In the previous article, assessment was just an example of how different aspects of running a school might be interrelated, although seemingly unconnected to the naked eye. This was enough to get me thinking.
Assessment is the backbone of every schooling unit and not just something that teachers like to do on rainy evenings when they are too bored to teach.
Therefore, assessment has to be well planned in advance and reviewed every year so that the necessary adjustments can be made.
As the backbone of the school, assessment is very sensitive: it can make the school or break it.
There are a number of issues that are related with testing. The first one is book selection.
When choosing books school owners and DoSs ought to look at the way the particular textbook views assessment.
Nowadays, with the emphasis placed on the CEFR and the consequent focus on self assessment, it is hard to find books which do not include a strong self-assessment feature.
From this point onwards, it is the school’s business to determine how self assessment is going to be applied in the everyday reality of the school and how it will become part of the assessment policy of the school.
Other issues which the schools should decide upon beforehand are the role of continuous assessment and the part qualitative assessment will play in comparison to quantitative. To illustrate this we need to think of how the students’ general output is evaluated.
If students produce continuous language during the lesson, will this be taken into consideration and how? If questions such as this are answered before the beginning of the school year, teachers will be able to assess their students in the same way.
This means that it is necessary for schools to have an assessment policy. The assessment policy will be produced by the whole staff and it might present variations between the different levels (junior, senior, exams).
It will determine which tests will be assigned, how long they will be and when they will be taken. This will help the teachers plan their work as well as enable them to work at more or less the same pace.
The assessment policy will also ensure that students who belong in different groups will be assessed on the same amount of output, thus securing uniformity and fairness.
Another benefit brought on by having an assessment policy is the fact that it will prevent teachers from viewing tests as separate incidents within the year. They might be for us but not for the students.
If students have to cope with more than one test per week, we make it easier for them to fail. Furthermore, we do not wish them to have teachers separated in two categories: those who give the easy tests and those who give the difficult ones.
But, in all honesty, are there ‘easy’ and ‘difficult’ tests and which serve better the interests of the school?
Assessment does not only bring awe to the students, it manages to surround schools with fear too. Many school owners believe that ‘difficult’ tests will lead students to failure which might jeopardise the future of some students in that school.
Therefore, they opt not to give multiunit tests. There are obvious benefits, of course but they are sort lived. Not training students to revise and test their progress on large amounts of material handicaps them for life, which will sooner or later catch their parents’ attention.
After all, as their teachers, we do not just aim to teach them the lesson of the day. We aim to train them in developing learning-to-learn strategies and skills.
If the school makes limited demands on the students, then it unwittingly sets them up: they might be successful for the time being but only because our expectations are so low.
Rushing to give students high marks to please their parents and stop them from removing their children from our school does not guarantee the longevity nor the prosperity of the school. Quite the contrary!
Tests need not be easy or difficult. They need to be fair. Much like the assessment policy of the school should assess all the aspects of the students’ oral and written output, any one test should cover all the units assigned and not just some.
It should be properly designed to include a proportionate amount of Grammar, Vocabulary and Skills and, most importantly, it ought to test the material in the way it was taught, avoiding novelties.
Novelties can be introduced during the revision lessons, which are always necessary before major tests, so that students are familiar with what they will come across. In addition, tests ought to be student-friendly.
They should have a wide variety of tasks, be nicely typed with clear fonts, include rubrics in both languages for classes up to A1 and examples. Even the smallest quiz should be weighed before it is given to the students and the marks each task gets should be clearly written.
Finally, the students should have a fair amount of time to write the test. Usually this is a matter of estimating the time the slowest and the fastest students will need to do each task, adding up the sum and then finding the average.
What saddens me the most concerning assessment is the fact that two out of the four skills, listening and speaking, are usually left out when it comes to formal assessment.
It is as if we forget they matter for the first six years of the students’ learning career and then suddenly we wake up to the fact that they are essential, when students reach the B2 level.
Reading and writing are easier to include, though once again fear of losing students very often leads school owners to opt not to include them. Listening seems to be too difficult to administer along with semester tests. If this is true then separate listening tests can be designed and surely, there is time for a speaking exam, even if it is only once every year.
Having talked about assessment it seems weird that I have still not touched upon the issue of who writes the tests. “The teachers, of course!” would be the innocent answer but some might lift an eyebrow and mention the mass produced tests that accompany every student’s book published nowadays.
I must admit that publishing houses have done an excellent job with those tests and most of the times they are a great source of inspiration, but they can never replace teacher-produced tests.
The reasons for that are manifold. Firstly, the teacher knows his/her class. Even if the test is produced by all the teachers who teach B2 level students, they will still take into consideration how their class will handle the material.
Secondly, some of the mass produced tests along with their keys, are sold at bookstores, which means that parents can find them. Fortunately, publishing houses have given us excellent tools to work with.
So, nowadays we can lay our hands on tests published on CD ROMs, which can be adapted and edited to the needs of our students.
This article would not feel ‘complete’ if I did not mention that assessment is also interconnected with the issue of informing parents and discussing their children’s progress with them. This will be discussed in a future article.
Maria Sachpazian, BA education, RSA dip/tefl (hons) is an ELF teacher employed at the Straight Up Markoyannopoulou schools. She is also an educational management specialist who has worked as a teacher trainer and materials’ developer. Maria and her associate George Moumoulidis run Input on Education, a company which provides academic support and consultancy to Foreign Language Schools.
Use the table below to evaluate the quality of the secretarial services in a Language School.
Of course, the criteria mentioned in the table may need to be verified to match each context in question but the points mentioned include all the basic services to be examined.
Please, also note that this table has been designed for developmental purposes. Discussion should follow the findings of the evaluation and new aims should be set for developing and improving the co-operation and services offered in the Language School.
Finally, I need to point out that it is taken for granted that the person who is to be evaluated has, previously, gone through training and had adequate practice time in situations which reflect the content of the points in the table.
15. Ability to work under pressure and within short deadlines.
Akis Davanellos has been a school owner and Practitioner Teacher for twenty three years and he holds an MA in ELT from the University of Warwick. He has written a number of articles in local and international journals and he has worked for international and local publishing companies presenting professional and commercial seminars and courses. He has also been involved in forthcoming book evaluations and piloting. He is the initiator and the main materials designer of the IGUANA PROJECT publishing house, the initiator of the Iguana Project Educational Support System for schools (I.P.E.S.S.). He has also developed the ‘e-enilikes’ method for adult education and various e-learning programs for distant learning.
Μια διασκευή από το βιβλίο του Φιοντόρ Μιχ. Ντοστογιέφσκι «Το όνειρο ενός γελοίου» και από το επίμετρο του επίσης μεγάλου συγγραφέα Σωτήρη Γουνελά.
Μέρος δεύτερο: Ταξίδι στην ανθρώπινη ιστορία
Τι να ήταν αυτό το τρομερό θέαμα; Τι άλλο θα μπορούσε να ήταν από την αμαρτία.
Χωρίς να το καταλάβει οδηγούσε ανάμεσα στους πρώτους ανθρώπους γνωρίζοντας για την αμαρτία ενώ αυτοί δεν ήξεραν.
Έβλεπε πολέμους, αναστατώσεις, καταστροφές και εγκλήματα που κρατούσαν αιώνες, όμως αυτός τα έβλεπε συμπυκνωμένα σε δέκατα του δευτερολέπτου.
Η ψυχή του σημαδεμένη από αυτό το τρομερό χρώμα, κάλυπτε αποστάσεις ασύλληπτες με εκπληκτική ταχύτητα.
Δεν γνώριζε πώς γινόντουσαν όλα αυτά, δεν μπορούσε να ξεδιαλύνει τούτο το μυστήριο.
Αυτό που γνώριζε ήταν η πορεία του ανθρώπου μέσα στους αιώνες, μια σταθερή αλυσίδα από πράξεις ντυμένες πάντα στο ίδιο μαυροκόκκινο χρώμα.
Πάτησε φρένο και σταμάτησε εκεί, στο άνοιγμα της αβύσσου. Έσπρωξε την πόρτα της νταλίκας με δύναμη και βγήκε έξω.
Ο αέρας μύριζε αίμα. Το αίμα είχε γίνει σημάδι αναγνώρισης εκείνων των ανθρώπων. Όσοι απόμεναν αθώοι και αγνοί κινδύνευαν και καταδιώκονταν.
Λογιών – λογιών αρρώστιες έκαναν την εμφάνισή τους. Ο παιδεμός της ψυχής ξεσπούσε στο σώμα και το έφθειρε. Δεν υπήρχε η αίσθηση του χώρου και του χρόνου και είχαν πάψει να είναι συμφιλιωμένοι με την πλάση.
Στις φωνές τους δεν υπήρχε μουσική, ζεστασιά και αγάπη. Τα βλέμματά τους ήταν ανακατεμένα με πόνο και ξερό δάκρυ. Στο μεταξύ οι άνθρωποι πλήθαιναν χωρίς κανένα ρυθμό, χωρίς κανένα μέτρο.
Οι γενιές διαδέχονταν η μία την άλλη σχεδόν πανομοιότυπα. Κάθε γενιά κληρονομούσε τα κακά της προηγούμενης, αλλά κανείς δεν μίλαγε για διόρθωση, παρά μόνο για διατήρηση.
Μόνο στα μικρά παιδιά έβλεπες ίχνη της αρχαίας καθαρότητας που σιγά – σιγά κι αυτή έσβηνε με τα χρόνια και πνιγόταν στο γενικότερο κλίμα.
Στους καιρούς εκείνους εμφανίζονταν συχνά άνδρες που κάτι από το αρχαίο φως είχε ανάψει μέσα τους και κήρυτταν στους ανθρώπους την αγάπη και την αρετή.
Οι πιο πολλοί άκουγαν αλλά δεν καταλάβαιναν και το κυριότερο, και να ήθελαν, δεν μπορούσαν να αλλάξουν. Στο τέλος τους σκότωναν και ζούσαν στη λήθη του εγκλήματός τους.
Έτσι περνούσαν οι εποχές και στην ατμόσφαιρα κυριαρχούσε το ίδιο βαρύ χρώμα. Από αυτό το χρώμα έφτιαχναν τα τραγούδια τους και τα ποιήματά τους, βάζοντας μέσα αυτό που τους ταίριαζε.
Τους φόβους, τις ενοχές, τις αγωνίες, τα βάσανα, τις λύπες, τις προσωρινές χαρές, τους εγωισμούς, τις μανίες, τις τρέλες τους και όλα σχεδόν ήταν τραγούδια που έκρυβαν τον πόνο και την εξορία από τον αρχαίο παράδεισο.
Το κακό που κυβερνούσε, μια χτύπαγε στο εσωτερικό της χώρας, και μια εκδηλωνόταν με σύρραξη ανάμεσα σε λαούς χωρισμένους και διαφορετικούς.
Οι άρχοντες που κυβερνούσαν χρησιμοποιούσαν με ευκολία τα ονόματα των θεών για να δικαιολογήσουν τις πράξεις και τις διαμάχες τους.
Πολλοί από αυτούς θεωρούσαν τον εαυτό τους δυνατότερο από τους Θεούς και άλλοι δεν δίσταζαν να λένε πως είναι κάτι σαν συγγενείς τους. Οι σοφοί και οι δίκαιοι που ενίοτε κυβερνούσαν πέρναγαν γρήγορα και ο κόσμος τους ξεχνούσε.
Οι άνθρωποι ζούσαν σαν να ήταν μέσα σε ένα αόρατο δίχτυ που κράταγε την ψυχή κλειστή στο φως του Θεού και τους επέτρεπε να συντηρούνται μόνο από τα λάθη τους, τις ατέλειες και τα βάσανά τους. Κανείς δεν έπρεπε να τολμήσει να μιλήσει για θείες αλήθειες, κανείς δεν έπρεπε να ασχολείται με τα μυστήρια του Θεού.
Καθώς κυλούσαν οι αιώνες, οι χωρισμένοι λαοί θέσπισαν θεσμούς και τους θεοποίησαν. Την οικογένεια, τον τόπο που γεννήθηκαν, τις καθημερινές τους συνήθειες.
Ορισμένες καταστάσεις της ψυχής τους που δεν τις καταλάβαιναν, τις έντυσαν με χρώματα και τις έκλεισαν στους ναούς. Οι άνθρωποι που ζούσαν μέσα στους ναούς προσπαθούσαν να επεξεργαστούν τα λιγοστά στοιχεία της πρωτόκτιστης λάμψης, να τα ξεδιαλύνουν, να τα χωνέψουν.
Γι αυτό είχαν καθιερώσει ειδικές τελετές καθαρμών και πίστευαν πως έτσι θα πλησίαζαν περισσότερο την χαμένη αλήθεια, το χαμένο φως.
Ωστόσο, το φως του Δημιουργού δεν φαινόταν πουθενά. Όσοι Τον γύρευαν σκαλίζοντας το μυαλό τους το μόνο που κατάφερναν ήταν να τρέφουν την φαντασία τους με απέραντους συνδυασμούς που είχαν για βάση τους τον ορατό κόσμο.
Από κει ξεκινούσαν είτε με το μάτι είτε με το μυαλό και προέκτειναν ύστερα το έργο τους σε μια διάσταση που τη θεωρούσαν υπερκόσμια.
Έτρεχαν πίσω από τον Θεό με μεγαλοστομίες,
εκεί που Αυτός ήθελε ταπείνωση.
Έρχονταν πίσω Του, γιγαντώνοντας το νου τους
και πιστεύοντας ότι κρατούν το σύμπαν μεσ’ στο κεφάλι τους,
εκεί που Αυτός ήθελε μετάνοια.
Έτρεχαν πίσω Του, γεμάτοι αστραφτερές εικόνες,
βαρύγδουπα λόγια και ποιητικά σχήματα,
εκεί που Αυτός ήθελε απλότητα.
Εξηγούσαν, ερμήνευαν, ταξινομούσαν τον κόσμο,
πιστεύοντας στις διανοητικές τους ικανότητες,
εκεί που Αυτός περίμενε να θανατώσουν το εγώ τους.
Μιλούσαν για τα πάθη της ψυχής και δεν έβλεπαν πως οι διεργασίες της διάνοιας και η διαρκής αναζήτηση μέσα από αυτή είναι το χειρότερο πάθος. Με τον καιρό οι άνθρωποι αυτοί κατασκεύασαν ένα απέραντο κόσμο θεμελιωμένο στη φαντασία τους με όσα στοιχεία τους άφησαν οι προηγούμενες γενιές. Έναν κόσμο που για να γίνει, επιστρατεύτηκαν όλες οι ανθρώπινες γνώσεις φυσικής, μαθηματικών, αστρονομίας, ιατρικής, αρχιτεκτονικής, βοτανολογίας, μαγείας, φιλοσοφίας, πληροφορικής… Έναν κόσμο αλλιώτικο, ένα κόσμο σημερινό.
Ο Μήτσος ξαφνιάστηκε. Του φαινόντουσαν τώρα όλα τόσο οικεία. Κοίταξε τον εαυτό του. Ναι, ήταν αυτός και βρισκόταν ζωντανός μέσα σ’ αυτόν τον κόσμο.
Η νταλίκα ήταν δίπλα του, πραγματική, σιδερένια, με τη μηχανή να δουλεύει και τα καυσαέρια να τον πνίγουν. Δεν μπορούσε να καταλάβει αν αυτό που ζούσε τώρα ήταν όνειρο ή πραγματικότητα.
Η λύση δόθηκε από το ξυπνητήρι. Σηκώθηκε αναστατωμένος. Τι βραδιά και τούτη. Ετοιμάστηκε στα γρήγορα όπως πάντα και έφυγε από το σπίτι.
Μέρος τρίτο: Σκέψεις και ερωτήματα
Στο δρόμο το μυαλό του Μήτσου ήταν φορτωμένο με σκέψεις. Επηρεασμένος από τα όνειρα που είχε δει λίγο πριν, συναισθηματικά φορτισμένος, προσπαθούσε να ταξινομήσει τις σκέψεις του.
Είναι αισιόδοξος από την φύση του και δεν τον λυγίζουν εύκολα τα προβλήματα της ζωής. Έτσι και τώρα, το μυαλό του ανέβασε στροφές και άρχισε να παράγει.
«Πολύ ωραίο το πρώτο όνειρο, αλλά εκεί που είδα τον εαυτό μου να ζει πραγματικά ήταν στο δεύτερο. Στην κόλαση δηλαδή.
Εκεί που τα πάντα ήταν καλυμμένα με εκείνο το σκούρο μαυροκόκκινο χρώμα. Εκεί που όλα φάνταζαν τρομακτικά, γεμάτα κακία και μίσος.
Αλλά για στάσου. Εγώ, τι σχέση έχω με όλα αυτά; Δεν έχω διαφορές με κανένα, δεν μισώ κανένα, το αντίθετο θα έλεγα, χαίρομαι να βλέπω τον κόσμο να προκόβει.
Κανονικά θα έπρεπε να βρισκόμουν «ζωντανός» στο προηγούμενο όνειρο, εκεί που είδα την πραγματική Αλήθεια, και όχι σ’ αυτό. Τι να πω, δεν μπορώ να το εξηγήσω.
Σκέφτομαι μπας και έχω ξεστρατίσει, μπας και έχω ντεραπάρει και δεν το έχω καταλάβει. Έχει στροφές περίεργες αυτή η ζωή. Ποιος από μας δεν έχει ξεστρατίσει άλλωστε; Ποιος δεν έχει ντεραπάρει;
Ωστόσο, όλοι βαδίζουν και τείνουν προς τον ένα και τον ίδιο στόχο. Κάποια στιγμή σκέφτονται το μετά. Από τον πιο σοφό μέχρι τον τελευταίο κακούργο, μόνο που πορεύονται προς τα κει από διαφορετικούς δρόμους. Αυτή είναι μια παλιά αλήθεια.
Άρα… να, δεν θα κουραστώ πολύ να την εξηγήσω …. γιατί εγώ την είδα, ναι, την είδα την πραγματική Αλήθεια. Είδα και ξέρω ότι οι άνθρωποι μπορούν να είναι ωραίοι και ευτυχισμένοι χωρίς να χάσουν την επίγεια ζωή τους. Ναι, μπορούν!
Δεν θέλω να πιστεύω ότι το κακό είναι η φυσική κατάσταση των ανθρώπων. Ωστόσο, γι’ αυτή μου την πεποίθηση μπορεί και να με κοροϊδέψουν. Να πω πάλι τι; Ότι είδα την Αλήθεια; Θα με πάρουν για τρελό. Και όμως, εγώ την είδα. Δεν την φαντάστηκα με το νου μου και η ζωντανή της εικόνα έχει σφραγίσει τη μνήμη μου.
Την είδα προικισμένη με μια τελειότητα τόσο απόλυτη που δεν μπορώ να πιστέψω πως δεν υπάρχει στους ανθρώπους. Ναι, ακόμα και στους ανθρώπους του σήμερα. Αφού είναι έτσι λοιπόν, πώς και ξεστράτισα;
Και αν πάλι έχω ντεραπάρει σε κανένα χαντάκι, πως με βγάζω πάλι στο δρόμο; Για να αποκαταστήσω την πορεία τι κάνω; Πως πρέπει ν’ αρχίσω;
Το αγνοώ, γιατί δεν ξέρω να το εκφράσω με λόγια. Σα να έχω κομπλάρει μετά από όλα αυτά. Τουλάχιστον όσον αφορά τις απαραίτητες λέξεις, τις ουσιαστικές. Αλλά τι πειράζει; Θα πάω να τα πω όλα στους φίλους μου, όπως μπορώ, στον Μπάμπη, στη γυναίκα μου στους ….
Θα πάω να τα πω, να τα πω όλα, αν και δεν ξέρω να ξαναπώ τι είδα. Και πες πως το κάνω. Τι θα καταλάβουν ακόμα και οι καλλίτεροι; «Ένα όνειρο, θα λένε, να τι είδε, ένα όνειρο, ένα βραχνά, μια παραίσθηση, σιγά...» Έ, …. Έ … όλα αυτά δεν μου φαίνονται έξυπνα.
Κάποιοι θα μου συμπεριφερθούν κατά τα γνωστά, τόσο περήφανα! Ένα όνειρο; Τι είναι ένα όνειρο; Και η ζωή μας δεν είναι ένα όνειρο; Έ και; Τι πειράζει; Τι πειράζει αν ο Παράδεισος δεν ξαναγυρίσει ποτέ; Εγώ παρ’ όλα αυτά θα τον κηρύττω. Θα κηρύττω αυτό που είδα.
Ωστόσο, είναι τόσο απλό. Ναι, θα μπορούσε σε μια και μόνο μέρα, σε μια και μόνο ώρα, να έχουν όλα φτιάξει. Κι ας υπάρχουν οι αντιθέσεις. Οι αντιθέσεις και η διαφορετικότητα είναι μεσ’ το παιχνίδι της ζωής. Αυτό είναι το αλατοπίπερο. Η ουσία είναι να αγαπάς τον πλησίον σου σαν τον εαυτό σου.
Αυτό είναι όλο. Έτσι χτίζεται ο Παράδεισος. Δεν χρειάζονται άλλα υλικά. Μόνο αγάπη. Παλιά η συνταγή που παραμένει όμως πάντα αποτελεσματική.
«Η συνείδηση της ζωής είναι ανώτερη από τη ζωή, η γνώση των νόμων της ευτυχίας ανώτερη από την ευτυχία» Να, με τι πρέπει να παλέψω. Και θα παλέψω! Θα παλέψουμε όλοι. Αρκεί όλοι να το θελήσουμε, και στη στιγμή όλα θ’ αλλάξουν, θα επανορθωθούν.»
Με τις σκέψεις αυτές ο Μήτσος έφτασε στην νταλίκα που ήταν ήδη έτοιμη και τον περίμενε φορτωμένη. Ανέβηκε πάνω. Έπιασε το τιμόνι στα στιβαρά χέρια του, γύρισε το κλειδί της μηχανής, έριξε μια τελευταία ματιά στο κοντρόλ, έκανε τον σταυρό του, κατέβασε το χειρόφρενο και το βαρύ αμάξωμα άρχισε σιγά – σιγά να κινείται. Το γνωστό γι’ αυτόν ταξίδι για τη Φρανκφούρτη μόλις άρχιζε.
Το άρθρο που μόλις διαβάσατε ήταν και το τελευταίο του Θανάση, που έφυγε από κοντά μας στις 29/12/2011 μετά από μια πολύχρονη μάχη με τον καρκίνο.
Ο Θανάσης γεννήθηκε στην Αθήνα το 1950, σπούδασε Οικονομικά και Αγγλική Φιλολογία, εργάστηκε για πολλά χρόνια στην Εθνική Τράπεζα αλλά παραιτήθηκε για να ασχοληθεί με τη μεγάλη αγάπη του, τη διδασκαλία. Μαζί με τη σύζυγό του Μαίρη διατηρούσαν Κέντρο Ξένων Γλωσσών στην περιοχή του Γκύζη.
Ο Θανάσης ήταν σκεπτόμενος άνθρωπος. Διάβαζε και έγραφε πολύ. Στην ELT NEWS αρθρογραφούσε τακτικά και είχε φανατικούς αναγνώστες, που επεσήμαιναν τις περιοδικές απουσίες του από τις μόνιμες στήλες μας. Ο Θανάσης έδινε όμως τη μάχη του και μόλις συνερχόταν, καθόταν και πάλι στον υπολογιστή του κι έγραφε.
Βλεπόμαστε και μιλούσαμε συχνά. Τον περασμένο Οκτώβριο είχε περάσει από το γραφείο μας για τη συνηθισμένη κουβεντούλα. «Οι γιατροί μου έχουν δώσει 3 μήνες ζωής» μου είπε. Φαινόταν ήρεμος. Ένα μήνα αργότερα συναντηθήκαμε ξανά, με την ευκαιρία της γενικής συνέλευσης του QLS, του οποίου ήταν ένθερμο μέλος του Διοικητικού Συμβουλίου. Δεν ήταν καλά. Εμεινε όμως μέχρι το τέλος της συνέλευσης και μετά πήγε κατευθείαν στο νοσοκομείο. Μιλήσαμε στο τηλέφωνο το Νοέμβριο. Είχε στείλει ένα μεγάλο άρθρο για το Μήτσο και το Νίτσε που θα δημοσιευόταν σε συνέχειες. «Πού να το κόψω Θανάση;» ρώτησα. «Σε κείνο το σημείο» μου απάντησε αμέσως, σαν να το ήξερε απ’ έξω. «Πώς είσαι;» «Το παλεύω…θα δούμε…» Λίγο πριν την Πρωτοχρονιά άφησε την τελευταία του πνοή.
Θέλω να εκφράσω τα θερμά μου συλλυπητήρια στη Μαίρη και στα παιδιά, το Σπύρο και τη Φωτεινή, που συνεχίζουν το έργο του. Είμαι σίγουρη πως δεν θα τον ξεχάσουν ποτέ όπως δεν θα τον ξεχάσουν όσοι είχαν την τύχη να τον γνωρίσουν από κοντά.
Στο καλό, αγαπημένε μας Θανάση.
The topic of this short article is to investigate the following question: “what makes a good teacher?”
Every language school, every school owner, every teacher, every publisher promises a significant change for each and every learner in our classes.
But do teachers teach in such a motivating way that learners learn what they really need?
It is my view that in the majority of language schools most of the work is done through text books which, without any doubt, make the teacher’s life easier.
I do not blame the publishing houses, which are commercial companies rather than educational bodies and their aim is not necessarily to improve the state of affairs in the field of English Language Teaching.
I am asking teachers: “Are you really satisfied with just using the text book in your class, going through page after page and being predictable and de - motivating?”
I believe that if teachers can’t do anything beyond the books used in class, they miss something seriously important in this profession.
The majority of school owners worry more about the curriculum design which may not be easily comprehended by the learners than the results they are going to achieve.
In my opinion classroom teaching methodology needs more attention and certainly more respect because through professional Teacher Education courses and seminars a teacher may realise that: each leaner is unique and each learner’s needs are different.
The course book is simply another ‘tool’ in the hands of a trained teacher. However without the teacher’s intuition, management and appropriate adaptation no course book can be effective. After all, if course books could teach, what would the role of the teacher be?
I encourage all classroom teachers to think seriously about the methodology they apply and reflect on it. It is the only way to break the boundaries of the text book and develop a world of professionalism, creativity and innovation.
School owners should be responsible for the development of their teachers, organise in-service training seminars and discuss with their teachers possible ways to improve the system and apply new methodologies.
Suggestions for school owners
• Do not force the implementation of a curriculum that was designed ‘once upon a time’.
• Apply methodologies that make the language learning process more motivating.
• Arrange regular meetings with the teachers to discuss various issues such as:
1. How effective was your teaching last week/month?
2. What kind of problems did you have in your class last week/month?
3. In which specific area do your students need more attention?
4. Are there any problems with specific students?
5. What is the appropriate action to be taken to solve a specific problem?
6. Are there any new worksheets, games, activities, etc that have been used this week/month?
7. Are there any suggestions on how to improve a particular area?
8. Is there a new article, book, website etc the teachers have found useful?
Suggestions for teachers
• Take initiatives.
• Look around for interesting and professional courses and seminars in order to find out the secrets of the art of teaching.
• Incorporate new technologies.
• Design your own materials.
• Use resource books and share ideas with other teachers.
In other words, discover the secrets of teaching, be creative, improve the way your students learn the language, experiment and evaluate, re-design and become a professional teacher in an ever changing environment.
Akis Davanellos has been a school owner and Practitioner Teacher for twenty three years and he holds an MA in ELT from the University of Warwick. He has written a number of articles in local and international journals and has worked for international and local publishing companies presenting professional and commercial seminars and courses. He has also been involved in forthcoming book evaluations and piloting. He is the initiator and the main materials designer of the IGUANA PROJECT publishing house, the initiator of the Iguana Project Educational Support System for schools (I.P.E.S.S.). He has also developed the
‘e-enilikes’ method for adult education and various e-learning programs for distant learning.
