Kecskeméti Református Általános Iskola

Author(s): Ildikó Szabó
Institution/Organisation: Kecskeméti Református Általános Iskola (HU)


1.1 Scope of the initiative


  • The initiative is undertaken at local level.
  • Target group: primary students of grades 1-4 (6-10 year old)
  • The project involved cooperation with the University of Amsterdam. The University has asked us to become one of its practice institutions where graduate students can do their final teaching practice. Since the graduate students were involved in teaching CLIL, they were looking for schools abroad, where L2 could be the language of other subjects. Two graduate students of University of Amsterdam have completed their practice in our school, mainly in lower primary classes (6-10 year old).
  • CLIL method was in the focus of an Erasmus programme, CulTiFoLa as well. The school was asked by Gáspár Károli University (the Hungarian partner of the programme) to function as the practice school of the international students involved in the programme.
  • The initiative is broadened and now teachers of the schools are involved as well. A teaching material has also been developed.
  • An exchange programme for teachers and students is to be launched next year. 

1.2 Range of languages studied


  • Covered language(s): English and German.
  • The free choice of languages is guaranteed. However, it can be influenced by the availability of teaching staff. English is much more popular than German. If a student hesitates or is not determined to learn English, we try to persuade him/her to learn German. This way there can be some language choice impose.

1.3 Learning outcomes

  • A ‘real’ motivation for students to learn L2 has been achieved by creating an authentic communicative demand.
  • Communicative competences have been developed. Students’ listening skills have improved, their oral competence is better; they are much more ready to initiate communication in L2.
  • There is no writing input during the project. Active skills are to be improved. Students are encouraged to talk, use the language in speech. Their mistakes are not corrected all the time. This way a peaceful, relaxed learning atmosphere has been created which promotes students’ self-concept as a learner.
  • The language learning process is connected to other, more general learning processes like
    • cooperative learning
    • working with peers
    • making projects
    • learning to learn strategies
    • achieving intercultural awareness

1.4 Practical realisation


  • Specific structure of the initiative: a group of teachers; the initiative is not officially controlled.
  • Project aim: to improve students’ competences in L2, create and maintain their motivation to learn a foreign language
  • The project is outside the official curriculum. Students of 6-10 years, have a 15-minute lesson in L2 every day, usually in the afternoon, in their free time. Their attendance is voluntary, but everybody has equal chances to be present in the lessons. There is no formal assessment. Students do not write or read in L2 in these lessons. There are modules that are close to their interests (family, animals, colours, home, weather and seasons, holidays, sports, clothes) and students tell rhymes, sing songs, do craftwork activities connected to the module. There are, of course, references to their subjects and covered material (e.g. they practice numbers they have learnt in Maths) in these language lessons. The language lessons have a separate corner in the classroom; without a formal seating arrangement. There is a carpet where students can sit. Their projects, drawings are put on the notice board of the classroom.
  • In Hungary L2 as a subject in introduced in year 4. The project goes along in that year with the official national curriculum. The afternoon classes are related to the topics, modules of the official lessons that are in the morning. Students are not assessed in that lesson.
  • Extra pedagogical and financial support is given to programme in the school. Since students are put into small groups (not based on their achivement, usually following alphabetical order), an extra teacher is provided to take care of the others. Teachers are paid for these lessons; plus those who start further studies to be qualified for this job, are also supported.
  • An exchange programme for teachers and students with a school in Ireland is to be launced next year.
  • Specific structure of the intititave: ? the project was inititated by the University of Amsterdam; then 3 teachers started to introduce it in the school, one of them is a lecturer at Kecskemét Teacher Training College. With a constant presence of a researcher, a close interaction with international trends in teaching L2 has been created. CulTiFoLa and Pri-Sec-Co are those EU-programmes in which our project was represented as a good example. Now 13 teachers (one third of the staff) are involved in the project teaching English/German. The initiative is so popular and has such a high prestige that more and more teachers want to work in it.


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