Issue 4

Published by:
Teachers of English Union of Thrace & Eastern Macedonia

ISSN: 2654-1564

Managing Editor:
Nelly Zafeiriadou
Teacher of English, MA, EdD, PhD candidate at DUTH,
Ex State School Advisor for English language Teaching of Thrace

Editorial Advisory Board
Angeliki N. Deligianni, Educational Advisor in Great Britan
Joseph E. Chryshochoos, Pedagogical Institute
Karin Boklund – Lagopoulou, Aristotle University
Anastasia Papakonstantinou, Athens University
Radmila Popovic, University of Belgrade
Marion Williams, University of Exeter

Editorial Board
Lia Gantidou
Alexandra Economou
Kostas Kostoudis
Maria Plytaria
Nelly Zafeiriadou

Art Director
Rodoula Paschalidou

Printed by:
Paratiritis Ltd

© BRIDGES – ISSUE 4 – 1 September 1999

Diana Kordas: Why Graded Readers?

Diana Kordas

Why should we, as teachers, use graded readers in or out of the classroom? Why should we use any readers at all? After all, reading is a part of any complete course of learning English, whether it is part of a single coursebook or comes in a separate volume.

I would like to begin by considering certain facts.

  1. Reading comfortably and easily in a foreign language is a major goal of language learning. For some, it is the only goal.
  2. Reading is one of the best and fastest ways to develop language skills. Through reading, students learn vocabulary, grammar, idioms and phrasal verbs. They also acquire a “feeling” for the language – how it is written and, through dialogue, how people speak.
  3. Reading teaches culture. It isn’t enough to learn the words and grammar of a foreign language. Students also need to know how other cultures think and behave, what kinds of things they laugh at, and how they react in particular situations. They can learn this through reading. In fact reading may be the best way to teach these things when the student lives far away from the country whose language he is learning.
  4. Good reading skills are necessary to pass any examination: the FCE,, the Advanced, the Proficiency, TOEFL, IELTS and many more. In fact, exams such as the FCE have recently become much more difficult and challenging with regard to reading skills. Students have to deal with passages that are out of order or that have missing sentences; they must be able to analyse a text, guess what has been said before or predict what will follow. Many students have great difficulty in passing the reading section of exams.
  5. When a student can read easily and well a foreign language, he or she feels confident and is motivated to learn more.

Yes, students definitely need good reading skills. However, teaching these skills isn’t easy. This is partly because of the way that the world has changed in the last fifty years. Consider the following facts:

More books are published in the world today than at any time in the past. Despite the huge numbers of books available, it is a sad fact that fewer and fewer people read for pleasure. Many people avoid reading except when they absolutely have to.

In addition, this is the age of the cinema, the television and the video. These three media actively discourage the imagination. The viewer does not have to make pictures in his or her head. Scenes change rapidly. When Alfred Hitchcock made movies, an entire story might happen in one room, with one scene. In today’s movies, scenes last no more than two minutes. Our –and partly our children’s- attention spans are growing shorter and shorter.

More and more, children are turning to computers for entertainment. They use computers to play games, draw pictures, do their homework, surf the Internet, etc.

I could go on, but I won’t. I have taught EFL for twenty years and I know that it isn’t easy to teach students to read well, to get them interested in reading –to make them like it. But the fact is, unless they do learn to like reading, until they learn to read with pleasure, they will not become good readers. They will not pass exams. And they will never read a book in English for pleasure.

The question is, how do teachers overcome these problems? What is the role of readers in solving these problems? And which readers should you, the teacher, choose for your classroom?

 You have many, many choices. Graded or simplified readers are not a new idea. I recently found a copy of Robinson Crusoe that was published in 1934. They probably existed much earlier. That early book was followed by a list of simple comprehension questions of each chapter. Some simplified readers still follow that pattern. Others are more creative in the sense that the publishers now include more types of exercises and activities. Some publishers, especially some of the smaller companies, go to a great deal of trouble and effort to produce activity books including questions, games grammar exercises, puzzles and exercises that help develop the special skills needed to pass exams like the FCE and Proficiency.

So, how can you choose which books to buy? What is the best for your students, and for you as a teacher? You are all busy people. You have classes to teach, homework to correct. You also have your own lives to live. You have homes, families hobbies.

What is graded or simplified reader, and is it a good choice? A graded reader is a book that does one of two things:

  1. It is a famous work of literature, a novel or short story, that is retold in simple language. Most publishers produce readers in this category
  2. It is an original story which is told simply-at a particular level of grammar and vocabulary. Not all publishers produce these readers.

These two types of readers have certain things in common. They are directed at a specific level: for example, A class or D class. They use a limited vocabulary and a limited number of grammatical structures which are taught at that level. This can be good in the sense that students do not have to work too hard to understand the story; they are familiar with most of the words, and they do not see grammatical constructions of sentences which are likely to confuse them.

Often these books are accompanied by tapes so that students can hear the story, either separately, as a listening exercise, or as they read it. Of course, listening isn’t reading. However, a well-made tape, using actors and sound effects, can bring a story to life and teach correct pronunciation.

Some books come with CD ROMs, too. The idea behind this is to make the new computer-oriented generation of students comfortable with reading. Also they can interact with the computer and this appeals to many students. However, it is difficult to use CD ROMs in many classrooms. I am not personally convinced that students who like CD ROMs will ever learn to love books.

But let’s get back to simplified novels. I have written a few, and I’ve used them in the classroom. One reason that teachers choose them is because they know and like a particular story –for example, Sherlock Holmes’ The Hound of the Baskervilles or Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations- and want to share it with their students. This is a good reason for choosing a story to do with your class, or for recommending a story that your student might like to read at home or on holiday. Some well-known novels –Silas Marner, for instance- have been re-told by so many publishers that you can choose whether you want the Longman (3 versions), Cambridge, Oxford, Heinemann or Penguin version. Getting your students to read is one of your main goals. You have to use whatever works for each particular student or class.

However, there are a few problems with simplified works of fiction. We must never forget that the original novels or short stories were not written for language learners. They were written for native English-speaking audiences who shared a certain culture, certain ideas, a certain way of thinking. They are long and complex. An average book by Charles Dickens contains more than 200,000 words. Even a children’s classic like Alice in Wonderland contains nearly 100,000 words. So, when another writer comes along and simplifies a book of this length to say, 5,000 words, he or she has to leave a lot of things out.

To simplify a novel, the author –that is the re-writer- has to choose what is important and what isn’t. There are a limited number of words and expressions that they can use. He has to cut things out. So he cuts out descriptions of people and scenery. He cuts out a lot of conversations. He simplifies the plot. What is left is not very much like the original work of fiction. The original author probably wouldn’t like it very much. After all he chose his words carefully in the first place! This type of simplification may very well be one reason why some students find reading boring.

I am not trying to say that simplified novels are a bad thing. Of course they aren’t. they can be very useful and authors who re-tell other people’s stories, myself included, try very hard to keep the atmosphere and flavor of the original work. My point is, that isn’t easy to do. So if you, the teacher, loved Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island when you were twelve and you read in the original, don’t expect that the 5-6,000 word version is going to be the same thing. It isn’t and it can’t be. Generally speaking, the longer a simplified reader is, the closer it can be to the original – but it will never, ever be the original.

Some companies also produce graded readers that are written specifically for language learners. I have also written some of these. This type of books also has good and bad points.

One advantage that this type of reader has over a simplified novel is that it is written for a specific audience. The writer knows the learner’s level and tries to meet his needs while telling an interesting story. These original stories are often about the world we live in today; they talk about modern life and modern issues, not the past and historical issues that students might not be familiar with. The writer can try to tell a very simple story as interesting as possible instead of working the opposite way-trying to make a complicated story simple without leaving out essential information. From a writer’s point of view, it is easier to do a good job writing a simple original story than to retell someone else’s story simply and well.

I think I can anticipate the question that most of you are probably asking yourselves at this point –how do I know that these stories are any good? The authors of these original stories are not as famous as Graham Green or Virginia Woolf or Arthur C. Clarke. They might be well-known in the EFL publishing world, but what does that mean to you? Why should you choose these stories for your students?

In fact, no one can promise that all original stories written specifically for EFL learners are good. I have read some that I liked very much, and some that I didn’t like at all. However there are some very good ones on the market, and some of these are by small, relatively new companies.

Before I go on to tell you about the ILS series, I would like to make a couple of additional points about graded readers generally. They are an awful lot of them on the market, at a large number of levels and about a great many topics. There is classic literature and modern literature. There are old and new best-sellers. There are re-told and original stories. These books might be well-written and beautifully illustrated, or they might not. There are a lot of publishers, too. Large companies don’t necessarily produce better books than small companies. These books come with and without exercises, activities and games. A book might have a few questions at the end or there might be a separate activity book.

Before choosing a book for your class or student, take the time to explore the market. See what is out there. Compare versions of different stories. See which books come with activities you would like to do with your students. This means taking time to go to the bookshops, but its worth it. Also, encourage your students to take some time in choosing what they want to read on their own. If your school has a large collection of books in English, this is wonderful. If your students are spending their own money to buy books, though, it’s important that they like what they buy. After all, the point is to get them to enjoy the experience of reading.

Now I want to tell you about the ILS series produced by Papazissis Publishers. They come on four different levels, but they are not the same as graded readers. The ILS series consists of short stories and short novels by famous English and American authors. These include Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Virginia Woolf, Henry James, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway and many others. The books represent a variety of periods and styles, so they appeal to a wide range of tastes. There are fiction stories, mysteries, horror stories, biographies –lots to choose from and more coming.

What makes the ILS series different from other readers? First of all, they are not simplified. They are the complete original stories. However, they can be read easily by students with a lower-intermediate knowledge of English.

How is this possible? The ILS books contain a lot more to help the student than any simplified or graded reader. On the left side of each page is the text of the story. In the text, all difficult words are highlighted in bold, with a small number. If the student doesn’t know a word, he or she can look on the right side of the same page. There he will find the definition of the word, in the right context, in simple English. He will also find the part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, phrasal verb, idiomatic expression). In some cases there is also a picture, and for difficult words, a pronunciation guide. If the word is an irregular verb, the principal parts are also given. In some cases, whole services or even whole sentences are explained. Everything possible has been done to make it easy for the reader. Let me show you an example.

This page is from Cassell’s Modern Short Stories. (see page 12 from Modern Short Stories) It’s intended for fairly advanced students of English, so the text is not simplified. “The Open Window” is a well-known story by the English writer, Saki.

As you see, there are no definitions on the page. There are no words highlighted in bold. Probably the student won’t know some of these words or expressions, so what will he or she do? He or she will turn to the back of the book –page 138. (see page 138 from Modern Short Stories). As you can see, only 28 words are explained in this whole story-and it’s not an easy story. Most students will need to use a dictionary to supplement the glossary.

(see page 19 of ILS book of Saki: Just So Stories) This is the ILS book of Saki short stories. We have designated this as upper-intermediate. Look at the difference. Note how many words are defined on this page alone. I think you will agree that there is a big difference.

I would like to emphasise several things. What the ILS series does is, in effect, provide a dictionary on the same page as the text. The student doesn’t have to use a dictionary on the same page as the text. The student doesn’t have to use a dictionary because everything he or she needs is already there on the same page. He or she doesn’t have to turn to the back of the book or the end of the chapter to find the glossary, which is the case with almost all simplified or graded readers. It’s all there on the same page. The student doesn’t waste time or forget what the story is about.

Second, the definition given explains the word in the right context. I am sure you have all had the experience of looking a word up in a dictionary, and then finding it has 2 or 3 or even 6 meanings. Which one is the right one? (see page 22 of the ILS book of Saki: Just So Stories, and look at definitions 8 and 12). In the ILS series, the correct meaning for this context is always given first, followed by other common definitions for the word.

You will notice that the ILS dictionary is English-English. This teaches the student to think in English, and this is very important! Reading in a foreign language should not be a decoding of translation exercise. English isn’t a dead language like Latin, which nobody speaks any more. It’s a living language with millions of speakers all over the world.

Also, the English explanations mean that these books can be used with all students, no matter what their native language is, which is very useful if you have a mixed class. In addition, few of any other readers provide the part of speech or pronunciation guides.

Your students might or might not want this information, but it’s there if they do. They will also find the part of speech in the index at the back of the book, which contains a complete list of all words defined with the page numbers where the word appears. Note that words are often defined more than once. This is important because we don’t expect students to remember a word they looked up five pages ago. We don’t want students to waste their time. We want them to enjoy reading an original story in English.

You might wonder if original stories are just too difficult for students. We don’t think so. Look at any story, even fairy stories written for five-year olds in their native language. As children, we don’t always understand all the words in a story –but we understand the story, and we learn new words while we are doing it. When you read an original story in the ILS series, you are reading what Hemingway or Oscar Wilde really wrote, in his own words, saying things the way he wanted to say them. No one gets in the way between you, the reader, and the original author.

The ILS series come on four levels: lower-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate and advanced. Since they aren’t simplified, what do these levels really mean? It means that some authors use simpler vocabularies, have simpler styles and discuss simpler ideas than other authors. These four categories are not completely rigid. We can’t say that the vocabulary is limited to 2000 headwords, or 3500 headwords. However, this will help you to get an idea of how difficult a book is. Also we define a lot more words in each book than graded or simplified readers do. A simplified reader might define 200 words. We define 500,700-1000 if necessary.

How do the ILS books work? First, there is a short biography of the author – also done in the ILS style with unknown words explained. Then comes the story or stories, with definitions of the right hand side of each page. After this, most books contain a few exercises. Not all the books have exercises, at this time, but soon they all will have. These include comprehension questions and vocabulary exercises using the new words from the book. (see examples –comprehension questions from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Red-headed League, pages 117-118-119, 122-123, 124-125) There are answers to the exercises, so that the students can use the books by themselves. Finally there is an index of all the words explained in each book.

Now I think this gives you a fairly good idea of what an ILS book can offer your students. They can read unsimplified, original stories without using a dictionary, and actually enjoy what they are reading. This not only saves time and trouble but helps students feel confident. The explanations in English help the students to think in English and build their vocabularies. Also, the books are affordable. The Cassell book I showed you costs around 5,000 drachmas. Our volume of Saki’s Just So Stories costs 1,500 drachmas.

There are also other benefits. Students can certainly read the books on their own, so you can recommend them as supplementary reading. The biggest benefit however, is in the classroom. All teachers know that the biggest problem with teaching reading is that so much class time is used up explaining unknown words. It can take a very long time to finish a book, and then you might not have enough time to discuss it.

You will have time to discuss ILS books because you won’t spend class time being a living dictionary. That is my job. I hope that I do it well because I ‘m proud of this series.

As I said before, students should be encouraged to do anything that helps them become better readers. I think that the ILS series can play an important part in this, and I hope you’ll take time to stop by our stand and see the books for yourselves. Thank you all very much for coming.

* This lecture was given by Diana Cordas on February 25th in Komotini at the T.E.U.T. Syposium on “The Use of Graded Readers in the EFL Primary and Secondary Classroom”.

