The learning of foreign languages using the CLIL method of learning (English, French, German).
The philosophy of learning foreign languages is implemented by utilizing the CLIL method of learning (Content Language Integrated Learning) which follows the modern teaching and a child friendly approach to teaching the languages. (This has already been used over the last decade in many European countries, especially in Spain, Finland and Austria). It is the teaching of “foreign language through a school lesson e.g. Geography, Science etc.
The aim is that the students are able to use a foreign language like their mother tongue. To have a functional use of the language, a skill necessary in today’s work. Research has been done showing the advantages it has on the students (international CLIL research journal) and it is already being used in Cyprus and Greece. It is characterized as a method of double concentration because the teaching aim is both in language and in knowledge as the students learn the lesson e.g. Physics, Physical Education, Music, Geography etc. through a foreign language which works as a tool of communication in the learning process. (In a foreign language)
The students learn the foreign language in a natural and spontaneous way as if it were their mother tongue in relation to their personal, learning and social experiences as well as their language abilities and depending on their level of learning (as with their mother tongue).
There are many ways of implementing this method of learning. Our school uses the method of teaching a subject completely in a foreign language (individually when needed as in all the other lessons) or extra numbers of hours as the set hourly program.
The teacher ensures, according to the students language level, to approach the lesson with:
- the appropriate knowledge and language targets in relation to the child’s ability.
- the appropriate vocabulary
- the appropriate supervisory materials (pictures, videos, films, experiments, multimodal texts and interactive ware etc.) and
- the appropriate methods of evaluation of the lesson according to the particularities of the students and their level of language learning (e.g. open type questions, closed type questions, matching, de scribing experiments etc.)
Each student has a CLIL diary which helps he or she to know what, how and when he must do what has been asked of him for each lesson using the foreign language and visual aids to show the meanings or vocabulary.
The tasks and the websites that are used by the students are in accordance with the learning level of the class and their abilities. Hence the materials are unique and suitable for each class and each group of students.
The students know how to work at home with the lessons that they have dealt with in class, and how to prepare themselves for the test, which is also in the foreign language.
It is important to note that the student handles most of the exercises in class so that the teacher is able to grade the level of understanding and assimilation of the new knowledge. Because of this, homework works mainly as a reflection of knowledge already gained, a fact which fills the student with self-confidence about his individual attempt and participation.
Because research of the benefits of a bilingual environment show that the sooner a child is exposes to a foreign language, the larger the long term gain, we put the method into practice every day by teaching kindergarten classes in English (1-2 teaching hours and 1-3 lessons are taught in English in the Primary school. In the High School, the same method is used for 4 lessons in English.
The aim of the school is to ensure, at the same time, the greatest development of the method, with more effective teaching of the English language.
Even in the requirement of certifies English Learning, the students with the help of the CLIL method of learning are able to participate in exams without needing to follow extra hours of teaching.
We are proud because we have managed to raise the level of a foreign language (English) year by year in our school, and the students are able to communicate on different levels.
In the second foreign language (French or German), we follow the same philosophy of learning for a foreign language, and the same methods. The teaching hours for each class (starting from the first class of Primary school) are 1-2 per week in the form of an experiential approach, and the differentiation by the teacher.
Every student is able to follow the lesson in a foreign language as in the kindergarten the students hear English in the classroom every day, and from the first year of Primary school, the students hear French and German. The students ability to talk/ communicate in English is strong from the Kindergarten, as they support their classmates and learning journeys within the experiences of the classroom.
Grammatical learning is taught by a specific method with extra hours of English in each class throughout Primary school, more than two lessons are taught in English.