I first met her at a children’s party. One of those tedious events young parents suffer in order to keep their offspring happy;
where the kids run around screaming, leaving half-eaten bits of sandwich and squashed cake everywhere, and parents look apologetically at each other and murmur “I don’t know what got into little Tommy ... definitely much better behaved, normally.”
Apart from the kids the only adults who get any kick out of a kiddy-bash are the divorced or unhappy-with-their-marriage ones.
They get the chance to talk to someone interesting, without getting accused of chatting them up, and maybe work out if there’s any chance of a private tête-a-tête - or even something better - later on. They also get some idea of what kind of kiddy baggage the other party’s carrying!
Ginger was one of these ladies. Her sultry, sexy come-on look suggested she might be interested in some post-party petting if the opportunity presented itself, though it said little else.
She had good legs, firm tits like little apples, long ginger hair and a gorgeous smile. “What more could you ask for,” I thought, as I wondered which of the little savages dashing in and out of the garden furniture was hers.
One of the problems of being a divorced teacher working in an English Language School, where students are taught up to 10 pm at night, is that your working hours rather restrict the possibility of meeting other like minded and interesting individuals - apart from teachers in the same establishment. And that for me was a firm no-no.
If the affair cooled down, which it probably would, then I certainly didn’t want to be passing the same unsettling, pouting expression, daily, as I trundled down the corridor.
No, the thought of an affair with a teacher was only a couple of rungs higher than the biggest no-no-no ever: an affair with a student.
Besides, teachers were not as inventive in the bedroom as they were in the classroom. Plenty of missionary position, but little else. At least, as far as my experience went!
And, testosterone not being a commodity with unlimited shelf life, I wanted to use mine to its maximum while it lasted. All the stories I’d heard were that after forty, recharge time and libido went down considerably, a decrease increasing dramatically by the decade, so I wanted to make use of mine at a time in my life when I didn’t need to fill in the intervals between the action with lots of lengthy talk and long-dragged-out cigarettes.
No, having exited one relationship, together with the only thing worth saving from it - an adorable daughter - I wanted a bit of sexual freedom with like-minded souls before considering what I was going to do with my future.
So, the feeling I got from Ginger’s sly, tingling, enigmatic look was that maybe we could do each other ... a good turn.
And the thought caused a comforting hardness to make itself felt. Both mind and body were perfectly attuned and synchronised.
I got her a drink and topped up my own; then looked soulfully into her eyes as she skilfully chatted about all the other women in the room.
To believe her, I would have to imagine that all of them were chaste as nuns, devoted to their husbands and had sex while holding on to the bedposts and thinking of their mother country!
It seemed she wanted my whole undivided libido to focus just on her as she undid yet another button on her blouse, letting a little pink nipple peep out, and, pointedly, making me aware she was one of those liberated women who’d burnt their bras. And I was happy to oblige.
I just let my eyes tell my own story, words were superfluous; and pretty soon she knew all my most intimate secrets and hidden desires. How different from most teachers I’d met, who seemed to have forgotten the wild days they probably had at university.
While the kids whooped it up in the garden, a kind soul put on some slow dance music. It was just the thing for getting to know someone that little bit better.
And, as we were not the only couple on the floor, we didn’t stand out as different. In fact, everyone seemed to be squeezed so tight to their partner you couldn’t have slid a single sheet of A4 between them. Yes, all these chaste nuns seemed to be very close to their partners!
I could feel every movement of Ginger’s body as we softly swung around the floor and it seemed to be telling me we should get out of here, return our respective parcels to their other parent and find somewhere quiet to explore the interesting and tingling sensations that were flooding my body.
If I could have had her on the carpet then and there, I would have done so; and to hell with all the curious faces looking on. They would probably clap in any case!
I was in a reverie of my own, mechanically dancing but letting my mind move as freely as my hands were now doing, and the pictures in my mind of willing bodies, erotic movements and an inviting bed were driving me crazy. I just couldn’t wait.
Then I felt something pulling my trousers. Dreaming on as to what might be happening, I looked down slowly. Then, a mental bucket of water sloshed over my head as I realised it was my daughter. “Daddy, Daddy, take me home. I don’t like it here!”
“Oh Lord, not now,” I thought. “The little lady does choose the worse moments to interrupt, doesn’t she?”
I looked apologetically at Ginger who was giving me a quizzical, half-laughing kind of look as if to say “I know, I’ve been through it many times!”
Then, before either of us had a chance to say a word further, up rushed another little girl. She was the spitting image of Ginger, just half the size and no tits.
“Mummy, I want to go home. A horrible girl just pulled my hair and stamped on my foot.” Then, looking at my daughter, still holding on to my trousers, she pointed a finger. “That’s the girl. I want to kill her.” And she launched herself at Zoe, knocking her to the ground and pulling her ears as hard as she could.
It was a circus. The two girls were doing their best to rip each other to pieces. Ginger and I were trying to prise them apart. Other parents were looking on mouths agog and grinning, while the rest of the children loudly cheered on one or the other of the fighters.
At last Ginger and I dragged them apart and we stood back to back, with our arms firmly round our offspring. For a moment my mind drifted back to those sweeter, earlier thoughts. I had to act now.
“Before things go absolutely crazy here, when can I see you again? Give me your phone number. I’ll write it on my hand,” I whispered.
She looked at me. “No way, I have this extremely jealous husband. Even when I take Maria to a children’s party, he starts wondering what I’ve been up to.
As soon as I get back he’s going to drag me into the bedroom, rip off my clothes and screw me like he’s never had it since Christmas. Trouble is it’s only screw and little else. He’s a teacher you see – plenty of action, but low on imagination.”
“Still, give me your number. Maybe I’ll call you, sometime,” she said with her enigmatic smile. “Sorry for being a bit of a tease this evening and getting you all excited, but I needed to get psyched up for my hubby. Something to occupy my mind with while he’s busy!”
She blew me a long kiss that said all ... and nothing, as the two Gingers walked out of the door, leaving me deflated and alone with my thoughts; and with a grumbling Zoe whose own anger and bloodlust was still raging.
January is an odd month to start talking about trees. After all, we have just put them back in storage.
Still, this month has always seemed fit for reflection and introspection. This thought prompted me to discuss an issue that borders on the ‘theological’ idea that all is one and one is all.
This idea first came to me when during a training session I made a passing remark about the relationship between class management and the public image of the school.
Teachers at first were doubtful. The two, although important on their own, had nothing to do with each other, they said.
Funnily enough, the ensuing discussion led us to realise how interrelated they were and how in school administration the bits that form the whole can never be seen in isolation.
Education is a complicated issue. Being people-centred it is affected by the personalities and mentalities of the people involved in it.
These people make any kind of teaching/ learning instance a unique one that can never be repeated.
Moreover, educational theories and practices move with the times, so they are affected by a wide range of factors. This feature makes education one of the most multi-layered phenomena of our society.
This multitude of influences and varieties found present in every educational context unwittingly causes a kind of optical illusion. Influenced by this, we tend to perceive schools as consisting of parts, which we can call aspects, fragments, compartments or by any other word denoting the idea of ‘part’.
It is understandable why this fragmentation or compartmentalisation is needed; it makes understanding schools easier, since it breaks them down to their constituent units.
Usually, dealing with the part is less daunting than dealing with the whole. The problem is that it is misleading. It represents what schools might appear to be to the non-expert.
We, as experts, should view (and run) schools like well-oiled machines, whose seemingly unrelated parts are interrelated, interwoven and affect each other to a great extent.
Nothing speaks louder, though, than examples. Let us think of a regular language school and focus on a standard C class, with two groups C1 and C2, which are taught by two different teachers.
The second semester is about to finish and the students have just written a term test. In C1 we have a student, Gregory, whose cousin Stella is in the other group C2.
On parents’ day, Gregory’s mother notices how poorly her son has done at the test and she complains to the teacher about Gregory’s drop in performance.
Later, the two mothers compare notes and reach interesting conclusions. Gregory’s teacher has covered half a unit more than Stella’s and her test is highly demanding on the part of the students.
Stella’s test is simplistic and stays closer to the examples used in the book. There are a few closed type vocabulary and grammar tasks, but nothing particularly imaginative in concept.
Finally, Stella’s test has no writing while Gregory had to write an email. Now that she thinks about it, Gregory’s mother feels rather remorseful for complaining to the teacher.
Gregory’s unimpressive mark, if seen in connection with the level and complexity of the test, equals and perhaps surpasses Stella’s glamorous grade. To top the cake, Gregory’s teacher seems to have worked much harder than her colleague.
If we decide to leave the parents’ side and examine the issue as experts, we will have to answer a series of questions. Firstly, can we claim that those two students, whose parents pay the same school, have received the same kind of education and, if asked, how would the school justify this discrepancy?
Secondly, what can explain the lack of coordination on the part of the school administration as well as the non existence of collaboration between the teachers?
Last but not least, if one class has been taught more material than another, how can the students’ performance be compared, especially when one test practically ‘solves’ itself and the other makes demands on the students’ memory and critical thinking?
It is surprising how this complicated maze, which started with two tests and a disappointed parent, manages to raise issues that delve into principles on which the school functions.
In our example the school administration has failed to see the school as a whole. Clearly, the two C groups are seen as parallel universes (compartmentalisation) and their tests reflect just the teacher’s personality and set of beliefs, but not the mentality of the school (fragmentation).
This attitude can account for the lack of coordination between the teachers. Unfortunately, viewing classes as parallel universes takes away the element of interaction and without interaction there can never be a united whole.
I believe that school uniformity, the notion which can be seen as the opposite of fragmentation, is one of the hot potatoes in our field. Contrary to what one might initially think, the notion of viewing schools as well functioning, consistent ‘wholes’ does not set out to make teachers clones of one another.
Nor does it aim to create schools in which teachers are given limited scope for intervention and free expression of their talent. Schools have been created by certain people on whose vision they have been based. This vision consists of certain theoretical principals and practical applications which the school ought to follow.
It should be part of the mission of the school to find like minded professionals to hire, train and mentor them appropriately and encourage them to work in two directions: firstly towards fulfilling their own professional potential and secondly towards improving the school and they way it functions.
By discussing the implications of two tests we have touched upon issues such as hiring, training, mentoring, collaboration and cooperation. Clearly, all is one and one is all.
So, a simple test can reveal a lot more about the mentality of a school than its attitude towards assessment. If the school administration had avoided fragmentation they would have ensured that teachers had been properly trained to embody and reflect the teaching and testing methods of the school.
Secondly, there would have been advanced planning in the form of syllabus design. Finally, there would have been coordination on micro level. In order for these to take place there should have been procedures to maintain the system, internal and external communication strategies and specific roles allocated to staff members.
Missing the forest for the tree is easily done. In our context the trees are essential because they give our forest its multi-layered texture and make it a rich and dynamic whole.
We should care for each tree separately to ensure the longevity of our forest. What we need to bear in mind is that no ‘quick fix solution’, ‘no temporary measure’, no ‘easy way out’ can ever take care of each tree and the whole forest at the same time.
But this will have to be discussed in a future article. Happy New Year to all!
Maria Sachpazian BA education / RSA dip/tefl (hons) is an ELF teacher employed at the Straight Up Markoyannopoulou schools. She is also an educational management specialist who has worked as a teacher trainer and materials’ developer. Maria and her associate George Moumoulidis run Input on Education, a company which provides academic support and consultancy to Foreign Language Schools.
Μια διασκευή από το βιβλίο του Φιοντόρ Μιχ. Ντοστογιέφσκι «Το όνειρο ενός γελοίου» και από το επίμετρο του επίσης μεγάλου συγγραφέα Σωτήρη Γουνελά.
Μέρος πρώτο: Ταξίδι στον Παράδεισο
Ήτανε Τετάρτη 7 Ιουλίου όταν ο Μήτσος μετά από ένα ελαφρύ δείπνο έπεσε νωρίς στο κρεβάτι για ύπνο. Είχε να ξυπνήσει την άλλη μέρα από τα χαράματα, να φορτώσει τη νταλίκα και να φύγει ταξίδι.
Δεν άργησε να τον πάρει ο ύπνος, όταν βλέπει τον εαυτό του μέσα στη νταλίκα να οδηγεί λίγο έξω από την Κατερίνη με κατεύθυνση την Αθήνα.
Το έχει συνήθεια, κάθε φορά που περνάει από αυτό το μέρος να κλείνει το ραδιόφωνο και να πιάνει στο σιγανό το τραγουδάκι που λέει «Tο τρένο φεύγει στις 8, ταξίδι για την Κατερίνη ….»
Του αρέσει αυτό το τραγούδι, όπως και για κάποιο ανεξήγητο λόγο του αρέσει το κομμάτι αυτό της διαδρομής μέχρι τα Τέμπη.
Ξάφνου, ο θόρυβος από τη μηχανή της νταλίκας σα να σταμάτησε και βρέθηκε, λέει, να ταξιδεύει σ’ ένα κόσμο αλλιώτικο, παραδεισένιο.
Εικόνες ξεχύνονταν κατά κύματα μπροστά στο μεγάλο παρμπρίζ, φωνές χαρμόσυνες έφταναν στ’ αυτιά του, βλέμματα φωτεινά ένοιωθε να τον συνοδεύουν, και ήταν σαν να άκουγε τη μουσική της πρώτης γαλήνης, αυτής που απλώνονταν παντού στην αρχή του κόσμου.
Σταμάτησε και άνοιξε την πόρτα. Τώρα άκουγε καθαρά ομιλίες ανθρώπων, των πρώτων ανθρώπων, και ήταν σαν ένα τραγούδι που τον ξεκούραζε, κάτι σαν το σκοπό που τραγουδούσε λίγο πριν.
Άκουγε το δροσερό αεράκι να σμίγει με ψαλμούς και ύμνους που έρχονταν από κάθε κατεύθυνση. Οι άνθρωποι εκείνοι ήταν σα να γιορτάζανε. Ναι, γιορτάζανε χωρίς φασαρίες, χωρίς κραιπάλη, χωρίς ναρκισσισμούς και φιγούρες.
Η καρδιά τους άνοιγε στον ήχο της φωνής τους, τα βλέμματα έλαμπαν στο συναπάντημά τους, και στο κάθε άγγιγμα ένοιωθες την παρουσία της αγάπης και του Θεού.
Η θάλασσα του Αιγαίου αριστερά του, φάνταζε απέραντη, γαλανή και ακύμαντη ενώ οι πλαγιές των βουνών ήσαν ντυμένες με όλες τις αποχρώσεις του πράσινου, γεμάτες από αναρίθμητα φυτά, θάμνους και δέντρα.
Οι άνθρωποι περπατούσαν ήρεμοι, προστατευμένοι, χωρίς ανησυχίες, βασανιστικά πάθη και μέριμνες. Αναρίθμητα ζώα τριγυρνούσαν κοντά τους και τα πουλιά έσμιγαν τη φωνή τους με τις φωνές των ανθρώπων.
Μέσα από τις πράσινες ανταύγειες των φύλλων, στο παιχνίδισμα με τις αχτίνες του ήλιου, κυλούσε ήρεμα τα νερά του ο Πηνειός ποταμός.
Ο Μήτσος περπατούσε ανάμεσα σ’ αυτούς τους ανθρώπους και δεν πίστευε αυτά που έβλεπε. Δεν υπήρχε τίποτα που θα μπορούσε να ταράξει αυτήν την υπέροχη γαλήνη, αυτά τα απίθανα χρώματα.
Μια διαρκής, ήρεμη κίνηση χαρακτήριζε τη ζωή εκείνων των ανθρώπων. Τα σώματά τους ακολουθούσαν το ρυθμό της ψυχής, χωρίς να αποχωρίζονται ποτέ από αυτήν, χωρίς να διασπώνται.
Κάθε ανθρώπινη παρουσία έφερνε πάνω της τα σημάδια του Δημιουργού της χωρίς ατέλειες, χάσματα και ραγίσματα και πουθενά δεν ένοιωθες να σιγοκαίουν βρώμικες επιθυμίες, έτοιμες να χυθούν έξω και να ξεσπάσουν.
Αν πρόσεχες καλά, έβλεπες τον ουρανό ν’ αγρυπνεί πάνω από το σώμα της γης και να σκεπάζει στοργικά εκείνους τους ανθρώπους. Και εκείνοι να αποδέχονται τη σκέπη του και το αγκάλιασμά του και να γνωρίζουν τι τους ενώνει μαζί του.
Σ΄ αυτούς τους ήρεμους ρυθμούς κυλούσε η ζωή. Του έκανε εντύπωση ότι κανένας από εκείνους τους ανθρώπους δεν βιαζότανε. Κανείς δεν πήγαινε αντίθετα στο χρόνο, κανείς δεν ανάγκαζε τον εαυτό του να διαρρήξει την κανονισμένη του σχέση με την κτίση.
Ο χρόνος λειτουργούσε σε όλη του την απέραντη διάσταση και ο άνθρωπος έσμιγε με την απεραντοσύνη. Οι αχτίνες από το ουράνιο φως κατέβαιναν από πολύ ψηλά, από ένα ασύλληπτο ύψος που δεν ήξεραν να ορίσουν την αρχή του. Ήξεραν πως αυτό ήταν η Αρχή της ζωής, αλλά δεν μίλαγαν γι αυτό. Τους αρκούσε να ζουν υμνώντας το Δημιουργό.
Η συνεννόηση μεταξύ τους γινότανε με ένα τρόπο μυστικό, απόλυτα προσεκτικό. Γνώριζαν πόσο εύθραυστο υλικό είναι ο άνθρωπος, γνώριζαν πόσο εύθραυστο υλικό είναι η πλάση. Και περπατούσαν προσεκτικά, στις μύτες των ποδιών, σεμνά και ταπεινά πάνω σ’ εκείνη τη γη.
Ο Μήτσος ζούσε σε ένα όνειρο. Ένα όνειρο που δεν ήθελε να τελειώσει ποτέ. Ζούσε σε έναν κόσμο ιδανικό, χωρίς πίκρες, μελαγχολίες, καημούς, στεναχώριες, θλίψεις, επιθετικότητα και διεκδικήσεις. Δεν είχε ποτέ του βιώσει τέτοια τελειότητα.
Γύρισε προσεκτικά προς τη νταλίκα. Ανέβηκε και κάθισε σκεπτικός πίσω από το τιμόνι. Έξω από το παρμπρίζ η ζωή συνέχιζε το ρυθμό της. Το χέρι του ακούμπησε το κλειδί της μηχανής.
Είχε πολλά να πει αυτή τη φορά στη γυναίκα του όταν θα γύριζε στο σπίτι. Δεν είχε προλάβει να τελειώσει τη σκέψη του όταν ένα απότομο γύρισμα της γυναίκας του από το άλλο πλευρό τον ξύπνησε. Έμεινε έτσι για κάμποση ώρα, μέσα στην απόλυτη ευτυχία, όταν τον ξαναπήρε ο ύπνος.
Επηρεασμένος από το προηγούμενο όνειρο, ο Μήτσος, έβλεπε τώρα να οδηγεί τη νταλίκα διασχίζοντας την κοιλάδα των Τεμπών μέσα σε μια ανείπωτη ευτυχία. Η λάμψη, το φως, η διαφάνεια, η χαρά κυριαρχούσαν παντού. Είχε την αίσθηση πως αυτό το ταξίδι δεν θα τελείωνε ποτέ.
Μα ξαφνικά, εκεί που καθρεπτίζονταν οι σκέψεις του πάνω στα κρυστάλλινα νερά του Πηνειού, εκεί που τα χρώματα και η πλάση φανέρωναν την άπειρη αγάπη του Δημιουργού της, εκεί στο βάθος του δρόμου είδε να ξεπροβάλει μια κοκκινόμαυρη βούλα, κάτι σα μολυσμένη κηλίδα, σα μια ανοιχτή πληγή που ενώ στην αρχή έμενε ακίνητη, αμετάβλητη χωρίς να αλλάζει σχήμα και μέγεθος, σαν η ύπαρξή της να ήταν έξω από το χρόνο, ξάφνου πήρε διαστάσεις και άρχισε να απλώνεται.
Άρχισε να αλλάζει το χρώμα των νερών, να σβήνει το φως, τη χαρά και τη γαλήνη, και καθώς πλησίαζε όλο και πιο κοντά, σχίστηκε στα δύο και είδε με κομμένη την ανάσα, να ανοίγεται από μέσα της απέραντη η άβυσσος.
At 1 am, on a hot mid-August night, when we were spending a supposedly relaxing summer in Porto Rafti (I say supposedly, because by the time you count the hours spent writing our joint opus, going for long swims, adding in a spot of diving, entertaining friends on the week-end and doing all the housework and cleaning alone, I think we worked harder than we do in Athens), Jenny noticed water slowly flooding the bathroom.
It was trickling slowly down the wall, gathering in an increasingly large pool on the floor. She thought it came from a toilet pipe.
Not wanting to wake me, she stayed up and cleaned the mess, repeatedly, until she finally dropped from exhaustion and went to bed. Waking me at 7am she told me to take over.
First I cleaned up the water, then tried to find out where it was coming from. Initially I thought it came from the toilet, itself, but then noticed trickles of water coming from the ceiling.
On going outside, onto the balcony, there was water coasting rapidly down the wall and also forming pools on our balcony and in the corridor outside the house. It was obviously not from our WC; and most definitely coming from somewhere above us. In fact, after following the water trail, I became certain it was the flat immediately above.
This was confirmed when I heard the sound of running water coming from their bathroom window; a spraying noise, like water coming from a tap or broken pipe.
Although it was rather early, we considered the matter serious enough to wake others. After all, we’d had little sleep, throughout the night; why should they be allowed to doze on?
So, going upstairs to the flat in question, we hammered on the door, but to no avail. Nobody answered. We continued hammering, even louder this time, but still no answer. However, the noise we were making woke others up, and people came out into the corridor in their pyjamas to ask what was happening.
On asking around the other flats for the name and phone number of the tenants, or even the owner, we learnt that the flat had been sub-let to two girls a couple of months earlier.
Then, by looking through the Service Charge files (Koinochrista) we managed to find the owner’s phone number. He lived in Koropi, a few miles away. He didn’t answer, but we left a message on his cell phone.
Realising that the first thing to do was to close the water mains, we searched and found the paper that Jenny had made and put up when she was Diachiristria (in charge of block and communal services), found the mains tap for the flat in question and turned it off. Soon after that the water stopped flowing through the ceiling.
Then one of the neighbours told us the girl’s car (a rather expensive Mercedes, actually) was parked outside, so we returned to the flat and continued hammering on the door till, groggily, one of them opened it.
Whether she was just sleepy, or merely recovering from a heavy hangover, I don’t know – but she looked well spaced out.
We explained the problem, told her we had phoned the owner and turned off the water; though I’m not too sure she fully understood what we meant. She might have thought it was a bad dream!
However, within an hour she had someone (a Dimitris or Spyros) there starting to fix the problem. I just hoped he knew what he was doing!
Then Jenny came back from her round of the neighbours and the gathering of local gossip. It seemed that most believed the flat had been let to the two girls and their pimp.
Furthermore, since taking the place over, they had started to remodel it; changing the kitchen into a more swish bar area and revamping the bathroom and WC.
In short, or so we thought, trying to turn the place into the seductive Kama Sutra Sex Palace they needed to drum up business. And it was here, in the bathroom remodelling, that a pipe within the wall had been accidentally broken and was causing the problem.
It seemed that one of the guys had been industriously screwing in the bathroom (change of venue, perhaps?) and on hammering into the wall to fix up a shower curtain, had accidentally gone into and through a water pipe.
Not being particularly bright, he thought the best way to stop the spray of water was to cover up the external hole in the wall with some putty.
This certainly did the trick from his point of view, but still allowed water to flood within the wall and find another exit downwards. In this case, into our flat! The plumber was very colourful in his use of emotive language as he described his impressions of the amateur work that had been done.
By this time the whole block was up, awake and agog for gossip. The neighbours then volunteered the information that the girls always returned at around 5 am, loudly clacking down the corridors in their high heels and talking or laughing loudly. Whether they had clients with them at the time I don’t know.
But within the realms of the chat being traded from one person to another, that morning, you could have imagined they were talking about the most lurid sex-pot in the world. Well, it certainly made for a novel situation in the block. I’d never lived next door to a knocking shop before!
Personally, it didn’t really worry me, if they were running a discreet little place that catered for the needs of the local community. After all we have a recession and every entrepreneurial effort should be welcomed – so long as it offers receipts to its customers.
What worried me most was the noise the girls were said to make when returning in the early hours. After all, there is no reason why we should lose our beauty sleep in order to help our neighbours make money;
and I also thought that getting back to one’s interrupted slumber was bound to be a tad more difficult when you also have to cope with the rhythmic squeaking of a mattress a few metres above you! Yes, I agreed, they must quieten down a bit, or else otherwise compensate us for the inconvenience.
Then the talk among the guys rotated around the form that compensation might take. Privately, I hoped they didn’t try to pay us off ‘in kind.’
Although I am pretty broadminded and the idea of bartering in this economic climate (where money seems to be losing its significance along with the notion that a bank account is a secure place) does have a certain appeal and sense of fairness; somehow, I didn’t feel that Jenny would have allowed me to collect the payment!
Still, the plumber did a fine job, our bathroom dried out and we were soon able to exchange polite greetings and smiles on passing the young ladies in the corridors.
And they, in return for the understanding we showed, cut down their noise at 5 am, taking off the clacking high heels before entering the block. And, you know, the upstairs mattress, just above my head, didn’t squeak even once. So, as the great bard would have put it: “all’s well that ends well!”
Homework, homework, homework! What would school be if there wasn’t any homework! Rumour has it that teachers invented it, parents loved it and learners hate it. In this month’s article, I am planning to wear my teacher’s hat more firmly on my head and explore the issue of homework to discuss its aims, the way we use it in our everyday teaching reality and to see how it is related with the image of the school. The question is ‘can I wear my teacher’s hat without removing the hat of the consultant?’
Perhaps not, but I believe that when discussing homework it’s better for me to wear both hats.
The first point that has to be made is whether or not schools can survive without homework. Perhaps, provided certain conditions are met. Firstly, we would have to move to another country as the Greek Educational System, with its exams, tests and competition is the least suitable for such an experiment. If Foreign Language Schools (FLS) were to make the difference in this field, they would most probably fail. For a change as grand as this to succeed we would need the whole system to change, not parts of it. The first thing to change would be our teaching methods. If homework is to become a thing of the past, then learning should take place in class. Consequently, more attention should be paid on the students, their learning needs, styles and their pace of learning, rather than the amount of material covered. In other words, our teaching should focus on quality and depth, rather than quantity and speed. Naturally, our current fast paced teaching (according to which teachers assign four practice tests for homework) ought to be forgotten. Unfortunately, none of these can happenunless we all change our perspective and I don’t mean just the teachers. Students would have to become more responsible for their own learning. Learning would have to become more critical and focus less on memorisation. Finally, parents would have to modify their expectations. If all these conditions were met, then we could view homework differently and move to the next major change, that of the examination system.
Having said all these, I must admit that, as a learner not as a teacher, I don’t believe there can be long lasting learning without some sort of studying. So, the question is not whether there is an aim behind homework, but whether the kind of homework we set serves this aim and if, at the end of the day, we do not attempt to use homework to cover up for any shortcomings in our teaching. Doing homework gives students some quiet time to go over the material, assimilate it and manage to reproduce it. This process guarantees better foundations for the learning that will follow. Now, the practical application of homework in class is a different matter. Very often at teacher training sessions I am asked whether homework checking must be taken into consideration when planning lessons. The question might seem a bit naïve but it certainly isn’t. Leaf through any teacher’s book or any mass produced syllabus of any course book that consists of the usual four components and you will see how neglected homework checking is. It’s like it runs on auto pilot! Unfortunately, homework checking is the most crucial part of assigning it. This is the time when teachers are given the chance to get feedback on the success of their teaching, while students can have their questions answered. If it is so important, why does homework checking get so little attention from writers and syllabus designers? This is mainly due to the fact that homework checking does not make the material progress. If the appropriate time is allocated to it, then the time available is not enough for the teachers to finish the book and the key concept behind mass produced syllabi is one: to show that the book is manageable and can be covered.
Having discussed its aim and practical application, we ought to see not how image is related with homework. For years our clients, the parents of our students, have believed that good schools are the ones which are strict, give many tests and assign a lot of homework. In our attempt to sustain our businesses we have aimed to convince them that they are right, believing that the content we sell is learning. Unfortunately, learning cannot be sold. As educators we can do our best to teach and to motivate our learners. It’s their responsibility to learn and, most importantly their learning is not related to the amount of homework we give them, since educational research has failed to connect learning with quantity. On the contrary, too much homework might scare learners off or make it difficult for them to absorb and assimilate the material. Therefore, if we want to impress parents we should strive to do so via our teaching and our ability to inspire their offspring to learn. Quite contrary to that our teaching suffers because of homework as it is often used to cover gaps in teaching. So, whatever is not done in class (perhaps because there was no lesson plan, no time management scheme and poor class management) is assigned as homework. The problem is that since the material has not been properly presented, we cannot claim that learners are practising or assimilating it. The result is that learners get so confused that they run to their parents asking for help. Parents, excellent speakers though they might be, tend to give confusing explanations and to translate. In a nutshell, they perpetuate their way of learning and encourage all the strategies we aim to discourage. Is that the parents’ fault? Not at all! It’s our fault. Because every time our students ask their parents’ help we prove ourselves to be less professional and we ask the non-experts to do our job.
Does homework of this sort impress parents? Probably not, although some of them feel pleased that the school they pay gives tons of homework that keeps their children busy. So, what can we do? I will answer by quoting Lilika Couri who always maintained that it is our job to condition parents. After all, they are the clients and we are the experts, no matter if we are teachers or directors of studies. As experts we know that useful homework is the one that is assigned after it has been properly worked on in class and gets checked after it’s done. If we intend to assign 120 pages of miscellaneous grammar tasks for Christmas homework we should also estimate how much useful teaching time checking this is going to consume and which learning aims it will fulfil.
Homework is not a means of impressing parents; it’s a vehicle to learning. Therefore, it must have variety and range. Its aim should be to equip learners and not just to keep them busy. It should also recycle familiar material so that learners can do it unaided. Finally, homework will be respected by students and parents if it is assigned with respect by the teacher, no matter how little or uncomplicated it is.
When I came to live here in the north of England last year, I had not done any serious research on the area I must admit. Having visited only London and the south till then, I was in for quite a few surprises.
One of my misconceptions -and one I believe of many a Greek- was that the UK is criss-crossed by an intricate network of railways with even the remotest village being blessed with a link to this indeed most human friendly of all means of transport.
All those films set in the English countryside with –say- Holmes and Watson travelling to the Lake District (a magnificent area, by the way, but let me talk about it in later posts )had resulted in this illusion. Here is what I found out.
In the land of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the first ever passenger railway in the world, it is no longer true that you can ride a train from any A to any B.
This is all thanks to a Dr Richard Beeching, whose report in the 60s stated that lots of local networks were unprofitable.
And yes, British government followed suit and now the soothing sounds of carriages on rails are no longer there, the rails rusting and the old stations turned into malls in the best of cases, with very little remaining of their glorious chooing past.
What of the present then? Aaah, now the people are taking matters in their own hands. We all love our trains and, for instance, the Wensleydale Railway, an authentic heritage railway serving the local community, is one of a few initiatives to bring all the glory back.
They have trains, oh yes original trains, running to accommodate local needs, reminding older generations of what is –fortunately not forever- lost and getting the young to love rail travel too. The Tanfield Railway is there as well as is the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and these are just the beginning, as they are highly popular.
With Xmas coming, what better for kids and the forever youngsters alike than a glorious ride on the Santa Express with any of the three mentioned above?
With a promise to tell you more about the counties containing Lindisfarne, Scarborough, Durham and York, the lands of the vet James Herriot (Thirsk) and home of the creator of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (Whitby), where dales and moors still teem with sheep and cows –and yes, of course, a yummy cheese! Wensleydale and wine anyone?
*George Raptopoulos is a freelance EFL teacher, who moved to England last year but wants to be in touch with ELT in Greece.
Η συνάντηση με τον Κινέζο φοιτητή που σπούδαζε φιλοσοφία ήταν για τον Μήτσο καθοριστική. Το τι ειπώθηκε μέσα στο accommodation της νταλίκας μέχρι να φτάσουν Ιταλία, ήταν κάτι που δεν μπορούσε να το φανταστεί ούτε στα όνειρά του.
Ο Κινέζος ήταν κινητό πανεπιστήμιο και ο Μήτσος άλλο που δεν ήθελε για να ξεδιψάσει τις πνευματικές του ανησυχίες. Του μιλούσε για την κρίση που περνά η Ευρώπη μέσα από ένα άλλο πρίσμα που δεν έμοιαζε καθόλου με αυτό που θέλουν να μας σερβίρουν τα Ελληνικά (και όχι μόνο) ΜΜΕ.
Κάποια στιγμή του μίλησε για τις θέσεις του Νίτσε αναφορικά με την παιδεία και πόσο επηρεασμένος ήταν στο ξεκίνημά του από την αρχαία Ελληνική σκέψη πάνω σ’ αυτό το θέμα.
- Πότε είπες πως έδωσε αυτές τις 5 διαλέξεις για την παιδεία ο Νίτσε; ρώτησε τον κινέζο.
- Το 1872, σε ηλικία 28 ετών, κύριε, απήντησε ο Hong.
- Και τι είναι αυτό που είπε τότε και ενδιαφέρει εμάς σήμερα, μετά από 140 ολόκληρα χρόνια;
- Συγνώμη κύριε, αλλά πρέπει να σας πω ότι το μόνο πράγμα που δεν παλιώνει ποτέ στον χρόνο είναι η αλήθεια.
Διατηρείται πάντα φρέσκια και ζωντανή σαν την ανατολή του ηλίου. Αλήθεια και χρόνος συμβαδίζουν. Είναι έννοιες αναλλοίωτες. Όλα τα άλλα γερνούν και κάποια στιγμή πεθαίνουν αφήνοντας πολλές φορές πίσω τους στάχτες και δυστυχία.
- Λοιπόν, για λέγε, και μην με κουράζεις με δύσκολα γιατί πρέπει να έχω και το νου μου στο δρόμο, μ’ αυτή την κακοκαιρία και τη χιονοθύελλα που μας βρήκε σήμερα.
- Ο Νίτσε, με δυο λόγια, είχε εναντιωθεί στις μεθοδεύσεις που εφάρμοζε τότε το Γερμανικό κράτος στην παιδεία.
- Να, κατηγορούσε τότε το κράτος που έκανε τα πάντα για να φτιάξει όσο το δυνατό πιο γρήγορα χρήσιμους υπαλλήλους.
Χρησιμοποίησε μάλιστα επαναστατικές διατυπώσεις που προξένησαν έντονες αντιδράσεις από το ευρύτερο Ευρωπαϊκό κατεστημένο.
Πρόθεση του Νίτσε ήτανε να ξεσκεπάσει την απάτη, αρχικά της κρατικής εκπαίδευσης και αργότερα ενός ολόκληρου πολιτισμού, χωρίς φυσικά να αποφύγει και αυτός τα λάθη και τις εντάσεις.
- Καταλαβαίνω, βότσαλο στη λίμνη τα λόγια του. Έτσι γίνεται πάντα. Κάποια στιγμή είπες πως ήταν επηρεασμένος από την αρχαία Ελληνική σκέψη, έτσι δεν είπες; Για πες μου, πώς και από ποιόν;
- Ναι, ήταν ιδιαίτερα επηρεασμένος από τον μεγάλο Πλάτωνα, αλλά η αρχαία ελληνική γραμματεία σας, στο σύνολό της, προσφέρει γενικότερα κάτι πολύ πιο σημαντικό.
- Σου δίνει τα εργαλεία για να ξεσκεπάζεις πάντα την απάτη που κρύβεται πίσω από τις λέξεις, τις ιδέες, τις ιδεολογίες και τις μεθόδους που εσκεμμένα, κατά καιρούς, παραπλανούν τον άνθρωπο με σκοπό πάντα να τον μετατρέπουν σε υποχείριο των όποιων συμφερόντων τους.
Η υποβάθμιση του μαθήματος των αρχαίων ελληνικών στην πατρίδα σας, κάτι πρέπει να σας λέει τόσα χρόνια …..
- Μεγάλο θέμα αυτό Hong, άσε, πες μου για το Νίτσε τώρα.
- Ο Νίτσε διέκρινε τότε δυο τάσεις: η πρώτη ήταν υπέρ της όσο το δυνατό μεγαλύτερης επέκτασης και διάδοσης της παιδείας, και η δεύτερη επεδίωκε τον περιορισμό και αποδυνάμωσή της.
- Ευτυχώς που επικράτησε η πρώτη και όλος ο κόσμος θέλει να μορφωθεί, γιατί αλλιώς …..
- Μην βιάζεστε κύριε Μήτσο, καμία τάση δεν είναι αθώα, ούτε στην πρώτη που προωθείται η εξειδίκευση, ούτε στη δεύτερη που προβάλλεται έντονα η αξίωση να εγκαταλείψει η παιδεία τις πιο ευγενικές και ανώτερες απαιτήσεις και να αρκεστεί μόνο να υπηρετήσει ένα άλλο σχήμα, ας πούμε το κράτος.
- Απ’ ό,τι μπορώ να σκεφτώ, αυτά ήταν και τα καλούπια μέσα στα οποία μας μεγάλωσαν όλες οι «ανεπτυγμένες» κοινωνίες μέχρι σήμερα, ε;
- Σημασία έχει η ανάλυση που κάνει μετά. Λέει λοιπόν ο Νίτσε, ότι «η όσο το δυνατόν μεγαλύτερη γνώση και μόρφωση οδηγεί στην όσο το δυνατό περισσότερη παραγωγή και, αναπόφευκτα, σε όσο το δυνατόν περισσότερες ανάγκες, άρα, η ικανοποίησή τους οδηγεί στην όσο το δυνατόν μεγαλύτερη ευτυχία.
Στόχος λοιπόν και σκοπός της παιδείας είναι η χρησιμότητα, ή καλύτερα, η υλική απολαβή, το όσο το δυνατό μεγαλύτερο κέρδος». Αυτή είναι η συνταγή.
- Τι λες ρε Hong, με κούφανες! και αυτά τα έλεγε το 1872, δηλαδή, ό,τι προσπαθούμε να κάνουμε εμείς σήμερα;
- Θα έλεγα, δυστυχώς, ναι. Η γνώση έπρεπε να είναι εργαλείο για το πώς θα μπορεί κάποιος να αποκτά όσο το δυνατόν πιο άκοπα το χρήμα. Αποστολή λοιπόν της παιδείας, που μαχότανε ο Νίτσε, ήταν να φτιάξει ανθρώπους με όσο το δυνατό μεγαλύτερη «πέραση».
Όσο λοιπόν, πιο πολλούς τέτοιους ανθρώπους διαθέτει ένας λαός τόσο πιο ευτυχισμένος είναι. Σκοπός λοιπόν των μαθητών, σε ένα τέτοιο σύστημα, είναι η όσο το δυνατό μεγαλύτερη κατάρτιση γιατί αυτή φέρνει τη μέγιστη δυνατή ευτυχία και το χρηματικό κέρδος. Ο «συνδυασμός ευφυΐας και περιουσίας» αποτελεί κυριολεκτικά «ηθική επιταγή».
- Και να σκεφτείς ότι το 1872 οι αντιλήψεις αυτές ήταν ακόμα στα σπάργανα. Αυτές οι λέξεις περιέχουν συμπυκνωμένο όλο το «μοντέρνο πνεύμα», άκου συνδυασμό «ευφυΐας και περιουσίας», φοβερό!
- Μόνο που σήμερα πια, μετά από τόσα χρόνια υποχρεωτικής εκπαίδευσης του τύπου που καταγγέλλει ο Νίτσε, παρά τα προβλήματα, συνεχίζετε το ίδιο βιολί χωρίς να βλέπετε το αδιέξοδο στο οποίο μπαίνετε καθημερινά όλο και περισσότερο. Η Ευρώπη βέβαια, αλλά περισσότερο απ’ όλους εσείς οι Έλληνες.
- Εμείς, γιατί περισσότερο;
- Γιατί εσείς δεν προλάβατε να αποκτήσετε Ευρωπαϊκή υποδομή. Παρ’ όλα αυτά όμως εσείς, είχατε πάντα τη λύση στο συρτάρι, λύση πολύ πιο προχωρημένη από αυτή του Νίτσε, αλλά το συρτάρι το κρατάτε πάντα καλά κλειδωμένο …
- Δεν καταλαβαίνω γιατί;
- Γιατί εκτός από λύσεις στην Ελληνική ιστορία βρίσκεις και άλλα …
- Εφιάλτες, κύριε Μήτσο!, και συγνώμη για … αλλά δυστυχώς δεν λείπουν και σήμερα απ’ τον τόπο σας. Συγνώμη … δεν είναι ευχάριστο να λέω ότι …
- Τι συγνώμη ρε Hong, δεν τα βλέπουμε ….
- Για να επιστρέψουμε στο Νίτσε, καταλάβατε ότι η παιδεία που επαγγελότανε δεν είχε καμιά σχέση με αυτήν που έχουμε σήμερα.
Σήμερα όλοι μιλούν για παιδεία αλλά εννοούν εκπαίδευση. Εσείς στην Ελλάδα μάλιστα είτε στραφείτε προς την αρχαία σας παράδοση είτε στην Ορθόδοξη χριστιανική, θα δείτε ότι οι απαιτήσεις και των δύο βρίσκονται αντιμέτωπες με τη χρησιμοθηρική, ωφελιμιστική και βιοποριστική αντίληψη που κυριαρχεί σήμερα.
Και αυτό ισχύει από τότε που το κράτος, κατά το Νίτσε, έπνιξε την έννοια της παιδείας στην υπηρεσία του κρατικού μηχανισμού.
Είναι αλήθεια ότι η ιδεολογία αυτή ουδόλως αντιστάθηκε στην εξάπλωση των μετέπειτα κοινωνικών ιδεών, και καθώς περνά στο προσκήνιο η βιομηχανική επανάσταση δημιουργείται μια νέα σχέση παραγωγής – μηχανής – αγοράς και χρήματος.
- Ό,τι έχουμε σήμερα!
- Ακριβώς. Τα δύο αυτά σκέλη λοιπόν, συνδυάστηκαν περίφημα για να φτάσουμε στα σημερινά αποτελέσματα. Εξάπλωση της ανεργίας, προώθηση μαζικής «κουλτούρας» που μιλάει για τα πάντα και ισοπεδώνει τα πάντα, εξαφάνιση των κριτηρίων και έξαρση της εξειδίκευσης, πληθωρισμό γνώσεων, σε κάθε επί μέρους κλάδο, και βεβαίως περιθωριοποίηση κάθε γνήσιας πνευματικής παρουσίας και προσφοράς στο όνομα της τεχνολογικής ανάπτυξης και των ηλεκτρονικών συστημάτων.
Κάθε παιδεία που βάζει στόχους πέρα από το χρήμα και την απολαβή, που απαιτεί πολύ χρόνο, προκαλεί τώρα την απέχθεια. Έχει γίνει πια συνήθεια κάθε τάση για μια τέτοια παιδεία να απορρίπτεται σαν «εγωισμός ανώτερου βαθμού» ως «ανήθικος μορφωτικός επικουρισμός», γιατί σύμφωνα με τις αρχές που ισχύουν εδώ, αυτό που απαιτείται είναι κάτι εντελώς το αντίθετο. Μια ταχύρυθμη μόρφωση από την οποία μπορεί να κερδίσει κανείς γρήγορα πάρα πολλά χρήματα.
- Πω, πω, τι μου λες ρε Hong, και αυτά είναι λόγια του Νίτσε;
- Μέχρι κεραίας. Λίγο πιο κάτω κάνει λόγο και για άλλα «κίνητρα» πέρα από τα εθνικοοικονομικά. Λέει λοιπόν ότι «σε ορισμένες χώρες είναι τόσο έντονη η ανησυχία για το ενδεχόμενο μιας καταπίεσης εκ μέρους της θρησκείας και τόσο συγκεκριμένος ο φόβος για τις συνέπειές της, ώστε όλες οι κοινωνικές τάξεις στρέφονται με λαχτάρα στην παιδεία και ρουφούν εκείνα ακριβώς τα στοιχεία της που έχουν τη δύναμη να διαλύουν τα θρησκευτικά ένστικτα»
- Εδώ ο Νίτσε πέφτει διάνα. Έτσι ακριβώς γίνεται ακόμα και σήμερα. Αλλά με ποια έννοια το έλεγε αυτό, δεν το κατάλαβα.
- Διαφωνούσε. Ήταν απέναντι. Και να σκεφτείς ότι ο Νίτσε δεν ήταν από αυτούς που φημίζονταν για τις χριστιανικές του θέσεις. Ο Νίτσε μας λέει ότι αυτό που σήμερα θεωρείται μόρφωση δεν είναι τίποτα άλλο από αμορφωσιά και θεωρεί απαράδεκτο ότι «καθιερώθηκε να αποφασίζει το κράτος για τα θέματα της παιδείας»
- Αλλά αν δεν αποφασίζει το κράτος ή έστω μια δημόσια υπηρεσία για την παιδεία, ποιος πρέπει να αποφασίζει;
- Έτσι όπως έχουν δομηθεί οι κοινωνίες σήμερα δεν μπορεί να γίνει αλλιώς. Το θέμα δεν είναι ποιος αποφασίζει αλλά τι αποφασίζει. Το αρχαίο Ελληνικό κράτος απέφευγε ακριβώς αυτό.
- Να επιτρέπει στην παιδεία να υπάρχει μόνο και μόνο για να είναι χρήσιμη στο κράτος και να αφανίζει παράλληλα κάθε διάθεση για μόρφωση που δεν θα ήταν δυνατό να χρησιμεύσει άμεσα στην εξυπηρέτηση των δικών του στόχων.
- Ρε Hong, με έχεις αφήσει άναυδο. Αρχίζω να ντρέπομαι για αυτά που ακούω και που δεν έχω ανοίξει ένα τέτοιο βιβλίο για να μου ανοίξει τα μάτια. Και θέλω να λέγομαι και ψαγμένος …
- Στη χώρα σας, για να κλείσω, οι νοοτροπίες αυτές πέρασαν από τότε που νομίσατε πως λειτουργήσατε σαν κράτος. Καρποί όλης αυτής της αλλοτριωτικής πορείας που ακολουθήσατε, εντελώς ξένη με την ιστορία και τις παραδόσεις σας, είναι η γενική εξαχρείωση που παρατηρείται σήμερα και την οποία ορισμένοι επιτήδειοι «παράγοντες» προσπαθούν να κρύψουν με νύχια και με δόντια.
Οι διαλέξεις του Νίτσε μας επαναφέρουν με σαφήνεια και ανιδιοτέλεια μπροστά στην πραγματικότητα, φωτίζοντάς την Ελληνικά.
Ο πυρήνας από τον οποίο αντλεί τις ιδέες και στον οποίο παραπέμπει, δεν είναι μια στείρα αρχαιολατρία, αλλά η γονιμοποίηση του νου και των αισθήσεων στη σημερινή εποχή, έτσι ώστε να βοηθηθεί ο άνθρωπος να ξαναβρεί το «μέγεθος» που έχασε.
Ο Μήτσος άκουγε προσεκτικά ό,τι έλεγε ο Κινέζος. Είχε μείνει με το στόμα ανοιχτό. Το τιμόνι είχε παγώσει στα χέρια του και η νταλίκα «σερφάριζε» πάνω στο χιονισμένο γερμανικό οδόστρωμα.
Η πείρα και τα γερά του χέρια την κρατούσαν στο δρόμο. Μόνο αυτά. Το μυαλό του ήταν αλλού. Χωρίς να το θέλει έκανε ένα παραλληλισμό. Μήπως η σημερινή οικονομική κατάσταση που βιώνουμε στην Ευρώπη είναι σαν μια τέτοια νταλίκα που «σερφάρει» σήμερα πάνω σε επικίνδυνες χιονισμένες στροφές;
Μήπως το χρήμα που όλοι προσκυνάμε σήμερα έχει χαλάσει τα φρένα της; Μήπως στη θέση του οδηγού δεν βρίσκονται τα στιβαρά χέρια του Μήτσου, αλλά κάποια άλλα αδύναμα και χωρίς πείρα χέρια; Μήπως …
Ref.: Φ. Νίτσε : Μαθήματα για την παιδεία
Σ. Γουνελά: Η κρίση του πολιτισμού.
Μ. Ράσσελ: Η εξουσία και το άτομο.
W. Jeager: Παιδεία.
Σ. Βέιλ: Εκλογή από το έργο της, Μήνυμα.
Όποιος νομίζει πως πρόκειται περί ψηλών, ξανθών, Γερμανών με γαλάζια μάτια γελιέται. Ευσεβείς πόθοι μερικών επαρμένων του περασμένου αιώνος.
Ούτε γίνεται λόγος για κάποια γενετική υπεροχή μίας φυλής ή ενός λαού έναντι άλλων... υποδεέστερων.
Πρόκειται, όμως, για το μόνο ανθρωπολογικό είδος που θα μπορούσε να σώσει την οικονομική κατάσταση όχι μόνο στην Ελλάδα αλλά και σε κάθε χώρα του πλανήτη, γενικότερα.
Η Ελληνική γλώσσα είναι η μόνη που αποκωδικοποιεί το λήμμα ξεκαθαρίζοντας ότι «Άρειος» είναι αυτός που ασχολείται με την γη του και αντλεί δύναμη από τον τόπο του.
Το πρόθεμα αρ- είναι διάσπαρτο σε πολλές λέξεις που σχετίζονται με την μητέρα «Γη», όπως δηλώνει και η πρώτο-ελληνική λέξη «άρουρα» – «καλλιεργήσιμη γη», από το αρ ‘γη’ και το ‘ουρ’ (πρόθεμα του ουρανού, του οποίου το νερό την καθιστά γόνιμη).
Διόλου τυχαίως, λοιπόν, «αρουραίος» ονομάζεται ο μυς που τρυπώνει στην «άρουρα» σε αντίθεση με τον μικρότερο «ποντικό» (τον «θαλασσινό», δηλαδή) που τρύπωνε στα καράβια και ταξίδευε στον ‘πόντο’ (θάλασσα).
Με άροτρο οργώνει την γη ο γεωργός, και μετά τον κάματο αράζει (κάθεται επί της γης). Όποιος έχει γη είναι ‘άρχων’ (ο ‘αρ’ έχων), καθώς μόνο όσοι είχαν γη θεωρούντο ‘άρχοντες’.
«Άριστος» μπορεί να είναι μόνο αυτός που ορθώς ‘ίσταται’ επί της γης και «άρση» μπορεί να επιτευχθεί μόνον όταν κάποιος πατάει γερά επάνω της.
Ωστόσο, ό, τι ‘μονιάζει’ με τη γη επιφέρει «αρ-μονία», ενώ “πάτημα γερό” στα επιχειρήματά του πρέπει να έχει κάποιος ώστε με «άρα» να συμπεράνει.
Και επειδή μόνο η τελεσφόρος Γαία παρέχει συνθήκες για ζωή, δυνατά, αρτιμελή παιδιά γεννάει - και μόνο ό, τι είναι άρτιο καλά κρατάει…
Υπάρχουν πολλά ακόμη παράγωγα που αντλούν την αρχική τους σημασιολογία από το αρ, αλλά στις μέρες μας πρέπει να επικεντρωθούμε στο σοφό δίδαγμα που μας κομίζει η λέξη “Άρειος”: δηλαδή, ότι δεν γίνεσαι δυνατός (Άρειος) ως άνθρωπος ή ως λαός εάν δεν ασχολείσαι ενεργά με τη δική σου γη, το δικό σου τόπο.
Αυτό ακριβώς απηχεί και το αρχαίο ρήμα «αρείω» που σημαίνει «δυναμώνω» και απαντάται στον όρκο του Αθηναίου οπλίτη σε μία εποχή που έλαμψε ακριβώς επειδή οι λέξεις τότε κόμιζαν την αλήθεια: «Την πατρίδα ουκ ελάσσω παραδώσω. Πλείω δε και αρείω όστις αν παραδέξομαι».
Δηλαδή: «Την πατρίδα φτωχότερη δεν θα την παραδώσω. Θα την μεγαλώνω και θα την δυναμώνω περισσότερο από ό,τι την παρέλαβα.» (Θυμίζει λίγο τα σημερινά μας «μαργαριτάρια», τους σύγχρονούς μας πολιτικούς, καλή τους ώρα…)
Άρα, λοιπόν, όταν καλλιεργείς τον τόπο σου, αντλείς δύναμη και έμπνευση από την δική σου γη - το δικό σου οίκο. Αυτό σε καθιστά Άρειο/δυνατό και ευδοκιμούν τα πάντα του «οίκου» σου επειδή τον νοικοκυρεύεις και τον «νέμεσαι» με τους δικούς σου ανθρώπους. Εξ ου και ο όρος “οικο-νομία”.
Εν αντιθέσει, όσοι έπαψαν να πατούν στη γη τους βρήκαν την καταστροφή διά της «έπαρσης». Η λέξη “έπαρση” (επί + άρση) δηλώνει την κατάσταση αιώρησης τινός πάνω από ή μακριά από την γη του.
Όπως ό,τι αιωρείται , είναι καταδικασμένο κάποια στιγμή να πέσει, έτσι και όλες οι επίδοξες αυτοκρατορίες πάντοτε κατέρρεαν συνεπεία της έπαρσης των υπερφύαλων που τις δημιουργούσαν, επειδή ακριβώς ενήργησαν σε ξένα εδάφη.
Όμως, αν και εμείς οι Έλληνες δεν είχαμε επεκτατικές βλέψεις, η δική μας «έπαρση» αποδείχτηκε από τις καταστροφικότερες. Όπως το παιδάκι που δεν έχει εισιτήριο να μπει σε έναν θερινό κινηματογράφο σκαρφαλώνει τον φράχτη για να δει την ταινία, αλλά αντί τούτου πέφτει και σπάει το πόδι του, έτσι κι εμείς αδέξια σκαρφαλώσαμε για να μακαρίσουμε ξένους τρόπους ζωής που καμία σχέση είχαν με τη δική μας πραγματικότητα.
Έχοντας ξεριζωθεί από τα χωριά μας, αποποιούμενοι την ταυτότητά μας, πιθηκίζαμε ό,τι βλέπαμε στην οθόνη. Για τέσσερις δεκαετίες αιωρούμασταν στο φράκτη επαρμένοι, ταλαντεύοντας τα πόδια χωρίς να πατάμε στη γη μας και ατροφήσαμε, πάθαμε οστεοπόρωση. Όταν τελικά πέσαμε πάνω της, τσακιστήκαμε!
Τώρα τι κάνουμε; Μαζέυουμε ό,τι κομμάτια έχουν μείνει και συναρμολογούμε το σπίτι μας. Πρώτο μας μέλημα: να επαναγειώσουμε τα νιάτα μας, των οποίων την ανατροφή η «ηδονοθηρική» γενιά των τελευταίων δεκαετιών ανέθεσε στην «οθονο-νταντά».
Τι κι αν αυτή τα τάιζε με τοξικές ουσίες; Τους έδειξε και κάποια χελωνάκια που έπεσαν στα τοξικά απόβλητα και μεταλλάχθηκαν σε χελωνονιντζάκια.
Παραδειγματιζόμενα από τέτοιες εικόνες και αλλότριους ήχους μεταλλάχθηκαν και τα δικά μας παιδιά σε τερατολάγνους, ή, στην ηπιότερη περίπτωση, παντελώς αδιάφορα για το ό,τι συνέβαινε στην χώρα τους.
Φυσικό επακόλουθο οι τάσεις τους για αυτοκαταστροφή και αναρχία. Πού η επαφή με την αρχή – τη γη τους; Χωρίς αρχή, πού κάποιο όραμα; Φυσικό να λερώνουν τοίχους με ακαταλαβίστικα συνθήματα που μοιάζουν με οξύδωση χημικών αποβλήτων.
Φυσικότατο, αντί να πιάνουν χέρια σε χορούς, να πηθικίζουν «ροκάροντας» μοναχικά ή να φορούν στραβά το καπελάκι και να «ραπάρουν» με αυτιστικά κουνήματα με το ένα χέρι στα γεννητικά τους όργανα και το άλλο αμερικανεγρορυθμικά να δακτυλοδείχνει.
Κι ενώ τέτοιες τυφλές απομιμήσεις άλλωτε θα θεωρούντο αστείες, στις μέρες μας φοβίζουν... Προμηνύουν την πολιτισμική σήψη γοργώς κατακυλούσα όλον τον πλανήτη, όπως το θέλει η «εθνοφάγος» νέα τάξη.
Καιρός, λοιπόν, να ακούσουμε τον ψίθυρο του αρουραίου μυός κάτω από τα πόδια μας - τον «μυ» που «τηρεί» (βλέπει) το μυς-τήριο που θα μας κάνει Άρειους: την δύναμη της άρουρας/γης.
Καιρός να καταλάβουν οι νέοι που έχουν εμποτισθεί με ξένες ιδεολογίες ότι χωρίς βαθειές ρίζες στην Ελληνική «αρούρα» θα είναι πεσμένοι δρύες που κάθε καιροσκόπος θα ξυλεύεται.
Αντί να σπάνε βιτρίνες, να γράφουν μισελληνικά συνθήματα και να κάνουν ξένων οράματα δικά τους, ας χτυπήσουν το σύστημα εκεί που πονάει διεκδικώντας ό,τι αυτό τους έχει στερήσει: δηλαδή τη γλώσσα τους, την ιστορία τους, την ταυτότητά τους, την τίμια εργασία στη γη τους.
Ας γυρίσουν την πλάτη στις πόλεις που τους καταστρέφουν, αλλά όχι στην πατρίδα. Να ξεχυθούν στην ύπαιθρο και να χτυπήσουν την ανεργία πέρνοντας τις δουλειές από τους αλλοδαπούς που νέμονται το δικό μας οίκο στις χώρες τους.
Όσο ουτοπικό κι αν ακούγεται, σε λίγο μόνο οι κοινότητες στα χωριά θα αποτελούν την πρωτογενή ανάπτυξη και θα είναι η μόνη σωτηρία καθώς η παγκόσμια οικονομία θα καταρρέει.
Όσον αφορά τους μεγαλύτερους και «βολεμένους», καιρός να προχωρήσουμε από τα σχέδια επί χάρτου στις επιχειρήσεις. Και μάλιστα μας δίνεται μία μεγάλη ευκαιρία.
Τώρα που όλα τα διεθνή μέσα επικεντρώνονται σε μας και μας χλευάζουν, επιτέλους να πρωτοπορήσουμε και να δείξουμε το δρόμο και σε άλλα έθνη που έχουν μπει στο στόχαστρο του πραγματικού φασισμού – αυτόν της «εθνοκτόνου» παγκοσμιοποίησης.
Να αποτρέψουμε τη μετανάστευση των νέων μας και συνάμα την λαθρομετανάστευση προτιμώντας ελληνόπουλα σε όλες τις θέσεις εργασίας, προτιμώντας δικά μας προιόντα, Ελληνικούς ήχους και Ελληνικούς τρόπους ζωής.
Εάν ξαναποτισθεί αυτή η γη με Ελληνικό, Άρειο ιδρώτα, πολλάκις θα μας αμοίψει. Εξ άλλου, είχαμε έναν πολιτισμό για τον οποίον αξίζει να ζει κανείς. Καιρός να τον επαναφέρουμε.
It has always been my belief that good teachers show their talent and good work when dealing with what we usually refer to as ‘weak’ students.
There is no doubt that ‘failure’ bothers both teachers and students. When a student fails, we feel we have failed.
On the other hand though, I think, we all have experience of learners who just will not learn whatever we do to teach them.
Instead of making them or ourselves feel guilty about it, let us try to help those failing students find a way to success.
Success does not always mean passing a test or even learning ‘what is in a book’. Sometimes it means students must learn other lessons such as how to work in school and in the real world.
Sometimes the results of our work still seem negligible or even negative, but trying to help such learners is our sacred responsibility. We need to keep in mind that there are many types of failing students and they all deserve our help.
What follows are some helping ‘tips’ to help you with failing students.
1. Identify the students who need more attention in class. During the first month of teaching select evidence of the learners’ language level, abilities through testing, in class writing and oral interviews.
2. Discuss with the specific learners privately using facts such as assessed tests, homework, lack of study examples and so on. Do not be afraid to be blunt and specific ‘there is not a single right answer in this paper’ etc. always taking into consideration the learner’s personality and other unique characteristics.
3. During the teacher – student private meeting get the learner to talk about his/her learning problem. Analyse it with the learner. If the learner knows the problem it is easier to work on it.
4. Listen to what the student has to say about his/her learning problem. Provide explanations during the meeting with the learner. Sometimes, as teachers, we may have only experience symptoms of the problem, but we may have no idea of its source.
5. Work with the learner to produce a plan of action with realistic aims, goals and time limits. Invite the learner to include his/her own ideas in the plan and go over it together to agree on the suggested procedures.
Find steps to follow on the way to accomplish the aims and goals set. Offer the learner a chance to make progress so do not guarantee that he/she will get a pass.
6. After the plan show you are interested in the learner’s progress. Praise his/her work in front of the class if it is appropriate and such praising may become less regular as the learner improves.
7. Sometimes you need to remind the learner of the aims and goals set. Avoid negative comments in front of other students but see the learner in private for further action since old habits are hard to break.
8. Have a variety of resources to help the learner when needed. It is useful to have easy access to material to match the needs of the learner/s in need.
9. Praise the learner’s work even if s/he did not pass a test or another type of assessment. Spend some time with the learner who is to receive an F in a very important test.
Prepare the learner before class by saying something like: ‘those irregular verbs are still hard for you, but I could see you worked on them. Let’s give it another try’.
It is my view that we should not give a learner a passing grade for trying hard. It only takes the learner to a harder and more impossible level.
10. Do not forget … as a teacher you have done your best. However, the learner is responsible for his success and failures.
Here is the 6 o’clock news from the BBC at Bush House, London, on 24th December 2012. Tonight, we visit the capital of Greece, one of the poorer and hardest hit members of the former EU that disintegrated in May, this year.
You may recall, the EU split in July, with the richer members, like Germany, Austria, France and Luxembourg moving off and keeping the Euro (€), while the others, those owned by the Banking Federation (BF), make do with the second tier currency, the MiniYuro (m€) trading at 2 to 1 to the standard euro, that the BF established a year ago.
Tonight, while Athens prepares for its second Christmas of austerity and virtual enslavement to the BF, Syntagma Square is conspicuous by the absence of its large decorated tree.
Neither can the country afford the electricity, nor can government employees be found to cut one and bring it to the centre. Any wood available is immediately seized for fuel, since heating oil is so expensive and mainly the prerogative of politicians and the more well off.
The chief of police, Dimos Elpidos, told us he was happier than expected. Muggings had fallen to only 23 yesterday and burglaries had also dropped. It seems the thieves have realised that nobody has anything worth stealing left.
He was also happy to report that nuisance complaints from roaming bands of city dogs had also fallen dramatically, month by month, but admitted he thought the decrease was due to people eating them. Cats are also much fewer.
Whereas the poor have always been able to cope and have no qualms about searching through rubbish bins, the middle class - the hardest hit - have found it the most difficult.
Pride prevents them from raiding rubbish and they don’t often resort to begging at traffic lights. If it wasn’t for charities that manage soup kitchens and food distributions for some families, there would be much more crime.
As you can see in the photographs there is little street lighting and the few cars running are more conspicuous due to their headlights.
There are also few young people, as so many have left Greece to look for work in other countries, hoping to be able to send money back to their families.
Fortunately, Greek children have always been adept at learning foreign languages and this ability has proved a major asset to them in this time of crisis
Our correspondent visited a branch of the Carrefour supermarkets to see what was available. Goods are now placed in two sections. One for diplomats, politicians, bankers and the better heeled who can pay in Standard Euros, the other for those operating in MiniYuros.
At the MiniYuro meat counter, the butcher whispered to our correspondent that he had a couple of legs of fresh dog, if he fancied a roast, otherwise it was a scrawny cat.
However he did recommend the fox and hedgehog that had been brought in today. “It’s quite amazing what you can do with a fox, you know. It’s got much more of a game taste than your average dog.”
We asked Mr Trokala, a well established politician, what he thought of the situation and were quite surprised at the answer. “You know, historically speaking, it has been much worse at times in the past; and yet, many survived.
And in recent years we have the example of Argentina which took only 7 years to recover. So I have great hopes we will pull through it.
My wife,” he said, “considers it a good opportunity for self-control. She only eats one chocolate bar a day, now and advises others to do the same.”
The Banking Federation, who were mainly responsible for the situation in the first place, have tried to help those who find it impossible to cover their debts.
They are now accepting payments in body parts, such as kidneys or part of the liver.
These can be made immediately for a sizable portion of debt; with the rest of the organs to be donated after death.
“This way,” explained a spokesperson for the BF, “we help people continue their lives with the minimum of discomfort.
A transplant kidney will earn the donor €5000.” The body parts are then sold in countries where people, like bankers, have the means to purchase them.
Tourists holidaying in Greece over the festive season have police escorts, and are generally only allowed to travel to certain destinations, like the Acropolis, the National Museum and approved shopping areas during their stay.
Plaka has recently been added to their list as the restaurants now take only Euros in payment. Passports and evidence of possessing this currency must be shown at police checkpoints in order to enter the area.
“The last thing we want is for tourists to have hungry faces staring at their piled plates, you know, while they are eating,” said Trokala. “It wouldn’t be good for either their digestion or tourism.”
A representative of the Troika, the general name given to the BF, now managing Greece, Portugal and Spain, told us they are trying to standardise food procedures for people in these countries.
“All those who work at BF approved jobs, get 1500 calories a day, so no one is actually starving. Of course, they can’t live as they did before, but it is their own fault the country got into debt in the first place.
I’m sure you realise that we don’t actually have to help them, but bankers are compassionate people at heart!”
We asked a well placed member of the BF, who wants to remain anonymous, whether it would have been better to let Greece default on its loans 18 months ago.
“Well, better for whom,” he said. “Bankers and investors would have lost most of their loans, and would also have missed a rare opportunity to gain control of a whole country.
Now with Spain and Portugal also in the Federation, we have a nation bloc that is a viable business alternative to the former EU and proving quite attractive to wealthy investors.
It is also much easier to govern. Hunger kills the will to resist. We expect Italy to be incorporated soon and maybe Ireland, too.”
To expand the economy, the BF have arranged for certain well known multinationals such as Donna Karen, Kalvin Klein and GAP to move textile manufacturing sections from India and China to Greece.
Here they are able to capitalise on the low salaries of about one Euro per hour (2 m€). They are particularly fond of the nimble fingers of Greek children (the working age has been reduced to ten years) who can manage very fine stitching on hand made garments that are sold at fine prices abroad and, according to the BF, “help reduce the national debt.”
And now let us turn to the USA, currently under the transition government appointed by Goldman Sachs, which is approaching its first year in recession and trying to cope with the same conditions that are already well known to the phlegmatic Greeks.
This dark area in the first picture is an unlit section of Times Square and the crates in the second contain the Statue of Liberty which has been purchased by a banking institution.
“How can project management be related with the events organised by Foreign Language schools?” one might ask.
The answer is simple: project management is the key concept behind the organisation of such events once we view them as projects, which is precisely what they are.
Lately, clients, friends and my current boss keep asking me: “Do we really need to organise events?” A valid question and I must agree they have a point.
Times are hard financially, parents do not show up, teachers cannot be compensated for their time so they do not want to organise shows, so why should we bother?
Before we explore the mechanics of managing school events, I would like to spend some time discussing their usefulness. First of all, any event brings parents to school, even if it takes place elsewhere.
If the event is of educational content and value, the message to the parents is very clear: we don’t only get something from you. We also give something back.
Every school has the responsibility to inform its clients by presenting and analysing its beliefs, its methodology and the reasons behind these. By doing so, schools operate on the principles of clarity and advance planning so they are on safe ground.
When schools invite parents to cultural events, such as school performances or project exhibitions, they offer their clients two very important things: the feeling that the school offers well rounded education and the chance to see their offspring’s work.
Furthermore, school events are a bonding experience. The teaching staff share ideas, plan and make decisions together. Teachers and students have a chance to meet outside the context of the classroom and work more with the language (L2) as a medium and not as a target, for a change.
Last but not least, public events work wonders for the promotion of the school. Personally, I would gladly stop to cast my eyes on a poster advertising a school performance but I would not glace twice at a run-of – the – mill advertising brochure, featuring the names of the students who have passed exams.
Having established that schools need events, we should turn our attention to the hot issue of how to organise them. As mentioned before school events are projects, therefore school owners must approach them based on the principles of project management.
A project should have a clear beginning and an ending, hopefully a successful one that exceeds our clients’ expectations. Projects intend to create a unique product, or in our case, experience.
Needless to say, there is no unique experience when schools offer the same event every year, which is why I always insist that schools vary their diet and offer different kinds of events every year.
For any project to succeed clear objectives must be set. Administration should always get the staff to see why the event should take place and allow employees to express their opinion.
It has been observed that when staff is allowed to express their opinion they engage with the project more eagerly and therefore more productively.
It goes without saying that administration should inspire staff to participate by assigning tasks to the right people, depending on their experience, skills, availability, and wish to participate.
There is no reason asking a mother of three if she can organise rehearsals on a Saturday afternoon and then question her loyalty to the school when she replies that she has no one to baby sit.
Organising an event should be a thoroughly pleasant and satisfying experience for all the participants. If problems occur with employees, parents or students, the cause is not the event itself, but our inability to manage it as a project.
“So, I won’t organise an event because my staff won’t back me up and do as I tell them.” a school owner might say. But, I am afraid, the answer to that goes beyond the boundaries of this topic, bordering on human resource management and proper hiring procedures.
Once administration and staff have agreed on the nature of the event, a project leader must be found and the concept of the event must be formulated.
Crucial decisions must be made at this time such as the type audience we want to attract, what the school aims to gain, the project budget and the available resources.
Bearing in mind that the benefits of any event must be measured in quantifiable data, we must plan in advance what we are going to spend and how we intend to get it back. This leads us to the next buzz word, Advance planning.
From experience I know that the two most common traps for schools wishing to organise an event are time and communication and this happens due to lack of advance planning.
Projects take time and if we want them to be successful, we should not underestimate time which can make or break the event. Time is also connected with communication.
If the school has invested time, energy and money on the event and does not have time to advertise it, invite guests and make follow up calls to make sure they are coming, the event will not receive the attention it deserves.
Therefore, a good project plan should be drafted outlining the list of activities to take place, the timeframe complete with deadlines, the responsibilities of each participant and the ground rules of our project.
I would like to close this article by listing some tips which I have found useful:
• School events do not need to be expensive or complicated.
• We should plan ahead and budget everything carefully.
• It is advisable to start looking for an appropriate venue early on and book it in advance. Once the date is set we have the deadline, so the timeframe of the project becomes clearer.
• In order to cut costs, we can avoid investing on lavish buffets, as long as we make sure that our guests are offered a cup of coffee and something to nibble.
• The staff and the students should be engaged in planning the advertising campaign. Young people have original ideas and, after all, it’s their show!
• If there is any intention of using the proceeds of the event to raise money for a charity, we should make sure that representatives of that charity are present. It’s also a great idea to give them space to exhibit their work and perhaps to ask them to say a few words to the parents.
• The event must be recorded and lots of photos must be taken. These can be uploaded on the school website and on Facebook. They can also be loaded on an electronic picture frame and placed at the front desk of the school.
Finally, we should make sure that a short article regarding our event is published in the local newspaper, so that it can have far reaching effects on the publicity of our school.
If managed properly, school events have the ability to promote the public image of our school to a much larger audience than any other advertising campaign. After all, no advertisement can speak louder than our very own good work.
Maria Sachpazian, BA education / RSA dip/tefl (hons), is an ELF teacher employed at the Straight Up Markoyannopoulou schools. She is also an educational management specialist who has worked as a teacher trainer and materials’ developer. Maria and her associate George Moumoulidis run Input on Education, a company which provides academic support and consultancy to Foreign Language Schools.
I think that every teacher would agree with me that students nowadays prefer surfing on-line rather than open their text book and do some more mechanical and, most of the times, meaningless exercises.
One thing is for sure. Teachers may use the Internet in order to increase the learners’ exposure to authentic materials and realistic tasks.
But what kind of language activities can the learners do? Below are some basic and easy to use ideas for the novice teacher wishing to work through the Internet.
Suggestion 1a: Learner based worksheets
Ask the learners to choose a famous person they admire and find his/her biography on the Internet. Then, ask them to produce their own comprehension questions and other similar activities such as synonyms, guessing words in context etc. for their classmates to do.
Suggestion 1b: Songs and video clips
The learners are asked to select one or more of their favourite songs and download it from the Internet. Then, ask the learners to create a gap-fill exercise for their classmates to do or other similar exercises such as to mix up the lines and have their classmates put them in order, replace words with nonsense words, indicate stress and rhythm or even write their own lyrics based on the tune of the song.
(For more song based activities see my article on HOW TO … use songs in class). If you wish the learners to work on their favourite video clip ask them to download it and design comprehension questions on it or even questions which focus on the visual part of the clip.
In any case, you need to make sure that the materials in question are relevant to your learners’ needs and the element of competition through task design for their classmates increases motivation and ensures high standard work.
Suggestion 2: Homework relation
Another easy way of using the Internet effectively is to incorporate it into your lesson plan. For example, if you are doing a unit on holiday destinations, the learners may be asked to visit a variety of sites, select their favourite destination (cheaper destination, most adventurous destination etc.) and present it orally in class or write a composition about it.
There are two ways of doing this: a. you either let students explore freely, or b. you give them a list of websites to search.
Other ideas include booking ideal holidays, exploring a city and finding cheap accommodation, selling and buying household objects, cars, electronic equipment or even looking at passive forms in a variety of newspaper articles.
Suggestion 3: Compare
Ask the learners to look at two specific websites. For example, two different magazines focusing on similar content. The students are then asked to find the same topic and compare the two articles in terms of content, language used, presentation, points of view etc.
After the learners have been involved in such a task once, then, they may be asked to choose their own topics to read, compare and bring feedback back in class. This will increase motivation and personal interests will be brought in class.
Suggestion 4: Communication
Use social networks such as FACE BOOK and TWITTER to engage your learners in realistic communication between them when they are not in class. You may also wish to design a class or school forum for learners to practice using the language realistically.
Social networks such as FACE BOOK provide space for the learners to present their class work and ‘show’ it to their friends. Students find it absolutely motivating since they realise that while doing FACE BOOK they may develop their language skills too.
Suggestion 5: Sites created for students
One may find hundreds of sites including quizzes, grammar and vocabulary practice exercises even reading and listening comprehension texts with a wide variety of accompanying exercises.
Provide the learners with a list of such sites to explore and write reviews about each site visited. This may be fun and, hopefully, the learners may use the specific sites when needed.
Akis Davanellos has been a school owner and Practitioner Teacher for twenty three years and he holds an MA in ELT from the University of Warwick. He has written a number of articles in local and international journals and he has worked for international and local publishing companies presenting professional and commercial seminars and courses. He has also been involved in forthcoming book evaluations and piloting. He is the initiator and the main materials designer of the IGUANA PROJECT publishing house, the initiator of the Iguana Project Educational Support System for schools (I.P.E.S.S.). He has also developed the ‘e-enilikes’ method for adult education and various e-learning programs for distant learning.
The notion of consulting is nothing new to business. Surprisingly enough, it is a relatively new concept to the ELT world where its content and its value are a blur to school owners and teachers alike.One could say that consulting is the easiest job on the planet: one gets paid to give advice which might or might not work.
At any rate, the consultant will have already been paid when the time comes to see if the advice has paid off.
Urged by curiosity, I looked up the term on the net, and I must say that the Urban Dictionary (www.urbandictionary.com) provided the definition that amused me the most.
For those of you who will actually use the link to see the definition, I must say that I have edited it for reasons of propriety.
“Grandiose windbags who give advice for a fee. They can't do anything useful, so they enter teaching, only to find out they can't teach very well so they try to train teachers. Unfortunately, the teachers they train think they are useless, so they become academic consultants.”
Well, that’s one way to see it! The quote, despite its disparaging nature and its bitter tongue, makes an interesting statement: academic consultants are people with an academic background, who have extensive experience in teaching and training, so they know the ELT field in every minute detail.
In fact, if they want to go on being in a position to give valid advice, consultants ought to maintain their first - hand contact with the classroom.
Consulting is definitely not the easiest job on the planet! Consultants are managers who are not fully employed in the schools they aid and support.
That might be a mixed blessing. Resident consultants will get to know the school inside out, will be aware of its strengths and weaknesses and they will be able to offer services daily.
On the other hand, they run the risk of having their vision blurred, which will cause them to lose objectivity. For the hired consultants, familiarisation is of utmost importance, since schools are complicated organisations which are run in many different ways.
“Simple enough!” one might say “You ask, they answer! After all, they’ve hired you!” If only, it were so simple! School owners, who have their own pre-conceived ideas about what is right and what is not, when talking to an academic consultant for the first time are guarded, as they fear they will be on the receiving end of negative comments.
Therefore, school owners edit. An edited reality, or a reality that changes after the consultant leaves, is an altered reality.
If the advice given is based on the features of this nonexistent reality, it is going to be neither valid nor applicable. What happens then? Consultancy fails and whose fault is it? The … windbag’s of course.
So, next time an academic consultant comes round the school knocking on your door, you know what to tell him: “Consultancy? No thank you! I’ve had enough!” But things are not so and we all know it.
Much like marriage, consultancy has more chances of succeeding when it is based on the solid foundations of mutual honesty and trust.
After all, a consultant’s job is not to focus on the negative. It is to pinpoint the roots of any issue, which is a necessary step in order to avoid it in the future, and then to offer a wide range of suggestions.
These suggestions, contrary to what the Urban Dictionary definition says, are well thought out ideas that can be applied in the setting of that particular school.
Another aspect of the consultant’s role is that of the vigilant eye which is ready to detect early signs of possible dangers.
A consultant can monitor the different aspects of the school, offer academic support, while promoting the unique features that comprise that school’s identity consistently and in a meaningful way.
I say in a meaningful way, because consultancy cannot work en mass, it has to be aimed at individual schools since what works in one setting, might be completely ineffective in another. This is the reason why looking at the neighbour’s marketing strategy seldom pays off.
Consultancy is definitely not a magic wand which can transform someone else’s school. It is a solid framework which uses knowledge, methodology and resources from various other scientific fields in order to lead professionals to re-examine their work and view it under a different light.
Secondly, it is not a battle for power as it does not aim to impose decisions on the school. Consultants are not there to replace anyone; they are there to provide input.
Finally, it is a great misconception on the part of the school owners to think that consultancy is an overpriced luxury, which neither their staff nor their clients will appreciate.
Consultancy functions as a support mechanism that fortifies the school by introducing fresh perspective and by helping the school function within the Total Quality Management (TQM) framework.
In order for this to happen, the school staff led by the school owner will have to become more introspective. With the aid of the consultant, they will re-examine each aspect of their school within this framework.
This will lead them to work in a more rational and organised way according to which decisions are made ahead of time, via the proper decision making processes, and every outcome is evaluated.
I have noticed that even the best run schools neglect the stage of evaluation, either because they are afraid of it or because they do not really believe in it. Still there is no TQM without some form of appraisal which leads to re-planning.
Want to look back at the definition from the Urban Dictionary? I believe we now realise that no consultant can ever offer random advice just to get paid.
This practice might secure him a permanent unemployment benefit, but no career prospects. In my opinion, consultancy is there to convert what might seem as complicated or stressful into a world of endless possibilities and opportunities.
Maria Sachpazian BA education / RSA dip/tefl (hons) is an ELF teacher employed at the Straight Up Markoyannopoulou schools. She is also an educational management specialist who has worked as a teacher trainer and materials’ developer. Maria and her associate George Moumoulidis run Input on Education, a company which provides academic support and consultancy to Foreign Language Schools.
In July 1961, on holiday at St Malo, France, I stood by a swimming pool watching what we termed a frogman do exercises in the water. I was 13 years old and I had just been given my week’s pocket money, 5 Francs (a little less than one euro). I was fascinated by this black, rubber covered creature, swimming about underwater and exhaling large noisy bubbles.
When he came out I asked him to teach me to dive, and offered all my pocket money in exchange.
Smiling, he then took me down for half an hour and I had the wonderful experience of swimming and exploring the pool underwater without needing to come up to breathe every minute. It was a narcotic, within half an hour I had become a diving addict.
However, another 12 years passed before I really became a SCUBA diver. A friend in Greece, a member of the British Sub Aqua Club in London, had all the gear for 2 divers and trained me, both theory and practice, to the level of what was then known as 3rd class diver (today, Sports Diver).
A dive I will never forget was in Varkiza (1975) where we discovered a cache of hand grenades at 9 metres, relatively close to the shore (we later found that they were probably part of the explosives that were intended to blow up Papadopoulos’ car during the junta).
We informed coastguard and, as they had no divers, themselves, we were authorised to dive and buoy them for the military (at the time diving was not allowed in that area and most dives on the Saronic coast were illegal).
Arriving at the site, with coastguard carrying our gear, we found a family swimming exactly above the grenades. The Coastguard officer asked the family to come out and the husband immediately did so.
The wife, however, was one of those large, arrogant ladies that always does the opposite of whatever she’s told and she refused. In vain the husband pleaded, in vain the officer requested; the answer was a flat “I’m not coming out.”
Then I suggested, with a grin, that the officer tell her we were bomb disposal divers. He loved the idea and called out: “madam, I don’t really care if you stay or come out.
These divers have come to remove a bomb that is directly underneath you and may go off at any moment. We have no time to waste; they are going in now.
You may stay at your own risk.” Needless to say, that was the moment madam lost all her arrogant cockiness, turned white, screamed loudly and made a beeline for the shore where her diminutive, henpecked husband was waiting with the largest grin I’d seen for a long time.
In 1977 I went to Thailand, but was not particularly impressed with the areas I dived in. Other people have told me that they had great dives there; so I must have just been unlucky.
Then, in 1979, the British Council sent me to Saudi Arabia. They also had a recognised BSAC diving club. The Jeddah Reef is one of the world’s finest, teeming with coral, fish and sea-life I had only seen in books and on TV.
I had the most wonderful year of my life doing a job I enjoyed and diving twice a week.
I still vividly remember the first white tip shark I ever saw. At the time I was practising with my new Nikonos 3 camera and trying to photograph a beautiful fish: half blue, half orange.
Then I turned and, there, 5 metres away was a 2 metre shark cruising past in all its glory. There were pilot fish in front of it, a remora underneath and a host of other small creatures following. It was like a flagship being escorted by a mini-armada.
