal barriers, types of perception of self. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 51, 62-70.

Vibulphol, J., Loima, J., Areesophonpichet, S., & Rukspollmuang, C. (2015). Ready contents or future skills? A comparative study of teacher education curricula in Thailand and Finland. Journal of Education and Learning, 4, 2015.

Wright, C., Bacigalupa, C., Black, T, & Burton, M. (2007). Windows into children’s thinking: A guide to storytelling and dramatization. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35, 363-369.

Zhukov, T. (2015). Phenomenon-Based Learning: What is PBL?, (2015) https://www.noodle.com/articles/phenomenon-based-learning-what-is-pbl [2]

Web Sites: