Carl Johan Odehammar, on what the Pathway Programme has to offer

Carl Johan Odehammar teaches English on the Jönköping University Pathway Programme and works with introducing students to Swedish language, society and culture.

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We interviewed Carl Johan to get his take on what makes the Pathway Programme a great introductory course for international students who want to improve their English proficiency.

Hi Carl Johan! Is it okay if we ask you a couple of questions about the Pathway Programme?

Hello! Sure thing – go ahead.

Great! Could you start off by telling us what the Pathway Programme offers our international students?

The Pathway Programme’s primary focus is to improve our international students’ English proficiency and prepare them for studies at an academic level. We help develop the students’ skills in multiple ways to ensure they can comprehend lectures held in English and we also provide them with tools and strategies to improve their academic writing and reading. The goal is to give the students a strong foundation from which they can develop their skills. The course also provides practical knowledge, for example of how to hand in assignments in Canvas, how the University Library system works, what plagiarism is, and so forth. We emphasize the importance of having a critical approach to information by teaching the students how to find and reference reliable sources of information.

How is the education structured on the programme?

Well, the education here in Sweden is very different to what the students are used to from their home universities. We focus a lot on interactive learning, which is a new concept for many students coming from more traditional countries such as China, Pakistan or Bangladesh. The lectures are centred around open classroom discussions between the teacher and the students where everyone’s encouraged to participate in the dialogue. This can be confusing to many students as they’re used to just listening to a lecturer, take notes and memorising what has been said.

Give us an example of a task or assignment that is given to the students on the programme.

A fundamental part of the education is what we call the process writing assignment, which is about improving the students’ academic writing. The students get to write a first draft of a text related to an academic subject that they hand in. The teachers then provide feedback on the texts, and with the help of guides and resources that’ve been presented during the lectures the students get to revise their texts before handing them in a second time. This step is followed up by workshops intended to help the students finalize their texts.

How are students introduced to Swedish culture and society?

Besides the theoretical education, we arrange field trips to different places. For example, we visit certain government institutions such as the town hall to give the students an introduction of how a municipality works. We also visit Systembolaget, which is a completely unfamiliar institution to international students. The field trips are intended to provide a quick overview of how Swedish society works. Furthermore, the students study Swedish, a course where language meets culture and society.

Lastly, how is it to study at Campus Gränna?

It’s wonderful! Gränna is a small town a few kilometres north of Jönköping. It’s calm and peaceful here, which makes for a great study environment as the course tends to get intense from time to time. Communications to Jönköping is great, it takes about 45 minutes to get in to the city with public transport.

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