I was amazed. Part of me was terrified, I had never been close to a shark before; but the other half was in awe. The shark just radiated power, it didn’t seem to use its fins or tail, but it moved quite fast; in fact it seemed to slide through the water.
Only later did I realise how privileged I was that it had come so close. Sharks I saw later seemed to try to keep a good 15 metres away, even when they circled you.
After the Red Sea, the murky British waters that awaited my return were a bit of a let down. The British coast is full of life and interesting wrecks, but the visibility is usually pretty poor; though the Channel Islands, close to France and warmed by the Gulf Stream are the closing thing you will get to the Caribbean in Europe – including sharks if you are lucky enough to see one.
1981 saw me back in Greece, together with a carload of diving gear (most of which is still used today) and, over the years I have been surprised at the variety and beauty of the places available to a diver in this country.
Despite the Mediterranean losing a lot of its life, there is still a lot to see and there can be few pleasures greater than having a young octopus crawl over you (before it has learnt that humans are to be feared) and, perhaps, trying to communicate in its own way.
I have a lovely photo of my 11 year old son, on one of his early dives looking out of his mask at a small octopus crawling over his face.
One of the feelings you get after a few dives is that you can belong to 2 different worlds: the surface and underwater. And when you dive you get this feeling of entering a new dimension; one where different rules and etiquette apply.
It is generally quite relaxing and at the end of a dive, after maybe an hour underwater, you feel a moment of regret at leaving that world which is so much more serene and organised than the one we live in.
Some people think that diving is wildly expensive, but it needn’t be. For those who want to try it a full introductory course can cost no more than a dinner for 4 in some restaurants; and from then on all the equipment can be rented at very reasonable rates.
One particular organization I am very fond of (the Diving Store) actually includes the equipment free in the cost of the dive, which means a full diving day, including boat and fuel, can work out at the same cost as an economical taverna dinner for two people!
This year I celebrated 50 years as a diver. And, apart from a marriage to a wonderful woman (also a diver) it is one of those things that have given me the most pleasure throughout my life.
You can be full of care and worry before a dive, but you are invariably calm and relaxed afterwards. Furthermore, diving is not necessarily a young person’s sport. As Cousteau said: “diving is also an activity for grandmothers!” Try it out, you won’t be disappointed.
The aim of this article is to provide basic information on methods for designing a quality lesson plan. Of course, the following ‘tips’ are not the only ones to consider while designing a lesson but, I think, the points mentioned are useful as a good starting point.
1. A quality lesson plan should include information concerning the following:
a. The stage of the lesson
b. description of what the teacher does as well as how it is done
c. description of what the students do as well as how it is organized
d. the materials to be used in each stage
e. the timing of each of the suggested activities/ procedures
f. the interaction which takes place during each activity/procedure
g. the aims of the lesson, h. the language area which will be taught during the specific lesson.
2. Obviously, the first thing that you will have to consider is what you wish the learners to be taught. This should be developed based upon the syllabus offered through the school, the book or other source.
You need to keep in mind the level of the learners as well as the time available for each activity/procedure. Always allow more time for giving and checking instructions, setting up an example etc.
3. It is very important to develop clear, specific aims to be sure that your lesson plan will teach exactly what you want it to.
The aims should not be activities that will be used in the lesson plan but they should describe the learning outcome of those activities. For example:
1. To present, practice and produce the Simple present tense for everyday routines in the affirmative and the interrogative form excluding the third person ‘s’ case.
2. To develop reading skills: reading for gist, reading for locating specific information
3. To produce an informal letter to a friend
4. To revise conditionals with ‘unless’
5. To present and practice words related with crime and punishment
Use the following guide questions to help you specify your plan aims:
Are the aims clear and specific?
Are the aims appropriate and achievable for my learners?
Have I distinguished main aims and secondary aims?
Can the aims be achieved within the time available?
Have I included examples of the linguistic items to taught?
Make sure that the aim/s set are measurable and by evaluating the outcome it would be easy to tell whether the aim/s were met or not.
Of course, more than one aims may be set for each lesson but, on the other hand, do not be over ambitious. Some of your aims may be of ‘primary’ importance and some of ‘secondary’ importance.
4. By definition a lesson plan is a ‘working document’ which means that if someone else had to teach the specific lesson using the specific lesson plan, this would be easy to follow and that it would include all the necessary information needed - for example, the materials to be used during the lesson. By ‘materials’ I refer to books, extra handouts, a video clip, a set of pictures etc.
5. It would be useful to design a set of ‘anticipated problems’ which may arise in the lesson e.g. discipline, task organisation problems, mother tongue interference, phonological, conceptual, morphological, lexical, etc.
Of course, since the teacher plans a set of ‘anticipated problems’ it would be convenient to design a set of ‘possible solutions’ for the specific problems.
6. For fulfilling the aim/s set earlier in your plan the teacher needs to write the systematic procedures that will be performed during the lesson.
It is vital to describe the relevant actions which the teacher and the students perform during each stage of the lesson along with the interaction pattern involved in each activity in order to meet the aims set.
Use common sense symbols to indicate the interaction pattern in the appropriate section of the lesson plan. For example, T=teacher, S=student, F/C=flash cards, Ss=a group of students, S-S=pair work, Ss-Ss=group work, Ss-T=teacher elicits from the students etc.
Symbol explanation is vital when another teacher is teaching the specific lesson plan. Variety of interaction patterns may increase motivation and communication opportunities.
7. Include a ‘final activity’ in the lesson plan which plays the role of ‘check what the students have learnt’ during the lesson.
This activity may prove to be very beneficial for the teacher to ‘check’ weaker students’ development and understanding.
8. It is a good idea to include a ‘students’ record’ section in the plan where the learners copy all the necessary information stored on the board throughout the lesson. Learners are not encouraged to copy while the lesson is developing simply because they lose concentration.
9. Include a ‘learners’ feedback’ section in the plan where the learners are asked to comment on the lesson in terms of language content, type of activities involved, evaluation of the activities, what they liked and what they did not etc.
10. Finally, when needed, plan to see learners individually either to discuss possible language difficulties, behaviour problems etc. or to praise their exceptional performance during a series of lessons, comment on their development and so on.
Akis Davanellos has been a school owner and Practitioner Teacher for twenty three years and holds an MA in ELT from the University of Warwick. He has written a number of articles in local and international journals and he has worked for international and local publishing companies presenting professional and commercial seminars and courses. He has also been involved in forthcoming book evaluations and piloting. He is the initiator and the main materials designer of the IGUANA PROJECT publishing house and the initiator of the Iguana Project Educational Support System for schools (I.P.E.S.S.). He has also developed the ‘e-enilikes’ method for adult education and various e-learning programmes for distant learning.
Doukas School, with an eye to the current educational developments, have been implementing since 2007 a new educational approach under the general title “School of the Future” (details of our efforts can be found at www.sof.gr).This educational proposal focuses not on what and how much a student should learn but rather on how to become an effective learner, how to become an independent inquirer and thinker and how to create innovative knowledge.
Cambridge ESOL has congratulated students and teachers throughout Greece, following strong results in the first session of the new FCE for Schools exam – taken by Greek students for the first time in May this year. The results show 71% of the students passed the exam with a grade C or better, compared to a pass rate of 64.4% for the May 2010 FCE exam.
We are excited to introduce Little Bridge to the Greek ELT community. Knowing how mature the Greek ELT market is and how much the use of technology in class is rising (especially through the use of whiteboards) we strongly believe that through the imaginary world of Little Bridge, both students and teachers will have an amazing learning and teaching experience.
Making pupils understand that we should all strive for something better and that we should all stick together in difficult times was of major importance to all of our teaching staff who have chosen their profession out of love not out of necessity.
The following article refers to the concept of ‘effective learning’ along with some practical ideas for classroom use.
At the beginning of each set of suggestions there is a definition concerning the general principles of effective learning/teaching.
ECLS, the language school run by Miranta Merkouri, staged a truly enjoyable show at Apollo theatre in Pyrgos on Wednesday June 1.The musical consisted of a medley of well-known songs among which were “California Dreaming”, “Summer Lovin”, and “Stand by Me”, and skits performed by the students and teachers who in this way marked the end of yet another successful school year.
In this article I’d like to look at the vocabulary-related skills that learners need in order to deal with the lexical load of spoken and written texts they will encounter in the listening and reading components of language exams.I will attempt to show that it is not just knowledge of vocabulary that they need, it is also training in how to deal with vocabulary that they do not know, given that no matter how much vocabulary they know, there will always be lexis in a text that is still unfamiliar and whose mere presence in a text can cost untrained learners a lot of valuable time.
The 13th writing competition for EFL students organised by the Greek Animal Welfare Fund was a resounding success with 6,096 participants from schools throughout the country.Three rounds of judging were held in Greece before the finalists were sent to the UK to be judged by a team of education officers working for Dogs Trust on Humane Education Programmes in schools.
Since Jack Mezirow introduced, in 1975, the notions of “perspective transformation” and “transformative learning” into the North American adult education literature, and especially in the last twenty years, research and writing in this area has proliferated.
2-5 June, University of Cyprus, Nicosia
The Departments of English Studies and Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies of the University of Cyprus and the Language Centre of the Cyprus University of Technology jointly organised their 1st International Conference on Language Testing and Assessment.
The ECCE Testing Program has completed its review of the listening and GVR (grammar, vocabulary, reading) sections of the Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE). This ongoing process, undertaken to ensure excellence in the ECCE tests, involved:
The practice of assessing speaking skills through paired oral interviews is widespread in language testing. It is believed that this format makes for more varied and realistic interaction as the two candidates can be induced to converse with each other as well as with the examiner or interlocutor.
Ανακοινώνεται ότι από τη Δευτέρα 12 Σεπτεμβρίου μέχρι την και την Παρασκευή 23 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011 θα υποβάλλονται στις Διευθύνσεις ή Γραφεία Δευτεροβάθμιας Εκπαίδευσης της χώρας αιτήσεις για συμμετοχή στις εξετάσεις του Κρατικού Πιστοποιητικού Γλωσσομάθειας εξεταστικής περιόδου Νοεμβρίου 2011.
Receive recognition for the quality of your work! Reward your pupils and yourself by applying for a National Quality Label. This is also your first step towards participating in the eTwinning Prizes 2012 competition.
We are pleased to announce that the Hellenic American Union Essay Contest organized in cooperation with the American Corner of the HAU Library for the academic year 2011-2012 Buildings of Our City: Past and Future is under way!
IELTS is the world’s leading test of English for higher education and migration. Over 1.5 million people take IELTS every year, and this number is growing rapidly.
For the first time, teachers and students in schools throughout Europe are being systematically surveyed on their use and views on technology for learning.Technology is increasingly used in schools, is a ‘must-have’ for young people, and its contribution to educational, social and economic goals is recognised in national and European policies.
As part of its ongoing program of test review and renewal, Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments has announced changes to the ECPE Cloze.
Prominent Thessaloniki-based teacher and teacher trainer Julia Tanner-Bogia passed away on August 24 at the age of 59 after a brief bout with ovarian cancer. Welsh-born Tanner-Bogia had moved to Greece in 1978, and was currently a teacher at the private school Vassiliadis, as well as a teacher trainer for the Hellenic American Union and a chief examiner for the University of Michigan examinations.
Application Deadline: November, 2011
The United States Educational Foundation in Greece (The Fulbright Foundation) will offer one grant to a Greek secondary school educator, curriculum developer, teacher trainer or textbook writer to attend the 2012 Study of the United States Institutes.
University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL) is making grant funding of up to GBP 45,000 available for small, medium and large scale research projects into language assessment to be conducted during 2012.
The City & Guilds Organisation is happy to announce that New Official Practice Papers have been released for each level. The latest Practice Papers include new or revised version of older ones which will give your students the chance to prepare efficiently for the City & Guilds Exam.
To ensure that learners and teachers have the information they need in good time so that they can prepare for the City & Guilds IESOL and ISESOL exams, City & Guilds has now announced examination dates for the following academic year, October 2011 until July 2012.
A few months ago, the Minister of Education Mrs Anna Diamantopoulou formed a committee to investigate the way the language exams sector operates in Greece, the criteria that apply for the recognition of exam bodies, methods and practices followed and suggest measures to be taken to make the system more transparent.
Ζητούνται καθηγήτριες Αγγλικών και Γερμανικών για Κ.Ξ.Γ. στο Ν. Ρύσιο Θεσσαλονίκης. Απαραίτητη προϋπόθεση: ΙΧ. E-mail: email@example.com
Καθηγήτρια Γαλλικής, πτυχιούχος Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών, με πείρα, ζητεί εργασία σε Κ.Ξ.Γ. Περιοχές: Καισαριανή, Βύρωνας, Παγκράτι, Ιλίσια, Ζωγράφου, κέντρο Αθήνας. Τηλ: 2107238101
Vocabulary knowledge is tested in most English language exams, whether directly or indirectly. A common misconception among learners is that their vocabulary knowledge will be assessed exclusively via vocabulary specific tasks, such as multiple choice questions or gap fills.
A student who is continually academically challenged is a student who will continuously learn. Good teachers are able to challenge their students just enough so that the students can further expand their knowledge and broaden their education.It seems that one of the problems of any education system is that sometimes, teachers aren’t challenging their students enough.
The late Kingley Amis said: “if you can’t annoy somebody with what you write, there’s little point in writing,” to which I can only concur wholeheartedly. After all, when you upset someone verbally the reply usually comes as a burst of scatology you might be ill equipped to adequately answer, or in the form of a punch you might equally not be able to successfully return. But in the written form … well, there you have a fair chance of reigning supreme!
In early June the British Council set up a first Focus Meeting with a selection of school owners representing the various areas and school sizes found in the Athens area.
Think of the following questions and discover whether you (still) wish to be engaged in teaching and if you are a starting teacher the questionnaire may help you decide whether teaching is the right profession for you.
If you are an experienced teacher the questionnaire may help you decide if you are still ‘strong’ enough to cope with the profession.
The Cambridge Proficiency Examination was originally offered in 1913. Numerous updates, most recently in 2002, have allowed the examination to keep pace with changes in language teaching and testing.
May 5th -8th 2011, Siena, Italy
The 8th EALTA (European Association for Language Testing and Assessment) Annual Conference took place at the historical and picturesque town of Siena and was co-organised by the University for Foreigners of Siena and Trinity College, London.
I am not sure whether the title of this article should refer to ‘Disabled pedagogy’ or ‘Enabled pedagogy’. Either way, the name is designed to echo the well-established ‘Critical Pedagogy’, so let me begin with that and come back to the question of names at the end of the article.
Critical pedagogy, of which disabled pedagogy is, in my view, one manifestation, is an approach to education which aims to raise awareness of social and political issues and to enable learners to take action in pursuit of a better world.
Both the awareness and the action seem to me to be essential components of critical pedagogy and this clearly chimes with the philosophy and aims of the Thessaloniki-based Disabled Access Friendly campaign:
We all have the feeling that education in 20 years’ time will be different from education today. Education will possibly deal with a new set of skills and competences, new curricula or types of curricula, innovative ways of learning and assessment, different roles for teachers and educational institutions, different impacts of technology, to mention just a few of the possible differences.
A group of young artists, students of the BTEC Art & Design Programme at Doukas School, held a major collective exhibition of their work at the Cultural Centre of the School, late last May.
Students and their parents had the chance to be informed on the foundation programme by Ms Josie Kemp, educational consultant, before visiting the exhibition which displayed various forms of contemporary art and design.
The School of the Future
It is widely acknowledged by policymakers and researchers that a fundamental transformation of the present day teaching environment is needed, not only to improve education, learning and training, but also to develop the new skills and competences required if learners are to remain competitive and grasp new opportunities in order to prosper in their personal and professional lives.
‘Enhancing Classroom Language Learning: the Challenges for Teachers, Trainers and Managers’
Prague, 8-9 April 2011
EAQUALS (European Association for Quality Language Services) International Conference took place in Prague on 8-9 April 2011. It was preceded by inspector training, a management training workshop for EAQUALS members, and the 20th Annual General Meeting of members. The event was hosted by the Czech Association of Language Schools at the National Technological Library and was attended by 140 participants from 23 countries.
Donna M. Brinton currently serves as Senior Lecturer in the Rossier School of Education and at USC’s American Language Institute. Prior to that, she served as Professor of TESOL at Soka University and at UCLA as Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and Associate Director of UCLA’s Center for World Languages. She has taught a wide spectrum of Applied Linguistics and English as a second language classes and has also trained and supervised teaching assistants.
Bart Verswijvel, Dutch teacher at Immaculata Instituut, Malle, Belgium, on 7 June 2011, at the Innovative Schools Event organized by the Italian Ministry of Education, ANSAS (National Agency for the Development of School Autonomy) and European Schoolnet, presented his innovative project entitled Teacher Aid.
Insafe, in cooperation with EUN and Vivendi, has created an online platform for schools and teachers which can be used in a variety of classes ranging from IT, ethics and social studies to citizenship and language classes.
Young people between the age of 14 and 18 are offered the opportunity to blog, vote and share videos on citizenship issues of concern to them.
Application deadline 22 August 2011.Teachers and researchers in the field of language assessment wanting to apply for a 2012 Cambridge ESOL/IATEFL Scholarship must submit their entry by 22 August.
Cambridge ESOL has developed two new Online Practice Tests to help boost the English language skills of hundreds thousands of international students preparing to take IELTS.
Cambridge ESOL has congratulated students and teachers throughout Greece, following strong results in the first session of the new FCE for Schools exam – taken by Greek students for the first time in May this year. The results show 71.00% of the students passed the exam with a grade C or better, compared to a pass rate of 64.4% for the May 2010 FCE exam.
According to the deputy minister of education Mrs Evi Christophilopoulou the teaching of a second foreign language in Junior High School will continue to be offered under the following conditions:
The ECCE Testing Program has completed its review of the listening and GVR (grammar, vocabulary, reading) sections of the Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE). This ongoing process, undertaken to ensure excellence in the ECCE tests, involved:
The May 2011 Exams took place on 21 & 22 May 2011 in 40 Cities and more than 50 venues across Greece.
City & Guilds would like to take this opportunity and thank everyone that has contributed to the successful organisation of our exams:
There were four of us in the car and we’d got on quite well as far as excursions to Portsmouth, the New Forest, Salisbury and Winchester were concerned. But on the long drive up from Southampton to York, Laura was starting to become a little irritating.
The majority of English language learners expect to take at least one public exam at some point in their language learning careers, usually once they have reached an upper intermediate level in the language. This is clearly not just because their examination result will give them some kind of feedback on their success in learning the language, but, perhaps more importantly, because such examination results are routinely used to control access to further education, access to employment and international mobility (cf. Bachman and Purpura 2008).
Last April, QLS Foreign Languages Schools students, aged 10-15, from all over Greece, gathered in two different venues (the Hellenic American Union in Athens and the American Farm School in Thessaloniki), and had a pleasant and full of activities day.
Diaries are instruments that can tell a useful story. Diaries, otherwise called journals, have long been used in psychotherapy as a way of releasing suppressed emotions (Assagioli, 1976: 104) with a view to enhancing patient self-awareness.
Diaries are also used in sociological, financial, and educational research in order to collect information that will serve toward fulfilling the cause for which they have been designed.
Καθηγήτρια Αγγλικών με 10ετή φροντιστηριακή πείρα ζητεί εργασία σε Κ.Ξ.Γ. Τηλ: 2102316736, 6936200044
On Wednesday 6th April 2011 at 11 o’clock a group of education executives from seven European countries visited our school. The visit took place in the frame of study visits of the school year 2010-2011 entitled “Creative learning pathways of formal and non-formal education”.
PEKADE has initiated a series of seminars, supported by School Advisors, to give state school English language teachers outside the region of Athens opportunities for professional and personal development.
TESOL Macedonia-Thrace Annual Convention is one of Northern Greece’s leading events for teaching professionals who work in all sectors of English Language Teaching (ELT).Delegates at the 18th Convention were challenged with thought-provoking topics and more and left with a selection of inspiring teaching ideas as well as new ways of thinking about their own classroom practice.
The creation of a Europe of knowledge has been a prime objective for the European Union (EU) since the Lisbon European Council of March 2000. Universities have a particularly important role to play, because of their twofold traditional vocation of research and teaching and their increasing role in the complex process of innovation.The creation of a .Europe of knowledge is a source of opportunities for the universities but it is also a major challenge.
That’s it! I am definitely hooked on IATEFL! There must be something in the air as the time approaches every year that makes my mind fill with images of people with the distinctive red badges round their necks filling the streets of UK cities, of auditoriums packed to capacity, of the spirited discussions between friends reunited and of making new ELT (and facebook) friends.
Antonella Sorace (Laurea, University of Rome; MA, University of Southern California; PhD University of Edinburgh) is Professor of Developmental Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. She also holds a part-time visiting professorship (Professor II) at the University of Tromsø. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. From 2005 to 2007 she was the holder of a British Academy Research Readership.
Without any doubt there are many characteristics, techniques, etc. that build up the ‘model teacher’. Although one may argue that these characteristics are so many that is almost impossible to list, there are certain time-tested virtues which contribute towards the profile of the ‘perfect teacher’. In the following list there are characteristics that students have used to describe their ‘model teachers’.
According to Wed Id annual research conducted by Focus Bari Research Company, the users of the Internet have impressively increased during the last 10 years. The research is carried out annually on behalf of the Observatory for the Greek Information Society. The results are published twice year: in April and November.
UNESCO is launching a new website to provide up-to-date information on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Education. The intersectoral website pools the resources of UNESCO’s sectors, institutes, field offices and partners to present an indexed gateway to a wealth of ICT in Education resources.
USB pen drives have established themselves as a medium which is already used by students. They are usually employed to save personal data, e.g. word documents or presentations. USB pen drives are also the central medium of the digital schoolbag project.
In autumn 2011, schools throughout Europe are to be systematically surveyed on the access, use and impact of information technology for learning.The Survey of Schools: ICT and Education is funded by the European Commission Directorate General Information Society and Media and supported by ministries of education.
The Cambridge Proficiency Examination was originally offered in 1913. Numerous updates, most recently in 2002, have allowed the examination to keep pace with changes in language teaching and testing.The purpose of the project was to revise CPE in order to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of candidates, teachers, centres and other users in terms of content and length.
“There are about 15,000 higher education institutions in the world, and people are obsessing about 100 - less than 1% of the world’s institutions.”International rankings of higher education institutions are here to stay, but classifications should evolve to give information that is more relevant to the needs of users such as universities, students and policy-makers, fits local situations and contributes to the growth of world-class higher education systems rather than a few world-class universities.
A small number of élite universities in the US and the UK dominate the six latest global subject rankings released last month by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds), the UK-based education network.Just 13 universities appear in the top 10 rankings for chemistry, earth and marine sciences, environmental sciences, mathematics, metallurgy and materials, and physics and astronomy.
Pearson, the owner of the Financial Times, the book publisher Penguin and the Pearson Tests of English, has acquired education technology company Schoolnet.Pearson, which has made 10 significant acquisitions in the education sector in the last year, has paid $230m (£140m) in cash for the US company.
Given the closely connected roles of universities in education, research and innovation, the modernisation of higher education in Europe is crucial in an increasingly global and knowledge-based economy.
The Ministry of Education has constructed a database with Primary School Teachers who hold postgraduate degrees (MAs and PhDs). There are 1103 postgraduate degree-holders in the State Primary Education, of which only 135 applied to become school advisors.
Pearson has added to its educational activities with the purchase of qualifications group Educational Development International (EDI). Pearson is paying 200p a share for EDI, which values the company at about £112.7m. Shares in EDI shot up after the announcement.
Mrs Anna Diamantopoulou, Minister of Education, has presented the Ministry’s plans for the new vocational high schools. According to the plans: Vocational High Schools offer training in careers that require practical experience and prepare students for the workplace.
The Disabled Access Friendly campaign was privileged to be present at the 31st TESOL Greece International Convention, in Athens, March 12th 13th. The campaign, which aims to raise awareness through ELT of people with mobility/disability, was represented by Paul Shaw and had the support of other central members of the team, Dr Luke Prodromou and David Gibson.
Recognised language certificates are to be re-evaluated
Speaking in the Parliament, last April, the Deputy Minister of Education Mrs Evi Christofilopoulou announced that as of next September foreign language teaching and learning in state schools will be intensified enabling all Junior High School students to take the KPG exams in their schools.
Today, we return to the well known Athens language school in Hades St, situated in the relatively obscure and down-at-heel locality of Ano Ftocheia to see how its owner and director of studies, the pioneering academic Drachmophilos Scrootzos, is coping with the new electronic methods of submitting the annual tax return.
The 3rd Experimental Primary School in Evosmos was founded in 2005 by the School of English, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. It is the only Experimental School for the teaching of English in Greece and it is currently supervised by three staff members of the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics of the School of English.
Some time ago in this column we presented some ideas concerning ways to identify and work with children with possible learning disabilities. I say ‘possible’ because, as suggested in the previous article, as teachers of English we are not (and we do not have to be) specialists on this issue.
The Department of English Studies of the University of Athens underwent evaluation by an external evaluation committee late last February.The Committee responsible for the External Evaluation of the Faculty of English Studies of the University of Athens consisted of the following expert evaluators drawn from the Registry constituted by the Hellenic Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in accordance with Law 3374/2005:
Prof. Angela Fawcett is Director of the Centre for Child Research at the University of Swansea and formerly Reader in the department of Psychology at the University of Sheffield, where she holds an honourary chair.Her research with Prof. Rod Nicolson has influenced the way dyslexia is approached. Prof. Fawcett has authored, co-authored and edited many books on the subject, has published tests and articles and has made more than 200 conference presentations internationally.
2 Teaching positions (for September 2011) with Halandri English Language School. English speaker (Native Speaker competence) to teach English to all levels on the Belt (Computer) multi media system. Must be patient and love children. Average computer skills required, but training will be given. Experience an asset. Afternoon hours (4pm – 8pm). Salary plus IKA. Very friendly environment. Also part-time teacher needed for Junior Classes. Must be native speaker competent and experienced. Living locally would be preferable. Please contact Jennifer or Andrew Leech on 210 – 685 4790 or 69 44 22 1325. Interviews from May 2011.
Καθηγήτρια Αγγλικών ζητεί εργασία σε Κ.Ξ.Γ. για τη νέα σχολική χρονιά (2011 – 2012). Περιοχή: Δυτικά προάστια. Τηλ: 6973671824
I’ve known Mallinson for more than fifteen years. I first met him when he was an English language teacher at a Foreign Language School in Tripolis. He has written many articles for ELT NEWS which generated discussion within the ELT circles. Mallinson is now Lecturer at the Ionian University, Corfu. He is also a former British diplomat. Mallinson has written many books, including the successful ‘Cyprus: a Modern History’.
Over three days experts from the world of adult education discussed the EU’s Adult Learning Action Plan, at a conference in Budapest, 7-9 March. The conference underlined the need for adult learning, more than ever before, to contribute to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe, as part of its economic recovery, and in response to its ageing, multicultural and constantly changing societies.
Have you ever seen a girl do a wheelie? If you do, please let me know… Although this question may seem unrelated to this article, this is far from being the case. The connection first struck me while I was looking at the list of speakers at the TESOL 2009 Convention – it occurred to me that in a female-dominated field, the male speakers were rather numerous – in fact the ratio was almost 50-50%.
‘If men learn this (writing) it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves but by means of external marks. What you have discovered is a recipe not for memory but for ‘reminder’ (Socrates/Plato: Phaedrus)
TESOL Greece Convention is one of Greece’s leading events for teaching professionals who work in all sectors of English Language Teaching (ELT).Delegates at the 32nd Annual TESOL Greece Convention were challenged with thought-provoking topics and more and left with a selection of inspiring teaching ideas as well as new ways of thinking about their own classroom practice.
