From academic to entrepreneur – the story of an entrepreneur

Have you ever visited a lecture that was particularly interesting because of the way the teacher taught? Or vice versa, one in which you ignored the subject-matter because of the teaching style?

I can still remember how, as a fresh MA without any pedagogic training, I received my first course feedback. That feedback proved to be extremely precious for my own teaching. Likewise, I warmly remember my own teacher who managed to capture every student with rhetoric. Little did I know how significant these experiences would be in my own profession.

My university career led me towards doctoral studies. At the same time, I taught. I specialised in interaction and its research. I learned about the rules of interaction, the construction of interaction and using information for example in supplementary education.

In my dissertation research I had the opportunity to see an excellent example of language-pedagogic action and gained theoretical understanding on the construction of interaction in the classroom. As old-fashioned as it sounds, we teachers lead the events in the classroom through interaction, although teaching and learning are constructed together with the students. I think that teachers should focus on the meaningfulness of studying as well as on effective and productive teaching. This focus emerges through understanding interaction.

During the years I received incredible opportunities to develop myself and my competence through international connections and projects. The most memorable of these is the project in Bolivia where I provided supplementary education to teachers and applied the principles of language immersion to better suit their societal situation. I, too, wanted to learn more and more how to apply the principles of language immersion to my own teaching. I have also gained confirmation of the success of these principles at university level, as when I worked as a full-time Swedish-language teacher my students were often amazed how they had enjoyed studying Swedish, even though Swedish was not usually an eagerly anticipated subject, and even a course they had until then avoided taking.

Now the message from language teachers in the field is that teachers have a great need for current supplementary education and ideas for their own work. In curricular and degree reforms, languages and developing language teaching are often left in a secondary position when resources are limited. However, there is great pressure on language teaching and language teachers on all academic levels. I have first-hand experience of that pressure. One of the greatest experiences of the time when it was normal to work under pressure was eveloping language teaching in the ROKK project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Working in small teams where we, in
expert roles, modelled language and content integration exercises for various language proficiency levels, proved to be an extremely empowering and educational experience.

My competence in training and expertise in interaction have also taken me to situations where I have been able to share my competence to professionals with strong expertise but no teaching competence. The trainers have been interested to hear about the objectives of communication, the construction of interaction, small changes that can greatly affect the listener, and many other things. This is a very extensive, challenging and rewarding field..

I am driven by the desire to co-operate with a big heart with educators, train others and share my expertise as well as to help others. I want to provide high-quality, well planned and research-based training in which the participant is active. I want to inspire and share my joy when working! The opportunity to do all this is the reason why I am today an entrepreneur providing training services.

Small things matter –in education, too!

Nina Niemelä |Business ID: 2756735-7 |Kalevan puistotie 15, 33500 Tampere, Finland |tel. +358 45 208 4456 | info@

Website: | Frontpage background photo © Isto E Järvinen

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