Poland - State of the Art of Content and Language Teaching

The State of Content and Language teaching in Poland

This is one of the first contributions to the FACTWorld site, way back in the early days...

Urszula Myszkorowska, Ewa Parszyk

After the Second World War, there was extensive teaching in Russian language prevailingly, with simultaneous teaching English, German, French, Italian, Greek and Latin, but at less extent. While Russian was compulsory from year 5 in the Primary School (11-12-year old children) the other foreign languages were voluntary. The situation was different in Secondary and Grammar Schools (15-19-year old) where at least one west European language was compulsory as a complement to Russian.

The radical changes became in Poland after 1989 when extensive teaching English started to be compulsory. Until nowadays the age of children who are taught English has lowered, with regard to both private and state sector.

In Poland, after the Reform in 1999, children usually start their English education in kindergartens (5-6-year old). They develop their knowledge gradually. In Primary School (7-12-year old) pupils realise 3 levels. They are; starter, elementary and pre-intermediate. Secondary Schools (13-16-year old) give the students opportunity to pass intermediate and upper-intermediate levels. Students in Grammar Schools (16-19-year old) master their skills at advanced and - in language profiled classes – proficiency level.

At the Universities students learn English for two years, but the language and vocabulary is concerned with the subject of their studies. In Poland there are also over 10 Universities and Colleges training English teachers, where all the subjects on the curriculum are lectured in English only.

Language teaching in Poland is based on English course books and syllabuses published by the leading publishing houses as Longman, Oxford, Cambridge and Macmillan Heinemann, but books for content teaching are not common.

In Poland teaching other subjects on the curriculum through the medium of English is not popular yet, but teaching English and other foreign languages via cross-curricular studies is compulsory. Different subjects (Math, Physics, Chemistry, Science, Computer Studies or Biology) students learn in their mother tongue, but some topics of them are introduced on English lessons to integrate language studies with the other subjects on the curriculum. It would be difficult to require sophisticated knowledge on mentioned subjects without specific books in English and teachers being both English and subject specialists, although there are a few profiled schools in Poland where students are taught all subjects on the curriculum by English native speakers who are subject specialists.


Ewa Parszyk

Science in Polish Teacher


Ursula Myszkorowska

English Teacher