For the first time in eTwinning history, the annual Conference and Camp took place together this year in Budapest, Hungary, from 31 March to 2 April. A record number of participants and countries participated with over 500 teachers and 100 pupils from 31 countries.
The Hellenic American Union has announced the TOEIC®Exams dates for May and June. The exams will be administered in the following towns:
The Ministry of Education is expected to give, in the next couple of months, the green light to ASEP to proceed with the administration of the 7th exam for primary and secondary education teachers of all subjects.
The Ministry of Education has given the green light to universities to proceed with the development of courses in pedagogy and didactics for prospective teachers and integrate them in their courses of studies.
Each year, thousands of schools across Europe work on common projects where teachers and pupils take part in activities with partners in other countries. They learn with and from each other, experience the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe and make new friends from abroad.
EU countries have improved their education systems in key areas over the past decade but they have achieved only one out of five benchmarks set for 2010. The EU has succeeded in its target to increase the number of maths, science and technology graduates, with a 37% rise since 2000 – easily outstripping the target of 15%.
Expected date of adoption of the initiative: September 2011
What is the political context of the initiative?
As acknowledged in the EU2020 Strategy, higher education plays an essential role in society by creating new knowledge, transferring it to students and fostering innovation. Institutions throughout Europe are working to modernise, both in terms of the courses they offer and the way they operate.
Directors of Education in Greece operate at prefecture level and are the heads of the local directorates or bureaus of primary/secondary education. Because of the centralized character of the educational system, their role is restricted to facilitating the smooth operation of schools in their areas and implementing the national policy on school education.
According to sources from the Ministry of Education foreign language teaching and learning will be limited in the ‘New Senior High School’ (Lyceum). In an effort to reduce the number of subjects currently taught in Lyceum the Ministry has decided to include English as a compulsory subject in the 1st class of Lyceum only (3 periods a week). In the 2nd and 3rd class English will be an elective subject (2 periods a week).
16 February, Titania Hotel, Athens
The British Council and Cambridge ESOL jointly held a seminar at the Titania Hotel in Athens on 16 February 2011.The seminar was about teaching and learning English and networking with a community of like-minded professionals. Foreign language school owners and teachers had a chance to come along and hear about teaching methodology, current practices and issues in ELT and Cambridge ESOL.
The Avgoulea-Linardatou School, in Peristeri, organized a spectacular performance, at the school’s theatre, to mark the end of a European Comenius School Project. Seven European schools participated in the Project and namely:
This month ‘the Student’s Eye – your choice for the future’ focuses on an academic gem at one of Scotland’s oldest centres of learning.
Founded in 1495, the University of Aberdeen is one of the UK’s most internationally distinguished universities. With a student population of around 16,000 drawn from 120 different countries, there are study options to suit all academic interests, coupled with social and leisure activities that will contribute to your overall well-being, enjoyment and personal growth.
The first Annual City & Guilds Teacher Development Symposium was held in Athens and Thessaloniki on the 20th and 27th of February, respectively. The event was held exclusively for members of the City & Guilds Teachers’ Club and included a whole day of presentations and activities under the theme of “Development”.
Does it translate into better learning outcomes at school?
• 15-year-old students who had attended pre-primary education perform better on PISA than those who did not even after accounting for their socio-economic backgrounds.• Disadvantaged students have less access to pre-primary education than advantaged ones in countries where pre-primary education is not widespread.• High-performing and equitable school systems are also those with little socio-economic disparity in access to pre-primary education.• How pre-primary education is provided affects the extent to which attendance benefits individual students.
School becomes digital -Brussels, 17-18 Feb 2011
Over two days, this strategic seminar provided a platform where European Ministries of Education, publishers and ICT providers talked about the future of educational publishing and digital contents for schools.
The new QLS President Mrs Christina Anyfanti
The transposition of power in QLS couldn’t have happened in a more amiable and civilized manner during the association’s AGM in February this year. Once again QLS seemed to be oozing quality all round proving that where quality is concerned it knows no limits. Following the past Chair’s announcement that he wished to relinquish control of the association (write-up the February issue of the ELT News), a nominations system similar to EAQUALS was set in motion for the naming of the members who had the makings of a Chair to be.
The purpose of this research is to describe a qualitative study of Greek English language teachers’ feelings of curriculum teaching materials change, their requirements about their professional support and the ways they coped with this change.
The sample consisted of one male and five female teachers who teach English in primary and secondary state schools. Data collection methods included face-to-face semi structured interviews.
Analysis of the data revealed that most of the participants were frustrated with curriculum textbook change with concomitant feelings of stagnation and isolation due to their non involvement in curriculum development as well as to the lack of provision for their professional development.
Nik Peachey is a freelance learning technology consultant, writer and teacher trainer. He has worked as freelance consultant and trainer with companies that include British Council, Open University, Cambridge ESOL and International House.
Evaluating the grammar lesson (3/3)
In our previous article from the Grammar Series we examined a lesson framework to enhance successful results. In this third and final article of the series we will examine a checklist to help evaluate the lesson conducted. There are four different areas to look at.
More than 200 million Europeans are still not on the internet, whether by fear or economic reasons. Late last February the Get Online Week started. Organized under the patronage of Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for the Digital Agenda, it aims to address the digital divide by involving non-internet users and teaching them about the fantastic opportunities offered online.
Taking a Cambridge ESOL exam means a lot more than just obtaining proof of one’s linguistic knowledge. It also stands as evidence of the candidate’s thorough preparation towards it as well as the use of English in the most effective manner; a granted ability which can more than often expand to levels higher than those initially sought for and achieved.
Increasingly used in primary and secondary education around the world, KET for Schools and PET for Schools are the ideal exams for school-aged learners of English. Don’t miss your chance to register your candidates for the next exam session:
Our understanding of learning has advanced greatly in recent years, not only through a deeper understanding of how individuals learn, but in relation to innovation, and particularly with regards to how work organisations are able to renew their processes, enhance their capacity to learn and acquire, accumulate and create knowledge. Interesting new theoretical approaches have been developed.
The Disabled Access Friendly Campaign aims to provide teachers of English as a foreign language with free online material that can be used in teaching and skills building as well as examination practice, but that will at the same time raise awareness about issues affecting people with physical disabilities.
The Ministry of Education has announced the exam centres for the May session of the KPG exams.
Recognised language certificates are to be re-evaluated
Speaking in the Parliament, on the 11th of April, the Deputy Minister of Education Mrs Evi Christofilopoulou announced that as of next September foreign language teaching and learning in state schools will be intensified enabling all Junior High School students to take the KPG exams in their schools.
The Prophet Muhammad wrote in AD 628: “Christians are my citizens: and by Allah! I hold out anything that displeases them.”
Two highly instructive, objective and well written books I read last year - and am now rereading - are ‘Ships of Mercy’ (ISBN13: 978-1-931807-66-1) and ‘Ecumenical Patriarchate of Orthodox Christianity UNDER SIEGE,’ (ISBN13 978-1-452820-26-2) both by Christos Papoutsy (the founder of the Hellenic Communication Services website) and published in English and in Greek (further details of both US and Greek publishers can be obtained from www. helleniccomserve.com).
Can something which is already excellent get better still? Indeed it can! And this is actually what happened recently with the New Pearson PTE General (PTE G). We have just been informed that on the basis of the experience from the first administration of the new test abroad (the test is to be launched in Greece in May 2011), Pearson have decided on the following amendments:
“Ooops, I did it again!...Treating Errors in EFL”
“Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear Patras Event! Happy Birthday to you!!!”…TESOL Greece had the pleasure and the honour to organise its tenth successful, inspiring and professionally motivating event dedicated to our most faithful TESOLers from Patras and the nearby regions.
IELTS is the world’s proven English test. Over 1.5 million people around the world took the test in 2010 to start their journeys into international education and employment. IELTS is recognised by more than 6,000 institutions, including ΑΣΕΠ, across 125 countries.
http://bandscore.ielts.org tells you exactly which organisations accept IELTS and the modules and scores they require.
EXPERTS wants to develop a continuous training environment for early childhood education professionals. The approach of this European project is based on a storytelling methodology.
Kindergarten teachers, day mothers and day fathers are invited to tell stories about their experiences as a child, how they were brought up and stories from their professional life.
For further discussions on specific topics or on stories from the blog a forum supervised by experts is provided.
Senior high school students will study fewer subjects but for longer hours and will focus more on research, according to newly released education reform plans presented by the government at the end of March. The reform aims to provide high school graduates expertise in their field of interest and strong general knowledge in other areas and subjects.
“We are trying to create a high school that encourages a gradual specialization at the same time as providing a sound general education of important subjects,” Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou said as she presented the most substantial overhaul of this sector of public education for some years.
The ‘EU2020’ Strategy
English vocabulary is of two very different kinds. It consists firstly of the predominantly one-syllable Anglo-Saxon words like fire, climb, ask. And secondly there are the multi-syllable words like conflagration, comprehension, interrogate which came into the language from Latin and Greek and after the Norman invasion in 1066.
Wheelchair attacks police
Here’s a reading skills task for English teachers and their students: Read this text and answer the questions:
Interviewer: There’s a suggestion that you were rolling towards the police in your wheelchair. Is that true?’
Following high demand the City & Guilds March Exams took place on the weekend 19 & 20 January in 12 Cities across Greece. The City & Guilds Exams are available six times a year, every two months and the next exam period is in May 2011.
The May Exam Period is taking place on 21 & 22 May 2011. The closing deadline for hard-copy registration is on 19 April whereas the Online Registration Deadline is on April 25.
The 2nd Moraitis School Cup tournament took place on Friday, January 21st, and Saturday, January 22nd, 2011. The tournament was held in the British Parliamentary format and was open to High and Senior High school students with a separate tournament for 6th grade Junior School students.
In May/June 2011 candidates will take the revised BCCE and ALCE Exams. The revisions to the examinations were based on extensive research and feedback from test-takers, teachers and testing specialists.
Porta Theatre, Athens, 31 January 2011
The British Council in collaboration with Porta Theatre and Porta Theatre Lab welcomed to Athens Chris Cooper, responsible for DICE Educational Resource and Director of the theatre-in-education company Big Brum.
The Committee for Social Policy and Health, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki: Learning from best practices in Poland
On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December and at the invitation of the Committee for Social Policy and Health of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, I and a colleague from the Disabled Access Friendly campaign attended a meeting at which representatives from the Disability Support Office (http://www.bon.uj.edu.pl/) from the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland spoke about their work.
The Council and the European Parliament have adopted a European Framework for Key Competences for Lifelong Learning. The Framework identifies and defines, for the first time at the European level, the key competences that citizens require for their personal fulfilment, social inclusion, active citizen-ship and employability in our knowledge-based society.
Reuters report that four schools in Singapore have teamed up for a pilot programme that gives 140 students and 10 teachers their own iPad. These iPads are meant to replace a student’s normal note taking and text materials. The project, at this stage, has already touched the $100,000 mark and this will rise if the programme expands to more students and teachers in the school district.
As from June 1st 2011 parents will be able to submit receipts from private teaching in their annual tax return. Although this had frequently been suggested on earlier occasions, teachers’ organisations had pointed out that to get an official receipt book, teachers had to join TEBE and pay dues of between €500-836 every 2 months, and over a 12 month period (€3,000 – 5,016 annually), not for just the months spent teaching. Byron, the teachers’ union, has always stridently denounced the unfairness of this, stating that many part-time teachers actually earn far less than this over the approximately 8 month academic year and, last year, pointed out “it would be cheaper for some private teachers to offer their services free than to give a receipt and pay TEBE.”
According to the Ministry of Education all 1st grade primary school pupils will be introduced to basic ICT skills (2 hours a week) as well as English from the next academic year. The new curriculum is currently being piloted in 800 primary schools across the country with 204.206 children (30% of the total primary school population) attending the new subjects.
A Study Tour around England
ELT NEWS was in England late last January along with 70 people (Directors of Studies of Private Schools and FLS Owners) from many parts of Greece. All these people travelled to some of the most attractive places… to choose schools for their students who plan to spend summer time in Britain combining work with pleasure.
The grammar lesson framework (2/6)
In our previous article from the Grammar Series we examined how to prepare for teaching a tense accurately and effectively. In this second article of the series we will examine a general framework for presenting grammar lessons in class.The following tips refer to lesson ‘steps’ when teaching grammar.
The Hellenic American Union has announced the TOEIC exam administration dates for March and April. The exams will take place in 30 towns across Greece and more specifically in:
Pan-EU Youth is a unique online platform aimed at young people between the ages of 14 and 18 where they can blog, vote and share videos on citizenship issues of concern to them.
For the first time ever in eTwinning, the annual Conference and the annual Camp will take place together. This year’s events will happen in Budapest, Hungary,from 31 March to 2 April.
On the 10th January 2011 Pearson Longman Hellas, which many of you know simply as Longman, changed its structure. What does that mean exactly? It means that after a complete review of the company a number of very important changes were made. The most obvious change is that our team has become smaller. It also means that we know we have to make changes to the way we operate in Greece to ensure that we can continue to participate in the ELT community.
iTEC scenarios are short narrative descriptions of preferable learning contexts which are set within a model learning environment. The intention is to both inspire teachers and provide them with the tools and training to carry out new practices which facilitate more engaging classrooms. The scenarios take account of the different elements within the learning environment such as the resources, tools and services they use, the interactions they have, the tasks they encounter and the aims of their activities.
The British Council is organizing the annual Education UK Exhibitions. The events provide an excellent opportunity for prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students to meet UK institutions here in Greece.Representatives from British universities and recognised institutions of further and higher education will be available to answer questions about courses, fees, cost of living, accommodation options etc.
The owners and teaching staff of fifteen foreign language schools in Greece, recognised for raising the standard of English amongst learners at their schools, took part in a visit to the historic University town of Cambridge in January.
The Greek Enlightenment, or Who Benefits
“Ah, come in, Bobbos. Put the tea on the table, would you!”“You’ve been very quiet over the past couple of hours, Mr Scrootzos. Have you been meditating … or maybe practising a bit of Zen Buddhism?”
The much-awaited list of primary and secondary schools that will be eliminated or merge with bigger schools was released at the end of last week by the Ministry of Education. According to the Ministry, the next academic year will see 1,933 schools merge to form 877 new ones that will eventually cater the needs of wider population areas while reducing administrative costs.
This month there is going to be a major change in the QLS management as chairperson Mr Michael Anetopoulos has decided to step down and not to be a candidate for the forthcoming Executive Committee elections. Mr Anetopoulos has been the Founder Chair of QLS and has held office for 9 consecutive years. During his presidency QLS, which started as just a notion in 2001, became a very active, acknowledged and well-respected association of school owners with members all round Greece.
Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development
Vygotsky was a psychologist but his studies on conscious human behaviour led him to investigate the role that language plays in human behaviour. Vygotsky’s point of view is simply that social interaction plays an important role in the learning process. He places an emphasis on the role of “shared language” in the development of thought and language. The term “shared language” refers to social interaction and can be best elucidated through the notion of “zone of proximal development".
To ‘learn’ means, above all, to react to stimuli and instructions provided by the main actor in the classroom, the teacher (Littlewood, 1984:1). Here, a distinction is obviously drawn between “learning” and “teaching” which constitute two central processes of the general educational procedure. The former is carried out by the learner and the latter by the teacher. Another distinction is often made between ‘foreign’ and ‘second’ language learning.
Inspiration from the TESOL Macedonia-Thrace Convention, 19th – 20th March
Times are tough and everyday life is certainly challenging. So it is more important than ever that we stay motivated in our professional lives. The theme of TESOL Macedonia-Thrace’s 18th Annual International Convention is: “Education: light my fire!” The theme has clearly appealed to many of our colleagues from abroad as there will be speakers from Spain, Turkey, Italy, Iran and several Balkan countries.
The European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML) invites submissions for its fourth medium-term programme (2012-2015).This new programme reflects both the mission of the Centre and the current concerns of its member states and partners in the area of language education.
The New High School reform, which will be discussed in the House of Parliament in February, introduces innovations such as the reduction of the school subjects currently taught in upper secondary education as well as the introduction of selective subjects.
The Ministry of Education has decided to revive “experimental schools” 26 years after they were abolished. The re-establishment of the experimental schools will help educational authorities, policy makers, researchers and the academic community as a whole to understand the socio-political contexts that create spaces for experimentation and examine their impact on mainstream schooling.
Universities and Technical Education Institutes propose a drastic reduction on the number of new tertiary education students they plan to enroll in the next academic year.On January 7 the Ministry of Education circulated a letter to the administration departments of all tertiary education institutes. The ministry required from the departments to declare the number of new students they can accept for 2011-2012.
Over 100 prizes to be won!
The Greek Animal Welfare Fund has launched its annual writing competition for students studying English as a foreign language. The competition, now in its thirteenth year, is popular with both teachers and students.
Politicians at the European level have recognised that education and training are essential to the development of today's knowledge society and economy. The EU’s strategy emphasises countries working together and learning from each other.
EU education and training policies have gained impetus since the adoption of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000, the EU’s overarching programme focusing on growth and jobs. The strategy recognised that knowledge, and the innovation it sparks, are the EU’s most valuable assets, particularly in light of increasing global competition.
Ten-year strategy for modern, high-quality vocational training, giving workers the skills to find a suitable job in a rapidly changing economy
Today, about 76m Europeans of working age have little or no qualifications, whereas the jobs on offer increasingly require some form of training. The need for qualified workers is predicted to grow over the next decade, which means young people and adults without relevant skills will find it harder to get a job. When they do, it’s likely they’ll earn less than their better qualified counterparts.
Europe is living through a period of change -challenging and at the same time exciting. The shift towards a competitive Europe of sustainable growth and employment has been given new momentum with the Europe 2020 strategy. This moves the EU towards a high-tech low-carbon economy that prioritises innovation, creativity and mobility. The focus has sharpened on education and training, on research and on the resource that young people represent for the EU.
The TESOL Macedonia-Thrace Christmas event on Sunday 12th December was a much anticipated evening … some of the famed Bits and Pieces sketches were performed again by the talented duo: David Gibson and Luke Prodromou in the ‘David ‘n’ Luke’s Christmas Special’’.
This was the theme of the event TESOL Greece organized on December 12, 2010 on the premises of Deree College Downtown Campus.
Despite the strike of the means of public transport and the cold weather, the event was well-attended. Once again and against all odds, TESOLers connected to share and learn from each other! And that was everyone’s wish for this year!
A Year-long campaign to celebrate the work of existing volunteers, address the challenges they face and encourage more people to get involved
Volunteering benefits everybody and brings communities closer together. For volunteers, it's a way to give something back to society and pick up new skills.
It takes many forms, like helping out at a sports club, school, hospital or charity. Today, about 20% of Europeans give up their time to volunteer.
The following 3 articles which will appear in this column form a series since they will all refer to the same topic. Teaching grammar tenses effectively.
The content of the articles
1st article (February issue): Preparing to teach a tense in context
2nd article (March issue): The grammar lesson framework
3rd article (April issue): Evaluating the grammar lesson
Cambridge ESOL is very pleased to announce that FCE, CAE and CPE have met great success for yet another session amongst Greek students. The announcement of the results for the complete examinations suite of FCE, CAE and CPE showed a rise of the pass rate to 65.74% for the FCE, 59.33% for the CAE and 50.79% for the CPE.
To reward creativity about the future technologies
The National Innovation Office (Hungary), the European Commission’s Directorate General for Information Society and Media (DG INFSO) and the European Centre for Women and Technology (ECWT) have announced that under the Hungarian EU Presidency 2011 a European drawing competition for girls around the theme of “European girls draw the future of ICT (information and communication technologies)” will be organized.
Safe use of online and communication technologies
Insafe is hosting a learning event in the eTwinning Learning Lab until 18 February 2011. The event is open to anyone who is registered with the eTwinning portal www.etwinning.net. The event focuses on how teachers can best support their pupils in the safe use of online and communication technologies and on issues around social networking such as cyberbullying and sexting.
The Hellenic American Union has announced the exam dates for ECCE and ECPE. According to the announcement the above examinations will be conducted as follows:
Exam Date Exam Fees Registration Period
ECCE Saturday, May 14, 2011 160 € February 1-February 28, 2011
ECPE Sunday, May 15, 2011 180 € February 1-February 28, 2011
Dedicated to the memory of Dr Pavlos Pavlou
June 3-5, 2011(pre conference workshops June 3)
Venue: Department of English Studies, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus http://www.iclta2011.com
CALL FOR PAPERS
The Department of English Studies and the Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies of the University of Cyprus announce their 1st International Conference on Language Testing and Assessment dedicated to the memory of Dr Pavlos Pavlou. Pavlos, an esteemed faculty member at the University of Cyprus since 1997, passed away on August 22, 2010 after a long and difficult fight against cancer.
The Ministry of Education has announced exam dates and application procedure for the spring session of the KPG Exams. According to the announcement the exams will take place on 7-8 May 2011 in the following languages and levels:
Following high demand the City and Guilds January Exams took place on the weekend 22 & 23 January in 7 Cities across Greece. The City & Guilds Exams are available Six times a year, every two months and the next exam periods are on March 2011 andMay 2011.
eLearning Papers adds a new dimension to the exchange of information on e-learning in Europe and stimulates research. As such, the articles provide views regarding the current situation and e-learning trends in different communities: schools, universities, companies, civil society and institutions. eLearning Papers provides all those interested with an opportunity to have their texts published throughout Europe. Through these articles, the journal promotes the use of ICT for lifelong learning in Europe.
Scottish ministers claim that thousands of European students are exploiting Scotland’s free university system to avoid paying escalating fees in their home countries. Latest admissions figures show the number of students from other EU countries taking up places at Scottish universities has nearly doubled in a decade to almost 16,000 last year, at a cost of nearly £75 million, writes Severin Carrell for The Guardian.
Impact of economic crisis
The economic crisis has affected European higher education systems in different ways and at different stages of the crisis, but the ensuing cuts are likely to lead to sweeping changes to higher education systems around Europe, according to a report by the European University Association.Those changes include the introduction of tuition fees, and the attachment of conditions or accountability requirements to funding in ways that will restrict university autonomy and hinder their ability to cope with the crisis, the report warns.
The Ministry of Education, in order to promote excellence and innovation in education, invites teachers of all subjects who have carried out projects aiming to foster skills and abilities that enable creativity and innovation to share and publicise their work at http://excellence.sch.gr/. The Ministry’s initiative aims to praise creative teachers as well as establish a data bank of good practice that will function as a source of ideas for the teaching community as a whole.
The City & Guilds Language Certification Department was very well received in 14 towns from 17 September till 10 October across Greece. The seminars were led by George Vassilakis, Language Certification Director, and Academic Associate, George Lampropoulos.
Graded Language Tests for all levels
The Ministry of Education is planning from the next academic year:
to introduce graded tests for all languages and levels of the KPG Exams
to develop exams for two age-groups (children and adults)
to develop a bank of items for e-exams for candidates from remote areas and for special needs candidates
The Minister of Education Ms Anna Diamantopoulou is planning to establish a teacher mentor programme for all levels of compulsory education.
Μια διασκευή από το άρθρο του Περικλή Μεταξά στην «Αξία»16.10.2010
Ήτανε Παρασκευή βράδυ, μόλις είχα τελειώσει με τα μαθήματα, οι καθηγητές είχανε φύγει και εγώ ετοίμαζα τον χαρτοφύλακα με τα γραπτά της FCEγια το Σαββατοκύριακο, όταν χτύπησε το κουδούνι της πόρτας. Ήταν ο Μήτσος.Ανεβαίνοντας τα λίγα σκαλιά της εισόδου διέκρινα ένα μειλίχιο ύφος και ένα Τζοκόντιο χαμόγελο στα χείλη του. Κατάλαβα ότι ήταν στα κέφια του απόψε και δεν έπεσα έξω.
This article resulted from my fourth assignment as part of the MA requirements on the skill of writing. Many teachers consider it demanding because it is always part of examinations and may determine the final marking. Training learners in making enlightened choices and taking a reflective approach may lead to reforming written performance. While the writing procedure is ongoing, self-correction can be implemented in classrooms by allowing students to correct problems/mistakes. Rating scales, grids and checklists can indicate to students their areas of strength and weakness.
Cambridge English Proficiency known as CPE is being revised for the 5th time. The current update of this historical exam will coincide with its centenary in 2013. Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE) was first launched in 1913. It was aimed at those wanting to use English to teach at university level or to enter the diplomatic services. Nearly 100 years later, CPE still provides the most in-depth examination for those who need high-level English. Teaching and testing methodology and practices have evolved since 1913 and, to reflect these changes, CPE was revised in 1945, 1967, 1984 and 2002.
Some time ago in this column we presented some ideas concerning ways to identify and work with children with possible learning disabilities. I say ‘possible’ because, as suggested in the previous article, as teachers of English we are not (and we do not have to be) specialists on this issue. However, we may recognize the symptoms and then refer to a specialist to see to this matter. Let us remember the most common learning disabilities as these were presented by the National Center for Learning Disabilities:
London Exams Hellas, in order to update school owners and teachers about the revised version of PTE General, that will be in effect from May 2011, organized, among other Greek cities, a seminar in Nafplio.
Testing the scientific knowledge of students objectively is an important issue for guaranteeing the employability of people who are about to be awarded a degree.
It is also important for universities to find out whether a candidate is fit to take part in any of the mobility programmes offered by the EU. For this purpose the eChemTest was developed for university students who study chemistry some time ago.
The European Award for Best Children’s Online Content is a competition organised jointly by the Safer Internet Centres in 14 Member States and the European Commission’s Safer Internet Programme. The competition is organised for the first time in 2010-2011 as a pilot. It will take place in two stages:
The re-birth of the “Bits and Pieces” Theatre Group
We are all in one way or another disabled, if not physically then mentally, emotionally or simply by the remorseless passage of time. As age and its debilitating effects creep up on us, we are tempted to give up or at least to withdraw and, like the octogenarian King Lear:
Alfred Tomatis, born in France in 1920, was the son of an opera singer. Immersed in the world of music, he focused his study of medicine on problems of the ear, nose and throat. His first patients, not surprisingly, were opera singers whose hearing and voices were failing them.
“Bobbos, get me a drink … and not that muck the grocer makes up in his bathtub.That’s for visitors! I mean a real drink. Bring me the Chivas!”Bobbos’ head jerked upwards, his mouth wide open. “Not the one we put aside in 2004, the present from that father after his daughter won an Onassis scholarship due to your coaching? I thought we were keeping that for the end of the world.” His master pointedly ignored the sarcasm, simply replying: “Do we have another, featherbrain? Go get it!”
Vodafone has created a new magazine called ‘Digital Parenting’ to help parents get to grips and get involved with their children’s digital world. The magazine brings together experts from around the world to give parents the latest advice on digital issues, such as online reputation, location services, cyberbullying and illegal content.
A new OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report Off to a Good Start? Jobs for Youthsays that young people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as the average worker. Yet few governments are taking proactive steps to boost youth employment.
A Year-long campaign to celebrate the work of existing volunteers, address the challenges they face and encourage more people to get involved.
The New High School reform, which will be discussed in the House of Parliament in February, introduces innovations such as the reduction of the school subjects currently taught in upper secondary education as well as the introduction of selective subjects.
There are currently 23 million people unemployed across the EU – which is going to have dramatic consequences for Europe’s growth, tax base and ability to innovate – yet employers are also reporting a difficulty in recruiting, especially for high-skill jobs. This grave, and seemingly contradictory scenario, has prompted the European Commission to take steps to reduce the current skills mismatch through this timely agenda.
Universities and Technical Education Institutes propose a drastic reduction on the number of new tertiary education students they plan to enroll in the next academic year.
On January 7 the Ministry of Education circulated a letter to the administration departments of all tertiary education institutes. The ministry required from the departments to declare the number of new students they can accept for 2011-2012.
