Curricular discourses and ELF in the Greek state school context

Nicos Sifakis, Vally Lytra, Richard J. Fay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Scholars have for some time now been debating about the role that ELF can play in different educational contexts (e.g., Canagarajah, 2007; Cook, 2009; Fay et al, 2010; Sifakis, 2009). Various issues have been brought to the fore in this regard, among others, the role of English as a vehicle of communication among non-native speakers in different communicative and cultural contexts, questions of linguistic-and-cultural identity, and issues relating to multilingualism, ideology, and the aims of foreign language education in these contexts. This paper contributes to this debate by examining the discourses in the curriculum for foreign languages (including English) that was introduced for state schools in Greece in 2011.We begin by asking the general question: What is required for a curriculum to incorporate the ELF perspective or principles? The answer is not simple and depends perhaps on at least three parameters: (a) the type of information that a curriculum, by its very nature, includes, (b) the broader context (in our case, the role that English has in the country and the tradition of English language teaching practices in the state and private sectors), and (c) the aims of the curriculum (e.g., the extent to which it is testing-drive).To illustrate and explore these issues further, we present the key aspects of the new curriculum for foreign languages in Greek state schools and discuss them with reference to ELF principles and concerns presented in the relevant literature (e.g., Jenkins, 2007; Seidlhofer, 2004). We investigate the ways in which the current curriculum discourses demonstrate an awareness by the curriculum writers of the pedagogical implications of both the increasingly complex global English language phenomenon (and its international / intercultural orientation) and the increasing cultural diversity of the Greek societal context as now evident in many state schools (its intranational / multicultural orientation). The paper ends with a consideration of the opportunities afforded by the broader remit of English as the primary foreign language taught in Greek state schools and the effect teaching, learning and assessment of English may have on the teaching, learning and assessment of subsequent foreign languages, inside and outside school.References Cook, V. (2009). Language user groups and language teaching. In V. Cook & L. Wei (Eds.), Contemporary Applied Linguistics: Language teaching and learning, Vol. 1. London: Continuum (pp. 54-75).Canagarajah, S. (2007). Lingua France English, multilingual communities and language acquisition. Modern Language Journal, 91: 923-939.Fay, R., Lytra, V. & Ntavaliagkou, M. (2010). Multicultural awareness through English: a potential contribution of TESOL in Greek schools. Intercultural Education, 21/6: 581-595.Jenkins, J. (2007). English as a lingua franca: attitude and identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Seidlhofer, B. (2004). Research perspectives on teaching English as a lingua franca. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 24: 209-239.Sifakis, N, (2009). Challenges in teaching ELF in the periphery: the Greek context. ELTJ, 63/3: 230-237.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationhost publication
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Event5th International Conference on English as a Lingua Franca - Boðaziçi University, Faculty of Education, Department of Foreign Language Education, Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 24 May 201226 May 2012


Conference5th International Conference on English as a Lingua Franca
CityBoðaziçi University, Faculty of Education, Department of Foreign Language Education, Istanbul, Turkey


  • English as a lingua franca


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