Ingrid Thompson: Educational Tools of Primary Importance for EFL

Ingrid Thompson, MA


In the continuing debate over how to improve quality in our schools in Greece two questions are of central importance: (a) what should be taught? and (b) how can the curriculum best be taught? These two questions focus on the major aspects of primary and secondary school teaching – from lesson planning through testing.

The aims of this article are: (a) to give an answer to the above two questions and (b) to encourage EFL teachers to become aware of what they teach, how they might teach more effectively, and (c) to provide EFL teachers with the basic educational tools to be competent. To this end, asking students the right questions (ie., organising and explaining material in ways appropriate to students’ abilities); motivating students (ie., creating an environment for learning); teaching the four skills and in particular writing as a process (ie., helping students to become autonomous, self-regulated learners); developing professionally (ie., reflecting on and evaluating our teaching) are some of the qualities in EFL teaching which constitute strategies which can help us transform into competent EFL teachers.

It seems to me that the most difficult steps in preparing an EFL course is deciding which topics must always be present if the whole is to be manageable. The ideas that follow come primarily from (a) my conversation with colleagues (b) my reading of

newspaper and magazine articles and publications in the field of EFL and (c) my teaching experience in South Africa, England and Greece.2. CONTENT QUESTIONS

Asking and answering questions are central to teaching. The questions that teachers ask are rarely of the type that require students to think. The types of questions EFL teachers ask should capture students’ attention, arouse their curiosity, reinforce important concepts and promote active learning. In order to achieve this, EFL teachers should:

a. Identify the key questions in advance:

As you prepare for class, formulate questions and anticipate the range of possible student responses. Put the questions to some logical order (specific to general, simple to complex, etc.)

b. Decide whether you want to call on students individually:

If you decide to call on students, pause after a question, and then call on someone at random.

c. Be aware of the manner in which you ask questions and treat responses:

Your non-verbal cues (gestures, facial expression, etc) affect whatever you say

and the way students respond.

d. Keep a diary of the class:

After each session, jot down the kinds of questions that generated the most lively exchange. Use this information in preparing your future sessions.a. Levels and Types of Questions

Your students’ abilities will determine the level of questions you will ask them. The types of questions are as follows:

Exploratory questions probe facts and basic knowledge.

eg., What evidence supports the theory of communication?

Challenge questions examine assumptions, conclusions and interpretations.

eg., How else might we account for the findings of this study?

Relational questions ask for comparisons of ideas, issues and themes.

eg., What premises did the British Government throw out in deciding who was responsible for Diana’s death?

Diagnostic questions probe motives or causes.

eg., Why did Mrs Daskalaki assume a new role in organising the Olympic Games 2004?

Action questions call for a conclusion or action.

eg., In response to terrorism, what should the government and the Greek Police do?

Cause and effect questions ask for causal relationships between ideas, actions and/or events.

eg., If the government stopped subsidies for petrol stations what would happen to the price of petrol in future?

Extension questions expand the discussion.

e.g., How does this conclusion relate to what we have previously said?

Hypothetical questions pose a change in the facts or issues.

eg., Suppose Greece was a superpower, would the outcome of the discussions in the EEC have been the same?

Priority questions seek to identify the most important issues.

eg., From all that we have talked about, what is the most important cause of the decline of human safety in the Greek community?

Summary questions elicit syntheses.

eg., What lessons have emerged from today’s class? (Davis, 1993: 177-230).b. Cognitive Skills

Vary the cognitive skills your questions call for: Lower-level questions are appropriate for assessing students’ comprehension (reviewing and summarising the content of a text). Higher-level questions encourage students to think critically and solve problems.

Tactics for effective questioning:

  1. Ask one question at a time (keep your questions brief and clear).
  2. Avoid yes/no questions (ask what, how and why questions)
  3. Pose questions that lack a single right answer (emphasise that the
  4. Ask focused questions (avoid overly broad questions)
  5. After you ask a question, wait silently for an answer; do not ask another question or rephrase the question since some students will find it confusing
  6. Search for consensus on correct responses
  7. Ask questions that require students to demonstrate their understanding
  8. Structure your questions to encourage student-to-student interaction (pair work)
  9. Draw out reserved or reluctant students (eg., do they agree or disagree with a classmate)
  10. Move around the classroom to include shy students in the discussion

Tactics for handling students’ responses to your questions

  1. Listen to the student (as teachers we do not usually listen to our students)
  2. Use non-verbal gestures or facial expressions to indicate your attention (be encouraging)
  3. Vary your reactions to students’ answers. In particular:
Restate what the student has said to reinforce the pointAsk for clarificationInvite the student to elaborateExpand the students’ contributionAcknowledge the student’s contribution and the originality of his/her ideas
  1. Praise correct answers
  2. Tactfully correct wrong answers (do not correct the student personally). Encourage the student to rephrase or revise the answer.


Some students seem naturally enthusiastic about learning, but many students expect their teachers to inspire, challenge and stimulate them. Unfortunately there is no single magic formula for motivating students. Many factors affect students’ motivation to work and learn: interest in the subject matter, perception of its usefulness, general desire to achieve, patience and persistence.General strategies

The following are some general strategies which you can follow in order to motivate your students:

  1. capitalise on students’ existing needs, and
  2. make students active participants in learning (pair work and group work is beneficial).

Incorporate instructional behaviours that encourage students to participate in the classroom activities

  1. hold high but realistic expectations for your students
  2. help students set achievable goals for themselves
  3. tell students what they need to succeed in the course
  4. strengthen student’s self – motivation
  5. avoid creating intense competition among students
  6. be enthusiastic about your subject

Structure the course to stimulate your students’ interest

  1. work from students’ strengths and interests
  2. when possible, let students have some say in choosing what will be studied (offer a choice)
  3. increase the difficulty of the (supplementary) material as the term progresses
  4. vary your teaching methods (use both inductive and deductive approaches to learning)
  5. emphasise mastery and learning rather than grades
  6. design tests that encourage the kind of learning you want your students to achieve
  7. avoid using grades as threats

Motivate students by responding to their work positively

  1. give students feedback as quickly as possible
  2. reward success
  3. introduce students to good work done by their peers (make available copies of the best papers; provide class time for students to read papers submitted by classmates)
  4. be specific when you give negative feedback
  5. avoid demeaning comments
  6. avoid giving in to students’ pleas for the answer to homework problems

Encourage students to do reading

In order to activate your students’ background knowledge (according to schema theory) on the topic, you can do the following:

  1. assign study questions in advance
  2. encourage students to write a short diary
  3. ask non-threatening questions about the reading
  4. use class time as a reading period
  5. prepare an exam question on un-discussed reading
  6. give a written assignment to those students who have not done the reading


Encourage your students to develop their four skills (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking). Writing in particular helps students learn the subject matter; they understand and retain course material much better when they write about it. As teachers we should view the improvement of students’ writing as our responsibility. In order to do so, we must let students know that we value good writing. We must remind students that they must make their best effort in expressing themselves on paper. We must regularly assign brief writing tasks in our classes and provide guidance throughout the writing process.

Tactics for effective writing:

  1. Remind students that writing is a process that helps us clarify ideas. Explain students that writing is hard work. Give students opportunities to talk about their writing. Encourage students to revise their work. Stress that clarity and specificity are important. Explain the importance of grammar and sentence structure, as well as content. Give a presentation to your class about effective writing and common writing problems (essay organisation, content, discourse, sentence structure, appropriate vocabulary, accuracy, spelling and punctuation, etc).
  2. Assign in-class writing activities
  • ask students to write what they know about a topic before you discuss it (the purpose is to focus on students’ attention)
  • ask students to respond in writing to questions you pose during class (at the beginning of the lesson list three questions on the board and ask students to write their responses)
  • Ask students to write from a pro or con position. When an argument has been presented in class, ask students to write down all the reasons they can think that support one side or the other. Use these statements as the basis for discussion
  1. Organise the essay (give students a model). Explain to students that the writing process is laborious and requires drafting, re-drafting, editing, etc. In the writing process help students to be able to:
State the main point of the topic in a single sentenceDevelop ideas ( a brainstorming activity can help)3. Find a focus and a thesisList the major subtopicsIdentify different views on the topic and confusing ideasDecide whether each section of the topic has enough detail, evidenceand information. Give one or two examples to strengthen theargument of the paper7. Compose a draftGet feedback from others (peers, friends, parents, etc)Revise the draft by expanding ideas, clarifying meaning, re-organising the content, editing, etc 

Tactics for handling students’ creativity in writing

a. Periodically during class, pause for five minutes and ask students to write on a specific question

b. Encourage students to keep a diary. Give students three minutes at the end of the class to jot down the general points of the day’s discussion

c. Select one or two good models to read or distribute in class

d. Have one student keep minutes to be read at the next class meeting

e. When you give feedback, encourage peer response groups. Divide the class into groups of four students. Give each group a set of compositions (coded for anonymity) and ask students to read each paper silently and select the best paper in a set. After all the sets have been read, someone from each group writes on the board the code number of the best paper in each set. After students have completed the read-around activity, ask them to identify and write down the characteristics of effective writing and write down (or on the board) and then invite students to arrange features into meaningful categories that made each paper outstanding. This focuses their attention on the characteristics of a good essay.Design effective writing assignments

  1. State the topic and define the task (avoid vague verbs such as discuss, tell and explore). Simply stating a topic does not give students a clear sense how to proceed: (look at the following example)
  2. Create realistic writing situations. Ask your students to write on a topic in order to communicate with a real audience that has a genuine need for information.
  3. Distribute a handout for each written assignment. The handout should list all the essential information about the assignment:
The specific task (with selected evidence to support a thesis)The type of essay (report, essay, letter)The audience of the assignment (to help students make decisions)The approximate length of the assignment in a specific number of wordsAn explanation of how the paper will be graded and what criteria you will useTeacher’s expectations of what should be included in the final product

 Evaluate students’ written work:

  1. When you evaluate papers, try to use the occasion of grading papers to reinforce each student’s strengths and to identify areas that need improvement so that the students will know what they are doing right and what is impeding their efforts to communicate. Make your suggestions as tactful and specific as you can:
  2. get a sense of the entire paper before grading it
  3. write your comments legibly
  4. develop a brief checklist of your grading criteria, but grade the essay holistically.

e. explain your grade (give reasons for your grade)

Develop criteria generated through in-class activities, as follows:

Focus (Is the topic covered adequately?)Organisation (Is the structure easy to follow?)Development (Does the paper introduce the topic, present convincing arguments to support the writer’s position and offer a reasonable conclusion?)Sentence structure (Are the sentences well formed, varied in style and complexity and used for different effects?)Mechanics (Is the paper free of errors?)

Respond to students’ writing positively

  1. Begin by reading the paper once through without doing any marking. Read the paper in order to follow the author’s train of thought.
  2. Avoid overmarking. This overwhelms students and diverts their attention from key problems. It is best to focus only one or two major problems (eg., punctuation, grammar, vocabulary, etc). State that on this occasion you have focused on the structure, grammar, content, etc.
  3. Respond to the paper as an interested reader would. Tell the student what he has done well; make the student aware of errors that need correction; inform the student of ways to improve. In order to achieve this, do the following:
phrase criticism as questionsphrase criticism as suggestions for revising the paperindicate errors of content or organisation but refrain from arguing with every pointmake two suggestions for improvementavoid punitive comments
  1. Do not rewrite students’ papers (indicate the major problems in a segment of the paper only)
  2. Comment on the quality of the paper (reinforce strengths and point out areas of grammar or vocabulary that need improvement)
  3. Use marking symbols. Marking symbols that your students are familiar with will save time in correcting students’ papers and will help students think about common writing errors. Develop your own system of marking symbols and distribute handouts to your students to be kept by them. A large chart with these symbols (see below) can also permanently displayed in the class. This will encourage students to constantly refer to the symbols and become familiar with them.
  4. Train students to proofread their own and other students’ work. Mark the paper using a series of symbols in the margin so students have to identify and correct their mistakes. This is much more demanding for the students than the normal swift glance through your scribbled notes made in red ink. Alternate the colour pen used. Perhaps green would be more learner friendly in contrast to the customary red.

Some symbols suggested are as follows:

^ = a word in this line has been omitted/ = a word on this line ought to be omittedP = a mistake in punctuationS = a mistake in spellingT = tense errorG = grammatical errorW = wrong wordWO = wrong word orderR = repetition to be removed? = I don’t know what you are trying to sayv = good point

Note: Error = you do not know the correct form

Mistake = you know the correct form, it was only a slip of the tongue (Edge,


Error Correction

By tradition writing tasks which are given for homework are marked meticulously in the minutest detail by the teacher in red ink and explanatory remarks are made (direct error correction).

Research has shown that (a) highly detailed feedback (direct error correction) on ‘surface’ (ie., grammar, vocabulary) errors is ineffective (b) errors provide evidence of the state of the learner’s development and ( c ) there is a fixed universal order of learners’ development (Krashen, 1981). In particular, EFL research studies (Hyland, 1990; Zamel, 1985) have shown that:

  1. it is not always possible for the teacher to categorise the deviation (eg., grammar / lexis) accurately
  2. composing constraints (eg., time, stress) can affect the writing performance of


(c) teachers rarely expect students to revise the text beyond the surface level.

  1. students are given vague prescriptive advice and cues remain implicit.
  2. teachers restrict themselves to accuracy and correctness (formal aspects of language). Content (meaning) specific comments are rare.
  3. teachers read and react to a text as a series of separate sentences (not as discourse).
  4. teachers’ reactions to texts are arbitrary, idiosyncratic, inconsistent and contradictory (viewing texts as final products to be edited).

As a result, the studies on error correction have suggested alternatives (ie., indirect correction) to be used as follows:

  1. pre-text real time feedback. Frankenberg (1999) argues that feed back must be given during writing ‘workshops’ in which students ask for help. In this way both the teacher and the students become aware of various language problems as they emerge.
  2. specific reduction strategies ie., ‘minimal marking’. Hyland (1990: 280-282) proposes interactive feedback methods which encourage students to redraft their essays. Surface errors are indicated by a cross in the margin across the lines they occur. Students work in pairs/groups and correct these errors. The teacher can identify a small number of errors and then concentrate on genuine conceptual errors which focus on content. ‘Taped commentary’ is also an interactive approach to giving feedback in which the teacher records his/her responses to the text while reading it and comments on each error seperately. Intermediate and advanced students can appreciate this method.

Therefore, indirect feedback focuses on the cognitive demands of the task (mainly the content of the essay). During class-time, opportunity is offered to students to work in groups (in order to re-assess their essay-writing; error correction is seen as an integral and recursive aspect of the writing process) (Frankenberg-Garcia, 1999; Lee, 1977).

Furthermore, it is obvious that if errors impede understanding then correction is required by the teacher or peers. The student may self-correct, too. We, as EFL teachers, expect learners to be more accurate at the input stage and less accurate when communicating. Errors is a part of learning and correction is a part of teaching. They both go together in the work of EFL teachers who see themselves as part of other people’s learning – where the teaching exists to serve the learning (Edge, 1989).

Tactics when you write the final comments

  1. Use concrete, specific language and avoid overly prescriptive suggestions

b. Focus on errors that indicate cognitive and content confusion

c. Balance positive and negative comments

d. Encourage students to work collaboratively on their homework

e. Vary the type of homework you assign

f. Be fair and consistent in how you grade and comment on students’ problems

g. Return homework promptly.


If you think back on the professors who were most influential in your academic life, you will probably remember professors who knew the subject well but seemed to have little awareness of how students learn. At times you may have felt you were learning despite the professor. Effective teachers take time to critically examine why they are doing what they do and the effects of what they do on their students. On the basis of their conversation with colleagues and observations of their students, they can imagine ways to improve their teaching and help their students resolve whatever problems they may be encountering. Organising and explaining material using powerful questions; creating an environment for learning with motivated students; stimulating students’ interests and enthusiasm and directing them in establishing and developing their own connections to the learning process and in particular to writing through positive feedback are integral in the repertoire of instructional strategies that lead (a) to improved EFL practice and (b) to masterful EFL teachers. 


Bloom, B. S (1956) Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Vol I: Cognitive Domain. New York: McKay.

Brookfield, S. D (1990) The Skillful Teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Brown, G (1978) Lecturing and Explaining. New York: Methuen.

Chryshochoos, J. E (1994) ‘Krashen’s theory’ in Aspects, Vol 39, pages 23, 25-30.

Chryshochoos, N. E (1988) Learner Needs and Syllabus Design. MA Dissertation. Univerity of Durham, England

Davis, G. B (1993) Tools for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Ĺble, K. E (1988) The Craft of Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Edge, J (1989) Mistakes and Correction, Longman.

Frankenberg-Garcia, A (1999) ‘Providing student writers with pre-text feedback’ in ELT Journal 53/2: 101-106.

Hyland, K (1990) ‘Providing productive feedback’ in ELT Journal, Vol 44/4.

Krashen, S (1982) Principles and practice in second language acquisition’ Pergamon Press.

Lee, I (1977) ‘ESL learners performance in error correction in writing: some implications for teachiong’ in System 25/4: 465-477.

Niakaris, C (1997) ECPE Writing in the Michigan Quarterly, Vol 2, No 2, pp 3-4.

Thompson, I (1988) Bilingualism: Some aspects of bilingual children’s communication difficulties with reference to first language maintenance and second language improvement. MA Dissertation, University of Durham, England.

Thompson, I (1992) ‘Authentic tasks’ in Aspects, March 1992, pp. 16-17.

Thompson, I (1999) ‘Poetry in the clasroom’ in Aspects, Dec. Vol 59, pp. 33-35.

Thompson, I (2000) ‘Tasks in the classroom’ in TESOL Newsletter, No 65: January-March 2000, pp 22-24.

Thompson, I (2000) ‘An overview of language testing’ in Aspects, No 61: June 2000, pp 25-30.

Thompson, I (2000) ‘Projects in the classroom’ in EFL Advice, Issue 4: Sept. 2000.

Zamel V (1985) ‘Responding to student writing’ in TESOL Quarterly, Vol 19/1.

*Ingrid Thompson has a BA and BEd from the University of Western Cape, the RSA from International House, Hastings and an MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Durham, UK. She has worked as a language teacher in South Africa, England and Greece since 1983. She is currently teaching at the 2nd Junior High School of Tripolis in the Peloponnese.

Dimitrios Thanassoulas: What is learner autonomy and how it can be fostered

  1. Introduction
  2. What is autonomy?

For a definition of autonomy, we might quote Holec (1981: 3, cited in Benson & Voller, 1997: 1) who describes it as ‘the ability to take charge of one’s learning’. On a general note, the term autonomy has come to be used in at least five ways (see Benson & Voller, 1997: 2):

  1. for situations in which learners study entirely on their own;
  2. for a set of skills which can be learned and applied in self-directed learning;
  3. for an inborn capacity which is suppressed by institutional education;
  4. for the exercise of learners’ responsibility for their own learning;
  5. for the right of learners to determine the direction of their own learning.

It is noteworthy that autonomy can be thought of in terms of a departure from education as a social process, as well as in terms of redistribution of power attending the construction of knowledge and the roles of the participants in the learning process. The relevant literature is riddled with innumerable definitions of autonomy and other synonyms for it, such as ‘independence’ (Sheerin, 1991), ‘language awareness’ (Lier, 1996; James & Garrett, 1991), ‘self-direction’ (Candy, 1991), ‘andragogy’ (Knowles, 1980; 1983a) etc., which testifies to the importance attached to it by scholars. Let us review some of these definitions and try to gain insights into what learner autonomy means and consists of.

As has been intimated so far, the term autonomy has sparked considerable controversy, inasmuch as linguists and educationalists have failed to reach a consensus as to what autonomy really is. For example, in David Little’s terms, learner autonomy is ‘essentially a matter of the learner’s psychological relation to the process and content of learning…a capacity for detachment, critical reflection, decision-making, and independent action’ (Little, 1991: 4). It is not something done to learners; therefore, it is far from being another teaching method (ibid.). In the same vein, Leni Dam (1990, cited in Gathercole, 1990: 16), drawing upon Holec (1983), defines autonomy in terms of the learner’s willingness and capacity to control or oversee her own learning. More specifically, she, like Holec, holds that someone qualifies as an autonomous learner when he independently chooses aims and purposes and sets goals; chooses materials, methods and tasks; exercises choice and purpose in organising and carrying out the chosen tasks; and chooses criteria for evaluation.

To all intents and purposes, the autonomous learner takes a (pro-) active role in the learning process, generating ideas and availing himself of learning opportunities, rather than simply reacting to various stimuli of the teacher (Boud, 1988; Kohonen, 1992; Knowles, 1975). As we shall see, this line of reasoning operates within, and is congruent with, the theory of constructivism. For Rathbone (1971: 100, 104, cited in Candy, 1991: 271), the autonomous learner is

a self-activated maker of meaning, an active agent in his own learning process. He is not one to whom things merely happen; he is the one who, by his own volition, causes things to happen. Learning is seen as the result of his own self-initiated interaction with the world.

Within such a conception, learning is not simply a matter of rote memorisation; ‘it is a constructive process that involves actively seeking meaning from (or even imposing meaning on) events’ (Candy, 1991: 271).

Such “inventories” of characteristics evinced by the putative autonomous learner abound, and some would say that they amount to nothing more than a romantic ideal which does not square with reality. This stands to reason, for most of the characteristics imputed to the “autonomous learner” encapsulate a wide range of attributes not commonly associated with learners. For instance, Benn (1976, cited in Candy, 1991: 102) likens the autonomous learner to one ‘[w]hose life has a consistency that derives from a coherent set of beliefs, values, and principles…[and who engages in a] still-continuing process of criticism and re-evaluation’, while Rousseau ([1762] 1911, cited in Candy, 1991: 102) regards the autonomous learner as someone who ‘is obedient to a law that he prescribes to himself’. Within the context of education, though, there seem to be seven main attributes characterising autonomous learners (see Omaggio, 1978, cited in Wenden, 1998: 41-42):

  1. Autonomous learners have insights into their learning styles and strategies;
  2. take an active approach to the learning task at hand;
  3. are willing to take risks, i.e., to communicate in the target language at all costs;
  4. are good guessers;
  5. attend to form as well as to content, that is, place importance on accuracy as well as appropriacy;
  6. develop the target language into a separate reference system and are willing to revise and reject hypotheses and rules that do not apply; and
  7. have a tolerant and outgoing approach to the target language.

Here, some comments with respect to the preceding list are called for. The points briefly touched upon above are necessary but not sufficient conditions for the development of learner autonomy, and many more factors such as learner needs, motivation, learning strategies, and language awareness have to be taken into consideration. For example, the first point hinges upon a metalanguage that learners have to master in order to be regarded as autonomous, while points 4) and 7) pertain to learner motivation. In view of this, an attempt will be made, in subsequent sections, to shed some light on some of the parameters affecting, and interfering with, learners’ self-image as well as their capacity and will to learn. It is of consequence to note that autonomy is a process, not a product. One does not become autonomous; one only works towards autonomy. One corollary of viewing autonomy in this way is the belief that there are some things to be achieved by the learner, as well as some ways of achieving these things, and that autonomy ‘is learned at least partly through educational experiences [and interventions]’ (Candy, 1991: 115). But prior to sifting through the literature and discussing learning strategies, motivation, and attitudes entertained by learners, it would be pertinent to cast learner autonomy in relation to dominant philosophical approaches to learning. The assumption is that what is dubbed as learner autonomy and the extent to which it is a permissible and viable educational goal are all too often ‘based on [and thus constrained by] particular conceptions of the constitution of knowledge itself’ (Benson, 1997, cited in Benson & Voller, 1997: 20).

  1. Learner autonomy and dominant philosophies of learning
  2. Conditions for learner autonomy

The concern of the present study has so far been with outlining the general characteristics of autonomy. At this juncture, it should be reiterated that autonomy is not an article of faith, a product ready made for use or merely a personal quality or trait. Rather, it should be clarified that autonomous learning is achieved when certain conditions obtain: cognitive and metacognitive strategies on the part of the learner, motivation, attitudes, and knowledge about language learning, i.e., a kind of metalanguage. To acknowledge, however, that learners have to follow certain paths to attain autonomy is tantamount to asserting that there has to be a teacher on whom it will be incumbent to show the way. In other words, autonomous learning is by no means “teacherless learning.” As Sheerin (1997, cited in Benson & Voller, 1997: 63) succinctly puts it, ‘[t]eachers…have a crucial role to play in launching learners into self-access and in lending them a regular helping hand to stay afloat’ (my italics).

Probably, giving students a “helping hand” may put paid to learner autonomy, and this is mainly because teachers are ill-prepared or reluctant to ‘wean [students]…away from teacher dependence’ (Sheerin, 1997, cited in Benson & Voller, 1997: 63). After all, ‘it is not easy for teachers to change their role from purveyor of information to counsellor and manager of learning resources…And it is not easy for teachers to let learners solve problems for themselves’ (Little, 1990, cited in Gathercole, 1990: 11). Such a transition from teacher-control to learner-control is fraught with difficulties but it is mainly in relation to the former (no matter how unpalatable this may sound) that the latter finds its expression. At any rate, learner-control—which is ancillary to autonomy—‘is not a single, unitary concept, but rather a continuum along which various instructional situations may be placed’ (Candy, 1991: 205). It is to these ‘instructional situations’ that we will turn in the next section. In this section, it is of utmost importance to gain insights into the strategies learners use in grappling with the object of enquiry, i.e., the target language, as well as their motivation and attitude towards language learning in general. A question germane to the discussion is, what does it mean to be an autonomous learner in a language learning environment?

4.1. Learning strategies

A central research project on learning strategies is the one surveyed in O’Malley and Chamot (1990). According to them, learning strategies are ‘the special thoughts or behaviors that individuals use to help them comprehend, learn, or retain new information’ (O’Malley and Chamot, 1990: 1, cited in Cook, 1993: 113)—a definition in keeping with the one provided in Wenden (1998: 18): ‘Learning strategies are mental steps or operations that learners use to learn a new language and to regulate their efforts to do so’. To a greater or lesser degree, the strategies and learning styles that someone adopts ‘may partly reflect personal preference rather than innate endowment’ (Skehan, 1998: 237). We will only briefly discuss some of the main learning strategies, refraining from mentioning communication or compensatory strategies (see Cook, 1993 for more details).

4.1.1. Cognitive strategies

According to O’Malley and Chamot (1990: 44), cognitive strategies ‘operate directly on incoming information, manipulating it in ways that enhance learning’. Learners may use any or all of the following cognitive strategies (see Cook, 1993: 114-115):

  1. repetition, when imitating others’ speech;
  2. resourcing, i.e., having recourse to dictionaries and other materials;
  3. translation, that is, using their mother tongue as a basis for understanding and / or producing the target language;
  4. note-taking;
  5. deduction, i.e., conscious application of L2 rules;
  6. contextualisation, when embedding a word or phrase in a meaningful sequence;
  7. transfer, that is, using knowledge acquired in the L1 to remember and understand facts and sequences in the L2;
  8. inferencing, when matching an unfamiliar word against available information (a new word etc);
  9. question for clarification, when asking the teacher to explain, etc.

There are many more cognitive strategies in the relevant literature. O’Malley and Chamot (1990) recognise 16.

4.1.2. Metacognitive strategies

According to Wenden (1998: 34), ‘metacognitive knowledge includes all facts learners acquire about their own cognitive processes as they are applied and used to gain knowledge and acquire skills in varied situations’. In a sense, metacognitive strategies are skills used for planning, monitoring, and evaluating the learning activity; ‘they are strategies about learning rather than learning strategies themselves’ (Cook, 1993: 114). Let us see some of these strategies:

  1. directed attention, when deciding in advance to concentrate on general aspects of a task;
  2. selective attention, paying attention to specific aspects of a task;
  3. self-monitoring, i.e., checking one’s performance as one speaks;
  4. self-evaluation, i.e., appraising one’s performance in relation to one’s own standards;
  5. self-reinforcement, rewarding oneself for success.

At the planning stage, also known as pre-planning (see Wenden, 1998: 27), learners identify their objectives and determine how they will achieve them. Planning, however, may also go on while a task is being performed. This is called planning-in-action. Here, learners may change their objectives and reconsider the ways in which they will go about achieving them. At the monitoring stage, language learners act as ‘participant observers or overseers of their language learning’ (ibid.), asking themselves, “How am I doing? Am I having difficulties with this task?”, and so on. Finally, when learners evaluate, they do so in terms of the outcome of their attempt to use a certain strategy. According to Wenden (1998: 28), evaluating involves three steps: 1) learners examine the outcome of their attempts to learn; 2) they access the criteria they will use to judge it; and 3) they apply it.

4.2. Learner attitudes and motivation

Language learning is not merely a cognitive task. Learners do not only reflect on their learning in terms of the language input to which they are exposed, or the optimal strategies they need in order to achieve the goals they set. Rather, the success of a learning activity is, to some extent, contingent upon learners’ stance towards the world and the learning activity in particular, their sense of self, and their desire to learn (see Benson & Voller, 1997: 134-136). As Candy (1991: 295-296) says, ‘the how and the what of learning are intimately interwoven…[T]he overall approach a learner adopts will significantly influence the shape of his or her learning outcomes’ (my italics). In other words, language learning—as well as learning, in general—has also an affective component. ‘Meeting and interiorising the grammar of a foreign language is not simply an intelligent, cognitive act. It is a highly affective one too…’ (Rinvolucri, 1984: 5, cited in James & Garrett, 1991: 13). Gardner and MacIntyre (1993: 1, cited in Graham, 1997: 92) define ‘affective variables’ as the ‘emotionally relevant characteristics of the individual that influence how she / he will respond to any situation’. Other scholars, such as Shumann (1978) and Larsen-Freeman and Long (1991) attach less importance to learners’ emotions, claiming that ‘social and psychological factors’ give a more suitable description for students’ reactions to the learning process. Amongst the social and affective variables at work, self-esteem and desire to learn are deemed to be the most crucial factors ‘in the learner’s ability to overcome occasional setbacks or minor mistakes in the process of learning a second [or foreign] language’ (Tarone & Yule, 1989: 139). In this light, it is necessary to shed some light on learner attitudes and motivation.

