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Saturday, 11 March 2017 19:36

Despina Vardaki & Elpiniki Psomataki

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"A, B, C... Read with Me!"

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

It is a workshop that will involve teachers in a number of fun hands-on activities, which help develop literacy in young learners. Some of the activities include salt writing, doing tangram puzzles, making drawings out of letters and a letter-matching game using clothes pegs. As you can see, we try to keep it very practical, just like the Convention theme says.

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

We have been both teaching at Arsakeio Primary School of Thessaloniki for over 20 years. We love English, kids and teaching. We try various techniques to attract our students to the sphere of English language and culture and to build a true relationship of care and love with the kids.

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

When practical techniques are applied in the English language classroom, teaching becomes friendlier to the students. Real life experiences and active involvement appeal to the senses and attract students’ attention. Contemporary teaching needs to be related to the world out of the classroom and the electronic world and prove itself to be even more engaging.

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

Those who dread mistakes and failure are less likely to experiment with something new. New practices always bring a sense of awakening and freedom to both students and teachers. Even though they may not always be fully successful, they bring some kind of knowledge to everybody. One can lose some time but finally gain experience in dealing with failure or mistakes.

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

Technology and mainly the use of the internet have made ideas and materials spread with amazing speed, everyone has easy access to broad areas of knowledge. This, of course, has facilitated our teaching.

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

We’ll use Krishnamourti’s quotation: “… the teaching profession is the highest profession in the world.  Though one acquires very little money out of it, I think it is the greatest thing… because in our hands lie the whole future generation.”

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

We are just like plants, which need continuous care, sunshine, water and good soil in order to give fruit. Alike, we need continuous training in order to become better and better.  And if a teacher becomes better, that means the impact will be great upon their students, colleagues, even the local community.

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

That parents, even though they might not be educators themselves, have a very rigid idea on how foreign languages should be taught, what are the best coursebooks and so on.

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

It is the first time we will attend TG Convention and we are really excited.

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

Follow your heart, your intuition, your passion. Theories come and go but you can decide what is important to you and your students and try to implement it despite the obstacles and resistance you confront.

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