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Presenters

Presenters (39)

Saturday, 11 March 2017 15:04

Veralisa Miliaresi

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"Partnership with a School in Regensburg, Germany, from Preparation to Success!"

Could you tell us a few things about your presentation and how it relates to this year’s Convention theme?
How can you always keep students at the edge of their seats, motivate them, encourage them but at the same time not forget your original role, that of the transmitter of knowledge? Engage them in a real-life activity, make them see the practical use of English outside the typical classroom, which has been built on theoretical foundations. That is what this project called “Partnership with a German School in Regensburg” will try to prove to the teachers, who are still non-believers.
 
Briefly tell us a few things about yourself as a professional.
I graduated from the National Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2004 and did my Master’s Degree in the Hellenic Open University in the field of Applied Linguistics. I have been working as a Teacher of English for 15 years, having taught both in the private and the public sector. I have attended many seminars and teacher-training courses always aiming to develop both as a professional and as a person. My passion is Languages and I can speak French, German and Spanish. I am currently working for the American College of Greece.
 
“keeping it practical” an important part of present day EFL classrooms? Why, do you think, this is?
Theory is the cornerstone when you are learning something, especially if that is a language, but without putting it into practice you cannot achieve the desired outcome, let alone nowadays, that students defy the usefulness of a course unless they see its practicality. So, it is vital that, what they are taught, be applicable to their everyday life.
 
Are there problems when new practices are applied in the classrooms?
Are technological breakthroughs the enemy of the traditional teacher? Are they going to exorcise her and render her obsolete? Although this does not seem to be a distant truth, all teachers should be acquainted with the new practices in the classroom, because this new era calls for a change in our teaching methods. Problems arise and they will keep arising unless we decide to cooperate with our colleagues and our students to confront these problems.
 
Has it become easier or more complicated to teach English these past decades?
Whoever says that she has become a teacher to have an easy job knows that she has been misguided into believing that by naïve people. It is obvious that it has never been easy to teach, much less in the recent years with the introduction of many different changes. I wouldn’t characterize it more complicated, but rather more challenging to keep in pace and at the same time abreast of these changes.
 
What is one piece of advice that has been a beacon for your teaching over the years?
Never lie to your students and to yourself and as the modern song says “I am only human after all”. Don’t underestimate your students’ judgment and don’t try to deceive them. It’s better to admit that you are wrong than to pretend to know everything. In this way you can build a relationship of confidence, so much needed if you want your classroom to run smoothly.
 
How important is CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in the teaching of languages?
Nobody wants to live near stagnant water or to be taught by a “stagnant teacher”. Thus, it goes without saying, that continuous professional development should be a priority in a teacher’s life if she wants to feel an active member of the teaching society. The need for that comes naturally as the teacher is facing the new challenges that arise.
 
What do you find demotivating as far as teaching is concerned?
Being a teacher, and being a good one, needs a lot of sacrifices but at the same time you feel complete when you see what your students have achieved through your guidance. You can only feel disappointed when your efforts are not recognized or degraded because of the subject you are teaching.
 
What is one of the things you will not forget from past TG Conventions?
A TG convention always gives you the chance to get informed about new practices and meet up with colleagues. I remember, especially during my university years, that when I attended a conference, at the end I had the feeling that I had improved my knowledge and at the same time I had fun.
 
IF you could offer one piece of advice to new Educators in the field of ELT what would it be?
To try to be creative, but without taking it to extremes, to be understanding of the teachers’ working conditions, whether that be a very demanding timetable or lack of equipment, and to be open-minded to new ideas.
Saturday, 11 March 2017 14:48

Jasmina Milicevic

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“DARE TO BE DIFFERENT”: Against Bullying in Schools 

Could you tell us a few things about your presentation and how it relates to this year’s Convention theme?
My opinion is that the an English classroom is the place where our students can and should be taught about different 21st century issues that tackle modern students. My presentation gives practical techniques as well as an insight into creative drama approach in ELT which will help children and teachers raise awareness on the problem of bullying in schools and empower them to deal with this problem in a creative way.
 
Briefly tell us a few things about yourself as a professional.
I am dedicated to fostering CLIL approach in my teaching and in order to achieve this I use different tools and techniques some of which being creative drama, doing eTwinning projects with numerous European schools, taking part with students in various international events such as Earth Hour, The Day of Languages, English Drama Festivals. I like professional challenges and am always ready to acquire and implement new tools in my teaching. Therefore, I regularly take part in conferences, seminars and training, and I believe that CPD is a must for a 21st century teacher of English.
 
“keeping it practical” an important part of present day EFL classrooms? Why, do you think, this is?
The 21st century student needs skills and knowledge that will enable him/her to use them in their everyday life. They do not need to know about English but to use it as a tool to achieve certain goals. For this reason we should make efforts to bring the outdoor world into our classroom and help them cope with it.
 
Are there problems when new practices are applied in the classrooms?
Some teachers may be reluctant to use new practices for the lack of confidence and not being sure about the outcomes they will achieve. Moreover, as formal assessing plays an important role in education, we teachers might not be encouraged to experiment with new practices for fear of failing to achieve firmly set standards.
 
Has it become easier or more complicated to teach English these past decades?
In my opinion it has become more complicated to teach any subject lately. Although we have at our disposal all these ICT tools and great opportunities for professional development, teaching has become more demanding and should be tackled in a holistic way.
 
What is one piece of advice that has been a beacon for your teaching over the years?
Keep being curious professionally, do not stop learning and make your classroom a garden of colourful tools for creative and enjoyable learning.
How important is CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in the teaching of languages?
CDP is a key issue in teaching languages in the world of rapid changes in order to answer the needs of a contemoray students. 
 
What do you find demotivating as far as teaching is concerned?
What demotivates me are the rigidity and outdated ways of assessing of outcomes of students and teaching of teachers, which do not allow teachers to be as creative and innovative as they could and should be.
 
What is one of the things you will not forget from past TG Conventions?
This is the first time I will be taking part in TG Convention.
 
IF you could offer one piece of advice to new Educators in the field of ELT what would it be?
Enjoy teaching as well as learning and have understanding for your students’ learning needs.
Saturday, 11 March 2017 14:27

Jake Delatolas - Saveris

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"Teaching an Original Video-Based Lesson in an EFL Classroom"

Could you tell us a few things about your presentation and how it relates to this year’s Convention theme?

Entitled ‘Teaching an Original Video-Based Lesson in an EFL Classroom’, the presentation discusses how the use of video in EFL classrooms, through thoughtful planning, can promote interactive and active viewing and encourage positive viewing. On condition that techniques for promoting active viewing are exploited, video based lessons can stimulate conversation and discussion, and help set up situations for classroom activities. Making practical use of a vast online audio-visual resource, YouTube, can function effectively in multiple ways for a variety of English classes and helps teachers ‘Keeping it Practical’.


Briefly tell us a few things about yourself as a professional.

I hold a B.A. in English Language & Literature (University of Athens) and an M.Ed. (Distinction) in TESOL (Hellenic Open University). I have had extensive experience in TEFL and was the Head of English at Ekpaideftiria Paschali for 16 years. I am a seminar presenter and speaking examiner for Cambridge English Language Assessment, and I am currently teaching at Pierce – The American College of Greece.

 

Is “keeping it practical” an important part of present day EFL classrooms? Why, do you think, this is?

Of course, it is! Keeping it practical helps our learners exploit their classes and benefit from them.


Are there problems when new practices are applied in the classrooms?

Problems can spring up anytime. Teachers should be well prepared to anticipate problems and be resourceful enough to overcome them.


Has it become easier or more complicated to teach English these past decades?

It has become more learner autonomous with the advent of educational technology.


What is one piece of advice that has been a beacon for your teaching over the years?

Carpe diem.


How important is CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in the teaching of languages?

It goes without saying that CPD in ELT enables teachers not only to develop but also to exchange ideas and practices for the benefit of their learners.


What do you find demotivating as far as teaching is concerned?

Not trying to become a more inspiring and motivating teacher every single day.


What is one of the things you will not forget from past TG Conventions?

That TESOL Greece is a big, close-knit family always willing to welcome new ideas and practices.


IF you could offer one piece of advice to new Educators in the field of ELT what would it be?

Every morning on your way to school, always ask yourself if you would like to be a student in your class.

Saturday, 11 March 2017 13:59

Fani Miniadou & Stefania Mandraveli

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"Paperless Lessons"

Could you tell us a few things about your presentation and how it relates to this year’s Convention theme?

Our presentation consists of practical ideas which can be used in the classroom as separate activities or they can be fully developed into complete lesson plans. Our purpose is to give teachers practical ideas of what to do when they cannot use course books or technology.

 

Briefly tell us a few things about yourself as a professional.

Stefania Mandraveli : I have been working as an EFL teacher  for the past 7 years in Thessaloniki at Vezergiannidou Language School. I have graduated from the Aristotle University, faculty of English Language & Literature and I am a CELTA holder. Ι have attended numerous conferences and webinars in order to improve my teaching skills and I am a TESOL Macedonia- Thrace member. Finally, I work for the Concorde International Schools in the UK, during summer months.                                                            

Fani Miniadou : I have been working as an EFL teacher since 2004 in Thessaloniki at Vezergiannidou Language School. I am also a YLE Level Coordinator the past ten years at the same school. I have graduated from the Aristotle University and I am a CELTA holder. Ι have attended numerous conferences and webinars in order to improve my teaching skills and I am a TESOL Macedonia – Thrace member. I have presented “Grammar Through Skills” and “Paperless Lessons” in TESOL MTH annual conventions. Finally, I work for the Concorde International Schools in the UK, during summer months since 2014.

 

Is “keeping it practical” an important part of present day EFL classrooms? Why, do you think, this is?

We believe that practicality in the EFL classroom is an essential part especially in a country where language acquisition is inextricably linked to a degree. Moreover, practical lessons can follow the CEFR and be communicative at the same time. They can be fun and effective. Practical lessons can be taken out of a course book or be paperless and at the same time follow a syllabus.                        

 

Are there problems when new practices are applied in the classrooms?

It is our belief that teachers should experiment and use new methods and practices in their classroom. As anything new, practices applied for the first time might not succeed. Teachers might find a reluctant audience, parents may be skeptical about new things or teachers themselves might not be fully aware or sure of what potential new practices can offer. Nevertheless, we think that we should continue implementing new practices in a world of constant changes and technological advancements.

 

Has it become easier or more complicated to teach English these past decades?

Teaching English has always been a challenge for educators. Over the past decades new approaches and methods have appeared giving teachers a variety to choose from. Each one of us has the opportunity to select what is more suitable for him/her and, of course, appropriate for their students’ needs.  Technology has not only brought teachers closer but also, given them the chance to educate themselves by reading books, share information and experience and give each other advice on any topic or situation. We, therefore, believe that it is now easier to teach English than it was 20 or 30 years ago.

 

What is one piece of advice that has been a beacon for your teaching over the years?

“ENJOY!!” Being able to enjoy the whole learning process. Being able to enjoy your own lessons, have fun with your students and create a warm and secure atmosphere for them!

“CREATE” your own lessons, a warm atmosphere, a sense of belonging for everyone in your classroom, magic moments so precious one can only wish for more. Motivate everyone involved in your lessons and the results will be rewarding.  

 

How important is CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in the teaching of languages?

The world of education has rapidly changed over the past years. As we mentioned before new approaches, surveys and methods have appeared and thus, it is important that us, educators keep up with what is new. Teaching will always be evolving and so must we. Attending conferences, conventions or webinars should be in our agenda as it is a way to get new ideas, develop our teaching skills, exchange information, advice and experiences with our colleagues. Reading about teaching gives us an insight of the foreign language and a better understanding of it.

 

What do you find demotivating as far as teaching is concerned?

We think that teaching is a really demanding job for many reasons. Having to face distrust in your working environment is something that would discourage us. We believe that good working conditions and a team spirit are really important for teachers. Dealing with people, parents, students or colleagues, who show no faith or trust in what you do can be frustrating. Another thing we have to point out is the current situation in our country where people disdain our work. It is difficult and discouraging to keep a high standard of work when everybody around you is trying to cut down on expenses and believes that what you do is not that important.

 

What is one of the things you will not forget from past TG Conventions?

Being new members we have to admit that this would be our first time in a TESOL Greece convention. We have attended TESOL Macedonia Thrace events, though, and can say that it is a wonderful experience, full of interesting talks and workshops one can benefit from. Such events are not to be missed as they promote collaboration between teachers and offer many new and innovative ideas to use in our lessons.

 

IF you could one piece of advice to new Educators in the field of ELT what would it be?

ENJOY! CREATE! Teaching can be so much fun both for you and your students. Adjust your lessons in a way which you will also have the opportunity to enjoy what is happening in the classroom. Interact with your students! Develop a good rapport with them! Have faith in them! Show them that you care! But most importantly enjoy what you do and create your own magic lessons!

                  . 

Saturday, 11 March 2017 13:39

Ioanna Ntaidou

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"Gamified Activities to Teach Vocabulary" 

Could you tell us a few things about your presentation and how it relates to this year’s Convention theme?
My presentation is a workshop providing hands-on activities for multiple levels so… it’s pretty “practical”.
 
Briefly tell us a few things about yourself as a professional.
Ioanna is the founder of the “Learning Gamification System” (LE.G.S), a teacher, an examiner, a teacher educator and a presenter. She holds 18 degrees, certifications and diplomas in the fields of education, psychology, business and NLP so she really believes in lifelong education. Her passion is gamification in learning and she is constantly designing new, innovative teaching patterns and techniques in this sector.
 
Is “keeping it practical” an important part of present day EFL classrooms? Why, do you think, this is?
“Keeping it practical” in an EFL classroom is essential and teachers often face this challenge. Children get tired of books and theory, instead they need stimulating activities to draw their attention and interest and keep them alert.
 
Are there problems when new practices are applied in the classrooms?
It depends on the educator. If the teacher carefully selects the new practices and applies them properly, there will be no problems instead learners will benefit greatly.
 
Has it become easier or more complicated to teach English these past decades?
I’ve been teaching since September 2003 so I’m qualified to talk only about the last decade. I think teaching
has become easier in terms of the tools and resources available but it has become more complicated with
regards to the learner’s demands and the huge number of certificates available in the market.
 
What is one piece of advice that has been a beacon for your teaching over the years?
Learners needs should be identified and taken into consideration.
 
How important is CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in the teaching of languages?
CPD is of great importance as everything is evolving around us – the world, teaching and methodologies,
learners’ needs – and therefore an educator should be up-to-date.       
 
What do you find demotivating as far as teaching is concerned?
Students’ and parents’ obsession with certificates. Most of them do not really care about learning the language.
 
What is one of the things you will not forget from past TG Conventions?
Some plenary talks.
 
IF you could one piece of advice to new Educators in the field of ELT what would it be?
Lifelong learning is very important, always try to become a better educator.
Saturday, 11 March 2017 12:40

Eftichis Kantarakis

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"TED Talks. Do it the Other Way. Beyond the Message."

Could you tell us a few things about your presentation and how it relates to this year's Convention theme?
“Keeping it practical” has always been my motto. What I am trying to show in my presentation is how TED Talks can have practical, linguistic goals and results, on top of the very inspirational message they usually carry.
 
Briefly tell us a few things about yourself as a professional.
I have been in the ELT field for more years than he can count as I never mastered the numbers after 20. I have worked as a teacher, a consultant, an editor and a Teacher Trainer. My most rewarding job has actually been one I have volunteered for, and that is none other than working with the wonderful people of TESOL Greece in various positions. Right now I work as a teacher trainer for National Geographic Learning – Europe, Middle East and Africa.
 
Is "keeping it practical" an important part of present day EFL classrooms? Why, do you think, this is?
I most certainly think so! When engulfed in the academia we sometimes tend to think of the classroom as an obstruction to our “real aim” in ELT which we sometimes seem to believe is “formulating” theories about how languages are learned. It is important to be able to share practical tips and techniques for what really matters in the classroom, and that means making the teaching material relevant to the students’ reality.
 
Are there problems when new practices are applied in the classrooms?
Aren’t there in everything that changes? We always feel safer repeating things, we have been doing for the past decade or three. People can be reluctant to leave their “comfort zone”. Trying new things can lead to failures and failures cost time and money. But so does repeating yourself no matter how dull, boring, ineffective or even “safe” it feels. If I have worked for 20 years I want to be able to say that I have 20 years of experience, not experience of one year 20 times.
 