Wenden (1998: 52) defines attitudes as ‘learned motivations, valued beliefs, evaluations, what one believes is acceptable, or responses oriented towards approaching or avoiding’. For her, two kinds of attitudes are crucial: attitudes learners hold about their role in the learning process, and their capability as learners (ibid.: 53). In a sense, attitudes are a form of metacognitive knowledge. At any rate, ‘learner beliefs about their role and capability as learners will be shaped and maintained…by other beliefs they hold about themselves as learners’ (ibid.: 54). For example, if learners believe that certain personality types cannot learn a foreign language and they believe that they are that type of person, then they will think that they are fighting a “losing battle,” as far as learning the foreign language is concerned. Furthermore, if learners labour under the misconception that learning is successful only within the context of the “traditional classroom,” where the teacher directs, instructs, and manages the learning activity, and students must follow in the teacher’s footsteps, they are likely to be impervious or resistant to learner-centred strategies aiming at autonomy, and success is likely to be undermined.

In a way, attitudes are ‘part of one’s perception of self, of others, and of the culture in which one is living [or the culture of the target language]’ (Brown, 1987: 126), and it seems clear that positive attitudes are conducive to increased motivation, while negative attitudes have the opposite effect. But let us examine the role of motivation.

Although the term ‘motivation’ is frequently used in educational contexts, there is little agreement among experts as to its exact meaning. What most scholars seem to agree on, though, is that motivation is ‘one of the key factors that influence the rate and success of second / foreign language (L2) learning. Motivation provides the primary impetus to initiate learning the L2 and later the driving force to sustain the long and often tedious learning process’ (Dornyei, 1998: 117). According to Gardner and MacIntyre (1993: 3), motivation is comprised of three components: ‘desire to achieve a goal, effort extended in this direction, and satisfaction with the task’.

It is manifest that in language learning, people are motivated in different ways and to different degrees. Some learners like doing grammar and memorising; others want to speak and role-play; others prefer reading and writing, while avoiding speaking. Furthermore, since ‘[the learning of a foreign language] involves an alteration in self-image, the adoption of new social and cultural behaviours and ways of being, and therefore has a significant impact on the social nature of the learner’ (Williams, 1994: 77, cited in Dornyei, 1998: 122), an important distinction should be made between instrumental and integrative motivation. Learners with an instrumental orientation view the foreign language as a means of finding a good job or pursuing a lucrative career; in other words, the target language acts as a ‘monetary incentive’ (Gardner & MacIntyre, 1993: 3). On the other hand, learners with an integrative orientation are interested in the culture of the target language; they want to acquaint themselves with the target community and become integral parts of it. Of course, this approach to motivation has certain limitations (see Cookes and Schmidt, 1991, cited in Lier, 1996: 104-105), but an in-depth analysis is not within the purview of this study. The bottom line is that motivation is ‘a central mediator in the prediction of language achievement’ (Gardner & MacIntyre, 1993: 3), as various studies have shown (see Kraemer, 1990; Machnick and Wolfe, 1982; et al.).

4.3. Self-esteem

Closely related to attitudes and motivation is the concept of self-esteem, that is, the evaluation the learner makes of herself with regard to the target language or learning in general. ‘[S]elf-esteem is a personal judgement of worthiness that is expressed in the attitudes that the individual holds towards himself’ (Coopersmith, 1967: 4-5, cited in Brown, 1987: 101-102). If the learner has a ‘robust sense of self’, to quote Breen and Mann (1997, cited in Benson & Voller, 1997: 134), his relationship to himself as a learner is unlikely to be marred by any negative assessments by the teacher. Conversely, a lack of self-esteem is likely to lead to negative attitudes towards his capability as a learner, and to ‘a deterioration in cognitive performance’, thus confirming his view of himself as incapable of learning (Diener and Dweck, 1978, 1980, cited in Wenden, 1998: 57).

 Now that we have examined some of the factors that may enhance, or even militate against, the learner’s willingness to take charge of her own learning and her confidence in her ability as a learner, it is of consequence to consider possible ways of promoting learner autonomy. To say, though, that learner autonomy can be fostered is not to reduce it to a set of skills that need to be acquired. Rather, it is taken to mean that the teacher and the learner can work towards autonomy by creating a friendly atmosphere characterised by ‘low threat, unconditional positive regard, honest and open feedback, respect for the ideas and opinions of others, approval of self-improvement as a goal, collaboration rather than competition’ (Candy, 1991: 337). In the next section, some general guidelines for promoting learner autonomy will be given, on the assumption that the latter does not mean leaving learners to their own devices or learning in isolation.

  1. How can learner autonomy be promoted?
  2. Conclusion

This study is far from comprehensive, as we have only skimmed the surface of the subject and the puzzle called learner autonomy. Many more pieces are missing. For instance, no mention has been made of the role of the curriculum in promoting learner autonomy, despite the debate on the relationship between classroom practice and ideological encoding (Littlejohn, 1997, cited in Benson and Voller, 1997: 181-182). At any rate, the main point of departure for this study has been the notion that there are degrees of learner autonomy and that it is not an absolute concept. It would be nothing short of ludicrous to assert that learners come into the learning situation with the knowledge and skills to plan, monitor, and evaluate their learning, or to make decisions on content or objectives. Nevertheless, learner autonomy is an ideal, so to speak, that can, and should, be realised, if we want self-sufficient learners and citizens capable of evaluating every single situation they find themselves in and drawing the line at any inconsistencies or shortcomings in institutions and society at large. Certainly, though, autonomous learning is not akin to “unbridled learning.” There has to be a teacher who will adapt resources, materials, and methods to the learners’ needs and even abandon all this if need be. Learner autonomy consists in becoming aware of, and identifying, one’s strategies, needs, and goals as a learner, and having the opportunity to reconsider and refashion approaches and procedures for optimal learning. But even if learner autonomy is amenable to educational interventions, it should be recognised that it ‘takes a long time to develop, and…simply removing the barriers to a person’s ability to think and behave in certain ways may not allow him or her to break away from old habits or old ways of thinking’ (Candy, 1991: 124). As Holyoake (1892, vol. 1, p. 4) succinctly put it, ‘[k]nowledge lies everywhere to hand for those who observe and think’.


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Rathbone, C. H. 1971. Open Education: The Informal Classroom. New York:Citation Press.

Rinvolucri, M. 1984. Grammar Games: Cognitive, Affective, and Drama Activatiobn for EFL Students. Cambridge: CUP.

Rousseau, J. J. [1762], 1911. Emile. London: Dent. Schumann, J. H. 1978. Social and Psychological Factors in Second Language Acquisition. In J. C. Richards (ed.). Understanding Second and Foreign Language Learning. pp. 163-178. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Sheerin, S. 1991. ‘State of the art: self-access’, Language Teaching, 24: 3, pp. 153-157.

Sheerin, S. 1997. An Exploration of the Relationship between Self-access and Independent Learning. In Benson, P. and Voller, P. (eds.). 1997. Autonomy and Independence in Language Learning. London: Longman.

Skehan, P. 1998. A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning. Oxford: OUP.

Tarone, E. and Yule, G. 1989. Focus on the Language Learner. Oxford: OUP.

Tumposky, N. 1982. ‘The learner on his own’. In M. Geddes and G. Sturtridge (eds.). Individualisation. London: Modern English Publications, pp. 4-7.

Vygotsky, L. S. 1978. Mind in Society. USA: Harvard.

Wenden, A. 1998. Learner Strategies for Learner Autonomy. Great Britain:Prentice Hall.

Williams, M. 1994. Motivation in Foreign and Second Language Learning: An Interactive Perspective. Educational and Child Psychology, 11, 17-84.

* Dimitrios Thanassoulas holds a BA degree in English Literature and Linguistics, Athens University. He is currently studying for an MA degree in Applied Linguistics, Sussex University, Brighton.

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Antonis Chassapis: Εκπαίδευση Ενηλίκων

Antonis Chassapis

Prof de Francais

Η Εκπαίδευση ενηλίκων, ευαίσθητος και σχετικά άγνωστος, από επιστημονικής πλευράς, τομέας στην Ελληνική πραγματικότητα, δεν αντιμετωπίζεται στην πράξη με την ”διαφορετικότητα” που της ταιριάζει συγκριτικά με την εκπαίδευση μη-ενηλίκων. Ένας πρώτος λόγος είναι ο ελάχιστος αριθμός επιστημόνων που ασχολούνται με το θέμα αυτό στην Ελλάδα. Ευτυχώς, τα τελευταία χρόνια γίνονται όλο και περισσότεροι. Ένας δεύτερος λόγος είναι η ελλιπής έως και ανύπαρκτη κατάρτιση των εκπαιδευτών-εκπαιδευτικών όλων των ειδικοτήτων.

Μια πρώτη προσέγγιση στο θέμα γίνεται α/ παραθέτοντας σχηματικά, ως βάση, ορισμένα κεντρικά σημεία από την πλούσια θεωρία της εκπαίδευσης ενηλίκων με τις πρακτικές τους συνέπειες και β/ προχωρώντας στη στάση-συμπεριφορά του εκπαιδευτή προς την ομάδα του, μια που αυτός είναι ο υπεύθυνος για την εφαρμογή της θεωρίας.

Ορισμένα κεντρικά σημεία της θεωρίας της εκπαίδευσης ενηλίκων.Μαθαίνεις κάτι όταν σημαίνει κάτι για σένα ως ολοκληρωμένο άτομο.Μαθαίνεις πράττοντας και συμμετέχοντας ενεργά.Μαθαίνεις από τη δική σου εμπειρία και από τη λύση του προβλήματος.Μαθαίνεις συνδυάζοντας θεωρία και πρακτική.Μαθαίνεις όταν υπάρχει αλληλεπίδραση μεταξύ αυτού που συμβαίνει στην τάξη και στη ζωή μέσα στην κοινωνία.Μαθαίνεις όταν το κλίμα είναι ανοιχτό και δεν προκαλεί φόβο.Πρακτικές συνέπειεςΗ εκπαίδευση ξεκινά με προβλήματα, παραδείγματα, καταστάσεις της πραγματικής ζωής. Εκπαιδευόμενοι και εκπαιδευτές συμμετέχουν στην κατάρτιση καταλόγου των προβλημάτων, αλλά έμφαση δίνεται σε όσα θέτουν οι εκπ/νοι.Χρησιμοποιούνται μέθοδοι που ενεργοποιούν τη συμμετοχή (καταιγισμός ιδεών, παιχνίδι ρόλων, κ.λ.π.)Η μάθηση κινείται από το συγκεκριμένο στο γενικό και από την πρακτική στη θεωρία.Το κλίμα είναι ενθαρρυντικό, ανοιχτό και εμπνέει σεβασμό. Αυτό δεν αποτελεί τόσο θέμα συζήτησης αλλά εφαρμόζεται στην πράξη.

Διαπιστώνουμε, από μια πρώτη ανάγνωση ακόμη, ότι ο ρόλος του εκπαιδευτή της ομάδας (επι) μόρφωσης (που καλείται να τα εφαρμόσει στην πράξη) και η συμπεριφορά του προς την ομάδα του είναι ιδιαίτερα σημαντικές παράμετροι για την αποτελεσματικότητα της διαδικασίας της μάθησης.

Για τον λόγο αυτό παρουσιάζονται 11 βασικές αρχές, τις οποίες πρέπει να έχει υπόψη του ο εκπ/ τής. Αυτές οι αρχές απορρέουν από διάφορες ψυχολογικές προσεγγίσεις και έχουν δοκιμαστεί στην πράξη. Είναι χρήσιμα ”εργαλεία” για τον εκπαιδευτή, όταν τις κατέχει πολύ καλά, ώστε κάθε φορά να μη χρειάζεται να ”σκέπτεται” ποια αρχή εφάρμοσε μέχρι τώρα και ποια πρέπει να εφαρμόσει στο επόμενο βήμα:

1. Ερωτώ αντί να ανακοινώνω (δηλώνω).

Οι ερωτήσεις είναι ένα ”μέσο” με το οποίο ο εκπαιδευτής θέτει σε κίνηση την επικοινωνία. Έχει πάντα κατά νου ότι οι εκπ / νοι φέρουν μαζί τους τις γνώσεις τους, τη θέλησή τους, τις ικανότητες / δεξιότητες τους. Ευθύνη του εκπ / τη – συντονιστή είναι να οργανώσει τη διαδικασία της ανταλλαγής, να απομακρύνει από το δρόμο της όλα τα εμπόδια. Με τις ερωτήσεις ο εκπ / της κατευθύνει τη συζήτηση και σε μεγάλο βαθμό καθορίζει και το αντικείμενο της συζήτησης, όπως ο δημοσιογράφος. Έτσι λοιπόν, ισχύει το εξής:

”Με τις ερωτήσεις καθορίζω την πορεία της (επι)μόρφωσης”.

2. Συνειδητοποιώ τη στάση μου.

Είναι πρωταρχικής σημασίας να συνειδητοποιήσει ο εκπ / της την εικόνα που έχει για την ομάδα με την οποία συνεργάζεται. Αυτή η εικόνα μεταφέρεται στην ομάδα και εκφράζεται με τη συμπεριφορά και τη διάθεσή του. Δεν σημαίνει, όμως, ότι θα πρέπει να προσποιηθεί και να παρουσιάσει μια άλλη εικόνα αλλά να έχει επίγνωση της στάσης του και κατ’ επέκταση το μερίδιο της ευθύνης για τυχόν πρόβλημα που παρουσιάζεται στην ομάδα.

3. Δεν αγωνίζομαι εναντίον της ομάδας.

Ο εκπ / της πρέπει να συνειδητοποιήσει ότι, ναι μεν μπορεί να ”χρησιμοποιεί το τιμόνι και να γνωρίζει πως λειτουργεί η μηχανή, αλλά η ομάδα είναι εκείνη που δίνει την κατεύθυνση πλεύσης του σκάφους”. Ο εκπ / της πρέπει να παραμερίσει κάπως τις φιλοδοξίες του και την πίεση για αποτελεσματικότερη επίδοση και να προσέξει πως μπορούν οι δυνατότητες της ομάδας να αναπτυχθούν και να αξιοποιηθούν καλύτερα.

4. Δίνω προτεραιότητα στις ”ενοχλήσεις”.

Κάθε βιολογική ανάγκη όπως πείνα, δίψα, κρύο, οργανική ανωμαλία, ψυχική ενόχληση (πόνος, φόβος, θυμός), κ.λ.π. αποτελεί σοβαρό εμπόδιο κατά τη διαδικασία της μάθησης και της επικοινωνίας. Αν δεν αποκατασταθεί η ενόχληση, ασυναίσθητα κυριαρχεί στην ομάδα. Ο εκπ / της τότε κάνει εμφανή τη δυσαρέσκεια και τη θέτει προς επεξεργασία προς την ομάδα.

5. Χρησιμοποιώ το ”εγώ” αντί ”κάποιος” ή ”εμείς”.

