Monday, October 16, 2017

TESOL MTh Academic Writing Event 2017


Meet our speakers

Title of session:
Practical strategies for IELTS Test takers

Essential IELTS  tips and information for success in the test. Find out more about the right techniques to improve your candidates’ band scores.

About Cliff:  
 Academic Manager, British Council, Greece





Title of session:
Computer Mediated text based Communication and Argumentation 

An essential aspect of academic writing is arguing and discussing. Argumentation has multiple dimensions; dialectical, interactive, rhetorical, epistemological, and conceptual. This interactive talk focuses on illustrating how the inherent characteristics of text-based Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) can help learners become aware of the dialectic and interactive nature of argumentation, develop argumentation skills and eventually competence in academic discourse. It also looks at considerations regarding the design, development, and running CMC text-based discussion tasks.

About Foteini: Academic Director of the English and English Language Teaching Department at New York College, Thessaloniki Campus.
Foteini holds a Master’s degree in Educational technology and TESOL from the University of Manchester, UK and an RSA dip. awarded by Cambridge UCLES. She is a lecturer in Linguistics, Methodology & Practice of Language Teaching, and Language Teaching: Design and Practice at the BA (Hons) English and English Language Teaching Programme of the University of Greenwich offered at New York College. She has a very long experience as an EFL and ESP teacher and has been teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) for 10 years in higher education both in Greece and in the UK (University of Kingston and University of Middlesex).


Title of session:
Teaching Academic Writing: Genre Analysis and Critical Language Awareness.

The purpose of this talk is to examine ways in which genre analysis can be used in the classroom to effectively teach academic writing. We shall discuss how teachers can help enhance their students’ critical language awareness; enabling them to understand why genres have certain conventions and which purposes they and their language serve for relevant discourse communities. Finally, we shall attempt to dispel some myths prevalent in popular discourse (and in some education circles) on “good” and “bad” English from a sociolinguistic perspective. 

About Christopher: Teaching and research fellow, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Teacher, Yes English Language Center




INTERVIEW with Foteini Malkogeorgou

1. Could you tell us more about you and your professional background?
I have worked as an EFL and ESP teacher for over 20 years and the last seven years, I have been teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) in multicultural environments in higher education in the UK. I am currently the Academic Director of the English Language Department at New York College, Thessaloniki and Local Manager of the BA (Hons) English Language and English Language Teaching programme of the University of Greenwich offered at NYC. I am also a lecturer in Linguistics, Methodology of English Language Teaching, and Language Teaching Practice and Design at levels 4,5,6 and supervise dissertations at the same programme. My interest in pedagogy and enhancing students’ higher order learning and autonomy through technology led me to my MA in Educational Technology and TESOL with a main research focus on Computer Mediated Communication and blending learning modes. My second research interest for several years now has been in second language acquisition in early childhood and bilingualism. My love for children inspired me to found the ‘Young Learners Project’ a pilot volunteer project that offers language education to vulnerable and disadvantage children. This would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and support of the students and graduates of the BA programme ‘English Language and English Language Teaching’.  

2. What should participants expect from your session?
My session focuses on how the dialectical and interactive nature of argumentation can be comprehended and developed through asynchronous text-based computer mediated communication (i.e. forums).  It looks at how the inherit characteristics of the tool can become pedagogically valuable with the informed design, managing, and running of CMC collaborative tasks. My session focuses on both background theory and practical applications.  

3. What are the main areas of Academic Writing you're interested in?
Because of my work as a lecturer in higher education and an EAP instructor, I have been involved and interested in all aspects of academic writing and also the design of EAP syllabi and materials. My particular interest however, has been in exploring how students can develop constructive interaction with the different perspectives of a theme and with their reader, and develop their critical thinking skills. 

4. What do you believe educators should be aware of when teaching Academic Writing? 
Academic writing is multifaceted in nature and very difficult to talk about in a few lines and in a generic manner. I will however, try to focus on some issues that need attention. First, we must not forget that we are addressing academic writing in a second or foreign language (L2) and students who may not have reached a required level to deal with its linguistic demands. This adds an additional challenge to both the teacher and the learner. Besides the linguistic aspect, there are also key skills involved which need to be developed such as researching, summarizing and synthesising, critical thinking, and metacognitive skills (i.e. planning, monitoring, evaluating). All these become a greater challenge when the cultural and/or educational background of the students does not support such skills. For instance, Chinese students are greatly challenged when they are required to acknowledge their sources, to paraphrase, or be critical and this is due to the distinctions of Western and Chinese philosophies which form different learning habits, study strategies, and beliefs about knowledge and authority. There are significant differences even among European countries, for instance, students with a Greek educational background find it difficult to write a thesis led essay. Another challenge is that academic writing includes many genres. Students are asked to write different kinds of texts depending on the context, discipline, field and level of study. These may be essays, case-studies, reflective diaries, book reviews, posters, research proposals, literature reviews. Becoming aware of the genres and their differences is necessary in order to accomplish their communicative functions.
One key aspect of academic writing is argumentation especially its interactive and dialectical dimensions. First, it is important for the students to understand the differences between discursive and descriptive writing. A very common misconception about ‘argument’ is that it is often seen as synonymous to merely presenting the advantages and disadvantages of a theme. Second, it is essential to know how to build an argument. This can be achieved through synthesising existing literature or/and research, presenting evidence to back up claims or points of views, interacting with the different perspectives of the question and with the reader and establishing the writer’s ‘voice’. These are very complex tasks which require skills that need a lot of practice and time develop. 
Understanding and adopting academic register is another challenge. It involves achieving the appropriate formality, sentence structure, terminology, lexis, and the personal voice. For example, academic writing has a highly nominal style; use of nouns rather than verbs. It also requires a cautious or tentative manner when reporting results or reaching conclusions, this is often called ‘hedging’. Another issue is referencing. In academic writing, sources need to be acknowledged. Students often cannot understand the purpose of referencing. It is important therefore, to help them to genuinely comprehend the reasons for acknowledging their sources. 
Finally, educators need to make decisions about how to help learners develop all these skills. Several approaches have been developed for teaching academic writing. There is the ‘product approach’ which involves learners studying a model text discussing and analysing its linguistic features, register, organization etc., the ‘process approach’ which focuses on the stages of writing; brainstorming ideas, researching,  group discussions, planning, pre-writing, editing etc. There is also the ‘task –based approach’ where ‘task’ is a piece of work which requires a process to be followed in order to achieve a particular goal and feeds in a larger task or project. 
There are so many aspects and considerations that teaching academic writing involves. It is not enough to know ‘what’ to teach but also ‘how’ to create those learning conditions to benefit learners. I do believe that teaching places high demands on educators who love their work. I also believe that our decisions should be informed; based on pedagogical approaches to learning, second language acquisition research and second language pedagogy.



INTERVIEW with Christopher Lees

1. Could you tell us more about you and your professional background?
I am a sociolinguist with a particular interest in digital language practices, language ideology, and matters concerning language and identity. I was born and raised in the West Midlands (UK) and read for a BA in Modern Languages (German and Modern Greek) at the University of Birmingham. During my studies, I developed a special interest for Modern Greek and decided to move to Greece to continue my studies at postgraduate level. I completed an MA in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at the Faculty of Philology in Athens, where I received a scholarship from the Sashakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) to write my Masters dissertation on racist discourse in the Greek press during the economic crisis. Immediately after graduating, I was offered a position as researcher on a funded research project by the Greek Ministry of Education and European Structural and Investment Funds, where I analysed the language practices of young people on Facebook and demonstrated how my findings could be applied to language teaching in Greek schools. At the same time, I pursued doctoral studies in youth language on Facebook, for which I was awarded a scholarship from the Greek State Scholarships Foundation (IKY). During my time in Greece I have worked as a language teacher, translator, and teaching fellow and researcher at several Greek universities, where I have taught a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. I have also presented my work at both national and international conferences, and have published, both in Greek and English, on topics including politeness in Greek spoken language, the use of diminutive and augmentative suffixes as a means of indexing intimacy and solidarity in online discourse, the sociolinguistic implications of different alphabet use in online communication, and racism in the Greek press.


2. What should participants expect from your session?
Academic writing is an extremely broad area which takes the form of many genres and text types. It would therefore be impossible to go into even the most basic of details on everything that we know about the topic in just 45 minutes. Since the majority of conference attendees are educators in secondary and language schools, I think it makes sense to focus on aspects of academic writing which are most relevant to them: formal essay writing. In reality, essay writing is the first type of academic writing pupils come into contact with. Although it is much simpler and more condensed than the type of academic work they will be required to produce at university level, both its organisation and style of language resemble the macro and micro-structures of academic papers. In this sense, essay writing is a valuable opportunity for educators to prepare their pupils for the demands of academic work, provided that is the direction they wish to go in of course, and for the pupils to familiarise themselves with the type of written work they will need to produce later on in life. However, as anyone involved with adult or university education knows, it is very often the case that pupils eighteen and above lack even the most basic academic writing skills. The reason for this is usually that pupils were not adequately taught to write in an academic way during their school years, both in their mother tongue and second/foreign language. As Macken-Horarick notes in connection with the Australian education system, up until the late 1980s emphasis was placed on pupils writing according to their own experience, essentially in a narrative style, which of course was not appropriate for essays and academic papers. It was later found that a genre-based approach to teaching, which exposed pupils to the prototypical features of various academic genres, enabled them to recognise texts from different academic disciplines and, by extension, to produce their own. What I intend to show in this session is how educators can use a genre-based approach to enhance pupils’ critical awareness of the different conventions and norms that exist depending on the topic they are to write on and the audience to which the text is for. I shall also draw attention to the prescriptive view of language often adopted in Greek secondary education regarding the importance of “high-register” writing and how this, as opposed to helping students, actually distorts the reality of language use. As such, I shall argue for a more inclusive approach to English teaching, where many varieties and genres of language are used and discussed in class, thus enhancing pupils’ awareness and comprehension of language in use.  

3. What are the main areas of Academic Writing you're interested in? 
On a theoretical level, I am interested in the socio-cultural aspects of Genre Analysis. In other words, I am interested in how the production of a text interacts with its communicative functions, as well as the social and professional spaces in which it finds itself, according to discipline in the case of academic writing. In terms of how theory can be applied to practice, I am interested in how academic writing can be taught in secondary education, both in pupils’ first and second language. 

4. What do you believe educators should be aware of when teaching Academic Writing? 
I think educators need to avoid the approach, where they stand at the front of the classroom and simply tell pupils “how it is” regarding language. Instead, it would be more beneficial to the pupils if they were allowed to “discover” the generic and socio-cultural conventions of academic writing themselves. This can be done by exposing pupils to a variety of academic genres and text types, which can be discussed in class and assimilated by using a variety of activities to help put the findings in context. This is where the teacher really comes in, assuming the role of “facilitator” as opposed to disseminator of “correct” knowledge. It is also important for educators to avoid labels such as “correct” and “better” language. Instead, emphasis should be placed on the communicative and social purposes of different varieties of language as they appear in various instances of communication. In the case of academic writing, this means writing to inform members of a specific discourse community. However, under no circumstances does this mean that other types of language use are inferior and this is something we should all be trying to get across in our classrooms. 







Thursday, October 12, 2017

Call for Proposals for the 25th Jubilee International Conference.



Our dear friends and colleagues, our Call for Participation for the 25th Jubilee International Conference is now open. Join us! Click here and send your application today!


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

10x10 TESOL MTh EFLtalks


                                         Speakers of EFLtalks event


Keynote speaker: Marisa Constantinides

Title: Homework with a Voice
This short EFL Talk will highlight my top online tools and applications which allow learners to submit speaking homework for out-of-class opportunities to consolidate language covered inclass, to develop their speaking, their presentation skills and to find their own 'voice' as users of a new communication code.


About Marisa: CELT Athens Director, Teacher Educator,  Blogger, Conference  presenter,  IATEFL LT SIGCommittee Member, CELTA & DCELT Athens Director, Teacher Educator,  Blogger, Conferencepresenter,  IATEFL LT SIG Committee Member, CELTA & Delta Tutor.


Speaker: Rob Howard

Title: Helping Adult Learners find and use their voice

About Rob: Rob Howard is the owner of Online Language Center, partner at Business Language Training Institute and founder of EFLtalks. He is a speaker worldwide on Teacher Development, Continuing Professional Development, Online Business Retention and Image Presentation. He is President of the BRAZ-TESOL BESIG, a member of the IATEFL BESIG Online Team, Online Coordinator and Video Interviewer for the Visual Arts Circle as well as co-founder with Dorothy Zemach of the Independent Authors and Publishers Group. He has authored and coauthored several books for EFL. He was nominated for the 2016 British Council's ELTon Award for Innovation in Teacher Development.


Speaker: Angelos Bollas

Title: What is next? Training and development opportunities for Greek colleagues.
The purpose of this presentation is to provide colleagues with information about their teacher training and development options they have while staying in Greece. The presentation will survey face-to-face and online options and it will end with some world wide career opportunities that are available to trained and well qualified teachers.

About Angelos: ELT professional mainly working as a CELTA tutor.



Speaker: Dimitris Tzouris


Title: Unleash the power of podcasts in education.
Podcasts are gaining popularity, as listening to the radio has become more personal, mobileand on-demand. While listening to podcasts can help educators and students learn a lot ofthings about a wide variety of topics and experience great examples of storytelling, creating podcasts has the power to become a truly transformative learning experience that helps students find and broadcast their voice.

About Dimitris: Learning technologist at Anatolia College.



Speaker: Efi Tzouri
Title: Building Social Equaliy through Linguistic Landscape.
This talk aims to look at examples of urban linguistic landscape, to record how language on signs is used and to explore ways of how these instances could be integrated in classroom material. Also, it will focus on how language can shape teaching practices not only to benefit learning process but also to raise awareness on linguistic justice and social equality in a multilingual class.

About Efi: Studied English Language and Literature in Greece. Specialised in Theatre education and production and teaches English for over 16 years. Board member of TESOL Macedonia-Thrace Association. Theatre and film lover. TEDx goer.


Speaker: Eftychis Kantarakis
Title: Is ELT just a game then? Where did Pokemon Go?
Gamification seems to be the next buzz word in ELT. Based on the assumption that childrenlove e-games, teachers have for years tried to exploit this "love" to teach English. Let's try and see how much of this is possible and whether we can trust games to do the work of planting knowledge in the minds of young learners.More importantly, let's try and answer the big question: "Where did Pokemon Go?"

About Eftychis: Teacher Trainer, RSA Dip, TESOL Greece L/T SIG Joint coordinator. Life-long learner.




Speaker: Margarita Kosior

Title: Service learning: from the English language classroom to the community.
Education involves shaping attitudes, values and beliefs. Let’s take it as a given. There is still along way though from raising awareness and informing our students about issues of vitalimportance to urging them to take action. By making students active contributors to their communities, service learning puts the power to change into the hands of your students and makes project based learning more meaningful, more authentic and more impactful than ever before.The purpose of the session is to define service learning, present its benefits andrecommend specific examples how it can be done.

About Margarita: Educator, teacher trainer, conference presenter, materials writer, storyteller. Amateur photographer and dancer.



Speaker: Maria Theologidou
Title: Paving the way to self-reflection and mindfulness
Most of our teaching focuses on strengthening those skills required for our students'academic success. Therefore, less emphasis is given on skills such as self-reflection andmindfulness which are essential to our students' well-being and the learning process. Thissession will offer practical activities on how we can build our students' self-reflection skills and at the same time enable them to appreciate the significance of balance and resilience in the learning journey.
About Maria: EFL teacher, translator and subtitler, avid blogger.



Speaker: Maria-Araxi Sachpazian
Title: Helping teachers find their voice
Teachers need to be dynamic and well-rounded professionals in order to inspire others. We all know that ‘’voiceless’’ and ‘’colourless’’ professionals cannot inspire anyone. This session aims to look at what makes teachers become such professionals and how teachers’ associations can help teachers find their own voice in order to stand confidently in class. We will examine the issue of confidence in career choices, class management and teaching styles. We will also discuss what teachers can do to help promote TAs.

About Maria:Teacher, Teacher Trainer, Academic Manager and Consultant. Chairperson of TESOL MTH.



Speaker:Theodora Papapanagiotou

Title: What students want
How do students see their teachers? What do they expect from a good teacher? What are their experiences? What do they like? How can they learn better? My students and I have talked and would like to share our thoughts with you.

About Theodora: I am a freelance EFL / DaF teacher, translator, public speaker and learner.


Check your local time here: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?msg=UNITY+MEDITATION&iso=20170821T111111&p1=137

REGISTER HERE: http://bit.ly/EFLtalksGreece2017



Monday, September 4, 2017

TESOL MTh Welcome Back Event


Tesol Macedonia Thrace Northern Greece invites us to celebrate the beginning of the school year with an event filled with ideas and inspiration.
Chrissie Taylor, Paschalia Patsala and Eirini Gamvrou are ready to boost us with positive energy and creativity for the forthcoming year.

Speaker: Chrissie Taylor
Titlie: Raining Cats and Dogs

What have cats and dogs got to do with grammar in context, vocabulary development and using language? This talk is not going to be about idioms but about how to bring language and structures to life through theme context.

Speaker: Paschalia Patsala
Title: Picturing Public Engagement: Its relevance to education, its impact on society.

Educational institutions have recently started adopting a more outward-looking orientation; the focus on dialogue and exchange—complementing knowledge transfer—is nowadays one of the greatest challenges in education. This presentation will demonstrate how developing a strategic approach to Public Engagement enables educational institutions in the area of foreign language teaching to rediscover their roots as active contributors to positive social change, and acquire great educational benefits by enhancing the overall impact of the foreign language teacher’s vocation. 

Speaker: Eirini Gamvrou
Title: Reading and Writing in on-line and off-line environments.

This session will focus on reading and writing in reading book clubs which seem to regenerate in on- line environments.  
Reading and writing practices of two Greek on- line communities will be presented and juxtaposed with similar practises of off- line book clubs which operate at school or independently.

        Programme for the day:
  • 10:00 Arrivals 
  • 10:15 Intro by Chair 
  • 10:30-11:30 Chrissie Taylor  (Intro by Linda Manney) 
  • 11:30-12:00 Coffee break 
  • 12:00-13:00 Dr Paschalia Patsala  (Intro by Maria Theologidou) 
  • 13:00-14:00 Dr Irene Gamvrou  (Intro by Maria Sachpazian) 

About the speakers:


Chrissie Taylor is a teacher and teacher trainer with Study Space
She has worked for many years as a teacher with the British Council,  Mandoulides High School and as a trainer with Study Space, teacher development centre. Now she enjoys contribution to training and teaching to keep involved in what she loves doing.



Dr. Paschalia Patsala is the Head of the English Studies Department of The International Faculty of the University of Sheffield, CITY College, and a Lecturer of English Language and Linguistics. 
She holds a PhD in Theoretical & Applied Linguistics from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, an MA in Theory of Lexicography and Applications and a BA in English Language and Literature (Major: Linguistics)—both from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
She is currently attending a PGCert in Learning and Teaching from the School of Education, as well as a PGCert in Clinical Neuropsychology, of the Department of Psychology—both from the University of Sheffield.
Dr Patsala has approximately 15 years of teaching experience, having taught in Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programmes of various European and American Universities. 
She has also occupied several administrative positions in educational institutions, serving mainly as the Head of English Language Departments. 
In addition to her engagement with education, Dr Paschalia Patsala has pursued a career as a Lexicographer and Editor, having worked in a number of dictionaries and volumes published by Greek and foreign publishing houses.


Eirini Gamvrou holds a PhD from School of Education, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Other studies: 
Faculty of Arts, Dept of Modern Greek Studies, AUTh (1996)
MA, Dept of Modern Greek Studies, AUTh (2000)
MSc, Interdisciplinary Studies’ Programme, Faculty of Arts, AUTh (2006) 
PhD, Faculty of Education, AUTh (2017)
She is a teacher  of Modern Greek Language and Literature. She is married and a mother of two children. 



About the venue:

The Auditorium of the Central Library of AUTH is located next to the Main Aula and the the Karathanasi Building of AUTH and opposite the entrance of HELEXPO. On a Sunday morning it will be easy to find parking in the area. 







Monday, June 12, 2017

TESOL MTh Summer Event - Teachers' Well-being & Self-Discovery




 Our Summer Event  will be held on Saturday 17th June at 11:00 at City College on Leondos Sofou. The topic of our event is:

                                            "Teachers' Well-being and Self-discovery''

 We have the pleasure of hosting two great professionals who will show us  practical ways of fighting stress. 

Our first session (11:00-12:15) will be run Ms Madalena Kounini, Yoga Teacher at the Armonia Yoga and Meditation Centre. The topic of our yoga session will be:"How we can fight stress"



Practical Details:

Ms.Kounini has informed us  that all of our members can participate, irrespective of their age or  physical condition. Prior knowledge of Yoga is NOT necessary. The only thing you need is the desire to have a relaxing experience. It is very important to bring your own Yoga Mattress. We have been informed that Jumbo and big Supermarkets offer them at low prices. If you don't want to invest, a towel will do but may feel less comfortable. This is a totally informal and stress-free event, so feel free to join us with your tracksuits. That is what the board will do.  
During the break (12:15-12:45) we will share some green tea and juice (coffee as well) and some treats. 









Our second session (12:45-13:30) will be run by Ms. Natassa Manitsa. The topic of her session is: ''Bad or just sad? Beat that Imposter Syndrome in your classroom''  



Session Summary:
Teachers seem to be stressed about everything and they take everything personallly. What are these agonizing self-doubts?  Why do these dark thoughts appear in the middle of the night? Does my dentist worry that much? Or are there neurosurgeons, lawyers, even actors and actresses out there agonizing that they might be guilty of... fail charges? Well, just a little bit of failure could be the new success...So why are we doing this thing to ourselves? In this presentation we will have a look at what’s causing this “bad teacher self-doubt” epidemic and what we might do to help.


We know Natassa as the ''international face'' of Express Publishing where she's been working since 2007, but this time Natassa will come to us as a psychologist.  Natassa Manitsa holds a BA in Educational Psychology from the University of Athens and she is an MSc student in School Psychology in the Canterbury Christ Church University, UK.  She has worked as a teacher, a teacher coordinator, a teacher trainer, a translator, an author, a blogger and a radio producer.   


Social Programme:
After the event, if you feel like a relexing ''ouzaki'' join the TESOL MTH Board and our speakers at AKRON (12 Katouni str, Ladadika). The menu inclusive with drinks will come at 15euro per person. If yoga and self-discovery don't do it, then ouzo will certainly do the trick and send us to this relaxing summer mode. Please let us know if you are planning to come to the taverna so that we can inform the restaurant.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Thinking outside the (EFL) box...How to facilitate critical and creative thinking skills development in your EFL class - Webinar with Dimitris Primalis


According to C. McGuiness (1999), “focusing on thinking skills in the classroom is important because it supports active cognitive processing which makes for better learning. “ But what exactly do we mean by critical and creative thinking skills? How important are they for EFL/ESL learners? How can we incorporate them seamlessly without burdening our –  usually jam-packed – syllabus? How can they be exploited to boost language skills such as speaking, writing, reading and listening? A practical workshop with activities, tips and hints for front line teachers.

