3rd Experimental Primary School of Evosmos


The 3rd Experimental Primary School of Evosmos is the first and only school in Greece that is supervised by a University foreign language school department. The 3rd Experimental Primary School of Evosmos was founded and is supervised by the School of English, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The school follows a diversified curriculumwhich allows it to introduce several innovations with respect to its subjects, teaching materials, syllabus, methods of teaching. The School of English, in collaboration with the administration of the school and its teachers, introduces several of these innovations, supervises them and conducts research on their implementation and outcomes (see, for example, Mattheoudakis et al. 2014, among others).

The 3rd Experimental Primary School of Evosmos was the first state primary school in Greece, which introduced foreign language instruction from Grade 1. To date it is the only Greek state primary school that provides intensive foreign language instruction from grade 1 to 6.  In particular, grades 1 and 2 are taught English for five hours per week and grades 3-6 are exposed to English language instruction for eight hours weekly. EFL instructors do not use commercial EFL coursebooks but alternative teaching materials, ranging from fairytales to short stories, internet material and other resources. Materials such as worksheets, quizzes and tests, are authored by the instructors themselves as they need to be tailor-made based on the books they use and their learners’ needs.

On top of the EFL classes, though, learners receive CLIL instruction; CLIL is now systematically implemented as a method of teaching various school subjects from grade 1 to 6.  CLIL is not implemented in this school as an elitist approach to language learning and thus no student selection is made (cf. Bruton 2013); on the contrary, CLIL aims at everybody and thus, all learners graduating from next year onwards will have received at least one year of CLIL instruction – for at least one subject.  Our 5-year long experience has provided us with rich empirical findings and significant research results that clearly point to an inclusive approach that can function in all learning contexts with a broad and diversified range of learners (cf. Wolff 2002). The particular school is a case in point.

All teachers involved in CLIL instruction design their own materials or alternatively adapt authentic materials that may suit their needs. They all follow the national school curriculum but they do not use the prescribed school textbooks; these are kept at school, so as learners will not have access to the material in Greek. Although English is exclusively the medium of instruction in CLIL classes, school textbooks that are used in English-speaking countries were not appropriate as CLIL requires a pedagogical adaptation, especially at those initial stages of its implementation (cf. Lasagabaster and Sierra 2009).

The first year of its implementation (2010-2011), CLIL was introduced to Grade 6 for the teaching of Geography for two hours a week, as prescribed by the national school curriculum. Gradually the next five years it expanded to more classes and more school subjects; last year (2014-2015) it covered all grades and expanded even more to involve more subjects and more teachers. For the first time, a content teacher was chosen to teach Science (to 6th graders), initially in collaboration with an EFL teacher, but later on his own. The table below illustrates the full gamut of CLIL subjects that have been taught in the school in grades 1 to 6 during the period 2010-2016.

  Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6
CLIL subjects Chess Physical Education Environmental Studies History Geography Geography
Arts Chess History Environmental Studies Religious Education Religious Education
Arts Physical Education Arts History
Science
ICT

References

Bruton, A. (2013). CLIL: Some of the reasons why … and why not. System, 41, 587-597

Lasagabaster, D. &  Sierra, J.M. (2009). Language Attitudes in CLIL and Traditional EFL Classes. International CLIL Research Journal,1, 4-17

Mattheoudakis, M., Alexiou, T. & Laskaridou, C. (2014). ‘To CLIL or not to CLIL? The Case of the 3rd Experimental Primary School in Evosmos’. In Major Trends in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics 3: Selected Papers from the 20th ISTAL, 215-234

Wolff, D. (2002). Some reflections on multilingual education in Europe. In P Burmeister et al (eds). An integrated view of language development. Papers in honour of Henning Wode. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag