Greek Heritage Language Education in Canada 

Full Name: Themistoklis Aravossitas

Academic Affiliation: Hellenic Studies-CERES, Munk School of Global Affairs

Position: Lecturer

Abstract: Modern Greek is taught in Canada mostly as a heritage language in the context of a complex semi-official educational system which varies from province to province and involves both state/Canadian and community/Greek organizations. My research involves community-based initiatives that aim at exploring the vitality of the Greek-language in Canada by identifying the institutional support toward Greek language education and capturing the particularities of teaching and learning Greek in specific socio-cultural environments. My investigation moves on two axes: (a) locating and presenting initiatives undertaken by various organizations in order to upgrade the quality of the educational work, and (b) exploring the main problems encountered in the field by teachers, students and various stakeholders. Thus, emphasis is given in presenting (a) the programs that have been developed for Greek language education, (b) the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of learners and teachers involved in different levels and structures and (c) the resources which are currently available or needed in order to support and improve the examined educational work. Based on the findings of this inquiry and the accumulated experience, I offer concrete suggestions for the challenges and prospects of teaching Greek and any other heritage language in Canada, North America and other centers of the Greek diaspora.