European Journal of Language Policy

Foreign language policy addressed to Greek primary and secondary education: Teachers' viewpoints and students' attitudes towards plurilingualism

European Journal of Language Policy (2011), 3, (1), 15–36.

Abstract

This study examines foreign language policy as addressed to Greek primary and secondary education, aiming to: i) record primary and lower secondary education students' plurilingual skills; ii) identify their attitudes to learning European languages; and iii) explore the extent to which Greek foreign language (FL) teachers are informed and the degree to which they agree with central issues of European Language Policy. This is to be achieved through: a) a brief overview of the situation of FL teaching in Greek education for the last 20 years (by presenting some curricula and official documents on FL teaching); and b) the development of a research project, conducted during the academic year 2008–2009, in which 863 primary school students and 400 students from secondary schools participated. The research project utilised two versions of a questionnaire as a means to collect information from primary and secondary education students. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 FL teachers to establish their views and beliefs in order to gain an understanding of how these affect their educational/teaching practice. The results highlighted students' enthusiasm for learning foreign languages for communicative purposes. Although they regard English as the basic means of international communication, they expressed their willingness either to acquire or improve their skills in other European languages. Furthermore, the positivity of the students was mirrored in their teachers' attitudes towards basic issues of foreign language policy and plurilingualism.

L'étude présente examine la politique des langues étrangères comme telle qu'elle est abordée dans l'éducation primaire et secondaire grecque. Elle cherche i) à examiner les compétences multilingues des étudiants de l'éducation primaire et secondaire ; ii) à identifier leurs attitudes à l'égard de l'apprentissage des langues européennes ; iii) à explorer le niveau d'information et le degré d'accord parmi les enseignants de langues étrangères en Grèce concernant des thèmes centraux de la politique linguistique européenne. Ces objectifs seront abordés à travers a) une brève revue de la situation de l'enseignement des langues étrangères dans l'éducation grecque depuis 20 ans (comprenant des curricula et des documents officiels sur l'enseignement des langues étrangères), et b) le développement d'un projet de recherche effectué pendant l'année scolaire 2008–2009, qui a obtenu la participation de 863 élèves d'école primaire et de 400 étudiants en secondaire. Deux versions d'un questionnaire ont été utilisées pour la collection d'informations de la part des étudiants. En plus, des interviews semi-structurés ont été réalisés avec vingt enseignants, pour connaître leurs points de vue et leurs conceptions, qui peuvent avoir un effet décisif sur leurs pratiques éducatives. Les résultats ont mis en relief le grand intérêt des étudiants dans l'apprentissage des langues étrangères pour des raisons communicatives. Malgré le fait qu'ils considèrent l'anglais comme l'outil central de la communication internationale, ils expriment leur volonté d'acquérir ou d'améliorer leurs compétences en d'autres langues européennes. Les enseignants ont également exprimé des attitudes positives à l'égard de thèmes centraux de la politique linguistique européenne et du multilinguisme.

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Author details

Griva, Eleni

Iliadou, Sofia