Γιατί συναρπάζει τόσο μία αρμονική εκτέλεση του Ταγκό; Μα φυσικά, επειδή η χάρη του είναι απόρροια μάχης, έρωτος και αρμονίας μεταξύ αντιθέτων: Του «ηγετικού» χορευτή που οδηγεί δυναμικά το «υποτακτικό» του ταίρι - μία συνεργασία όπως αυτή μεταξύ θετικών και αρνητικών πόλων που επιφέρουν την ισοροπία.
Abstract:The purpose of this article is to offer insight in the teaching of di-transitive constructions in English. Constructions have been defined by Croft and Cruse (2004) as ‘... fundamentally symbolic units (...), consisting of form and meaning that are at least partially arbitrary’.The account following presents the different semantic categories of di-transitive verbs and the cognitive features of the construction itself within the context of an ELT classroom (Level: B1 +).Nevertheless, the article does not aspire to providea lesson plan; it is up to teachers how (and whether!) they integrate the suggestions below in the methodology they use in class.
Δεν είχα προλάβει ακόμα να κάτσω στο γραφείο μου όταν ξαφνικά άνοιξε η πόρτα και βλέπω με έκπληξη τον Μήτσο να μπαίνει μέσα κρατώντας ένα μικρό βιβλίο. Δεν μου είπε ούτε καλημέρα. Άρχισε να διαβάζει αργά με στόμφο κοινοβουλευτικού αντιπροσώπου, λες και ήταν μέσα στη Βουλή.
The first TESOL Greece event for the current academic year took place in the heart of Athens, at the City of Athens Cultural Center, on Sunday, September 26, 2010. The Start-of-the-Year Symposium under the title “Read Aloud-Act it out-Think about…it!”, was a great opportunity for TESOL Greece members and friends to get together, empower and inspire one another.
As we have gone through school phase, we have seen our classrooms equipped with whiteboards on which teachers used to write using an erase marker. The research and development in the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) technologies has led to new species of whiteboards known as Interactive whiteboards. The critical aspect in a teaching process is the quality of the lessons delivered by the teachers to the students.
“Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers” according to Josef Albers, German-American artist and educator. When one hundred and fifty TESOL Macedonia-Thrace members gathered on October 3, the speakers undoubtedly raised a number of challenging questions in our minds.
The Hellenic Open University is a multi-school university based in Patras. It is unique in the Greek context because it exclusively provides distance education at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. The university comprises four schools, namely a School of Humanities, a School of Social Science, a School of Science and Technology and a School of Applied Arts.
On October 24th, at the Theatre of Athens 984, Eurocentres Foreign Language Schools held the Cambridge ESOL Certificates award ceremony to their 152 successful candidates of the 2009-2010 School Year. Cambridge ESOL representative Ms Olga Leondaris, Team Leader and Consultant, was there to present the Certificates to the students and to say a few words about Cambridge exams to the audience.
On October 17th TESOL Greece held its 2nd Event in Tripolis. The one-day seminar was dedicated to teaching with the help of technology. Teachers, university students, foreign language school owners and professionals in the field attended the presentations given by Eftychis Kantarakis, Dr George Ypsilandis and Evridiki Dakos.
The Ministry of Education and the English Department of the University of Athens organised two major 2-day training seminars in Athens and Thessaloniki last month. The first was held at the Ministry of Education in Athens and the second was held at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The purpose of the events was to train Primary School teachers of English who teach first and second grade pupils.
Supporting material for the Hellenic American Union Essay Contest 2010 “Protecting our water, saving our planet” is now available online at ORFEAS. The material includes:
Five million young Europeans are looking for a job. Many of them will miss opportunities because they lack the right qualifications or experience. For this reason the European Commission has launches Youth on the Move, a new flagship initiative aimed at helping these young people to gain the knowledge, skills and experience they need to make their first job a reality.
The Ministry of Education is planning from the next academic year:
Eight Greek Foundations - namely, the Lambrakis Foundation (the initiator of the partnership), the Evgenides Foundation, the A. G. Leventis Foundation, the I. F. Kostopoulos Foundation, the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation, the Bodossakis Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Alexandros S. Onassis Foundation- have joined forces to undertake the Protovoulia (Education and Development Initiative), in order to fund and run a programme of actions, designed to introduce and sustain a set of innovation-driven improvements to school education in Greece. The long-term objectives of Protovoulia are to enhance the quality of education and to promote access to equal opportunities for life-long learning, by facilitating the active participation of teachers and pupils themselves.
Once more, the annual Open Cambridge ESOL seminars were successfully held in Thessaloniki and Athens with a wide participation of more than 600 colleagues from various areas of Greece, ranging from Xanthi and Alexandroupoli to the islands of Rhodes and Crete. This year’s seminars focused on the new version of FCE, FCE for Schools.
After the first meeting of the multi-party committee we believe that there is consensus in education issues. The discussion will continue. The ministry’s door will be wide open for all interested parties. We need durable solutions and a consensus decision making if we want to reform our educational system. Through consensus we will achieve better and durable solutions.”
Secondary schools that are or have been involved in a Comenius School Partnership can apply for grants to send pupils to one or more of their Comenius partner schools. This action gives the secondary school pupils the chance to spend between 3 and 10 months in a host school and a host family abroad. It broadens their understanding of the diversity of European cultures and languages and helps them to acquire the skills they need for their personal development.
The action is managed with the help of National Agencies.
Grants enable future teachers to spend 3 to 10 months in a school abroad and to assist in teaching. This gives the future teacher the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of other European languages, countries and school education systems and to improve their teaching skills. It also helps to improve language skills of pupils at the host school and can increase both their motivation to learn languages and their interest in the assistant’s country and culture.
This action is managed with the help of National Agencies.
The Hellenic Open University comprises four schools, namely a School of Humanities, a School of Social Science, a School of Science and Technology and a School of Applied Arts. Degrees include studies in European or Greek Culture, Spanish Language and Culture, Natural Sciences, Computer Science and Business Administration.
The Minister of Education Mrs Anna Diamantopoulou has formed a committee which will evaluate all foreign languages certificates awarded in Greece. The committee will examine thoroughly problems the Supreme Council for the Selection of personnel for the state sector (ASEP) faces -regarding language certificates- whenever it announces and conducts a panhellenic exam. There are currently 16 English language awarding bodies operating in Greece administering exams, both computerized and pen-and-pencil, in all levels, many times a year.
Greece’s largest university has called for the government’s consultation paper on reform to be rejected on the grounds that its proposals would add to higher education’s problems rather than solve them. At another institution, staff held a two-day strike against the proposed reforms.
The KPG Exams were administered on the 20th and 21st of November 2010 in B1, B2 and C1 Levels in English, French, German and Italian. Five new developments were implemented for the first time in this session and namely:
THE NEXT BEST THING: Make a wish for the next year. I am certain that most colleagues would wish for an end to the global recession, a better deal for developing countries and world peace. Well, I cannot promise you all these, but as of May 2011 you can have the next best thing: the New PTE G! Based on years of preparation, in-depth research and extensive piloting on the part of EDEXCEL as well as the feedback, criticism and constructive comments of hundreds of teachers and school owners, the PTE G is a thoroughly modern examination which building on the strengths of the old ‘EDEXCEL’ tests has taken the exams to a whole new level.
Once upon a time, there was a little boy called Aleko. He was 7 and had 2 parents who feverishly doted on him. He was quite intelligent, but highly aggressive, and nothing pleased him more than to provoke fellow students during the lesson and beat them up, afterwards, in the break. Once, he even pushed a little girl down the stone stairs; luckily not doing any lasting damage. Such things happened regularly at all the schools he attended and he was the despair of both his teachers and the state psychologist he saw twice a week; and all the other mothers with children in the same class constantly agitated for his removal. They had managed to get him expelled from one state school, but a few months later he turned up in another.
The 27th International Publishers’ Exhibition took place, last September, in Thessaloniki and Athens and, as usual, attracted huge numbers of Foreign Language School Owners and teachers, who wanted to be informed on new publications and language services. The events were held at the Capsis and the Divani Caravel Hotel respectively.
The International Publishers’ Exhibitions serve as a showcase for publishers and as a forum for exchanging information for teachers. The events offer an impressive display of printed and electronic material for teaching and learning purposes. The development of interactive whiteboard software has dominated the market during the past few years.
Unfortunately, many of our competition sponsors’ names were missed out of the press release printed in the September issue of ELT NEWS. GAWF appreciates all their sponsors which help make the competition such a success and would like to thank the following for their continued support:
It is my view that teaching around Christmas time had always been a problem for most teachers since there is limited material to use (if you did not use it last year!!!)and the students get easily bored with traditional songs which are repeated over and over again. For those that agree with me I would suggest that this year you should try to bring in more X-mas grammar in your lessons. What follows are some ideas on how to tie in your Xmas lessons with whatever grammar point you are studying at the time (the ideas may also work with other major festivals and celebrations).
The British Council and EAQUALS have joined together to create a core curriculum inventory for the English language based around key language points for each level, including grammar, vocabulary, discourse markers and functions. A fuller version of the inventory will be available by the end of 2010.
Ήταν Δευτέρα 26 Ιουλίου όταν ο Μήτσος με την παρουσία του απέδιδε όπως και όλοι οι άλλοι παρευρισκόμενοι φόρο τιμής στον εκλιπόντα πατέρα του φίλου του Μιχάλη. Έκανε πολύ ζέστη εκείνη την ημέρα και ο κόσμος έψαχνε για λίγο σκιά στα δέντρα γύρο από την εκκλησία και ένα πρόχειρο κάθισμα σε κάποιο παγκάκι στο προαύλιο μέχρι να τελειώσει η εξόδιος ακολουθία.
Ο περισσότερος κόσμος μουδιασμένος μιλούσε σιγανά και όπως πάντα ήταν προβληματισμένος για το τι μπορεί να συμβεί από την μια ώρα στην άλλη στον καθένα μας. Είναι η στιγμή που καταλαβαίνεις ότι το πιο πολύτιμο πράγμα που έχεις, δεν σου ανήκει αλλά βρίσκεται στην αποκλειστική δικαιοδοσία του Θεού. Αυτό το συναίσθημα γίνεται ακόμα πιο έντονο όταν ο εκλιπών τυγχάνει να είναι νέος ή θύμα ενός δυστυχήματος.
Ο Μήτσος βρήκε μια θέση σε ένα από τα παγκάκια και κάθισε δίπλα από κάποιο ξένο παρευρισκόμενο. Δεν δίνει ποτέ σημασία στο πώς και τι είναι ο άλλος, αλλά αυτή τη φορά του έκανε εντύπωση το ήρεμο παρουσιαστικό του ανθρώπου και το γαλήνιο βλέμμα του. Φαινόταν άνθρωπος λόγιος μέσα από την απλότητα της εμφάνισής του. Άρχισαν σιγά - σιγά να μιλάνε όταν ο ξένος κοιτώντας κάτω στις καυτές από τον ήλιο πλάκες της εκκλησίας του λέει.
Just before the beginning of the current academic year the Northern Greece PALSO Association organized its 23rd annual two-day conference at The Met Hotel in Thessaloniki under the general theme “Raising our educational and entrepreneurial standards at times of crisis”.
The Northern Greece PALSO Association convened a panel of professionals and namely Mr C. Poseidonos, consultant at the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce, Mr C. Mamelis, legal adviser of the Northern Greece PALSO Association and Mr C. Georgakas, Managing Director of Gecon business consultants, to brainstorm how to tackle this crisis.
Have you ever thought what could drive your student’s interest even enthusiasm, a positive interaction in the target language? What could make the young kids play and learn at the same time?The young learners of the junior classes in Galatsi Omiros School became themselves the heroes of their Big Heart books (Macmillan). They filmed the story of their A and B junior books and they really lived the most exciting adventures Big Heart, Brooke and their friends had in their effort to save their school.
Long time ago, I realised that homework in language teaching is rather “overlooked” in comparison to other areas of methodology. Why is this the case? Is it because it is taken for granted as a necessary headache for students (and teachers to take home and work on)?
Perhaps both cases are true to a certain extent. As a lifelong language learner, I have always hated the idea of homework. I enjoy trying new activities in class, struggling and laughing with my classmates (trying to learn Danish). But I do not commit to homework, because I know I can get by without it.Do your students think the same? It could be worthwhile discussing it with them.
If you find preparing students for Task 1 of the academic writing module of IELTS a challenge, you are not alone. We have all struggled a little at the beginning. Yet with preparation and an injection of fun, you and your students might even come to enjoy ‘playing around with data’. And ‘playing around’ is the approach to take rather than treating preparation for Task 1 as a dry exercise.
In the traditional EFL classroom, errors are frequently corrected and the teacher usually thinks the errors as a thorn in his/her flesh, because the focus of classroom instruction is laid on accuracy. However, in fact, errors should be considered natural products in EFL learning which reflect the modes of learners’ developing EFL system.
If one can make a first statement, concerning the content of the test of the old format, this could be that it was about time for the Ministry of Education to eventually make some reforms for a practice that was outdated in terms of developments in teaching English as a foreign language (see Rossner, R. & R. Bolitho, eds., 1990). The next statement that one should make is that at last an injustice was taken care of and the new test format examines candidates in material and skills they have been prepared for during their schooling years. To put it another way, the practice so far, to an extent which actually provided one quarter of the total grades of the test, was not going hand in hand with the reality practiced in the subject of teaching English at secondary level in schools.
The biggest names in English language testing in Greece have announced a collaboration that will bring benefits for teachers and learners.University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and the University of Michigan English Language Institute Testing and Certification Division have joined forces in a new collaboration that will promote the Michigan English language exams around the world. It will also work with stakeholders in different commercial and educational sectors, especially in the USA, to develop testing solutions precisely tailored to their needs.
ELT NEWS is a monthly newspaper aimed at Foreign Language School Owners and teachers of English who work ei- ther in the state or the private sector. ELT NEWS reports on events and developments that take place in the ELT sector, while at the same time offering a platform for the ex-change of ideas and opinion.ELT NEWS has been acknowledged by many international organisations and institutions (The British Council, Cambridge ESOL Exams, Aston University, Hellenic American Union, Trinity Exams, London Test of English, ALTE, EAQUALS, etc) and is considered to be the most credible and accurate source of information in the Greek ELT scene.
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The European Commission has presented the results of the first-ever survey on creativity and innovation in schools. The results show that 94% of European teachers believe creativity is a fundamental competence to be developed at school, and 88% are convinced that everyone can be creative.
Innovative Technologies for an Engaging Classroom (iTEC) is the largest pan-European test of learning and teaching scenarios using ICT in more than 1,000 classrooms in 12 countries. With funding of 9.5 million € from the European Commission’s, iTEC will investigate how established and emerging technologies can be used effectively in classrooms in the next 5-10 years.
New figures show that 96 per cent of the world’s top 200 Universities recognise or use Cambridge English language qualifications from University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL).
Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou appealed to university professors to come forward for an “open dialogue” about proposed government reforms to the higher education system after academics from three major state institutions announced a 24-hour walkout in protest at the scheduled changes.
The news that Greek state universities failed once again to feature on a list of the world’s top 200 universities, compiled by The Times, was greeted with little surprise by academics at several institutions, whose common observation was that a relative lack of state funding in Greece is to blame.
The University of Athens had been an exception, making it onto the UK newspaper’s list last year – in 200th place from 247th place in 2007 – but it has slipped off the list this year.
homework? Few language learners (if any) will achieve their pull potential without studying at home.
Homework provides the learner not only with the opportunity to reflect on what has just been taught without the pressures associated with the classroom but also to prepare for new materials and for the next lesson.
Traditionally homework is set after each and every lesson or according to a clearly defined school homework policy.
More than a decade after it was established, the Hellenic Open University will next year make available a record 8,260 places on undergraduate and post-graduate courses to people who for a variety of reason were not able to complete their studies.
10.120 candidates have applied to take part in the November administration of the KPG Exams.
Universities are facing radical reforms with the emphasis on attracting private funds and reducing the state’s financial commitment to higher education in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the liberation of the country from the Ottoman Empire in 1821.
The proposals, which will be open to public dialogue for the next three months before they are approved by parliament, will affect not only the institutions but also the academic staff and the students.
Teacher outreach efforts to parents most typically include writing a letter or inviting parents into the classroom.
Calling parents with good news about a child’s progress also strengthens the teacher-parent relationship.
Making Parents Allies and Helpers
Successful teachers say parental involvement in education -at home and in the classroom- is vital to effective learning and discipline.
However not all parents can be persuaded to take an active role in supporting their children’s education.
How do we get kids to maintain a smile in school? Can school be so enjoyable that a youngster is unwilling to be absent?
All educators know that the atmosphere within a school contributes as much to the success of the student as the curriculum.
More importantly, it has a great more bearing on whether or not a child develops a love for learning.
The challenge of creating a positive atmosphere transcends the debate of whether our schools need to become more goals oriented, and more accountable for their results.
It’s a plea that will no doubt sound familiar to parents. Most parents are aware of the important role they can play in supporting their child with their school work at home, but for many this is a request they don’t look forward to.
When a child moves on from straightforward ABC and times tables, it’s often ‘back to school’ for parents as they struggle to try and get their head around complicated topics like long division and modern language verb conjugations.
And while it’s important that parents allow children to learn to work independently outside of the classroom, the right level of support delivered effectively, can help reinforce and complement the work that has gone on in the classroom.
Project learning, also known as project-based learning, is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups.
Because project-based learning is filled with active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying.
Research also indicates that students are more likely to retain the knowledge gained through this approach far more readily than through traditional textbook-centered learning.
Differentiating instruction is a very old and forgotten method to teach. Right now, is being resurrected as a new tendency.
Comenius* realized that no student was the same as the other students so he used “monitors” who were advanced students teaching less advanced ones. It was very simple and easy to do.
Every students is different in needs, temperament, character, personality, abilities and interests.
If we do not differentiate our teaching and if we do not have a strategy to do it, we will end with confused slower students and bored advanced students. In such case, we need to distinguish between skills and abilities.
came to teach,
To see what I could find Inside my students’ deeper selves.
I came to try and open minds Before they were seamed shut.
I came to channel passages, Hoping to connect hearts to heads And hands.
I came to entreat, To coax ennobled thoughts, Ideals, and love of self and others.
Juniors’ classrooms are lively and energetic places. Small children are naturally curious and creative, so the decor of this classroom should showcase their creativity and challenge their curiosity.
Make sure that the decor is colourful and placed at a level that makes it possible for small people to see and appreciate it.
Place a colourful rug on the floor in a corner. Create a tree under which the children can be read to for story times. Make a large tree trunk out of a cardboard and cover it with sheets of brown construction paper to make it look like a tree trunk.
The twelfth annual writing competition for EFL students organised by the Greek Animal Welfare Fund was, once again, a huge success with over 6,000 entries received from students all over Greece.
The judges were faced with the challenging task of having to select the winners amongst so many exceptional entries, not only in terms of the students’ ability to express compassionate feelings in a foreign language, but also due to their understanding of animal welfare issues.
Recruitment is the process of getting the right person in the right job and so is a key to success in your school.
All too often you have one hour with somebody to decide whether they’re going to fit into your school and your existing team.
If you hire this person, you’re going to see them on a daily basis, you’ll be sharing in their successes and failures, and the image of your school could depend on their abilities. So you want to get it right.
Mistakes that are made can be costly and very time-consuming. If the person doesn’t fit the profile or doesn’t fit into your existing team, you might find yourself starting up the recruitment process again.
“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” This quote perhaps encapsulates the goal of education.
The goal of education is to help individuals fulfill their destiny. It has to bring out the true nature, yearnings, talents and potentialities of the human being.
This definition of education implicitly and explicitly means that independence in every form has to be the ultimate goal of education -independence of physical movement, of the exercise of will, of purposeful and intelligent working, of thought, word and deed.
We are all aware of the crisis and how it affects Greece (and most other countries). What we might not be so aware of is how it is going to affect teachers – or, perhaps I should say, affecting teachers now, as it will be September before you read this article.
How many of you still have jobs? Are our former clients still able to afford private lessons or have they moved to frontistiria? How many are so broke they can’t afford even frontistiria? How many frontistiria are still in business?
All these are questions which, no doubt, plagued you during your summer swims unless, like typical Mediterraneans, you just let fate decide for you and didn’t bother wasting good holiday time thinking about it. Still, it being September, you have had your answer now!
Welcome back everybody! I would really like to wish you all a successful and productive school year. Since we are preparing ourselves for the new challenge ahead, here are ten useful ‘tips’ to think about at the beginning of our new adventures in class.
1. Read (or read again) a methodology book
With so many titles available out in the market it seems easy to choose a methodology book to match your own teaching needs.,P> This may give you a boost by showing you how much of the methodology you can now cope with and give you a sense of perspective on the things you may wish to develop and work on further.
It weighs in at more than 130 pounds, but the authoritative guide to the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary, may eventually slim down to nothing.
London Examinations Hellas along with IEK DOMI, ict Europe, the Research Centre of the University of Piraeus and Learnsoft held an event, at the TITANIA Hotel in Athens, last June.
The aim of the event, which was attended by Foreign Language School Owners, was to present a range of new free services to English language professionals who enter candidates for the London Tests of English (edexcel).
Mr Tsatsabas, president of DOMI Corporation, welcomed the audience and stressed that continuous development is a key factor to survival especially in difficult financial situations.
Following the continuous rise of interest in the City & Guilds Exams and the unique proposition of Six Exam Periods per year, the City & Guilds July exams took place in 17 Cities across Greece on 24 & 25 July.
International students planning to study at UK universities can now use English language certificates to gain UCAS Tariff points – in the same way as they have traditionally done with ‘A’ Levels.
The inclusion of Cambridge ESOL examinations in the UCAS Tariff will significantly boost opportunities for thousands of overseas students coming to UK universities each year.
Under the new arrangements announced today, overseas students applying to UK universities in 2011 will be able to gain valuable UCAS Tariff points if they hold selected high level English tests from University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.
Higher education institutions worldwide are much more concerned about league tables and ranking systems than expected, an OECD investigation has found.
“There appears to be a near obsession with the status and trajectory of the top 100,” a report of the investigation states. This despite the fact that there are 17,000 higher education institutions around the globe.
Despite having one of the highest levels of broadband connectivity in the EU, the Portuguese Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity identified the need to substantially develop the digital skills and knowledge of all Portuguese Public Sector workers through ECDL certification.
Even after considerable investment in Portugal’s ICT infrastructure (with broadband coverage now at nearly 100%), the Portuguese Government identified the need to substantially develop the digital skills and knowledge of its Public Sector workers through ECDL certification, thus raising the country’s levels of digital literacy, and equipping the nation with the right skills to succeed in challenging times.
June 5th is the World Environment Day. This annual event started in 1972 and aims to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment as well as enhance political attention and action.
To mark the International Environment Day, on the 5th June, Ms Maria Papavasileious’ English Language Centre organized a Poster and Poetry competition for the students.
Its aim was to inspire the children to use their imagination and creativity on how to protect our planet.
Schools are likely to open with not enough teachers
Trying to find enough teachers for the new academic year will be the biggest challenge in the sector faced by any Greek government in more than 35 years, Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou said a week ago.
Diamantopoulou and her advisers have been trying to solve an arithmetic problem that even the brightest student would have trouble with: ensuring there will be enough teachers to cover all positions at primary and secondary schools when the number of educators retiring has tripled and those being hired has halved.
Drama is an exciting language learning experience. The technique employs a multi-sensory approach to language acquisition by involving language learners physically, emotionally and cognitively in the language learning process.
The use of drama in language learning situations enables the students to explore the linguistic and conceptual aspects of the written text without concentrating on the mechanics of language.
Alexandra Nene-Moudouri, a Foreign Language School Owner in Thessaloniki, has been using drama as a valuable language learning tool for 15 years staging performances which her students enjoy enormously.
Last June, the British Council and Cambridge ESOL jointly organised a seminar, at the premises of the British Council in Athens.
The seminar gave teachers the opportunity to benefit from good workshops, network with each other and the presenters and…have fun.
It also gave the local Cambridge team and the British Council staff time to find out how they could best support teachers in their work.
Finally, the two institutions showed their appreciation to teachers for the hard work that they do by holding a buffet dinner at the British Ambassador’ Residence in the evening.
Helen Doron Language Learning Group and Pearson Join Forces to Promote Pearson Test of English General and Pearson Test of English Young Learners.
Pearson and Helen Doron Educational Group have announced a partnership to prepare test takers for Pearson’s tests of English language proficiency.
As a result of this new collaboration, more than 30,000 of the 100,000 students enrolled at Helen Doron Early English Centres around the world will now have access to test preparation and support for Pearson Test of English General (PTE General) and Pearson Test of English Young Learners (PTE Young Learners).
All recordings in the listening part of the City & Guilds IESOL examinations will be heard twice as of October 2010. George Vassilakis, Director of Language Certification at PeopleCert S.A., explains why this makes the assessment of listening comprehension fairer and more reliable.
In a typical listening comprehension test, candidates often have to be put in quite a challenging, but also unnatural, position:
-they are required to eavesdrop on monologues and conversations which were not intended for their ears
-they cannot see the speakers and have no clue who the speakers are, where they are or why they are talking
-they cannot interact with the speakers and negotiate meaning, as the speakers are actually pre-recorded, not live
-they have to read questions at the same time as listening: so they are required to simultaneously process both the aural and the written input in order to come up with the right answer
Have you ever thought what could drive your student’s interest even enthusiasm, a positive interaction in the target language? What could make the young kids play and learn at the same time?
The young learners of the junior classes in Galatsi Omiros School became themselves the heroes of their Big Heart books (Macmillan).
They filmed the story of their A and B junior books and they really lived the most exciting adventures Big Heart, Brooke and their friends had in their effort to save their school.
Pearson has announced, that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has formally approved Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) as fully satisfying the Government’s criteria for English language proficiency tests for student visas under Tier 4 of the Points Based System.
Under the terms of the new legislation, foreign students applying to come to the UK under the Tier 4 (General) category for courses below degree level (except foundation degree and English language courses), have to demonstrate that their level of English is up to a specific standard. This is equivalent to a score of 43 on the PTE Academic score scale.
Britain’s 200-year-old system of awarding honours degrees will be superseded by a ‘Higher Education Achievement Report’ by 2011.
Recommendations in a report by a group of vice-chancellors, led by Professor Bob Burgess of Leicester University, call for the honours degree classification system to be replaced by a new method of recording students’ achievements.
Universities and academic staff at all levels have been hard hit following the Greek government’s unprecedented (for peacetime) severe austerity measures demanded by the IMF, the Central European Bank and the European Commission in an effort to establish fiscal discipline in the country.
Higher education institutions have been told to cut their academic and maintenance programme budgets by as much as 30%. This target was set by the Education Ministry Anna Diamantopoulou.
The tenth eLearning Awards are now launched! Celebrating 10 years of excellence
For the tenth consecutive year, the eLearning Awards competition is organised by European Schoolnet and supported by key industry partners.
Since the first edition in 2001, interest from all over Europe has increased tremendously and thousands of teachers from Europe and beyond have participated in the competition, displaying their best use of new technologies and innovative ideas in education and inspiring other in the use of ICT.
Dr Pavlos Pavlou, 46, Assistant Professor at the Department of English Studies at the University of Cyprus, passed away on the 22nd of August after a brave battle with cancer.
The ELT community both in Cyprus and Greece were shocked at the announcement.
Pavlos Pavlou was born in Nicosia, Cyprus, in 1964. He graduated with distinction from the Pancyprian Gymnasium and continued his studies at the University of Vienna, where he read foreign languages (English and French).
He did his MA in Applied Linguistics and Literatures, with a concentration in German, at the Southern Illinois University. He took his PhD from Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA.
The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) Minister Chris Evans has given in-principle approval for the acceptance of more than one English language test to be officially recognised as proof of English proficiency for student and skilled migration visa applications.
