THE “ROUTES IN TEACHING MODERN GREEK” PROGRAMME: A PRACTICAL EXAMPLE OF ONLINE LANGUAGE TEACHER TRAINING
This paper aims to present and discuss the example of a distance training course addressed to teachers of Greek as a foreign/second language called “Routes in Teaching Modern Greek”. The programme has successfully run for seven years on the web platform http://elearning.greek-language.gr and has been awarded the 2007 European Language Label for its innovative character and best practice. National strategic reference framework. The “Routes” programme has been designed, organized and implemented by the Centre for the Greek Language, the national language institute of the Greek state, which is responsible for all scientific and language policy issues pertaining to Greek as a first, second or foreign language. The implementation of the “Routes” programme concerns one of the statutory objective of the Centre, which is the promotion and support of the Greek language at an international level.
The profile of the “Routes” programme is as follows: it comprises of a system of three different programmes which are implemented in three respective courses and namely:
(a) “Routes in teaching Modern Greek as a foreign language”, an eleven-month-programme pertaining to the training of teachers of Greek as an FL abroad,
(b) “Routes in teaching Modern Greek to foreign language speakers in Greece”, a four-month programme destined for teachers of Greek as a foreign/second language in Greece and
(c) “Routes in teaching Modern Greek to students of Greek language departments”, a programme for student teachers abroad.
Particularly, the paper focuses on discussing the role of online training for language teachers in an environment that is constantly updating and changing in terms of technology. The paper briefly examines the main principals underlying the distance training in action, the questions posed, the perspectives, the problems, but also the challenges involved in relation to the target-group. The programme which is under discussion is organized on the basis of a proven effective model of online training for Greek language teachers, while concerns a heterogeneous audience of trainees from many countries of the world. Due to its characteristics the programme sets an example of best practice in networking and implementing new technologies in education, especially in the training of educators.
Moreover, the main objectives of the “Routes” programme refer to the following:
(1)The more efficient and informed teaching of Greek as a foreign/second language through the current systematisation by the institution of specialized training.
(2)The distance training and substantial support of a target-audience pertaining to the Greek Diaspora and mainly the support of on-the-spot teachers who may not be in other ways qualified.
(3)The online implementation which addresses a heterogeneous audience of teachers with varied characteristics. The online training has a high contributory benefit while it is more cost-efficient than conventional training.
(4)The charting of the target-audience, the networking of the participants, the exchange of best practices and the interaction.
(5)The establishment of a common framework of reference for the teaching of Greek as a foreign/second language which caters for all the above-mentioned categories of teachers.
Finally, the specific programme emphasized the importance of the user/trainee and is to be discussed and presented as an important paradigm of good practice in the context of distance training.