Our Roving Reporters, Penny Masoura and Valia Gkotsi interview Eirini Stamouli, one of the speakers of the 37th TESOL Greece International Annual Conference.
1) Who is Eirini Stamouli? What was a high and a low point you identified in you? How has this helped you evolve personally?
I am about to complete my BA studies in English Language and Literature at the University of Athens. I cannot identify with only one high and one low point in my life, so far, as the past four years were full of ups and downs. What I’ve decided to do is learn through those experiences and move forward as a teacher and as a person.
2) What is the core message of your poster presentation?
The presentation is based on the idea of viewing children’s literature and games as part of the core EFL syllabus. If you combine those two together, you can create a new innovative basis for both yourself as a teacher and for your young students, while developing their linguistic capacities in an entertaining way.
3) What motivated you to submit a proposal to the Tesol Greece Convention?
After completing a research paper for one of our courses at the university, my co-researcher, Eva Panagiotara, suggested we should create a presentation for the TESOL Convention, based on that paper. Eva had participated before and I knew a few things about it, so I decided not to let this opportunity slip away.
4) How is your presentation connected to the Convention’s theme “Join the Education R-Evolution”?
In the EFL classroom, literature is either not considered to be a part of the syllabus or is simply considered as supplementary material, which can be omitted. The dominant element in the classroom is the coursebook, which aims only towards the linguistic development of the students. Yet, literature, especially if introduced to the students at a young age, can both educate and instill positive values. Add games to this and teaching becomes something new altogether.
5) Why is it so important to evolve as educators?
You cannot remain static, while everything around you moves at the speed of light. Especially, if you are a teacher, you need to be able to keep up with students from different backgrounds and with different needs, while trying to provide them with something new and pursuing them into becoming better people. Teaching is all about multitasking, essentially.
6) In which ways have you evolved or revolutionized your teaching over the last years?
I have learnt to take nothing for granted. You need to pay attention to everything around you and let your creativity flow. Even the most trivial things, such as a tissue paper or even a pen-if used in a creative way during class- can assist in teaching.
7) To what extent has the reality of the EFL classroom changed recently?
Students have stopped being passive recipients of knowledge, just like educators are not simply teachers of grammar or teachers of vocabulary, anymore. The teacher’s role has become multidimensional. We are asked to create, to influence students in a positive way, to give the best and most accurate answers we can during the lesson, to use all different ICT resources and to teach a new language, despite the difficulties. So, you do not only have to keep up, you need to excel.
8) Briefly describe a situation in which your teaching/actions in the classroom had an effect on a student/students. How did this person/these people evolve because of that?
No matter what students’ age is, the teacher needs to give his/her students some space to “breathe”; to allow the student to become comfortable enough to speak of his/her ideas, his/her preferences etc. This might seem impossible, due to time limitations or due to the number of the students. Yet, you need to devote a few minutes to it. Create an open discussion; do not place one student only in the spotlight. This way, students become more confident, while participating in class without even realizing it.
9) Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I try not to think of the future or make any plans, but rather set small goals and take it one step at a time. I simply hope to be actively involved in teaching, no matter how things turn out.
10) What should the motto of an “Education R-Evolution” be?
“Move forward, become better, teach anew”.