“Collaboration in language testing and assessment” 27th – 30th of May, The Hague, Holland
The EALTA (European Association for Language Testing and Assessment) Guidelines for Good Practice in Language Testing and Assessment stress the importance of collaboration between all parties involved in the process of developing instruments, activities and programmes for testing and assessment.
In the Guidelines, collaboration is considered to be as important as validity and reliability, providing a crucial prerequisite for responsibility and respect for students, thereby contributing to fairness.
Michael McCarthy is Professor Emeritus of Applied Linguistics at the University of Nottingham, UK, Adjunct Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Pennsylvania State University, USA, and Adjunct Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Limerick, Ireland.
He is author of Vocabulary (OUP, 1990), Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers (CUP, 1991), Language as Discourse (with Ronald Carter, Longman, 1994), Exploring Spoken English (with Ronald Carter, CUP, 1997), Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition and Pedagogy (co-edited with Norbert Schmitt, CUP, 1997), Spoken Language and Applied Linguistics (CUP, 1998), Exploring Grammar in Context (with Ronald Carter and Rebecca Hughes, CUP, 2000), Issues in Applied Linguistics (CUP, 2001) and The Cambridge Grammar of English (with Ronald Carter, CUP, 2006).
NOEMA is the first electronic dictionary of Greek signs and also the first DVD-ROM production in Greece. It contains 3,000 video recorded signs with their Modern Greek translations and is equally addressed to native signers as well as to hearing students of GSL. On the basis of an ergonomic arrangement focusing on optimal product utilization by the two user groups, every video lemma is accompanied by its equivalent in Modern Greek, further explanatory remarks, if necessary, as well as synonyms and antonyms in GSL, whenever such exist.
An interesting question as a leitmotif of the project ‘The Mystery of the Week’, coordinated by Geert van Overloop, teacher of English at Cesky Krumlov Gymnazium, in the Czech Republic. ‘Our multilingual project wants to uncover the sometimes mysterious history of the week. It is a mixture of foreign language learning, history and etymology’ explained Geert. Together with his colleagues and pupils, Geert invites the participants to rediscover the names of the days of the week in as many languages as possible. ‘The names of the days are some of the most frequently used words in almost any language. Still most people do not realise the meanings of these names go somewhat deeper than the calendar surface and that they usually have an interesting history attached to them’ said Geert. This project is an opportunity to look into the words our ancient language ancestors used. Participating pupils assisted by their teachers are invited to research, explain, and compare results and facts, working in small teams and ‘having at least one group of pupils or students for each language spoken in Europe… They do the necessary research in their own language and then translate it into a foreign language they are learning at school. As a lot of languages are involved, it is our intention to keep the texts rather short and simple.’Which is the pedagogical value of the project and how to take part?
Link : http://www.gymck.cz/geert/weekdays.php3
In the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML), Graz, Austria, 21 educators from Europe participated in the network meeting of Project 1.2.3 entitled ‘Intercultural Communicative Competence in Teacher Education’.
The Kyttea Foreign Language School in cooperation with the Greek Centre for the Treatment of Wild Animals staged, late last May, at the Culture Centre of Nafpactos, the ‘Jungle Book’ a theatrical performance aimed at initiating interest among young and not so young people in issues related to the preservation of the environment and the protection of wild species which are threatened with extinction.
HILLSIDE PRESS, the renowned publishing company, which has enjoyed vast appreciation of its titles, celebrated its 10th anniversary on Saturday 1st of June, at the DIVANI CARAVEL Hotel in Athens. Foreign Language School Owners, state and private school teachers and friends of the company gathered together and had the chance to:
Addie Kostakou welcomed the guests and made a brief presentation of the company’s achievements (more books covering all levels from the primary to CPE, more qualified staff, three new offices -in Patra, Larissa and Thessaloniki- extensive seminar schemes covering various educational and pedagogical aspects as well as a strong representation in book exhibitions in Greece and abroad).
William Fowler, the renowned teacher and ELT author, passed away a couple of months ago, in Barcelona, while playing tennis, of heart failure. Fowler graduated from Cambridge University but, unlike other contemporaries and later sparks in EFL, he abandoned linguistics in favour of literature. He did an MA and was awarded the Charles Oldham Shakespeare Prize in 1959, which helped, later, to set him on his career. He was very proud of his first name and he would often say the following story: “I was at a party and this very stiff German came over to me, clicked his heels in his inimitable Teutonic fashion and introduced himself. ‘My name is Wolfgang’ he said, ‘like Mozart’ and I was able to say ‘Mine is William, like Shakespeare.” Apart from a brief period in the UK where he worked for the British Steel Corporation, he spent most of his working life teaching English to students of all levels in countries around the Mediterranean until he set up in Barcelona, where he taught at the British Institute. He was married to Rosa Maria, a professor of Education at the University of Barcelona and had a son, William. Fowler had visited Greece many times; in fact he first came to Greece in the early 70s, when he established himself as an ELT writer. He was the flagship of Nelson publishing company, which grew up along with him and built its list around his books. Nelson was acquired by Longman in the 1990’s and Fowler had found himself compelled to re-negotiate his status as an author in the new environment. Fowler was like a huge rock; stable and firm. He didn’t like dramatic changes in his life and built long-term relations. During the last years he was published by the Greek publishing company New Editions and was happy with the new partnership. Fowler had twice been interviewed by ELT NEWS. The first time was in September 1990 and the second in September 1996, on the then new FCE, which was about to be introduced in December the same year. Since he was expert in testing (his books more or less focused on the Cambridge exams) he was asked whether testing is necessary in the learning process. Fowler answered: “Testing is an invaluable and essential means for the teacher to recognize how much progress the students have made. What I am afraid of is when testing takes the place of teaching. When we start to test before we have taught enough. That’s what I am concerned about. And that happens very often.” When asked to give a number of teaching tips he said: “My own feeling is that the best way to teach is:
Language learning is a continuous process where you build on what you already know.”
On 8th and 9th May 2002, the 16th Panhellenic Educational Conference of the Greek and Cypriot Primary Teachers’ Association (ΔΟΕ & ΠΟΕΔ) took place in the beautiful city of Alexandroupolis. The conference focused on the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in Primary Education, it was opened by Mr Vassilis Paliyiannis, president of the Greek Primary Teachers’ Association, it was greeted by Mr Ghessoulis, the under-Secretary of the Ministry of Education, by MPs Mr Dimoschakis and Mr Zabounidis, as well as by representatives of the local authorities and church.
‘Centre’ and ‘Periphery’ are two concepts, which, traditionally, cause contradictions and conflicts. For example from the antiquity people believed that the centre of the universe was the earth and a number of planets constituted the periphery.
Nearly 300 educators decided to face their own professional challenges by packing into the Ceremony Hall of the old building of the Faculty of Philosophy of Aristotle University, on 21 last April to attend a one-day colloquium entitled, “Challenges in Teacher Education”. An increase in the frequency of expressions of conflict, descriptions of difficulties and requests for help voiced by all involved in EFL is what prompted the decision of the School of English of the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics to offer this event.
The primary course book series of HILLSIDE PRESS, Lib and Libby, was awarded the first prize for outstanding quality of format and content in an international competition in Romania. The competition had been announced by the Ministry of Education of Romania some time ago and aimed at picking up the best primary course book series in the market to be used in the Primary third grade English classes throughout the country. Lib and Libby topped the list of submitted publications with average score 47,55 out of 60.
The term psychology comes from two Greek words: psyche, which means ‘soul,’ and logos, ‘the study of.’ These root words were first combined in the 16th century, at a time when the human soul, spirit or mind was seen as distinct from the body. Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and the mind. This definition contains three elements. The first is that psychology is a scientific enterprise that obtains knowledge through systematic and objective methods of observation and experimentation. Second is that psychologists study behaviour, which refers to any action or reaction that can be measured or observed -such as the blink of an eye, an increase in heart rate, or the unruly violence that often erupts in a mob. Third is that psychologists study the mind, which refers to both conscious and unconscious mental states. These states cannot actually be seen, only inferred from observable behaviour. Many people think of psychologists as individuals who dispense advice, analyse personality, and help those who are troubled or mentally ill. But psychology is far more than the treatment of personal problems. Psychologists strive to understand the mysteries of human nature -why people think, feel, and act as they do. With its broad scope, psychology investigates an enormous range of phenomena: learning and memory, sensation and perception, motivation and emotion, thinking and language, personality and social behaviour, intelligence, infancy and child development, mental illness, and much more. Psychologists seek to answer a wide range of important questions about human nature:
Are individuals genetically predisposed at birth to develop certain traits or abilities?
How accurate are people at remembering faces, places or conversations from the past?
What motivates us to seek out friends and sexual partners?
Why do so many people become depressed and behave in ways that seem self-destructive?
Do intelligence test scores predict success in school, or later in a career?
What causes prejudice, and why is it so widespread?
Can the mind be used to heal the body?
Discoveries from psychology can help people understand themselves, relate better to others and solve the problems that confront them. Psychology in Education Psychologists in all branches of the discipline contribute to our understanding of teaching, learning and education. Some help develop standardized tests used to measure academic aptitude and achievement. Others study the ages at which children become capable of attaining various cognitive skills, the effects of rewards on their motivation to learn, computerised instruction, bilingual education, learning disabilities and other relevant topics. Educational psychologists seek to understand and improve the teaching and learning process within the classroom and other educational settings. They study topics such as intelligence and ability testing, student motivation, discipline and classroom management, curriculum plans and grading. They also test general theories about how students learn most effectively. Most teachers agree that student motivation is one of the most important concerns when teaching a foreign language. If learners are not motivated to learn the language, this will have a negative effect on their learning and consequently make the teachers’ task extremely difficult. Last May, ELT State School Advisor Mrs Angeliki Deligianni organised, in cooperation with TESOL Macedonia-Thrace, an extremely interesting workshop focusing on Motivation in Language Learning. The workshop was conducted, in two consecutive sessions, by Marion Williams and Bob Burden, two distinguished academics in the field, who teach at the University of Exeter. The two professors first explored a number of different approaches that have been taken to the area of motivation. They looked at traditional ways of understanding this concept, for example, rewards and punishments and considered the limitations of such views. They then explored more recent perspectives in this field and considered how these can help teachers to help their students to become more motivated language learners. Finally they discussed ways in which language teachers can assess the motivation of their students. Motivation can be defined as a state of cognitive and emotional arousal, which leads to a conscious decision to act and gives rise to a period of sustained intellectual and/or physical effort.
The Language Learning Motivation Profile
The two professors, after a long and extensive research and observation have designed the so- called language learning motivation profile. This can be seen as a circle divided in quadrants. Each quadrant constitutes a different area of motivation such as: Attitude, External Influences, Identity and Agency. Learners’ Attitudes (what motivates learners)
Enjoyment and interest
External Influences (what affects motivation)
Group ethos (other people, class, school, culture)
Identity (self concept, self esteem*)
Sense of competence
* Low self-esteem is named by many psychologists as the cause for everything from low grades to drug abuse. The solution being offered is to teach children how to acquire a healthy self-esteem.)
Agency (how to do things)
Sense of responsibility
Teachers should consider the following factors in order to build up learner’s motivation:
Recognise the complexity of motivation
Be aware of both initiating and sustaining motivation
Discuss with learners why they are carrying out certain activities
Involve learners in making decision related to language learning
Involve learners in setting language learning goals
Recognise people as individuals
Build up individual’s beliefs in themselves
Develop internal beliefs
Help to move towards a mastery oriented style
Enhance intrinsic motivation
Build up supportive learning environment
Give feedback that is informational
All in all it was a very interesting workshop, which raised a number of topics not entirely familiar to ordinary teachers of English. The challenge thought lies in applying theory to practice, which, according to the two brilliant lecturers, can be rewarding. The lucky ones who had decided to spend the day at the Macedonian Studies Institute did not fail to heartily thank Mrs Angeliki Deligianni for the excellent initiative and admitted that Bob Burden and Marion Williams, through their presentation, had directed them to psychological paths where there was a lot to be explored and appreciated.
The EFL Advisor of Thessaly Mrs Katerina Tsotsoli in cooperation with the Association of Primary State School Τeachers of English organised a seminar on the 15th last May in the Cultural Centre of the Municipality of Trikala with the topic: ‘The teaching of foreign languages through computer-based activities’. A large number of participants from the primary and secondary schools of Trikala, Karditsa and Larissa as well as school advisors and school directors attended the highly successful event, which was under the aegis of the Ministry of Education and the Prefecture of Trikala.
This article on the general aspects of effective teaching has been prepared for inclusion in the Educational Practices Series developed by the International Academy of Education and distributed by the International Bureau of Education and the Academy. One mission of the International Academy of Education is to foster scholarly excellence in all fields of education. As part of this mission, the Academy provides timely syntheses of research on educational topics of international importance. This article is the first in a series on educational practices that generally improve learning. It focuses on the most central act of education–teaching.
How many times have you been involved in the plot of a movie? It is true that the cinema can reflect expressions of our lives and this is why we can identify with the heroes seen in the screen. We always find elements of ourselves, whether positive or negative and we always find elements we wish to imitate or avoid.
Over the years educators, applied linguists and teachers have tried to determine what knowledge is, how it is transmitted and what should be taught in schools. For many years the predominant educational theories and philosophies promoted western civilisation since many educationalists and policy makers argued that teachers need to help students acquire the educational tools in order to participate in western European culture and traditions as well as to obtain access to the greatest ideas and objects that man has created.
Education is one way of our societies to achieve continuity of basic values, by transmitting our culture and our identity to the next generation. Education also should provide equal chances for each citizen to cope with changes, find an adequate place for her/his aptitudes and interests, and fill with dignity her/his individual role within the society.
The 17th Oxford Conference on the Teaching of Literature was held in Oxford from 7-13 April 2002, it was entitled “Fresh air in the classroom: teaching literature to young people” and it lived up to its title as the participants were exposed to fresh air in numerous guises.
Many read his back page. All understood the title: Ta Kaustika tou Alpha, but few - even Greeks - really understood the meaning of the signature at the bottom: Achthos Arouris (??eio Aniynco). Arouris is easy - a rat. In fact a cheerful, mischievous rat with owl-like eyes, grinning Colgate teeth and an irrepressible sense of humour.
Language teaching as a part of a wider educational spectrum is clearly becoming more and more important. So steady in her continuing effort to improve the quality of English Language Teaching and provide teachers with access to the latest theories and practices, Mrs Paraskevi Leontiou-Ferentinou, EFL State School Advisor in the Prefectures of Athens, West Attika and Samos recently organised a series of professional teacher training seminars, held in Athens and Samos.
“Before we begin, I would like to ask all of the participants here to take a moment of silence -a moment of prayer- for our dearly departed friend Andreas Spyropoulos. Andreas -the publisher of quality ELT materials as well as everyone’s favourite newspaper, the ELT NEWS- passed away on Easter Monday after a brief and quiet battle with lung cancer. May we have a moment of silence please?
Vellum Educational Services -a company based in Naoussa and run by Lia Naoumidou- has been awarded Associate Partner status by CIE (Cambridge International Examinations), one of the world’s leading providers of educational qualifications and assessments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
The 5th Annual Model of the United Nations (AMUN) took place in Athens on 28-30 March 2002. Actually the AMUN is a simulation exercise of the United Nations General Assembly and this time 250 students from 50 schools from different parts of Greece representing 50 countries took part.
The Fthiotida and Evia Associations of Foreign Language School Owners (PALSO) organised a convention on ‘New Trends in Testing and Evaluation’ on 13-14 last April in Lamia. The Convention, which was held at the premises of TEI Lamias featured plenary sessions, workshops, professional and commercial presentations, a book and resource exhibition, a talk concerning PALSO issues delivered by the President of the Federation Mr Yiannis Michaelidis, the official dinner as well as a musical performance at the Municipal Theatre, which was greatly appreciated by participants.
The Express Publishing staff cover the length and breadth of the globe but this time it was only Ms Jenny Dooley, author-teacher trainer and Ms Maria Pepanides, teacher trainer who had the privilege to visit Mexico last April. They were invited by the local Express Publishing representatives for a Grand Tour around the country, from Mexico City and Puebla to San Louis, Leon and Guadalajara.
Express Publishing participated in the 16th APPI Conference between the 22nd and 24th of April 2002, in Oporto, Portugal entitled “Managing Diversity in the EFL Classroom”, for Teachers of the English Language.
“The new CPE is not incredibly new. A lot of the test is based on techniques that have already been acquired in other Cambridge exams.”
“Writing books for the Greek market has been an educational process for me. I’ve learned more about Greece than anybody I know in England who’s been to Greece on holiday. I’ve travelled all over the country and I’ve met lots of people and I have a lot of respect for the job that teachers are doing. They work hard, long hours so I have a lot of admiration for them and they shouldn’t be depressed or frustrated by the fact that the failure rate of Proficiency is high. It is high not because the Greek students are not good but because they are too young. The Greek students are learning very effectively, very efficiently. And I think the CPE Entry Test will help everybody actually and especially teachers who have been under pressure from other sources to enter students for examinations for which they are not ready.
Let me start off by saying ‘Thank you’ to all who helped me. And to those who don’t know what happened to me, let me explain. On the 26th of May 2001 I went on a tour with the Greek Spartans rugby side. We were to play against the Maltese national team in Malta.
Cheating is a dirty word in almost any culture. Yet exams and class assessments are seen as fair game. Cheating to get higher marks is not really cheating at all; it is just a fact of life. Everybody does it. But what can teachers do to dissuade their students from trying to cheat in public exams?
Which of the following, A or B, more accurately reflects your experience of a first-year Cambridge Proficiency classroom?
Language Schools in Greece are continuously trying to offer high quality services to its customers and focus on standards concerning:
Drama in English language classroom has always been a challenge for both students and teachers. The former see it as a means of expressing emotions and feelings, which are otherwise hidden deeply in the inner self, while the latter see it as a valuable tool to motivate their learners and introduce them to the pleasures of literature.
A surprise was in store for TESOL Macedonia-Thrace members who attended our March event, which was held on Sunday the 31st at the British Council. Expecting just two presentations, there were three. When one of the speakers was unavoidably delayed, our Treasurer Jay Schwartz stepped in to amuse the approximately eighty members present.
Spain is not the only European country that has been host to a number of Express events in recent weeks: Italy has also been an understandably popular destination for the consultancy team.
The Municipality of Nikea, Larissa, and the Primary State School of the area, under the leadership of Mrs Olga Alexiou-Peristeropoulou, president of the school’s Parents Association and Foreign Language School Owner, organized a cultural event dedicated to the campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
The proposals made by the PEKADE (Panhellenic Association of State School Teachers of English) Board in the presence of four Euro MPs from the Greek Parliament and a crowded audience included:
The Teachers of English Union of Thrace & Eastern Macedonia in cooperation with EFL School Advisor Dr Angeliki Deligianni organized a very successful and highly interesting seminar on 4th and 5th April in Alexandroupolis and Xanthi. Primary and Secondary Education State School Teachers from Evros, Rodopi and Xanthi attended the two events. The unprecedented success of the seminar can be attributed to two major factors: The attractiveness of the topic of the seminar and the participation of very prominent and competent speakers and teacher trainers. Cross-curricular approach is the newest and most promising trend in Compulsory Education. The Common European Framework of Reference promotes the cross-curricular approach as the basis of the European Educational Policy in Foreign Language Teaching. The main points of this innovative approach are the following:
The Teachers of English Union of Thrace & Eastern Macedonia could not ignore the challenge to bring the cross-curricular approach to the attention of its members and thus invited well-known speakers and teacher trainers to work with the teachers towards a better understanding and a practical application of this new trend in EFL teaching. These were:
The teachers who attended the seminars showed great interest and expressed their willingness to integrate cross-curricular approach in their classrooms. The Seminar was held as a continuation of a series of successful events organized by the Teachers of English Union of Thrace & Eastern Macedonia over the past three years. Creating opportunities for teacher training and meeting the professional needs of its members have been the primary aims of the Union since it was founded. Indeed, the Union has always found encouragement and support by Mrs Angeliki Deligianni, whose commitment to her role as a School Advisor has contributed immensely to the successful course of the Union. The seminar in Xanthi and Alexandroupolis could not have been carried out successfully without the help of the people who worked hard for its preparation. The treasurer of the Union Ms Anna Bamidou together with Ms Lia Gantidou, member of the board, were the two people who put a great deal of work for the successful outcome of the seminar in Alexandroupolis. Mr Konstantinos Kostoudis, secretary of the Union, was responsible for organizing the seminar in Xanthi with a lot of help and assistance from his colleagues Mrs Efrosyne Mystakidou, Mrs Artemis Kavoura and Mr Vasilis Yiouvatzis. Finally, the members of the organizing committees received a lot of support and assistance by the Vice-President of the Union, Mrs Nelly Zafeiriadou.
The 36th International Annual IATEFL Conference was held at the University of York between Saturday 23 and Wednesday 27, March 2002. It was a very successful and enjoyable conference in many respects. There was a rich and varied programme of interesting talks and workshops, as well as a number of lively social events and unusual free-time pursuits.
Hillside Press, the renown publishing company with a strong presence in Greece and elsewhere, has recently opened a branch in Thessaloniki, in the Business Centre, the city’s most impressive building.
The company celebrated the occasion, on the 30th last March. A crowd of friends, Foreign Language School Owners and teachers poured in the elegant premises to wish Hillside Press luck and prosperity, to talk to Addie Kostakou, husband Theodoros Didimiotis and son Orestis and meet the staff, which will do its best to cater for the needs of the teachers in the north of Greece.
With the opening of the Thessaloniki office Hillside Press aims at coming into closer contact with clientele as well as offering better service to the numerous teachers who use the company’s titles.
Since the premises are ideal for holding meetings and conducting seminars, Addie Kostakou hopes to transform them into a meeting point and an educational hub.
Creation of jobs, protection of the environment, health issues, housing, education possibilities and equal rights! These are amongst the key issues young people discuss across Europe. The Young People’s Recommendations is an important part of a document the European Commission is preparing. This document is called a White Paper on European Youth Policy.
The YOUTH programme gives young people from the age of 15 upwards the chance to broaden their horizons and develop their sense of initiative through projects at home or abroad. It provides structured European cooperation between youth organisations, local authorities, project leaders and others professionally concerned. And, above all, the programme provides opportunities for mobility and informal learning.
The YOUTH programme gives the opportunity to: Meet young people in another country together with a group of friends; Be a volunteer in another country; Do something in the village or city where you live; Deal with networking, information or training.
The actions of the YOUTH programme are: Action 1: Youth for Europe exchanges Young people, by being brought into contact with other cultures and the day-to-day realities of others, can learn a lot from each other, and through the theme of their exchange, are able to discover and explore similarities and differences between their cultures. Such an experience can help to combat negative prejudices and stereotypes. Moreover, the effect of a youth exchange on the local population can raise a more positive awareness of other cultures and have an impact not only on the young people themselves, but also on the local communities.
Who can participate? Groups of young people who are aged between 15 and 25 years and are legally residents in a EU country are eligible to participate in the programme. Duration In principle, the duration of the exchange activity itself is from 6 to 21 days, excluding travel. Exchanges shorter than 6 days are not recommended, as these may not guarantee that the inter-cultural learning experience will have the desired impact; neither are they likely to be cost effective.
Action 2: European voluntary service The European Union supports informal education opportunities for young people through transnational volunteering, directly and actively involving young people in activities designed to meet the needs of society in a wide range of fields. The aim of the European Voluntary Service action is based on three fundamental principles: To provide an informal intercultural learning experience for young people encouraging their social integration, active participation, increasing their employability and giving them opportunities to show solidarity with other people; To support the development of local communities; To encourage the establishment of new partnerships and the exchange of experience and good practice between the partners. The YOUTH programme also recognises the value of existing partnerships that have been built between organisations over the years, and that have crucially contributed to the success of volunteering activities. All such partnerships are encouraged to participate in this action, especially through one-to-one projects. What is a European Voluntary Service project?
An EVS project allows a young person to be a volunteer in another country for a specified period, normally between 6-12 months. The voluntary service activities can be, for example, in the field of environment, arts and culture, activities with children, young people or the elderly, heritage or sports and leisure activities. Each project has three partners, a volunteer, a sending organisation and a host organisation. The volunteers will participate in activities that conform to the following general principles.
The activities: 1. Take place in a country other than where the volunteer lives; 2. Are non-profit-making and unpaid; 3. Bring an added value to the local community; 4. Do not involve job substitution or job replacement; 5. Last for a limited period (maximum 12 months). Who are the partners in an EVS project? As mentioned above, an EVS project involves a triangular partnership, a volunteer, a sending organisation and a host organisation. One of the countries involved in a project must be a EU Member State.
Who can be a volunteer? The programme is open to all young people who are legally residents in an eligible country and are, in principle, aged between 18 and 25 years. Certain exceptions regarding age are allowed and are judged on a case-by-case basis. There are no participation fees and the volunteer receives board, lodging and a small allowance from the host organisation.
Action 3: Youth initiatives Through this action, the European Commission aims to support young people’s initiatives and creativity. It can give young people the chance to: try out ideas through initiatives, in which they themselves are directly and actively involved; plan and realise them in their local community.
For example, six young people want to promote the value of the natural resources of an environmentally rich region among the local students, in order to protect a collective natural heritage. To do so, they will organise an exhibition and publish several materials on the different animal species living in the respective region such as badges, postcards, guides, T-shirts etc. The group also establishes links with other environmental associations. Where can projects take place?
Youth initiatives may take place in all programme countries, but they may not take place in third countries. Who can participate? Groups of young people in programme countries, who are, in principle, between 15 and 25 years old. A group should consist of at least four individuals, one of whom takes responsibility for submitting the application and signing the contract. Action 4: Joint actions The Community programmes in the fields of education (SOCRATES), vocational training (LEONARDO DA VINCI) and YOUTH are complementary instruments that aim to create European-level conditions under which learners of all ages are able to acquire the experience, knowledge and skills they need to live, work and actively participate in society. The joint actions are included in all three programmes and give concrete form to the complementarity by supporting initiatives that extend beyond the field of a single programme. Joint actions linking the YOUTH programme with other Community programmes outside the Directorate-General for Education and Culture may also be envisaged.
Action 5: Support measures Support measures are the instruments that are intended to help all those involved in youth activities or interested in youth matters, to prepare and develop projects and initiatives within the YOUTH programme. Support measures have two basic aims: To assist the development of the already mentioned four major actions of the YOUTH programme (Youth for Europe, European voluntary service, Youth initiatives and Joint actions).
To contribute to achieving the objectives of the YOUTH programme and the fostering and strengthening of European youth policy, whilst encouraging and facilitating wider co-operation with third countries.
What are support measures? In order to have appropriate tools for achieving the above objectives, activities can be carried out in the following fields: Co-operation and partnerships; Training measures; Youth information. Support measures underpin activities directly linked to the actions of the YOUTH programme and/or its objectives. All support measure activities must be non-profit making. More information can be obtained from the following website: http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/youth/youthprogram.html
The findings of a research on aspirations, attitudes and values of today’s European students were presented on the 25th last March in Brussels. Questionnaires with 50 questions were issued in January 2002 and were e-mailed to 54,000 students. During the 4-week target return date, 4,151 students returned the questionnaire. The students were representing 495 establishments / universities across 12 European countries (countries of study, not origin).
In October 2002, UCLES EFL becomes ‘Cambridge ESOL Examinations’. Cambridge has chosen this title to reflect the increasing diversity of its candidates, ranging from those in the ‘traditional’ language school sector to the growing number of people living, studying and working in English-speaking countries for whom English is not the first language.
This interview with Jeremy Harmer, teacher, teacher trainer and author, starts with a story; the story of a little boy, Jessie Arbogast, who was bitten by a shark last summer.
“As the light of a warm summer day was fading on the beach near Pensacola , Florida , Jessie Arbogast was frolicking in the knee-high water of the Gulf Island National Seashore. He had come to spend the day with his aunt and uncle, Diana and Vance Flosenzier, his siblings and his cousins.