The Novel as Textbook: Using Literature as a Teaching Material to Teach Greek as a Foreign Language to Adults

Author:

Terzakis, Marialena, 2017 The Novel as Textbook: Using Literature as a Teaching Material to Teach Greek as a Foreign Language to Adults, Flinders University, School of Humanities and Creative Arts

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Abstract

Much research in the field of Foreign Language Teaching (FLT) demonstrates that using literature as a teaching material in the FL classroom can contribute significantly to learning the target language. In particular, in the field of teaching Greek as a Foreign Language (GFL), the importance of using literature as a supplementary teaching material in the Greek language classroom and the practical considerations involved have been the focus of a number of papers in the last few years. Nevertheless, there has not yet been an investigation on the use of an unabridged literary work, a novel in particular, as the core, not supplementary, material of instruction. The present study, drawing on the field of Language Teaching Research, was an attempt to examine one aspect of this topic by investigating whether adult GFL learners would find an unabridged Greek novel appropriate for the development of their language skills in Greek. In particular, this study attempted to investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of using a ‘novel-textbook’ as the main teaching material in the GFL classroom based on the learners’ opinions. In this context, the term ‘novel-textbook’ refers to the selected Greek novel together with its accompanying materials prepared by the teacher/researcher and used as the alternative textbook package of the course. The study was carried out in a classroom at the Dutch Association in Athens, Greece. Data was obtained from twelve (n=12) adult students of various nationalities who participated voluntarily. A quantitative approach was used for collecting and analysing data. A quasi-experimental one group pretest-posttest design that allowed the researcher to make inferences on the effect of the intervention was found to be particularly suitable for this project. In the present study, the intervention took the form of a Greek language course employing a ‘novel-textbook’ in order to teach Greek as a foreign language to adults. Quantitative data was gathered from the following sources: a) a numerical rating scale questionnaire on the participants’ opinions (pre-intervention and post-intervention) about using a ‘novel-textbook’ as the main teaching material to learn Greek, and b) a Likert scale course materials evaluation questionnaire. The findings revealed that the majority of the adult GFL learners in this study found that a ‘novel-textbook’ was appropriate for the development of their language skills in Greek. Moreover, the majority of the participants considered literature an essential part of learning Greek as a foreign language and stated that they would, thus, attend a Greek language course where a ‘novel-textbook’ was the main teaching material. Last but not least, the findings also revealed some issues relating to the preparation of the accompanying materials. The insights from this study confirm the feasibility and effectiveness of using a novel as the core material of instruction in the adult GFL classroom and provide empirical evidence for the recommendations concerning the implementation of the ‘novel-textbook’ in GFL teaching. Thus, the present study suggests that, although traditional GFL textbooks are invaluable resources for teaching Greek, they are not the only choice for a given course.

Keywords: Greek language, modern Greek, Greek as a foreign language, literature in foreign language teaching, literature as a teaching material, the novel as textbook, teaching Greek as a foreign language to adults, alternative teaching materials, literature as the main teaching material in the Greek language classroom
Subject: Humanities thesis, Modern Greek thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2017
School: School of Humanities and Creative Arts
Supervisor: Michael Tsianikas