Οι προτάσεις που περιέχουν το ”εγώ” κάνουν τον εκπ / τή να συνειδητοποιήσει ότι η περιγραφή της πραγματικότητας την οποία επιχειρεί είναι η ”δική του” και κανενός άλλου. Ότι εκφράζει, εκφράζει μόνο αυτόν και δεν έχει το δικαίωμα να μιλάει για τους άλλους. Η αρχή αυτή είναι ένα βοηθητικό μέσο για να αποκτήσει ο εκπ / τής περισσότερη υπευθυνότητα και να μην επιρρίπτει ευθύνες στους άλλους.

6. Διακρίνω, αντιλαμβάνομαι, υποθέτω, αξιολογώ.

Για παράδειγμα, παρατηρώ ότι τα μέλη της ομάδας κάθονται με τα χέρια σταυρωμένα, σιωπηλά και ορισμένα κοιτάζουν έξω από το παράθυρο.

Υποθέτω ότι πλήττουν. Αξιολογώ: είμαι θυμωμένος(δεν μιλάω καθόλου πληκτικά!) και αξιολογώ ότι η στάση τους αυτή είναι μια (προσβλητική για μένα) αδιαφορία στην ενδιαφέρουσα συζήτηση μας. Αν δεν έχω μάθει να διακρίνω, θα διατυπώσω την υπόθεση: ”Αυτά τα μέλη πλήττουν” και η ομάδα έχει μόνο τη δυνατότητα ή να με γελοιοποιήσει ή να αφήσει να καταπιέζεται από μένα. Σε κάθε περίπτωση όμως, αγωνίζεται εναντίον μου. Έτσι αρχίζει ο ”πόλεμος”. Αν έχω μάθει να διακρίνω, τότε:

υποθέτω: α/ πλήττουν

β/ είναι κουρασμένοι

γ/ αισθάνονται πίεση και

αξιολογώ: α/ είναι ώρα για διάλειμμα

β/ δεν είμαστε στο κατάλληλο θέμα

γ/ υπάρχει πρόβλημα (διαφορά, ενόχληση).

7. Παρατηρώ τις μη λεκτικές συμπεριφορές.

Ο εκπ / της πρέπει να προσέχει εκτός από τις φραστικές πληροφορίες και τις μη φραστικές (γλώσσα του σώματος). Η ευθύνη του εκπ / τη δεν έγκειται στο γεγονός ότι θα πρέπει να αφαιρέσει την υπευθυνότητα του κάθε εκπ / νου που προκαλεί τη δυσαρέσκεια του, αλλά στο γεγονός να δώσει σ’ αυτόν τη δυνατότητα να εκφράσει την κατάστασή του.

8. Δεν αξιολογώ, δεν κρίνω.

Ο εκπ / της πρέπει να αφήσει στο περιθώριο τις προσωπικές του αξιολογήσεις και εκτιμήσεις και κάθε άτομο και άποψη να τα εκλάβει ως το ίδιο σπουδαία και με ”ουδετερότητα”. Μόνον έτσι κερδίζει την εμπιστοσύνη της ομάδας σχετικά με την ”ουδετερότητά” του. Το ”δεν αξιολογώ, δεν κρίνω” ισχύει όχι μόνο για τις απόψεις αλλά και για τη συμπεριφορά της ομάδας, διότι για τον εκπ / τη – συντονιστή κάθε συμπεριφορά σημαίνει μια βασική τοποθέτηση, δυσαρέσκεια, ενόχληση, κλπ. τα οποία θα πρέπει να τα εκλάβει όπως έχουν και να τα ενσωματώσει στον συντονισμό.

9. Δεν δικαιολογούμαι, δεν υπερασπίζομαι τον εαυτό μου.

Η υπεράσπιση της συμπεριφοράς του εκπ / τη προς την ομάδα του οδηγεί συνήθως σε φαύλο κύκλο. Όταν η ομάδα σκόπιμα δημιουργεί μια κατάσταση στην οποία ο εκπ / της θα πρέπει να υπερασπίσει τον εαυτό του, συνήθως η ομάδα αναζητεί έναν ”αποδιοπομπαίο τράγο”. Γι αυτό ο εκπ / της δεν ανταποκρίνεται στην πρόκληση. Διαφορετικά, αρχίζει ένα ”παιχνίδι νικητή – ηττημένου” χωρίς τέλος. Χρήσιμο θα ήταν να αναζητήσει ο εκπ / της τα βαθύτερα αίτια της πρόκλησης.

10. Δεν συζητάω για τη ”Μέθοδο”.

Η διδασκαλία απαιτεί εφαρμογή μεθοδολογικών δραστηριοτήτων και όχι συζητήσεις γύρω από αυτές. Συνήθως η επιθυμία της ομάδας να συζητήσει για τη Μέθοδο που ακολουθεί ο εκπ / της είναι ένας ”κρυφός πόλεμος”. Τέτοιες συζητήσεις έχουν αποτέλεσμα όταν γίνονται σε ένα διάλειμμα ή στο τέλος της διδασκαλίας, αφού οι συμμετέχοντες έχουν προηγουμένως αποκτήσει την προσωπική τους εμπειρία. Φυσικά, οι συνθήκες είναι εντελώς διαφορετικές όταν ο εκπ / τής εκπαιδεύει άλλους εκπ / τές. Τότε η ”Μέθοδος” αποτελεί περιεχόμενο της επεξεργασίας – συζήτησης και οπωσδήποτε θα γίνει αντικείμενο προβληματισμού.

11. Ενεργώ ανάλογα με τις περιστάσεις.

Το οποίο σημαίνει ότι ο εκπ / της λαμβάνει σοβαρά υπόψη του τη συγκεκριμένη ομάδα, τη συγκεκριμένη συνθήκη και ελίσσεται, προσαρμόζεται ανάλογα. Αυτό προϋποθέτει μεγάλη εξάσκηση, εμπειρία και εμπιστοσύνη στον εαυτό του. Διαπιστώνουμε ότι το ”ενεργώ ανάλογα με τις περιστάσεις” δεν είναι απλά η σχηματική χρησιμοποίηση μιας τεχνικής.

Τα αποτελέσματα της εφαρμογής των παραπάνω αρχών από τον εκπαιδευτή γίνονται εμφανή από τον πρώτο καιρό της συνύπαρξής του με την ομάδα. Αυτό γιατί ο εκπαιδευτής δείχνει στα μέλη της ομάδας τον σεβασμό του και ότι τα υπολογίζει ως ολοκληρωμένα άτομα. Από την αρχή καθιστά φανερές τις προθέσεις του, τις επιδιώξεις του και τις αξιολογεί κατά περίπτωση. Τέλος, δεν ανταποκρίνεται στις προκλήσεις της ομάδας για πιθανή εμπλοκή του σε ”επικίνδυνες καταστάσεις”. Τα μέλη της ομάδας, με τη σειρά τους, συνηθίζουν να ενεργούν – να δρουν κατά τη διαδικασία της μάθησης, προβάλλουν και συζητούν ελεύθερα τις απόψεις τους, αξιοποιούν αβίαστα τις προϋπάρχουσες γνώσεις και εμπειρίες τους σε κλίμα ενθαρρυντικό χωρίς ενοχές και φόβους.___


  1. Συμπεράσματα σεμιναρίου ”Εκπαίδευση Εκπαιδευτών”, ΚΕΚ ΚΕΠΑΚ, Πολύγυρος, Χαλκιδική, 1999.
  2. Γαλάνης Γιώργος, Ψυχολογία της (επι)μόρφωσης ενηλίκων: Θεωρητικές και πρακτικές προσεγγίσεις, Αθήνα, εκδ. Παπαζήση, 1993.
  3. Stephens, M.D. ”Teaching Methods”, στο Albert C. Tuijnman (ed.),International Encyclopedia of Adult Education and Training, Pergamon Press, 1996, pp 534 – 538.

SOCRATES – Frequently asked Questions

What is the SOCRATES programme?

SOCRATES is the European Community action programme in the field of education.

It is based on Articles 149 and 150 of the EC Treaty. Article 149 provides that the Community “shall contribute to the development of quality education” by means of a range of actions to be carried out in close cooperation with the Member States. The Treaty also contains a commitment to promote lifelong learning for all the Union’s citizens.

The second phase of the programme covers the period 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2006. It draws on the experiences of the first phase (1995-1999), building on the successful aspects of the programme, improving and amalgamating several of the previous Actions and introducing a number of innovations.

The budget allocated for the programme is EUR 1,850 million over seven years.What are the objectives of the SOCRATES programme?

The objectives of the SOCRATES programme are:

  • to strengthen the European dimension of education at all levels
  • to improve the knowledge of European languages
  • to promote cooperation and mobility throughout education
  • to encourage innovation in education
  • to promote equal opportunities in all sectors of education

The promotion of lifelong learning and the building up of a Europe of knowledge are key themes across the whole programme.What activities can be carried out under the SOCRATES programme ?

The SOCRATES programme supports the following types of activities:

  • transnational mobility of people in the field of education in Europe;
  • pilot projects based on transnational partnerships, designed to develop innovation and enhance quality in education;
  • promotion of language skills and understanding of different cultures;
  • use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education;
  • transnational cooperation networks facilitating the exchange of experience and good practice;
  • observation and comparative analysis of education systems and policies;
  • activities for the exchange of information and the dissemination of good practice and innovation.

Which countries are participating in the SOCRATES programme?

The second phase of the programme will be open to a total of 31 countries taking part:

  • The 15 European Union countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
  • Three EFTA-EEA countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
  • The 10 associated countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
    Cyprus, Malta and, in due course, Turkey.

Who can take part in the SOCRATES programme?

SOCRATES applies to all types and levels of education. It is aimed particularly at:

  • Pupils, students or other learners
  • Teachers and staff directly involved in education
  • All types of educational institutions specified by each participating country
  • The persons and bodies responsible for education systems and policies at local, regional and national level.

Other public or private bodies may also take part in appropriate Actions of the programme, in particular:

  • Local and regional bodies and organisations
  • Associations working in the field of education, including students’ associations, pupils’ and teachers’ associations, and parents’ associations
  • Social partners (representatives of employers, trade unions)
  • Research centres with expertise in analysing education
  • Companies and consortia, trade organisations and chambers of commerce and industry.

What are SOCRATES National Agencies?

The national authorities of the countries participating in the programme have established National Agencies to facilitate the coordinated management of the programme’s Actions at national level and to bring the programme closer to citzens.

National Agencies perform a number of important functions. They disseminate information on the programme, provide assistance in finding suitable project partners, give guidance and advice on the submission of applications and other matters, and provide feedback on the way the programme is functioning. They also have specific responsibilities in the selection of projects and the distribution of grants under certain Actions, as well as monitoring and financial management duties related to these tasks.

Where can I get more information on the SOCRATES programme?

The SOCRATES Guidelines for Applicants give full details on the specific activities, criteria for selection, priorities and procedures for applying.

The SOCRATES website on the Europa Server which you are now visiting provides more comprehensive information on the different Action areas and contains Compendia of projects that have received financial support through the programme.

Your National Agency or the SOCRATES & YOUTH Technical Assistance Office can provide you with the documents mentioned above, as well as with the application forms required for participating in the various Actions.

Many National Agencies produce supplementary information on programme activities targeted at a national audience and have sections of their websites dedicated to SOCRATES

What are the procedures and deadlines for submitting applications to the SOCRATES programme?

Application and selection procedures in SOCRATES vary from one Action to another depending whether the Action concerned is managed on a central level by the Commission or on a decentralised level by the National Agencies. Full details of these procedures can be found in the Guidelines for Applicants

Are there any other Community programmes related to SOCRATES?

If you are interested in the type of activities provided for in SOCRATES, you may like to consult the following programmes which also offer European Community support:

Leonardo da Vinci II

The aim of the Leonardo da Vinci vocational training action programme is to support innovative transnational co-operation projects in the field of vocational training.

A broad range of measures are supported, including mobility (practical placements, staff exchange etc.), pilot projects, activities to improve language competence, transnational networks, studies and analyses, in order to promote the knowledge, aptitudes and skills necessary for successful integration into working life.

For more information, see:


The YOUTH programme aims to involve young people aged between 15 and 25 in the process of European construction, and in so doing to help reinforce their sense of solidarity and encourage both their active participation in society and a spirit of initiative and enterprise.

To this end, it provides opportunities for informal education, whether in the form of youth exchanges, voluntary service or youth initiatives. All the projects offer young people a valuable international and/or intercultural learning experience which can enhance their awareness of Europe’s cultural diversity and help break down prejudices. The Youth programme now encompasses the former Youth for Europe and European Voluntary Service initiatives. It focuses particularly on those who would not normally have the opportunity to spend time in other countries

For more information, see:

Tempus III

Tempus III (2000-2006) is the programme aimed at providing support to the restructuring of higher education in non-Associated countries in Central and Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Union and Mongolia. Its key objectives are to promote the quality and support the development and renewal of higher education in the countries concerned (in particular university management, institution-building projects, networking projects, student mobility projects) and to encourage the growing interaction and balanced co-operation with EU partners, through joint activities and relevant mobility.

For more information, see:

Jean Monnet

The Jean Monnet Project, “European Integration in University studies” is a European Commission information project, undertaken at the request of the universities, the aim of which is to facilitate the introduction of European integration studies in universities.

Jean Monnet contributes by co-financing universities for the establishment of Jean Monnet Chairs, Jean Monnet permanent courses, Jean Monnet modules in European law, European economy, political studies of European construction, and the history of European integration. The creation of Jean Monnet Centres of Excellence is also supported.

For more information, see:

Fifth Framework programme for research, technological development and demonstration activities

The Fifth Framework Programme sets out the priorities for the European Union’s research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) activities for the period 1998-2002. These priorities reflect the major concerns of increasing industrial competitiveness and the quality of life for European citizens. It has been conceived to help solve problems and to respond to major socio-economic challenges facing Europe. To maximise its impact, it focuses on a limited number of research areas combining technological, industrial, economic, social and cultural aspects.

For more information, see:

Audiovisual programmes

Media II (1996-2000) is designed to foster the free movement and encourage the production and dissemination of audiovisual products. It aims at strengthening the competitiveness of the European audiovisual industry through support measures dealing with: the training of professionals; the development of production projects and companies; and the distribution of cinematographic works and audiovisual programmes. A call for proposals is published on a regular basis.

For more information, see:

Culture 2000

The aim of the “Culture 2000” programme (2000-2004) is to encourage creative activity and the knowledge and dissemination of the culture of the European peoples, notably in the field of music, literature, the performing arts, the fixed and movable heritage, and the new forms of cultural expression. This is achieved by fostering co-operation between cultural organisations and operators, and by supporting measures which, by their European scope and character, promote the spread of European cultures both inside and outside the Union. These include projects aiming at training and mobility for those engaged in the cultural professions.

For more information, see:

Robert Schuman Action

The Robert Schuman Action, established in June 1998, aims to encourage the launch of training initiatives of a practical nature in Community law for legal persons such as lawyers, magistrates or judges. Institutions such as universities, colleges or schools responsible for the training of such legal persons may be eligible for support.