Has it become easier or more complicated to teach English these past decades?
I think neither. I think it has simply become more meaningful.
 
What is one piece of advice that has been a beacon for your teaching over the years?
My first employer and dear cousin Mary Pouletsou said this to me the day before I started working. Never believe that you are a guru. You are not the Great Teacher of the Nation. But thankfully you don’t have to be. Making a small change for one student is equally important. So seek out and try to make that change every day.
 
How important is CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in the teaching of languages?
I think it is the most important aspect of our profession. We need to keep learning; we need to keep sharing. Learning should not stop before life. And it is this Sharing and Learning that is celebrated by organisations such as TESOL Greece.
 
What do you find demotivating as far as teaching is concerned?
The feeling some people have that they simply do not NEED to learn anything else. That’s truly beyond me!
 
What is one of the things you will not forget from past TG Conventions?
WOW! So many! But welcoming Stephen Krashen in Klingon must take the cake.
 
If you could give one piece of advice to new Educators in the field of ELT what would it be?
Never stop learning, never stop sharing!
Saturday, 11 March 2017 12:07

Şehnaz Ceren Cessur

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"Level Up! Learn by play!"

Could you tell us a few things about your presentation and how it relates to this years Convention theme?

Level Up! is the name we chose for our presentation as it is about gamification and its implications in our classrooms. We believe that technology should have a teaching role, especially because of the so-called digital natives, who lose concentration easily with the traditional methods. We actually wanted to share our experience with our students and discuss the practical use of gamified elements in our presentation, which we closely relate to the theme Keeping It Practical.  We also aim to have a debate on gamification to see the topic from different aspects.

 

Briefly tell us a few things about yourself as a professional.

Although I always see myself a novice teacher, I have had experience in different language schools in the last 8 years. I hold a BA degree in American Culture and Literature and also I studied ELT at Yeditepe University, Istanbul. I worked for the Writing Center of Yeditepe University between 2012 and 2014, during which I attended and presented in different places including the 35th convention of TESOL Greece in 2013. For a year, I have been working at a language school called UKLAACADEMY in Bursa, Turkey. My main areas of interest are assessment and linguistics.

 

Is keeping it practical an important part of present day EFL classrooms? Why, do you think, this is?

I believe keeping things practical in EFL settings is crucial today. Our lives are hasty and full of technology, which is the main reason of lack of willingness for long processes. Of course, I do not think that language teaching should be served in a nutshell, but still I believe there are some useful things we can add to our system to make our learners satisfied and enthusiastic during the course. If we want to have a learner centered classroom environment, taking their ideas and lifestyles into our syllabi will be of great importance. Therefore, teachers should be practical, excited and ready for changes in the classroom.

 

Are there problems when new practices are applied in the classrooms?

New practices have always been challenging for us. Believing in what we do does not change the result. If the learners cannot understand and adapt to the new things we try, there will definitely be problems. In order to relieve the stress in the classroom when we try new practices, especially with the adult learners, teachers should respond to the anticipated problems. As we are trying a new system in our classes, we have been getting different reactions about this from the learners. What I generally do is that I do not force them to do the activities; instead, I try to make them understand what we try to achieve. Problems have been and will always be there when we talk about innovation.

 

Has it become easier or more complicated to teach English these past decades?

As I am not that experienced to talk about the change in level of difficulty in teaching, I can only evaluate this question from the perspective of a former learner. As I think about my own learning process, I believe my teachers job was more than difficult, and I appreciate their efforts. However, I also think that I have to be more flexible and I need to spend more time for preparation as the environment has changed a lot. We accepted what we were given, but now our learners criticize, think and ask for more. Hence, I think I need to work more and I feel the urge to do so to better myself as a teacher.

 

What is one piece of advice that has been a beacon for your teaching over the years?

You should love what you do. That is the only way to survive in teaching, I think. If you take teaching as just a job, you wont feel the need to study, read and learn, which, eventually, will lead to a big disappointment and burn-out.

 

How important is CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in the teaching of languages?

