Dr Thomai Alexiou

Dr Thomai Alexiou

Associate Professor, Aristotle University

Investigating EFL at preschool level in Europe

The introduction of English in pre-primary schools has progressed rapidly in the last decades (Mourão, 2015) and has now been introduced to preschools across Europe and beyond (Eurydice, 2014). This is done despite the recognition that ‘EFL pedagogy for this specialised context is undeveloped’ (Robinson, Mourão & Kang, 2015, p.15). In this talk, we will discuss the benefits of EFL in preschoolers but also consider the major challenges that accompany this decision. We will review recent research findings on early EFL across Europe and we will discuss key parameters such as syllabus, teaching methodology, materials and teacher education. .


Dr Thomaï Alexiou is an Associate Professor at the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, School of English, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She holds an MA in TEFL from Canterbury Christ Church University and a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Wales Swansea, UK (full scholarship). She has taught English as a foreign language for about 10 years in Greece and Britain. She currently teaches courses in methodology of language teaching, pedagogical foundations in learning a foreign language (at the undergraduate level) and materials design (at the postgraduate level). Since her employment she has been involved in research projects such as PEAP (English for young learners educational project), DysTEFL2, CLIL-Prime etc.. She is also the coordinator of the Modules ‘Teaching English to Young Learners’ & 'Teacher Education' (at the postgraduate level) at the Hellenic Open University.

Her research interests concern cognitive development and individual differences in foreign language learning for very young learners while her expertise is on early foreign language learning, methodology of teaching languages to young learners (preschool and primary education), and material development for young learners. She has been invited as a speaker and teacher trainer in Greece, Europe, Australia, Russia and the UAE and she has published widely in the field of second language pedagogy. She has also written and edited textbooks for children learning English as a foreign language.She is the co-author of Magic Book 1&2, Teaching packages for the teaching of English at Grade 3 in Greek state schools. Magic Book 2 has been shortlisted for the MacMillan Education Award for New Talent in Writing (ELTons 2014).