For more information, see:

Comenius in shot

COMENIUS focuses on the first phase of education, from pre-school and primary to secondary school, and it is addressed to all members of the education community in the broad sense – pupils, teachers, other education staff, but also local authorities, parents’ associations, non-government organisations …

COMENIUS supports school partnerships, projects for the training of school education staff, and school education networks. It thus aims to enhance the quality of teaching, strengthen its European dimension and promote language learning and mobility.

COMENIUS also emphasises certain important issues: learning in a multi-cultural framework, which is the cornerstone of European citizenship, support for disadvantaged groups, countering under-achievement at school and preventing exclusion.The Structure of COMENIUS

COMENIUS is the first of eight actions within the SOCRATES community programme for general education. It is subdivided into three parts:

Comenius 1: School Partnerships

  • Comenius School Projects
  • Comenius Language Projects
  • Comenius School Development Projects
  • Preparatory Visits
  • Comenius Language Assitants

Comenius 2: Training of School Education Staff

  • European Cooperation Projects for the Training of School Education Staff
  • Individual Training Grants for:
    • Initial Teacher Training
    • Comenius Language Assistantships
    • In-service Training Courses

Comenius 3: Networks

  • Networks related to School partnerships
  • Networks related to the Training of School Education Staff

Changes in the transition from the first phase of COMENIUS (1995 – 1999) to the second phase (2000 – 2006)

In the transition from Phase I to Phase II of the SOCRATES programme a number of changes have been made to COMENIUS insofar as structure and content are concerned. Language learning has become one of the priorities of COMENIUS.

COMENIUS has been restructured and contains new elements. Four out of five actions from the LINGUA programme for language learning have been incorporated into COMENIUS. Comenius 3 is entirely new.

The following table gives you an overview of the transition:

SOCRATES/COMENIUS First Phase (1995-1999)SOCRATES/COMENIUS Second Phase (2000-2006)
Comenius 1Comenius 1
LINGUA EComenius 1
Comenius 2Comenius 2
Comenius 3.1Comenius 2
Comenius 3.2Comenius 2
LINGUA AComenius 2
LINGUA BComenius 2
LINGUA CComenius 2
Comenius NetworksComenius 3
Complementary Measures (COMENIUS)Accompanying Measures (COMENIUS)

The Objectives of COMENIUS

The overall objectives of COMENIUS are to enhance the quality and reinforce the European dimension of school education, in particular by encouraging transnational cooperation between schools, contributing to the improved professional development of staff directly involved in the school education sector, and promoting the learning of languages and intercultural awareness.

COMENIUS seeks to help those learning and teaching in schools to develop a sense of belonging to a broader and outward-looking European community – a community characterised by diverse traditions, cultures and regional identities, but rooted nevertheless in a common history of European development.

COMENIUS contributes to enhancing the quality and reinforcing the European dimension of school education by:

  • promoting transnational cooperation and exchanges between schools and teacher training establishments;
  • encouraging innovation in pedagogical methods and materials;
  • promoting the transnational dissemination of good practice and innovation in the management of schools;
  • developing and disseminating methods for combating educational exclusion and school failure, promoting the integration of pupils with special educational needs, and promoting equal opportunities in all sectors of education;
  • promoting the use of information and communication technology in school education and in the training of staff working in this sector.

COMENIUS contributes to promoting the learning of languages in school education in Europe by transnational measures designed to:

  • improve the quality of the teaching of European languages as foreign languages;
  • improve the pedagogical skills of teachers of languages;
  • improve the language skills of teachers of less widely used and less taught languages;
  • increase the diversity of foreign languages taught;
  • motivate all teachers and learners to increase the number of foreign languages they speak and the standard to which they speak them.

COMENIUS contributes to promoting intercultural awareness in school education in Europe by transnational activities designed to:

  • promote enhanced awareness of different cultures;
  • develop intercultural education initiatives for the school education sector;
  • improve the skills of teachers in the area of intercultural education;
  • support the fight against racism and xenophobia;
  • improve the education of children of migrant workers, occupational travellers, gypsies and travellers.

Who was Johann Amos Comenius ?

The choice of the name COMENIUS for this part of the SOCRATES programme ia a reminder of Europe’s rich educational heritage. A century before the Enlightenment, Comenius (1592-1670), born in what is today the Czech Republic, was a theologian, philosopher and pedagogue who believed that only through education could man achieve his full potential and lead a truly harmonious life. Comenius was also a cosmopolitan and universalist, striving incessantly for human rights, peace and unity between nations.

Management of COMENIUS

Overall responsibility for the implementation of COMENIUS lies with the European Commission. It is assisted in this task by the SOCRATES Committee and the SOCRATES School Education Sub-Committee, consisting of representatives of the Member States.

The operational management of the programme is carried out by the Commission in close co-operation with national authorities, with the assistance of National Agencies and a Technical Assistance Office at Community level.

The national authorities of the participating countries have established National Agencies to facilitate the coordinated management of the programme at national level.

The National Agencies have specific responsibilities relating to the selection of projects and the distribution of grants under parts of COMENIUS, as well as the related monitoring and financial management duties. In addition, the Agencies perform a number of important functions: disseminating information; providing assistance in finding suitable project partners; giving guidance and advice on the submission of applications and other matters; and providing feedback on the way COMENIUS functions.

In COMENIUS, as in the SOCRATES programme in general, there are two basic types of management – centralised and decentralised:

  • Centralised: the application, selection and contractual procedures are run by the Commission. As a general rule, one of the partner institutions within the project acts as co-ordinator and is responsible for the project towards the Commission.
  • Decentralised: the application, selection and contractual procedures are run by the national authorities of the participating countries assisted by National Agencies. As a general rule, each institution involved has a direct relationship with the National Agency of the country where it is located. Activities involving individual mobility (for teachers, pupils, students etc.) are handled by the National Agency either by direct contact with the persons concerned or indirectly via the educational institution at which these persons are working / studying.

Centralised procedures applyunder Comenius 2 (European cooperation projects for the training of school education staff) and Comenius 3 (Comenius Networks).

Decentralised procedures apply under Comenius 1 (School partnerships) and Comenius 2 (Individual training grants).

The political and legal basis for COMENIUS

The following texts form the legal basis for the COMENIUS part of the SOCRATES Community action programme in the field of education.

The following documents give details of the European Community policy in the field of education and learning.


School Partnerships (Comenius 1)

In School Partnerships (Comenius 1) schools can apply for support for three types of projects: School ProjectsLanguage Projects and School Development Projects.
When applying for a project, each school has to submit a “Comenius Plan” to its National Agency.
A school wishing to set up a Comenius 1 project may apply for a Preparatory visit grant to cover the costs for preparatory meetings between the partners involved.
A school may also host a Comenius language assistant for a period between 3 and 8 months.

School projects
Language Projects
School Development projects
Preparatory Visits
Hosting a Comenius Language Assistant
The Comenius Plan

Comenius School Projects and Comenius School Development Projects may be supported for a maximum of three consecutive school years. For Comenius Language Projects, the project duration is normally one school year. In cases where both exchanges cannot be organised during the same school year, the activity period may be extended to two consecutive school years.

In all three project types various grants for the mobility of pupils and staff are available.Comenius School Projects

Comenius School Projects promote transnational co-operation between schools. They give pupils and teachers from at least three participating countries an opportunity to work together on one or more topics of mutual interest. This co-operation enables participants to exchange experiences, explore different aspects of European cultural, social and economic diversity, increase their general knowledge and learn to understand and appreciate each other’s views. Comenius School Projects should be integrated into the regular activities of the school, take place within the curriculum, involve several class groups, and have as wide an impact on the school as possible.
All pupils attending a school which is involved in a project may participate in project activities. Ideally, pupils should participate actively in all phases of the project, including the planning, organisation and evaluation of the activities. The primary focus of Comenius School Projects is the cooperation process itself – the carrying out of a project with a number of partners from other European countries. However, projects will usually also produce outcomes such as project diaries, booklets, objects, artistic performances, web sites, CD-ROMs and so on.

Comenius Language Projects

Comenius Language Projects seek to increase young people’s motivation, capacity and confidence to communicate in other European languages. A Comenius Language Project is carried out by groups of at least 10 young people aged 14 or older from partner schools in two participating countries. Its main element is not formal language instruction as such, but the learning of languages through work with young people from another country on a topic of mutual interest . Project work should be integrated into the regular school activities and take place within the curriculum.

In Comenius Language Projects at least one of the two partners will normally be from a country where one of the less widely used and less taught languages is used. In this way, many pupils will thus have an opportunity to get to know a language which they would not normally learn. Indeed, this is seen as one of the main aspects of the European added value of these projects.

Reciprocal pupil exchangeslasting at least 14 days (including travel) are an integral part of Comenius Language Projects. The exchanges are working periods where the two groups of young people work closely together on the project using foreign languages as a means of communication and learning.

The pupils will usually stay with each other’s families during their stay abroad. This will further enhance the opportunity to learn the partner language and to get to know the partner culture. Each project should result in a ‘product’ produced jointly by the two groups of pupils. The product, if based on the written or spoken word, should be produced in the languages of the two partners or in a mixed language version in which both languages are fully represented.

Comenius School Development Projects

At a time when the roles of the school and school staff are rapidly changing and the autonomy of schools in many countries is increasing, direct co-operation between schools on questions related to management and pedagogical approaches can be of particular importance. In this context, Comenius School Development Projects give school managers and teachers an opportunity to exchange experience and information, to develop together methods and approaches which meet their needs and to test and put into practice the most effective organisational and pedagogical approaches in the participating schools.
Broad thematic areas for the development of a project could, for example, include the prevention of conflict and violence; integration of ethnic minority groups into mainstream schooling, flexible and personalised teaching methods and classroom management; or development of pupils’ skills with a view to enhancing their employability. These projects will often involve cooperation with bodies from the schools’ local community, such as local authorities, social services, associations and business.

Preparatory Visits

An eligible institution wishing to set up a transnational cooperation project may apply for a preparatory visit grant to enable appropriate staff members and – in the case of Comenius 1 projects – pupils to undertake a preparatory visit of up to one week. This may take either of the following forms:

a) a visit to one or more eligible institutions in one or more other countries participating in SOCRATES;

b) participation in a partner-finding contact seminar organised by National Agencies or Comenius networks. Details of the seminars are available on request from National Agencies and Comenius networks.

As a general rule preparatory visit grants will be awarded to institutions with no previous project experience.

An eligible institution wishing to obtain a preparatory visit grant must apply to its National Agency. The application forms and details of the closing dates for applications are also available from the National Agencies. These will also give advice on how to search for a suitable partner school by other means, e.g. using the Internet.

Hosting a Comenius Language Assistant

Under Comenius 2, future language teachers may apply for a grant to spend 3 to 8 months as a “Comenius Language Assistant” at a host school abroad. Such assistants may be assigned to any institution eligible under Comenius 1.

The assistantship has two main objectives :

  • to give the assistants, who will be future language teachers, the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of other European languages, countries and education systems, as well as to improve their teaching skills;
  • to improve the language skills of the pupils at the host school and increase their motivation both to learn languages and their interest in the assistant’s country and culture.

A host school must designate a teacher to supervise the assistant, look after his or her welfare, monitor the progress of the assistantship and act as contact person throughout.
Assistants receive a grant to help cover mobility costs resulting from the assistantship. This includes travel and a monthly contribution towards subsistence costs. The host school does not receive any financial support to organise the assistantship, as it will receive full benefit from the presence and the work of the assistant.

A school wishing to host a Comenius Language Assistant must submit an application to the National Agency in its country by 1 March before the school year in which the assistantship is to take place. The application form is available from the National Agency. The application must be accompanied by the school’s Comenius plan. The National Agency will try to match the school’s requirements with the wishes of the future language teachers applying for such a grant.

The Comenius Plan

Each school wishing to participate in Comenius 1 or host a Comenius Language Assistant has to develop a Comenius Plan in which it sets out the role that European co-operation activities are expected to play in the further development of the school. Therefore the Comenius Plan, while being short and simple, should contain a brief description of the school and its existing and/or planned European activities. It serves as an important reference tool for the National Agencies who can then assess each school’s application in relation to its individual circumstances. Each school has to submit only one Comenius Plan regardless of the number of projects for which it wishes to apply.



The promotion of language teaching and learning is an objective of the SOCRATES 2 programme as a whole, and of the Erasmus, Comenius and Grundtvigactions in particular.

The new Lingua Action supports these actions through measures designed to:

  • Encourage and support linguistic diversity throughout the Union.
  • Contribute to an improvement in the quality of language teaching and learning.
  • Promote access to lifelong language learning opportunities appropriate to each individual’s needs.

The action is divided into two parts, corresponding to different sub-objectives.

Lingua 1 is intended to:

  • raise citizens’ awareness of the Union’s multilingual wealth, encourage people to learn languages throughout their lifetime, and to improve access to foreign-language learning resources across Europe.
  • develop and disseminate innovative techniques and good practices in language teaching.

Lingua 2 aims to

  • ensure that a sufficiently wide range of language-learning tools is available to language learners.

Under both sub-actions, the Commission will fund projects developed by transnational partnerships composed of eligible institutions and organisations. The application procedure is the same for both sub-actions.

Which languages?

  • Language teaching covers the teaching and learning, as foreign languages, of all of the official Community languages as well as Irish and Luxemburgish.
  • The national languages of the EFTA/EEA countries and of the pre-accession countries participating in this programme are also eligible.
  • Throughout the programme, particular attention is paid to the development of skills in the less widely used and less taught official Community languages (the ‘LWULT’ languages).

Projects must:

  • Demonstrate that there is a need for the proposed product(s) or activity(ies).
  • Specify their objectives and their didactic approach clearly and consistently.
  • Provide a dissemination plan.

working on Lingua projects must meet the following criteria :

  • Involve at least one eligible establishment/ organisation from each of at least three participating countries, including countries where the target languages are spoken.
  • Provide for all the participants to take an active role in pooling their expertise to designimplement and evaluate the project and ensure the wide dissemination of its products.
  • Bring together all the skills necessary for the performance of the tasks.

Lingua 1: Promotion of language learning

Objectives :

  • To promote language teaching and learning, to support the linguistic diversity of the Union, and to encourage improvements in the quality of language teaching structures and systems.
  • Specifically, the action is intended to:
  • Raise citizens’ awareness of the multilingual character of the Union and of the advantages of lifelong language learning, and to encourage them to take up language learning themselves.
  • Improve access to language learning resources and increase the support available for those learning languages.
  • Promote the dissemination of information about innovative techniques and good practices in foreign language teaching in Europe, among its target groups (especially decision-makers and key education professionals).


Multinational partnerships are invited to submit projects in one or more of the areas of activity set out below.

  • The type of activity and the target group vary according to the area of activity. Given the innovative nature of this Action, the types of activity listed here are for guidance only. Any activity with the potential to achieve the objectives of the relevant area will, in principle, be considered.