As languages are alive, we have to adapt them. Thats why I think CPD is also important. If you stop learning both about languages and new techniques, you may lose track and be outdated.

 

What do you find demotivating as far as teaching is concerned?

A non-supportive workplace would be demotivating for me. When I lose the chance to develop myself, I feel immediate loss of motivation, which reflects to my classes, and I always lose my sense of achievement with my students. Being happy and supported is the key to me as a teacher. When I am confident about my colleagues and school, I get more productive and enthusiastic. I believe I have to say that my school, UKLAACADEMY, has to be mentioned right now to thank again for motivation.

 

What is one of the things you will not forget from past TG Conventions?

Warm company and friendship. I am still in contact with fellow teachers, whom I met during the convention. That is why I wanted to share within this community again.

 

IF you could one piece of advice to new Educators in the field of ELT what would it be?

Dont freak out! I remember myself preparing and presenting in my head for my first class. I was totally frightened and overwhelmed. After a while, you get practical and you start to understand the mechanics of a classroom. Experience is not everything, but experiencing yourself in the classroom is the best thing!

        

 

"Out of this World: Eclectic Honeybees in Holistic VWs" 
 
Could you tell us a few things about your presentation and how it relates to this year’s Convention theme?
The use of 3D virtual worlds for the purposes of ELT/EAP and teacher training can easily be practical, meaningful and purposeful for your everyday classes.
 
Briefly tell us a few things about yourself as a professional.
Dr Letizia Cinganotto, Italy, is a Researcher at INDIRE (Italian Institute for Documentation, Innovation and Educational Research), former TESOL teacher, teacher trainer, author of digital content.
Heike Philp, Brussels, is an international expert on virtual language learning. She is co-initiator of three EU funded projects.
Helena Galani, Greece, is a TESOL/EAP tutor, educator, assessor, materials designer & trainer in VWs
 
Is “keeping it practical” an important part of present day EFL classrooms? Why, do  you think, this is?
Absolutely. Both novice and veteran teachers’ priority is to offer memorable and practical opportunities for language in use in order to prepare learners with real-life competencies in the target language. 
Are there problems when new practices are applied in the classrooms?
No; not in a determined and caring educator’s classroom.
 
Has it become easier or more complicated to teach English these past decades?
With the advent of 3D Virtual Worlds, in-world and online applications, the learner is more motivated to pursue a plethora of realistic opportunities for consistent exposure to the target language in and out of class.
 
What is one piece of advice that has been a beacon for your teaching over the years?    
Eclecticism and holism for C.C.L.A.S.E.S (Creative Competencies, Language Acquisition and Sustainable Educational Synergy)
 
How important is CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in the
teaching of languages?
It is an indispensable part in language teaching, and classroom-based research is the cornerstone of continuous Professional Development.
 
What do you find demotivating as far as teaching is concerned?
Nothing. Teaching is an art and a work of heart.
 
What is one of the things you will not forget from past TG Conventions?
For as long as I can remember, TESOL Greece Conventions have been a hub of tireless activity, ‘open-mindedly acknowledging’ instead of ‘blindfoldedly rejecting’ efforts.
 
IF you could give one piece of advice to new Educators in the field of ELT, what would it be?
Keep your classes close to virtually real (and unreal) life!
Saturday, 11 March 2017 11:41

Angeliki Apostolidou

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"The Interview" 

Could you tell us a few things about your presentation and how it relates to this year’s Convention theme?

"The interview", whether for professional or academic purposes, can offer candidates practical tips on how to deal with this stressful situation and come out of the interview room with a big smile!

Briefly tell us a few things about yourself as a professional.

I'm a Greek EFL teacher holding a Dip.RSA/DOTE. For over 20 years I  worked at prestigious language schools teaching learners of all ages and     linguistic ability.  I am currently director of the "Tartan Epsilon Ltd" and co-creator of its first educational app Easing Into English, available on the App Store.

Is “keeping it practical” an important part of present day EFL classrooms? Why, do you think, this is?

Because it helps discover ways to teach that create a meaningful and   positive learning environment for your students. You'll get to know what   motivates them and how you can tailor your teaching methods to their needs. 

Are there problems when new practices are applied in the classrooms?

