Lifelong Learning Programme

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Teachers Experiences

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TITLE OF THE EXPERIENCE
Language Barriers
NAME AND SURNAME OF THE TEACHER
Xariklia Chronopoulou
SUBJECTS TAUGHT
Literature
YEARS OF TEACHING EXPERIENCE
6
TYPE OF SCHOOL
Secondary
COUNTRY
Greece
THEMATIC AREA
Integration of immigrants students
DESCRIPTION OF THE EXPERIENCE
Schools in Greece start at the mid of September. It was my 3rd year in the Xth school of Patras and I was again teaching maths in the 3rd class. In the end of October, a young girl from Albania arrived in the classroom. It was her first year in Greece, despite the fact that her father was almost 10 years in Patras. She had finished the primary school in Tirana and the whole family decided to get to Greece permanently. So she had to move in Greece where her father was working.
Asli was a clever girl. The first 2 weeks was not really participating but she looked at the board and keep on getting notes on the things mentioned. I tried not to disturb her so much until she get quite comfortable with the rest of the class and the students.

She knew a few things in English, but her Greek were really in an early stage of understanding. Early enough, I realized that her math background was really good. Whenever I tried to explain a classwork in English, she was the one that provided the answer, but using something between in Albanian and English. She was feeling quite well after her correct answer, but still miserable since nobody in the classroom (except me, maybe), could understand the solution. Despite the fact that I tried hard to explain potential problems to her, the rest of the classroom seemed to feel annoyed by such a delay. And I had to stop doing it so much.
I decided to talk to the headmaster, since it was obvious that the problem with Asli, was just a problem with the language.
The Headmaster decided to discuss the situation with the board of parents. During this discussion, the representatives of the parents looked at that problem with the proper care. Asli was really a nice girl, and the rest of the classroom really liked her. Some of the kids had already spoken to their families for her.
The board of parents decided to take personal actions for the situation. Twice a week, 3 of them were selected and made private courses and discussions in Greek and English with Asli.
Asli’s family could not spend more time with her, since both of them were really hard workers. After 3 months, Asli could better express herself in Greek and she could easily communicate in Greek in different courses.

Comments on this Teachers Experience

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Date: 2014.08.20

Posted by Murat Topal (Turkey)

Message: In this case, the behavior of teacher was very pleasant. Here a reality is seen that diiagnosing by teachers who can have abig chance to observe children is very important. Another important pointis taht teachers should not forget the fact that language is one of the most important things to learn.
So, students –especially immigrant students- can have difficult y in undesrtanding tasks. On the other hand, this condition does not show that these student are unable to learn. As taking a diagnostic role and take some steps , such students can overcome the difficulties.

Date: 2014.08.18

Posted by Mustafa Bayrakci (Turkey)

Message: This story illustrates that the linguistic gap mirrors one of the largest obstacle to an appropriate integration of immigrant families’ pupils. This is a story about a girl who has lack of information about the Greek language, which results a lot of problems. Actually, the student does not have a good relationship with the class because of the language barrier. The teacher became aware of the fact that the girl should improve her information of the Greek language. If she does not improve, the other students in the class cannot understand her. The manager of the school and the educator deal with the situation with the guidance of other pupils’ families that organise meetings in order that it can allow the girl student to carry in Greek and better her language abilities. From my point of view, this is very fascinating solution in that it allows not only foreigner language learning, but also students’ integration coming from other countries. This solution illustrates how willing the teaachers and the manager of the school are. The families of the pupils also illustrate big willingness. On the other hand, I personally think that the school that gets foreign students had better determine various performances with a view to assisting their language learning. An appropriate incooperative school had better make up courses, together with internal or external personnel, in order to improve language learning. The most striking thing would be making up classes in the school environment itself so as to improve the amount of the attendance of the pupils. The bad point of this proposition is the high cost of those experiences since it is essential to implement space and human resources. This story emphasises how significant the diagnostic research which is done by tutors who come across with the students who have difficulty in learning is. It can be understood that educators need to identify a weakness in geology as an example and the inefficiency of the learning language. The education policy should take this information into consideration.

Date: 2014.06.02

Posted by Ana Alba (Spain)

Message: In my years of teaching I have not had a similar problem despite having been among my students some immigrant parents Mustafa Moroccan origin, friendly if a little vague it was very well accepted by their peers and the only language he knew Castilian -Andalusian was because he was born in Córdoba. Also a couple of sub-Saharan Cordoba adopted by families who were in similar case . The three students were ill but did not warn students that it probably played their origins or ignorance of the language , they spoke Spanish .
If I had students who spoke more than one language, Spanish perfectly . One Austrian father and Spanish mother who expressed himself with great perfection in German and Spanish . Handsome, good student who also studied at the Conservatory at playing the violin at parties Institute . And another student who spoke German, Spanish , English and Hebrew. His father was Jewish , his American grandmother and mother do not remember. I felt a great admiration for her : Educated , intelligent .... a great student. The best I've had in the Seneca Institute . These do not create problems , just the opposite . In both cases were educated and well placed families.
However understand that foreign immigration in the last two decades has been able to cause problems in some centers as chronicling the writing, especially in slums . I think if you can be a barrier in the school environment the lack of language and reason for delay in learning . The only way to overcome the problem is to exploit the ease with which children and adolescents to learn languages, which can facilitate putting appropriate means, the knowledge of the contents taught in education. This was the case of Galina is a Ukrainian girl who came several years, seasons , in care , home of a colleague of mine , an English teacher. When Córdoba was attending an elementary school in which exceeded without much effort , difficulty of language is joining the ranks of other children easily. He also learned English language taught my companion .