Lingua 1: Area 1

Raising awareness of the advantages of language learning

Motivating individuals to learn languages (including the ability to learn how to learn languages)

Providing information on the means and methods available (such as multilingual

comprehensionpartial competence )

Priority themes:

  • Multilingual comprehension
  • Partial linguistic competence, such as written and oral comprehension
  • Survival-level linguistic competence
  • The development of measures encouraging the acquisition of sufficient knowledge of foreign languages to meet the requirements of particular situations and contexts, provided that these measures are not linked to a specific profession (this would fall more within the scope of the Leonardo da Vinci programme)
  • Analysis of the problems linked to language teaching and learning presented by further Community enlargement

Projects focussing on other themes will not, however, be excluded

Target groups for activities :

  • General public
  • Specific groups such as parents or inhabitants of countries/ regions where numbers of persons learning languages are low
  • Education professionals

Examples of types of activity and priority themes in 2001

  • Information campaigns
  • Competitions
  • Awards
  • Labels
  • Studies and analyses
  • Schemes for the recognition of language skills

Lingua 1: Area 2

Facilitating access to language learning.

Target groups for activities :

  • General public
  • Sectors with specific access needs

Examples of types of activity and priority themes in 2001

Networking oflanguage resource centres, information exchange and pilot projects in the following areas:

  • Informing the general public about the opportunities available in resource centres
  • Sharing of skills, particularly in self-study and distance learning, including the organisation of pilot courses
  • Implementation of new initiatives, such as Language Clubs, to increase public awareness of the resources available
  • Training of resource centre staff
  • Opening existing resource centres (e.g. university language laboratories) to the public or to other target groups, and ensuring that their needs are met
  • Making more language-learning resources available from local authorities, via public libraries, schools, associations, etc.
  • Increasing the number of languages offered;
  • Innovative approaches providing self-study materials for secondary-school pupils

Lingua 1: Area 3

Exchange and dissemination amongst policy makers of information on innovative approaches and key issues in language teaching

Target groups for activities :

  • Decision-makers
  • Senior civil servants
  • Inspectors

Examples of types of activity and priority themes in 2001:

  • Preparing, organising and following up colloquia, seminars, conferences, etc.
  • Specialist publications
  • Creating and promoting associations and networks

Concentrating on the following areas:

  • Teaching of languages at an early age
  • Multilingual comprehension
  • Partial linguistic competence, such as written and oral comprehension, or survival-level linguistic competence
  • The development of measures encouraging the acquisition of sufficient knowledge of foreign languages to meet the requirements of particular situations and contexts, provided that these measures are not linked to a specific profession (this would fall more within the scope of the Leonardo da Vinci programme)
  • Analysis of the problems linked to language teaching and learning presented by further Community enlargement.

Projects focussing on other themes will not, however, be excluded.
Lingua 2: Development of instruments for language-teaching and for the assessment of foreign language skills.

This action continues the work of the former Lingua action D


  • The objective of this action is to help raise the standards in language teaching and learning by ensuring the availability of sufficient language learning instruments and tools for assessing linguistic skills acquired.
  • The action will encourage the development of new tools and a wider dissemination of existing methods which represent best practice and provide European added-value.
  • More specifically, this action aims to:
  • encourage innovation in the development of language learning and teaching tools
  • encourage the sharing of best practices
  • provide a wider variety of language teaching materials to more clearly defined target groups
  • encourage the production of language tools for the less widely used less taught languages
  • support educational approaches which are commercially under-represented or difficult to market on a large scale
  • encourage the acquisition of sufficient knowledge of foreign languages to meet the requirements of particular situations and contexts, provided that these measures are not linked to a specific profession (this would fall more within the scope of the Leonardo da Vinci programme)
  • improve the distribution and availability of products.

Outline of projects

  • The Commission will encourage cooperation on a European scale in the development and exchange of innovative curricula, methodologies and educational materials as well as effective tools for assessing language skills acquired.
  • The Commission will provide co-financing for projects which create, adapt, refine or exchange one or more of the following products:
  • educational media and materials for foreign language teaching, as well as for raising awareness of languages
  • methods and tools designed to recognise and evaluate language skills
  • teaching and study programmes.
  • The projects must:
  • precisely define their educational objectives
  • demonstrate a need for the product(s) or activity(ies) proposed
  • clearly define both their target publics and the situations to be covered
  • show a consistent approach to teaching issues
  • evaluate the results obtained
  • disseminate widely within the participating countries the results obtained.

NOTE: the products developed under Lingua Action 2 are essentially aimed at language learners (and not at the training of language teachers – see Comenius 2).Themes and priorities

  • The Commission publishes, regularly, a list of the priority themes for this Action, in addition to the overall priorities listed above.
  • Projects concentrating on other themes will not, however, be excluded.

For 2001, priority will be given to projects which devise, develop or produce material and techniques for language teaching and learning and which:

  • Concentrate on preparing Union citizens for trans-European mobility
  • Encourage self-study of languages.

Further details of these actions, and their eligibility criteria and priorities, of which these are only a summary, may be found in the Guidelines for Applicants, available from the National Agencies.


Maria Plytaria: Vocational Training and European Programmes

Initial vocational training, in a post-secondary level, was established in 1992. The Organisation for Vocational Education and Training (OEEK) is an “umbrella” organisation, with more than one hundred state institutes all over Greece, offering training in two hundred and thirty specialisations in all sectors.

The institute for vocational training in Komotini, a pioneer college, has fully participated in the European Programmes starting with a project in Wales with the Pontypridd College and the course of Car Mechanics.

IEK Komotinis has been actively involved in the European programmes for the past five years. The institute is situated in a unique geographical area of the Balkan peninsula and therefore, it is suitable to promote collaborations with Balkan, Mediterranean and European Union countries. The multicultural identity of the area makes it an ideal pattern of creative co-existence through joint educational projects.

The collaboration with Great Britain fruitfully continued with Northumberland College in Northern England and the course for “Pre-school education nursery nurses”. A group of Greek students stayed and worked in Ashington for two weeks in October 1996. The project, entitled “Comparison of child care facilities in the UK and Greece”, was co-funded by IKY and OEEK. The group with the English students was hosted in Komotini for two weeks in May 1997 and presented their activities in the state and private nurseries of our town.

In 1997, the course with “Computer-aided designers” visited Portugal under the Leonardo project. The “Centro de Formacao Profissional de Industria de Fundieno” hosted our students for three weeks in the magnificent city of Porto. Since the target group was young people in initial vocational training, students were exposed to industrial design programmes and their application to business. The title of the project was: “ Vocational curricula-common elements and validity in the market”.

In 1998, “Business administration” students, under the Socrates-Lingua programme-entitled “Management and public relations for tourist enterprises”, stayed in Scotland for two weeks and were trained in John Wheatley College in Glasgow.

In 1999, the course for “Artifacts preservation” visited Malaga, Spain for three weeks and were trained in artistic glasswork with a project entitled “Training on the modern methods in artifact preservation”.

The current academic year, the hairdressers’ course stayed in Rotterdam for two weeks and were trained in the famous Roc Zadkine college, one of the biggest and oldest colleges in Europe. The joint project under the title ”Innovations in hair-styling-new methods and new terms” has already produced a multilingual dictionary and our institute will host the Dutch students for two weeks this autumn. Future projects expand in many more countries, including also France, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus among others.

Student exchanges do help the vocational training and we try to include various courses and different European countries in our programmes. Training in another country enhances the career prospects of the students, adds valuable knowledge to their training, gives them the opportunity to meet and socialize with people of their age, offers experience and expectations and certainly helps them to understand better the culture of other European peoples.

All the programmes in the afore mentioned countries turned out to have a very positive impact to the students. Students with different background and culture met, worked and presented interesting joint-projects overcoming any possible difficulties in the process. The students shared valuable experience and disseminated the outcome of the projects in their countries. New friendships have started and still continue resisting time and distance.

Both trainers and trainees agree that our journey to Europe has forcefully started and we all wish to make it long and full of the best experience.

* Maria Plytaria has been teaching English for the past twenty years in secondary, post-secondary and tertiary education. She holds a Bachelor Degree from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and has attended classes on language and Methodology at the University of Sussex-UK and post-graduate courses (by distance learning) with St. Michael’s College, University of Vermont-USA. She is currently doing a Master on Education with the Hellenic Open University and is actively involved with the European programmes in vocational education.

Βασιλική Κοκόντζαρη: 2ο Δημοτικό Σχολείο Κιλκίς: “The Cultural Heritage”

Βασιλική Κοκόντζαρη

Συνεργαζόμενα Σχολεία:

  • SUNDBY SKOLA , EKERO, SWEDEN (συντονιστικό)

Υπεύθυνοι εκπαιδευτικοί

1997-1998: Κοκόντζαρη Βασιλική, καθηγ. Αγγλικών (συντονίστρια), Ραμπίδης Κων/νος, δάσκαλος, Ρεκάλου Ελένη, δασκάλα, Αξιμιώτης Ιωάννης, δάσκαλος

1998-1999: Κοκόντζαρη Βασιλική (συντονίστρια), Ρεκάλου Ελένη, δασκάλα, Αξιμιώτης Ιωάννης, δάσκαλος, Λιαρετίδου Ανατολή, καθηγ. Φυσικής Αγωγής

1999-2000:Κοκόντζαρη Βασιλική (συντονίστρια), Τσακαλοφίδης Γεώργιος, διευθυντής, Ρεκάλου Ελένη, δασκάλα, Σκαμπαρδώνης Γεώργιος, δάσκαλος

Στο πρόγραμμα πήραν μέρος οι μαθητές της Ε και ΣΤ τάξης του σχολείου.Στόχοι:

-Απόκτηση γνώσεων γύρω από τον πολιτισμό άλλων λαών της Ενωμένης Ευρώπης

-Κατανόηση και αποδοχή των πολιτιστικών αξιών των λαών αυτών με πολιτιστικές ανταλλαγές

-Συνεργασία και δημιουργία δεσμών με συχνή επαφή και ανταλλαγές εκπαιδευτικών

-Επαφή και συχνή επικοινωνία των μαθητών με συνομήλικούς τους από άλλες χώρες της Ενωμένης Ευρώπης

-Διεπιστημονική προσέγγιση του θέματος με την εμπλοκή όσο το δυνατόν περισσοτέρων μαθημάτων στο πρόγραμμα.

-Βελτίωση της γνώσης της διδασκόμενης ξένης γλώσσας και χρήση νέων τεχνολογιών

Σχολικό Έτος 1997-98


1.Αυτοπαρουσίαση των μαθητών

2.Παρουσίαση του σχολικού περιβάλλοντος και της περιοχής

3.Ιστορία του τόπου μου

4.Χριστουγεννιάτικα έθιμα και τραγούδια

5.Ανταλλαγή πολιτιστικού κουτιού

6.Πασχαλινά έθιμα

7.Κολάζ ζωγραφικής με θέματα του τόπου μου

-Έγιναν δύο συναντήσεις των συντονιστών που συμμετέχουν στο πρόγραμμα. Η πρώτη στην Αυγούστα της Σικελίας τον Οκτώβριο του1997 και η δεύτερη στο Κιλκίς το Φεβρουάριο του 1998.

-Έγινε μετακίνηση μαθητών του 2ου Δημ. Σχολ. Κιλκίς στο Σχολείο Sundby του Ekero της Σουηδίας τον Απρίλιο του 1998

-Με αίτηση ατομικής κινητικότητας εγκρίθηκε μετακίνηση των εκπαιδευτικών Κοκόντζαρη Βασιλικής και Ραμπίδη Κων/νου στο Ekero της Σουηδίας

-Εκδόθηκαν σε βιβλίο όλες οι δραστηριότητες που υλοποιήθηκαν κατά τη διάρκεια της σχολικής χρονιάς (Ελληνικά-Αγγλικά)

-Εκδόθηκε αφίσα του σχεδίου (Ελληνικά-Αγγλικά)

-Διαγωνισμός ”Λόγου και Εικόνας” ανάμεσα στα σχολεία του Κιλκίς και του Ekero με τίτλο: Έστω κι αν είμαστε διαφορετικοί μπορούμε να ζήσουμε μαζί”

-Βιβλίο με τα αποτελέσματα του διαγωνισμού

-Γυρίστηκαν τέσσερις βιντεοταινίες με τις δραστηριότητες των μαθητών

-Άλμπουμ με φωτογραφίες από τις δραστηριότητες των μαθητών

-Δημιουργήθηκε ειδική προθήκη στο σχολείο για την έκθεση των προϊόντων ανταλλαγής

-Οι μαθητές αλληλογραφούν με συνομήλικους τους από τα συνεργαζόμενα σχολεία

Aποτέλεσμα της συνεργασίας των σχολείων ήταν και η συνεργασία σε επίπεδο τοπικής αυτοδιοίκησης μεταξύ των Δήμων του Κιλκίς και του Ekero της Σουηδίας καθώς και ο διαγωνισμός “Λόγου και Εικόνας” στα σχολεία των δήμων αυτών.

Σχολικό Έτος 1998-99:


1.Η αρχιτεκτονική του τόπου μου

2.Επαφή με τοπικούς καλλιτέχνες

3.Παραδοσιακοί χοροί

4.Παραδοσιακά τραγούδια


-Έγινε μια συνάντηση των συντονιστών στο Κιλκίς τον Ιανουάριο του 1999.

-Έγινε μετακίνηση των μαθητών του Ekero της Σουηδίας στο Κιλκίς τον Μάιο του 1999

-Έγινε μια συνάντηση των εκπαιδευτικών Κοκόντζαρη Βασιλιής και Ρεκάλου Ελένης στο Ekero της Σουηδίας τον Ιούνιο του 1999

-Έγιναν επισκέψεις σε τοπικούς καλλιτέχνες και πάρθηκαν συνεντεύξεις

-Εκδόθηκε βιβλίο με τις δραστηριότητες των μαθητών (Ελληνικά-Αγγλικά)

-Γυρίστηκε βιντεοταινία με τις δραστηριότητες των μαθητών

-Άλμπουμ με φωτογραφίες από τις δραστηριότητες των μαθητών

-Η αλληλογραφία των μαθητών συνεχίζεται κανονικά. Αποτέλεσμα είναι η πραγματική φιλία που αναπτύχθηκε μεταξύ πολλών μαθητών από τα τρία διαφορετικά σχολεία.

Σχολικό Έτος 1999-2000

Κατά την τρίτη συνεχή χρονιά υλοποίησης του προγράμματος το ιταλικό σχολείο αποσύρθηκε από τη σύμπραξη και αντικαταστάθηκε από το SANNAS SKOLA, KARIS- FINLAND.


1.Τοπικές παραδοσιακές φορεσιές

2.Τοπική παραδοσιακή κουζίνα

3.Τοποθεσίες παγκόσμιας πολιτιστικής κληρονομιάς της χώρας μου


-Διοργανώθηκε εκδήλωση παρουσίασης παραδοσιακής φορεσιάς σε συνεργασία με το Λύκειο των Ελληνίδων Κιλκίς

-Πραγματοποιήθηκε επίσκεψη στο Λαογραφικό Μουσείο της περιοχής

-Πραγματοποιήθηκε επίσκεψη σε τοπικό εργοστάσιο παρασκευής παραδοσιακών τοπικών τροφών

-Έγιναν επισκέψεις σε κοντινούς χώρους παγκόσμιας πολιτιστικής κληρονομιάς (Θεσσαλονίκη, Βεργίνα)

-Έγινε συνάντηση των εκπαιδευτικών που υλοποιούν το πρόγραμμα στη Φιλανδία το Μάρτιο ‘00 και στην Ελλάδα τον Ιούνιο ‘00

-Εκδόθηκε βιβλίο με τις δραστηριότητες των μαθητών (Ελληνικά-Αγγλικά)

-Γυρίστηκε βιντεοταινία με τις δραστηριότητες των μαθητών

-Συνεχίστηκε η επικοινωνία και η αλληλογραφία μεταξύ των μαθητών των τριών σχολείων.

