Second chance schooling in Greece: a policy study, with particular attention to the situation of teachers of English

Almpanti, Theodosia (2013) Second chance schooling in Greece: a policy study, with particular attention to the situation of teachers of English. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The purpose of this study is to investigate the process and practice of Second Chance Schooling in Greece during the first decade of the schools' existence. The study focuses on the reasons why the schools were established and traces the trajectory of the development of the policy. It considers the experience of the teachers in the Second Chance Schools, as seen from the perspective of teachers of English. In particular, it considers the professional support and development of these teachers who were charged with breaking new ground in the Greek adult education system.

The fieldwork consisted of semi-structured interviews with individuals at different levels in the Greek adult education system: with the politicians who developed the ideas and oversaw the implementation of the policy; with the staff who were Involved with the central administration of the policy; with the scholars and academic staff who made up the advisory team; with the training organizers, the discipline advisors, the regional advisors, and with the head teachers and the teachers of English in one of the regions of Greece (Eastern Macedonia and Thrace). A wider group of regional Second Chance School teachers were also surveyed. All available documentation relating to the national development of Second Chance Schools was scrutinised.

The analysis of these data revealed a complex picture that developed and changed as the decade progressed. There is evidence that the Second Chance Schools policy was well received and attracted new students into adult education. As such, it had a positive impact on social and cultural problems such as illiteracy, unemployment, and lack of social cohesion. However problems arose from the manner in which EU policy on lifelong learning was adopted without adaptation to the specificities of the Greek context. The political drive to access EU funding and accept EU definitions of the social and educational needs of the country resulted in insufficient analysis of the impact of the history and cultural context of Greek adult education, regional political upheavals, immigration and the rapidly deteriorating economic situation. At the national level, therefore, I argue that the policy was insufficiently nuanced to be effective in serving the needs of Greek adult education. Furthermore, a unified generic policy for Second Chance Schooling across the whole of Greece was adopted. This in turn failed to recognise the regional variations within Greece, which, I argue, were of considerable significance to the implementation and ultimate success of the initiative. A further problem related to the Greek political process which produced frequent changes in leadership and a system that was highly dependent upon the individual in charge. Lack of infrastructural support for the policy and party political turbulence led to erratic development and changes of direction and emphasis which left teachers confused and ultimately, in many cases, demoralised.

At the school level, the policy challenged teachers of English to adopt new teaching methodologies, to take seriously the problems of adult drop-out students and debate how best to help them acquire their self-respect, stay in education and become European citizens. However, despite the fact that the need for teachers to be involved in intensive professional development was acknowledged at all levels of the system, provision of continuing professional development [CPO] was Inadequate. Gaps between the rhetoric and reality of CPO provision were ignored; there was little evidence of rigorous evaluation and provision of relevant expert guidance which might have strengthened the system and maximised the investment that was being made In the schools. The realities of teachers' contractual and professional working conditions were not taken into consideration. The effect of this was that, although the majority of Second Chance School teachers had positive attitudes towards the Second Chance Schools policy at the beginning of the period, their enthusiasm waned over the course of the decade as the inadequacies in the support and training they received came to be understood as more than just initial start-up difficulties. Consequently the gap between an ambitious and initially well-funded national adult education policy and the realities of day to day practice in Second Chance Schools deepened.

This study seeks, through careful analysis at the national, regional and individual level, to contribute to an understanding of how this important initiative might have worked better in Greece. In doing so, it offers a case study of the implementation of a European educational initiative in an EU member state and seeks to identify factors that will be significant to the development of policy in other contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Hall, C.J.
Speight, S.J.
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 14586
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2014 08:35
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2016 09:04

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