Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Let ‘s Follow Cavafy’s Footsteps! by Katerina Kyriakidou and Vicky Kostara

What might Ithaca look like illustrated? Verses become images and students are invited to create their own comics…

Katerina Kyriakidou and Vicky Kostara‘s brilliant approach to incorporating Cavafy’s poetry into the English Language class is a challenging task which has been praised by many. Those of us who attended the interesting presentation of their project, left full of ideas on how to inspire and motivate students to come to terms with poetry!

They started their talk by stating their acknowledgements, their aim - an interdisciplinary approach to Cavafy’s poetry - and the outcome of this project.

Poems have always been an excellent vehicle for cross-cultural learning, but having to deal with differences in competency levels and conveying the essence of a non-native poem at the same time is something that made the “Let’s Follow Cavafy’s Footsteps!” project even more remarkable.

So how do you combine subjects together in new ways? Katerina and Vicky demonstrated the means and tools they used to put this into practice, making a careful selection of Cavafy’s poems ("The Walls" and "The God Abandons Antony"). By creatively incorporating many artistic methods in class they achieved to both hold students' attention and involve them in many creative stages. What if students draw poems? Students recited and translated poems at the same time; a demo was shown of this recitation choreography. Drawing a poem, hip hop adaptations, innovative recitations of Cavafy‘s work, a comic strip as an illustration of a poem... These are just some of the ideas. Cavafy’s official website is a source for students to find out more. The handout the presenters provided at the end of their presentation is full of useful tips.

Grasping the meaning of a poem is not an easy task; nor is foreign language teaching. These two remarkable ladies have achieved just that!

By Fani Dafnopatidou

Photo credits: Maria Araxi Sachpazian

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