Παρουσίαση – Αξιολόγηση

Το πρόγραμμα παρουσιάστηκε στο χώρο του σχολείου σε όλους τους μαθητές, γονείς και τοπικούς φορείς στο τέλος της πρώτης χρονιάς υλοποίησής του και σε κεντρική πλατεία του Κιλκίς, από κοινού με τα περιβαλλοντικά και ευρωπαϊκά προγράμματα Α/θμιας και Β/θμιας Εκπαίδευσης, στο τέλος της δεύτερης και τρίτης χρονιάς υλοποίησης του. Επίσης παρουσιάστηκε σε ημερίδα που διοργανώθηκε στο Κιλκίς με την υποστήριξη του Ι.Κ.Υ.Το Ε.Ε.Σ. αξιολογήθηκε από τους μαθητές οι οποίοι απάντησαν σε ερωτηματολόγιο που τους δόθηκε και η σύμπραξη αξιολογήθηκε από ομάδα αξιολογητών εκπαιδευτικών του σχολείου οι οποίοι απάντησαν σε σχετικό ερωτηματολόγιο που διανεμήθηκε. Από τις απαντήσεις που δόθηκαν από τους μαθητές και τους αξιολογητές η υλοποίηση του προγράμματος θεωρείται απόλυτα επιτυχής.

* Η Βασιλική Κοκόντζαρη σπούδασε Αγγλική Φιλολογία στο Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης και έχει εργαστεί ως καθηγήτρια Αγγλικής Γλώσσας τόσο στη Δευτεροβάθμια όσο και στην Πρωτοβάθμια Εκπαίδευση. Τώρα εργάζεται στο 2ο Δημοτικό Σχολείο Κιλκίς όπου εδώ και τρία χρόνια βρίσκεται σε εξέλιξη το ευρωπαϊκό πρόγραμμα με θέμα: “H Πολιτιστική Κληρονομιά”. Είναι επίσης υπεύθυνη προώθησης των ευρωπαϊκών προγραμμάτων Socrates –Comenius Δράση 1 για την περιοχή Κιλκίς από το 1997.

POETRY: Robert Louis Stevenson’s “A Child’s Garden of Verses”


When I was down beside the sea

A wooden spade they gave to me

To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup,

In every hole the sea came up,

Till it could come no more.


All night long and every night,

When my mamma puts out the light,

I see the people marching by,

As plain as day, before my eye.

Armies and emperors and kings,

All carrying different kinds of things,

And marching in so grand a way,

You never saw the like by day.

So fine a show was never seen,

At the great circus on the green

For every kind of beast and man

Is matching in that caravan.

At first they move a little slow,

But still the faster on they go,

And still beside them close I keep

Until we reach the town of sleep.


The rain is raining all around,

It falls on field and tree,

It rains on the umbrellas here,

And on the ships at sea.


Up into a cherry tree

Who should climb but little me?

I held the trunk with both my hands

And looked abroad on foreign lands.

I saw the next door garden lie,

Adorned with flowers, before my eye,

And many pleasant places more

That I had never seen before.

I saw the dimpling river pass

And be the sky’s blue looking-glass;

The dusty roads go up and down

With people tramping in to town.

If I could find a higher tree

Farther and farther I should see,

To where the grown-up river slips

Into the sea among the ships,

To where the roads on either hand

Lead onward into fairy land,

Where all the children dine at five,

And all the playthings come alive.


When I am grown to man’s estate

I shall be very proud and great,

And tell the other girls and boys

Not to meddle with my toys.


From breakfast on all through the day

At home among my friends I stay;

But every night I go abroad

Afar into the land of Nod.

All by myself I have to go,

With none to tell me what to do-

All alone beside the streams

And up the mountain sides of dreams.

The strangest things are there for me,

Both things to eat and things to see

And many frightening sights abroad

Till morning in the land of Nod.

Try as I like to find the way,

I never can get back by day,

Nor can remember plain and clear

The curious music that I hear.


The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out

Through the blinds and the windows and bars;

And high overhead and all moving about,

There were thousands of millions of stars.

There ne’er were such thousands of leaves on a tree,

Nor of people in church or the Park,

As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me,

And that glittered and winked in the dark.

The Dog and the Plough, and the Hunter and all,

And the Star of the Sailor, and Mars,

These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wall

Would be half full of water and stars.

They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,

And they soon had me packed into bed;

But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,

And the stars going round in my head.


The world is so full of a number of things,

I’m sure we should all be so happy as kings.


The sun is not a-bed when I

At night upon my pillow lie;

Still round the earth his way he takes,

And morning after morning makes.

While here at home, in shining day,

We round the sunny garden play,

Each little Indian sleepy-head

Is being kissed and put to bed.

And when at eve I rise from tea,

Day dawns beyond the Atlantic Sea,

And all the children in the West

Are getting up and being dressed.


How do you like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing

Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,

Till I can see so wide,

Rivers and trees and cattle and all

Over the countryside-

Till I look down on the garden green,

Down on the roof so brown-

Up in the air I go flying again,

Up in the air and down!

Ράνια Ι. Χατζητουλούση: Σεμινάρια στη Σαμοθράκη – Αύγουστος 2000: “Η Μουσική και η Θεατρική Αγωγή στην Εκπαίδευση”

Στην όμορφη Χώρα της Σαμοθράκης έγινε πριν από λίγες μέρες (21-25 Αυγούστου) σεμινάριο με θέμα “η Μουσική και η Θεατρική Αγωγή στην Εκπαίδευση”, στο πλαίσιο των Πολιτιστικών Εκδηλώσεων Καβείρια 2000 του δήμου Σαμοθράκης. Το σεμινάριο συν-διοργανώθηκε από το Δήμο Σαμοθράκης και το Κέντρο Δημιουργικής Απασχόλησης Παιδιώνκαι απευθυνόταν σε εκπαιδευτικούς της πρωτοβάθμιας και δευτεροβάθμιας εκπαίδευσης.

Διδάσκοντες ήταν ο Γιώργος Σακελλαρίδης, μουσικοπαιδαγωγός και η Μυρσίνη Λενούδια-Σακελλαρίδου, νηπιαγωγός-ειδικευμένη στη Θεατρική Αγωγή.Οι δύο παιδαγωγοί δεν στηρίχθηκαν στην απλή περιγραφή και ανάλυση παιδαγωγικών μεθόδων, αλλά, με βάση τη βιωματική διδασκαλία, δούλεψαν με πολύ μεράκι και κέφι – εδώ θα πρέπει να σημειωθεί ότι προσφέρθηκαν αφιλοκερδώς να διδάξουν στο σεμινάριο – πάνω στους τρόπους που η μουσική και το θεατρικό παιχνίδι μπορούν να ενσωματωθούν στην εκπαίδευση και να εμπλουτίσουν τη διδακτική πράξη.

Στα συμπεράσματα του σεμιναρίου συγκαταλέγεται η διαπίστωση ότι μέσα από τη μουσική και τη δραματική τέχνη επιτυγχάνεται η απελευθέρωση του εκφραστικού λόγου των παιδιών, αφού ασκούνται στο να αποδίδουν τα συναισθήματα και τις απόψεις τους και να αντιδρούν σε μουσικά ή μη ερεθίσματα. Αναπτύσσεται, επίσης, η κοινωνικοποίησή τους, καθώς δουλεύουν μέσα σε ομάδες. Η κ. Λενούδια μίλησε για την εξελικτική πορεία της δράσης, όπου τα παιδιά σχηματίζουν κύκλο σε πρώτη φάση, γνωρίζονται καλύτερα,· κατόπιν απλώνονται στο χώρο εκφράζοντας ελεύθερα τα συναισθήματά τους, και στη συνέχεια, μεμονωμένα ή σε ζευγάρια συνεργάζονται προκειμένου να αποδώσουν την άποψή τους για τα πράγματα. Στο τέλος, σχηματίζουν ομάδες για να παραστήσουν με περισσότερες λεπτομέρειες διαφορετικές πτυχές ενός φαινομένου ή μιας κατάστασης.

Έτσι, εκτός από το γλωσσικό τους πεδίο, αναπτύσσεται η κριτική τους σκέψη, αφού εκφράζουν την προσωπική τους αντίληψη για τον κόσμο. Ανακαλύπτουν τις δεξιότητές τους, καθώς καλούνται να αποδώσουν μουσικούς ρυθμούς και φόρμες. Καλλιεργείται, λοιπόν, η δημιουργική διάθεση των παιδιών, δίνεται έμφαση στην αποκλίνουσα σκέψη, στην τάση, δηλαδή, να προσλαμβάνουν τα πράγματα γύρω τους το καθένα με το δικό του μοναδικό τρόπο, ελεύθερα, χωρίς στεγανά και κανόνες. Από τα παραπάνω, βεβαίως, είναι προφανές ότι ευαισθητοποιούνται στις τέχνες, αφού εξοικειώνονται με μουσικά όργανα και άλλους τρόπους έκφρασης.

Στο πλαίσιο της διαθεματικής διδασκαλίας αποδεικνύεται πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα προοπτική ο εμπλουτισμός των μαθημάτων του σχολικού προγράμματος με μουσική και θεατρική αγωγή καθώς τα παιδιά εμπεδώνουν καλύτερα και ευκολότερα την καινούργια γνώση μέσα από το παιχνίδι, τη μουσική και τη δραματοποίηση. Κλειδί για την επίτευξη των στόχων αυτών είναι το πλούσιο εποπτικό υλικό (εκπληκτικό ήταν το ocean drum της κ. Λενούδια) που κεντρίζει τη φαντασία και διευκολύνει στην έκφραση.

Παράλληλα, μέσα από τη μουσική, κυρίως, όπως σημείωσε χαρακτηριστικά ο κ. Σακελλαρίδης, μπορεί ο παιδαγωγός να εισάγει θέματα διαπολιτισμικής εκπαίδευσης, να εξοικειώσει τα παιδιά με ρυθμούς και παραδοσιακά ακούσματα άλλων λαών, διανθίζοντας παράλληλα την όλη διαδικασία με ιστορίες και πληροφορίες για το συγκεκριμένο τόπο.

Ένα ακόμη πλεονέκτημα της συμμετοχής στο σεμινάριο το οποίο επωφελήθηκαν οι συμμετέχοντες ήταν, βέβαια, η ευκαιρία να απολαύσουν το όμορφο νησί· να συνδυάσουν τη γνώση με περιηγήσεις στον αρχαιολογικό χώρο και το μουσείο, να περπατήσουν στην γραφική Χώρα, την πρωτεύουσα της Σαμοθράκης, με τα πέτρινα σπίτια και το Κάστρο με τη μαγευτική θέα, να κολυμπήσουν στις μοναδικές βάθρες, και να δοκιμάσουν το ντόπιο γλυκό πραούστι.

Συμπερασματικά, τόσο το σεμινάριο όσο και η παραμονή στο νησί ήταν μια πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα εμπειρία. Οι εκπαιδευτές, αξιόλογοι επιστήμονες στο χώρο τους, μοίρασαν απλόχερα τις γνώσεις και τις εμπειρίες τους και συνέβαλαν στη δημιουργία μιας πολύ ζεστής και φιλικής ατμόσφαιρας μεταξύ των συμμετεχόντων. Εξάλλου, όπως μας είπε η υπεύθυνη για τη διοργάνωση του σεμιναρίου κ. Λίτσα Βάβουρα, υπάρχει η πρόβλεψη να καθιερωθεί το σεμινάριο σε πιο μόνιμη βάση, να διευρυνθεί ως θεσμός, κάτι που θα συμβάλλει έτσι στην συνεχή επιμόρφωση των εκπαιδευτικών, σύμφωνα άλλωστε και με τις επιταγές των καιρών.


Don’t miss

the 2nd Coursebook Symposium in Komotini

(Ίδρυμα Παπανικολάου – Νομαρχία)

on Saturday 9 September 2000

“ New Perspectives on ELT Approaches and Methods”PROGRAMME

9:00- 9:30 Registration. Opening of the Book Exhibition ( ΝΟΜΑΡΧΙΑ ΡΟΔΟΠΗΣ)

9:20 – Opening of the Symposium (ΙΔΡΥΜΑ ΠΑΠΑΝΙΚΟΛΑΟΥ)

9:30- 10:30– “Multiple intelligences: the key to research for successful learning”

An introduction to the theory of multiple intelligences and how to make the best of our multi-intelligent students with images, sounds and triggers of their special talents

Yiannis Stergis, author, ELT Consultant, Macmillan Heinemman ELT10:30-11:15-“ What can an ELT coursebook offer to (rage against) the “machine” students?

Nowadays state school teachers, whether high school or Lyceum, have an opportunity to choose the most appropriate ELT coursebook for their classes out of the diverse range of professional textbooks being published in Greece. It’s a challenge that sometimes causes confusion or frustration! Teachers, who have to cope with a diversity of social and cultural backgrounds among their students, ask who, indeed, are these students? Are they those who represent the “machine” or commercial society, or those who resist and reject homogeneity, trying to form their own set of values in this transitional period we live in?

Addie Kostakou, ELT writer, Teacher-trainer and consultant to EFL teachers,Research focusing on social and educational issues, Hillside Press publisher/owner

11:15-12:00-“ Snapshot: The Solution for Mixed Ability Classes

Gabriel Montel-YiannoulakisLongman Teacher Trainer12:00-13:00 Coffee break at the Book Exhibition ( ΝΟΜΑΡΧΙΑ ΡΟΔΟΠΗΣ )

13:00– 14:00

  • THE ENTERPRISE SERIES- A balanced integration of all four skills in EFL teaching.
  • WELCOME &WELCOME PLUS- Welcome your young students to an everlasting experience of English Language Learning with these exciting new coursebooks for Junior levels.
  • CLICK ON….AND THE ENGLISH COMES TO LIFE– A new three-level course that combines English Language Learning. –Express Publishing ELT consultant

14:00-14:45 “ Downloading the future of ELT”

This session will examine ELT websites which are of use to the ELT profession. Participants will be shown how to maximise the potential that is available to them.Jim Kalathas, ELT consultant, teacher trainer, Cambridge University Press

14:45- 15:30 “Choosing a Coursebook: Choice, Quality and Value from OUP”.

-Themis Hatzikos, ELT Research Editor, Oxford University Press15:30- 2nd Coursebook Symposium Closing

16:00 –Certificates of attendance / Subscriptions ( ΝΟΜΑΡΧΙΑ ΡΟΔΟΠΗΣ )