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Dissertation Information

Title: Early Language Learning within a Greek Regional Context Add Dissertation
Author: Christina Giannikas Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Degree Awarded: London Metropolitan University , Applied Linguistics
Completed in:
Linguistic Subfield(s): Applied Linguistics
Director(s): Janet Enever
Klaus Fischer

Abstract: This study focuses on the teaching processes involved in foreign language
learning, concentrating on the question of why Greek young learners are not
more successful in learning English, despite an early start and high
exposure to the foreign language. Central to my study are student-teacher
and student-student interactions within English language classrooms,
including any linguistic, pedagogical, motivational or cultural aspects
that inform these interactions and student learning. The study aims to
extend the understanding of how to implement interactive methods within the
specific region and develop learners’ English communicative competence in
an examination-oriented education system.

The first part of my study provides an exploratory research, which has been
pursued in both state schools and frodistiria in a specific Greek region.
Research methods included: lesson observations, teacher interviews and
transcription analysis. The second part of the research introduces an
intervention study dimension, which consisted of monitoring and
modification to classroom practice, exploring the perspective of shifting
teaching and learning, providing potential of a new Young Language Learning
philosophy within the Greek context. This part of the research was achieved
in a frodistirio in classes of students aged 7-11 in order to improve
current language learning classes and use the data for cross-sectional
comparative purposes. Data collection included open-ended field notes,
video-recorded lessons and speaking tasks were audio recorded. A group of
older learners attending English Proficiency classes for the preparation of
Certificate of Proficiency Exams (CPE), aged 14-15 years old, based in the
frodistirio, were also interviewed on their past experience of English
language learning in state schools and frodistiria. The Director of the
frodistirio, observed 10 language lessons during the research period. These
observations provide feedback on students’ reactions to interactive tasks
from an external reviewer. Finally, parents were requested to complete a
questionnaire at the end of the academic year, regarding their children’s
progress and their feelings of the new methods introduced.

The thesis reveals the complexities and paradoxes embedded in the learning
environment of English for Young Learners (EYL) in South Western Greece.
The findings include the identification of an effective interactive
methodology that might be applied in the specific regional setting as an
outcome of my own teaching and research. The research in question, explores
the potential that exists both within the educational structure and in
Young Language Learning (YLL) in Greece. It introduces interactive language
learning and identifies its role within this context. The research can
contribute to the enablement of successful language learners in an
environment where children learn to appreciate the foreign language and
encounter it as means of communication and not for examination purposes only.