You are here

Curriculum Description

Curriculum Description

New Modern Greek Language Program

In an effort to reform Greek Language and Heritage Programs, the Greek Community of Toronto leads the way by collaborating with the University of Western Macedonia, in order to develop a Modern Greek Language Curriculum that is tailored to meet the needs and interests of students who learn Greek as a second/foreign language. It is our true conviction that all students of Greek Heritage should attend Greek Language and Heritage Programs, and for this reason we are introducing GreekPaideia. GreekPaideia is a complete education program that integrates the teaching of language and culture in a proficiency-based model, and it aims to meet the learning needs of students whose first language is not Greek. The syllabus for each grade level will contain 30 units that will address the learning needs of students who study Greek, from kindergarten to the end of secondary education (6-18 years old). This syllabus will be an invaluable tool for all organizations which aspire to support Greek Language and Heritage studies. Although, it will be designed to meet the needs of schools with an intensive Greek language program (i.e., Aristotelis), GreekPaideia can easily be adopted by less comprehensive programs, due to its structure, clarity, and the classification of learning objectives according to educational value. In September of 2014 our teachers will begin to implement the curriculum for the elementary grades (K-6). To guarantee the success of this program, we have not limited “Paideia” to the sole development of a curriculum document... In addition to this, we will be developing student books and the respective teachers’ guides for the elementary and the secondary grades. The estimated date of completion of GreekPaideia is September of 2018. Until this date, our schools will continue to implement Greek Language programs that are recognized by the Greek Ministry of Education. In the school year of 2015-2016, our teachers will be able to utilize the curriculum for the elementary grades (K-6), the student books for grades 1 to 6, and the teachers’ guides for the aforementioned grades. We invite you to embrace and support this important undertaking to reform and upgrade Greek Language Education.

"Paideia” is a Modern Greek Language, Literature and Heritage Program which integrates the teaching of language and culture in a proficiency-based model, and it aims to meet the learning needs of students whose first language is not Greek, and it is based on the latest research and theoretical frameworks in the field of language instruction. Specifically, the development of “Paideia” is based on the following: 

An effective Greek literacy syllabus will meet the following requirements: 

a) It will approach the instruction of Modern Greek as a second or additional language, since the majority of students live in a purely English speaking environment. The new language syllabus is based on international best-practice models for the instruction of international languages. It integrates the teaching of language and culture in a proficiency-based model that caters for students from all backgrounds. 

b) It will take into account contemporary curricula for English (e.g. Ontario Curriculum), and for International Languages programs, and it will incorporate elements (teaching and learning strategies, assessment tools etc.) that are familiar to students and will further enhance students’ Greek language learning. Additionally, it will take into account the document “Working with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) in the Canadian Context: Guide for policy-makers and curriculum designers”. This is an effort intended to generate reflection among ministries of education and local jurisdictions, such as school boards, universities, and research centres, with respect to the potential use of the CEFR in the Canadian context. It provides possible avenues of direction to policy-makers and curriculum designers with regard to the use of the CEFR in the Canadian context, taking into account Canadian concepts of language teaching, learning, and assessment, recent research developments, and innovative programs that have been implemented in Canadian provinces and territories for over 30 years. This initiative is part of an ongoing societal response shaped by citizen mobility and by increasing numbers of multicultural and multilingual newcomers to Canada. 

c) It will be in accordance to the guidelines stipulated by Greek Legislation in regards to the acquisition of language skills and the respective levels of Greek Language Proficiency. Specifically, the levels of attainment of all aspects of the Greek language are defined by the Common European Framework of References for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. The Common European Framework provides a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks, etc. across Europe. It describes in a comprehensive way what language learners have to learn to do in order to use a language for communication and what knowledge and skills they have to develop so as to be able to act effectively. The description also covers the cultural context in which language is set. The Framework also defines levels of proficiency which allow learners’ progress to be measured at each stage of learning and on a life-long basis. =

Principals and Key Features of Greek Paideia:

A. It is modern, as it aims to:

• Utilize contemporary and research based teaching theories, which will enable instructors to apply the most effective teaching approaches. 
• Introduce active and cooperative learning, which enhance student participation in various learning environments that promote communication. Thus, every student’s learning is whole and envelops all aspects of language (listening, speaking, reading, writing, etc.). 
• Develop multi-literacies, which allow students to construct meaning from the cultural and linguistic features that are present in Greek Culture and Language. 
• Cultivate cognitive and metacognitive language learning strategies. 
• Promote bilingual awareness, and help students make connections between English and Greek. 
• Enhance students' creativity, communication, and critical thinking skills. 
• Apply alternative forms of assessment, (personal learning plan, student portfolio, self and peer assessment etc.).

B. It is balanced, as it aims to:

• Introduce a “balanced approach” to Greek language education. This will lead to the utilization and construction of a wide variety of materials that support differentiated instruction. Additionally, this syllabus will highlight a host of different elements that can be found in a contemporary literacy program, (i.e., teaching resources and tools, methods of instruction and assessment, etc.). This “balanced approach” will be beneficial to all students. 
• Catalog different learning activities and teaching techniques, which meet the needs, interests and learning profiles of all students.

C. It is student-centered and inclusive, as it aims to:

• Utilize students’ prior knowledge, and attainment level 
• Meet diverse needs and interests 
• Satisfy different learning styles (sensory, multimodal learning environment) 
• Engage all students in the learning process

D. It is cross-curricular, as it aims to:

• Organize and connect content with the culture, history and traditions of Greece 
• Organize and connect content with the culture, history and traditions of Canada 
• Promote intercultural awareness 

E. It is Detailed, as it aims to:

• Provide complete lesson plans and solid guidance to all Greek language teachers. Learning expectations, fundamental and secondary, will be explicit and easy to comprehend. Similarly, teaching strategies will be specific and easy to adopt and to be applied in the classroom. Thus, the syllabus will be a perfect companion to all educators involved in Greek Language Education, regardless of whether they are certified teachers or not. 

F. It is flexible, as it aims to:

• Support language programs of different schools, with a variety of learning objectives. Specifically, the syllabus will differentiate learning expectations for each unit according to level of educational value. Therefore, schools with more intensive programs (i.e., Aristotelis) can adopt the whole content of the syllabus; whereas schools with less comprehensive programs (i.e., St. Demetrios) will be able to focus on the fundamental and most important learning objectives that are outlined in the syllabus. Finally, due to the fact that “Modern Greek Paideia” integrates the teaching of language and culture in a proficiency-based model, students have the ability to enter at different points, depending on their language proficiency.