The Research Centre of the English Department of the University of Athens received the European Language Label 2011 for the Early Primary English Language Learning Programme, which was developed for first and second grade primary school pupils. The programme is currently being used in primary schools across the country.
The second award went to the 4th Primary School of Komotini, which, along with the Primary School in Piges, Kavala, developed a programme for learning German entitled “I create, I cooperate, I communicate”.
The 3rd award went to the Hellenic American Union for the development of the programme “Greek on the go”, an iPhone application for learners of Greek as a foreign language.
The 4th award went to the 3rd High School of Elefsina for the programme “Masterchef-Ein Blick in die deutsche Kuche”. The European Language Label award ceremony took place in Kavala, on the 1st of March.
Twenty institutions applied for the European Language Label. The Hellenic American Union and the Research Centre of the English Department of the University of Athens were the only participating institutions from the capital.
The English Department of the Aristotle University was the only participating institution from Thessaloniki. The rest were regional primary and secondary schools.
Only one Foreign Language School applied and namely the Kyttea FLS form Nafpaktos which presented the project “Teaching through drama” staging Oliver Twist.
The International Poliglotti4.eu Expert Seminar
The Early Primary English Language Learning Programme was also presented in the International Poliglotti4.eu Expert Seminar on Early Language Learning, which took place in the city of Leeuwarden, the capital of the bilingual province Flyslân, Netherlands.
The seminar was organised by the Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning. Participants included experts, researchers, policy-makers, members of the European Commission, Consortium members of the Poliglotti4.eu project, and network members of the EU Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism.
The two-day conference was opened by Reinier Salverda, Director of the Fryske Akademy, Uwe Mohr, Chairman of the European Platform of the Civil Society to Promote Multilingualism and Poliglotti4.eu Project Director and Cor van der Meer, Mercator European Network of Language Diversity Centres.
The opening was followed by Anna Verkade, Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning/Fryske Akademy, who presented the preliminary results of the Poliglotti4.eu research on Early Language Learning. She also emphasised the need to raise awareness of the benefits and advantages of Early Language Learning (ELL).
The next speaker, Bessie Dendrinos, Director of the Research Centre for English Language Teaching, Testing and Assessment at the University of Athens, addressed the issue of making the shift from monolingual to multilingual ELL teaching and testing.
Dr Evdokia Karava, English Department, University of Athens, presented the Greek EYL project that introduces English in the first grades of primary school.
Evdokia also facilitated one of the round tables discussions, which focused on teacher competences and training -the main challenges for the next few years with respect to pre-service and in-service training of ELL teachers.
All round tables were filled with lively and fruitful discussions and resulted in recommendations targeting pre-school practitioners, regional, national and European authorities, and other professionals working in the pre-school sector.
These recommendations will be used as input for the final research paper of the Poliglotti4.eu project.
The Poliglotti4.eu closing conference will be held on 14-16 November 2012 in Parma, Italy.
Poliglotti4.eu is a project promoting multilingualism in Europe - the result of the deliberations of the EU Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism.
This website reports on best practice in language policy and language learning, and provides policymakers, teachers, learners and civil society organisations with a powerful toolkit for benchmarking and enhancing their activities in non-formal and informal education and learning sectors.
The project is funded through the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme.
European Language Label for 2012-2013 The European Commission has defined the priorities for the years 2012-2013 as follows:
1. Language learning based on the new technologies Technology influences many aspects of our lives, language learning included: computer and/or technology-assisted language learning and testing, blended language learning, virtual and distance learning have become very useful tools to teach and learn foreign languages efficiently.
The creation and educational use of social networks also boosts the fostering of multilingual engagement and participation across boundaries, and represents a means to interact and to learn foreign languages.
This innovative learning/teaching system should combine the inspiration and motivation of traditional classroom teaching and the flexibility of online or distance learning to create courses that are accessible and motivating for today's students, who develop their autonomy, interact by way of a computer with teachers “on the other side of the screen” and have fun in learning a foreign language.
2. Multilingual classrooms The phenomenon of multilingual classrooms has been constantly increasing. These classrooms are made up of students coming from different countries and not sharing a common mother tongue.
Learners speak a variety of first languages, their behaviour and cultures can be very different: this may create problems but can also be used as a focus of comparison and discussion.
Herein lies the challenging task faced by teachers: they should adapt their teaching techniques in order to take this diversity into account and respect it, but focus on the main purpose, which is to provide learners with the best possible communication and grammar skills in the target language.