If the EFL teacher is trained and informed, then new trends are bound to    succeed. However, this is not the case should new practices be applied   randomly and merely to attract interest.

Has it become easier or more complicated to teach English these past decades?

The use of technology in the classroom has facilitated an EFL teacher's   task as it has brought variety and has made the learning experience more     engaging and interactive.

What is one piece of advice that has been a beacon for your teaching over the years?

Teaching is a work of heart. You have to love it to be able to inspire others.

How important is CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in the teaching of languages?

I think it's essential.

What do you find demotivating as far as teaching is concerned?

That so many people resist experimenting with new ideas and refuse to develop as teachers.

What is one of the things you will not forget from past TG Conventions?

The rejection of our application for a presentation.

IF you could one piece of advice to new Educators in the field of ELT what would it be?

Know what you are doing in the classroom, the rationale behind it and be prepared to inspire your learners.

Sunday, 05 March 2017 20:24

Alexandros Vouyouklis

Written by

Alexandros Vouyouklis

"Game Design on the Web, Exciting Prospects, Endless Possibilities"

Could you tell us a few things about your presentation and how it relates to this year’s Convention theme?
“Game design on the Web” concerns, as its title suggests, the development of a set of skills that will enable teachers to create their own interactive games and publish them online. As far as its relevance to this year’s Convention theme goes, it doesn’t get more practical than that. We spend hours designing our own material and customising it to match our students’ needs. Now that Internet has become an indispensable tool of classroom experience, why not turn this material into Web games?

  Briefly tell us a few things about yourself as a professional.
My experience in EFL spans more than two decades. I have been
following the trend of computer-based training almost since its very beginning and tried to gain an insight into it that went beyond flashing lights and sound effects. So, my passion for some time has been how to create
activities that engage the students but also constitute a learning experience at the end of the day.

 Is “keeping it practical” an important part of present day EFL  classrooms? Why, do you think, this is?
Absolutely. If we define “practical” as simple and effective, we should follow this motto both from a teacher’s and a student’s standpoint. As
teachers, we need to approach language as a means to an end, namely effective communication. Therefore, we need to devise tasks that will ultimately serve this end, by helping the students visualize AND fulfil the communicative objective of the task without the need of tedious preparation and long-winded instructions.

 Are there problems when new practices are applied in theclassrooms?
Yes. Both teachers and students need time to get used to the novelty and there are bound to be hiccups at the initial stages. In the case of younger learners coming from conventional learning backgrounds, they might get the impression that they are “wasting their time” before the objective becomes obvious. Similar concerns can be voiced by parents. Let us face it: the transition stage will take time.

Has it become easier or more complicated to teach English these past decades?
Both. As teachers, we have been spoilt by the vast variety of resources at our disposal. Indeed, teaching material seems to be all around us,
especially in the superhighway of information. Moreover, even the most indifferent students will ask the meaning of a particular word or phrase they have come across in a game they have been playing, so student-centredness is taken for granted rather than pursued. At the same time, acquainting ourselves with this hoard of resources is becoming increasingly challenging.

 What is one piece of advice that has been a beacon for your teaching over the years?
Not a beacon. A constellation. Consisting of advice given on numerous occasions by my instructors as well as speakers in a multitude of seminars and workshops.

How important is CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in the  teaching of languages?
Extremely, just as in any science. Earth-shattering changes have been taking place all around us that we cannot afford to let pass us by. New
research is being done on so many fields of learning that it’s hard to keep up and yet we must try. It can be exhausting but rewarding at the same time because new findings can present us with solutions to teaching problems that may have been pestering us for years.

What do you find demotivating as far as teaching is concerned?
Very few things. Problems that somehow resolve themselves in time. I used to find indifference an issue but now I view it as a challenge.


What is one of the things you will not forget from past TG  Conventions?
Jeremy Harmer’s plenary, which culminated with the powerful message “teachers matter”.


 IF you could one piece of advice to new Educators in the field of  ELT what would it be?
I do not feel I am in any position to give advice. I am still learning, from every single student, every single teaching hour, every single
article I read. Perhaps this is the only advice I could give: be
sensitive to everything that is happening around you and gain insights from it.

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