Date: 2014.06.01

Posted by Carmen Martínez Millán (Spain)

Message: I am a high school teacher and I am currently retired situation . My name is Carmen Martínez Millán and have developed my teaching in 3 Secondary Schools in the field of Geology and Biology : in Cabra ( Córdoba) , Yecla (Murcia ) and Cordoba. And in my humble opinion I will try to make a brief comment of the four situations that we face.

Also here (in Spain ) this barrier occurs with the language . But if, in this issue, is joined by the student / a is incorporated well into the academic year , the degree of difficulty is even greater. This situation makes the teacher , having to meet the educational challenges of this student / a , takes time to continue programming with the whole group.
Currently in the Spanish educational system there is a curricular adaptation that takes place each subject teacher in class . There are also classes for diversification in a teacher for each subject deals with a group of alumni / ae with different difficulties , for which a special program that caters to the individual abilities of each student is prepared.
In the case before us , I think it was a wise decision of the Director to convene a group of parents to raise the issue . As I understand some of them took care of organizing workshops and debates in Greek and English for a while to prepare this Albanian guy who got so achieve the objectives.

Date: 2014.05.21

Posted by Luciano Luongo E-MAIL ADDRESS: lucianoluongo@tiscali.it (Istituto " Datini " Prato Italy)

Message: The experience has definitely positive implications in applying the element of solidarity to the process of acceptance and integration when trying to overcome language barriers. The student's skills have been highlighted by creating a positive and reassuring atmosphere. The different language has not been an obstacle in attending classes, and the use of English as a spoken language has made it possible to welcome the student and to manage the first educational approaches. The solidarity shown by the students and the parents has favored the learning of the language of the host country and has given the foreign student a strong motivation.


 If you had a similar experience, please describe:
• background of student involved
• behaviour of other students
• behaviour of parents
• cooperation received from the other teachers
• your behaviour
• results achieved

Date: 2014.05.19

Posted by Christine CLOES (Belgium)

Message: This story highlights the importance of the diagnostic analysis made by the teachers facing pupils with learning difficulties. Teachers have to distinguish a weakness in mathematics for example and the lack of language knowledge. And the task is not so easy!
In the case of immigrant students the language is the key to access all subjects. Therefore it is a priority to early reinforce the acquisition of the learning language. The education policy has to take this priority into account. We can refer to the Guidelines dedicated to Integration of immigrant students in order to find some specific devices set up in the partner countries.
Another exemplary aspect of this testimony is the solidarity brought by the board of parents to help the pupil. It demonstrates once again that the parents’ cooperation is essential to avoid the early school leaving.

Date: 2014.05.16

Posted by NICOLETTA GROSSI (VOCATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL (SOCIAL STUDIES BUSINESS AND TOURISM) COUNTRY: ITALY)

Message: THIS STORY SHOWS THAT THE LINGUISTIC GAP REPRESENTS ONE OF THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE TO A TRUE INTEGRATION OF IMMIGRANTS STUDENTS. THE STORY TELLS ABOUT A GIRL –STUDENT FROM ALBANIA WHO ATTENDS A SECONDARY SCHOOL IN GREECE . SHE REGULARLY ATTENDS SCHOOL, IS CLEVER AND LOVED BY ALL STUDENTS, BUT HER POOR KNOWLEDGE OF THE GREEK LANGUAGE CREATES MANY PROBLEMS. IN FACT, HER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CLASS IS NOT VERY EASY BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF COMMUNICATION. THE TEACHER REALIZES THAT THE GIRL-STUDENT NEEDS TO IMPROVE HER KNOWLEDGE OF THE GREEK LANGUAGE OTHERWISE THE OTHER STUDENTS DO NOT UNDERSTAND HER. THE HEADMASTER AND THE TEACHER SURMOUNT THE PROBLEM WITH THE HELP OF OTHER STUDENTS’ PARENTS WHO CREATE MEETINGS TO ENABLE THE GIRL-STUDENT TO CONVERSE IN GREEK AND IMPROVE HER LANGUAGE SKILLS. I THINK THIS IS A VERY INTERESTING SOLUTION BECAUSE IT PERMITS BOTH FOREIGNER LANGUAGE LEARNING AND IMMIGRANT STUDENT’S INTEGRATION. THIS SOLUTION DEMONSTRATES THE WILLINGNESS OF THE TEACHERS AND THE HEADMASTER OF THE SCHOOL. EVEN THE PARENTS OF THE OTHER STUDENTS SHOW GREAT GENEROSITY. HOWEVER I BELIEVE THAT THE SCHOOL WHO RECEIVES FOREIGN STUDENTS SHOULD ADOPT DIFFERENT PRACTICES TO HELP THEIR LANGUAGE LEARNING. A TRULY INCLUSIVE SCHOOL SHOULD ORGANIZE COURSES, WITH INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL STAFF, TO PROMOTE LANGUAGE LEARNING. THE BEST THING WOULD BE TO ORGANIZE COURSES INSIDE THE SCHOOL ITSELF TO FACILITATE THE ATTENDANCE OF THE STUDENTS.
THE WEAK POINT OF THIS PROPOSAL IS THE HIGH COST OF THESE PRACTICES BECAUSE IT’S NECESSARY TO USE SPACE AND HUMAN RESOURCES.
IN OUR SCHOOL SOMETIMES WE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM WITH STUDENTS WHO DON’T SPEAK ITALIAN, BUT NOT ALWAYS OUR SCHOOL SUCCEEDS IN ORGANIZING INTERNAL COURSES FOR FOREIGNERS BECAUSE OF LACK OF FUNDS.

20 December 2014

Final Partners’ meeting

The fourth partners’ meeting took place in Florence (IT) on 15 December 2014. The meeting had the objective to check the activities carried out since the third meeting of the project and share and assess the in progress results. A special focus has been dedicated to the presentation of the strategies to solve the case scenarios.