Dimitris Primalis is an EFL teacher who needs no introduction. He is an author and Cambridge English Language Assessment oral examiner. He has been teaching for more than 20 years and applies his knowledge and experience to introducing innovation and change into the daily teaching practice. He believes that motivation, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication can be the driving forces in TEFL. His views and work are shared in his columns in the ELT News, the BELTA Bulletin and his blog, “A different side of EFL” . He has presented his work in many conferences in Greece and abroad. Dimitris was awarded the 2013 IATEFL Learning Technologies SIG scholarship and was selected as an Expert Innovative Educator by Microsoft (2014-15). He is working at Doukas, a private primary school in Athens, Greece. We are happy and honoured that Dimitris Primalis will be leading our webinar!




Join us by just clicking on the link: https://tesolmt.org/category/webinars/
           Make sure to follow very few easy steps and you will be ready to attend our webinar!

Listen to Dimitris Primalis speaking on "Teachers Coffee" radio show about the contents of the TESOL Macedonia Thrace Northern Greece Webinar on Sunday 7th May at 6:00. Follow the link: https://www.mixcloud.com/TeachersCoffee/teachers-coffee-7/

Monday, April 10, 2017

TESOL Macedonia-Thrace Northern Greece Lesson Plan Competition - Us and Them: A play by David Campton

Were you in the 24th Annual International Conference of TESOL MTh? Did you attend the performance of Us and Them by ‘’Luke & Friends”? 

Even if you have not attended the performance, you have a unique chance to try out your lesson planning skills!  Read the play and create a lesson plan on how you would use this play in class with your students. How would you work on this text in class? Send us your lesson plans stating your aims, a short rationale (100 words) behind and state the procedure in stages. If you want you can also supply a short class profile (70 words). Entries need to be submitted in PDF format. 

The committee, which go through a blind reading of the submissions, will consist of 

  • Dr. Luke Prodromou 
  • Ms. Foteini Malkogeorgou 
  • Dr. Linda Manney 

The deadline for submissions is May 10th 2017 and the winner will be announced in the Summer Event of our Association and s/he will be given a year’s free membership to TESOL Macedonia-Thrace and a bottle of wine to celebrate winning.The winner will have to write an article in ELTeaser outlining his/her rationale and aims.  

For access to the text of the play click here
For more information just check here on our blog.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

24th TESOL Macedonia Thrace Convention Report by Eleni Kampadaki

(this entry is a host article written for TESOL Greece Newsletter by the TESOL Greece representative Eleni Kampadaki).

This year’s TESOL Macedonia Thrace Convention attracted many teachers from Greece and abroad, and hosted distinguished speakers who set trends and presented techniques that signal a world of change.

On Saturday, Ms Marisa Constantinides in her plenary, stressed the importance of creative teaching in developing students’ creative thinking skills. She illustrated this with a variety of interactive activities that the audience really enjoyed.

In the second plenary of the day, Professor Sugata Mitra presented his projects - “the Hole in the Wall”, “the Self Organised Learning Environment”, “the Granny Cloud” and “the School in the Cloud”, all of which, point to the future of learning. He revealed to us that he has serious evidence to believe that what makes his projects really successful is the fact that “children in groups have an understanding that is greater than that of each individual’. The metaphor he used for this was very vivid: “the hive knows everything”, he said.

On Sunday, Dr Marina Mattheoudakis made us all wonder about what - if anything - has actually changed as regards the teaching of the English language in Greek state schools since its introduction in the National Curriculum. The conclusion of her very enlightening talk was that a bottom-up reconstruction of the educational system must be implemented, meaning that every single teacher has to change his/her own class. 

During the two days of the convention a lot of very inspiring concurrent talks and workshops took place. 

Danny Singh’s workshop dealt with the issue of how to learn English through the mind and the body, turning passive listening, shopping lists, and subtitled films into simple steps to improve students’ competence. Angelos Bollas conducted a very powerful workshop on how affectively engaging topics can increase students’ motivation and have a better effect on their learning. Ms Spyridoula Kokkali pleasantly surprised us and moved us by explaining all about a project called “Healthy Little Eaters” that has really changed the eating habits of her students and has sensitized a whole community in Corfu to environmental issues.

Mr Leo Selivan in his plenary talk had us pondering on error (or mistake) correction in writing. The point he really managed to make was that there are many cases in which a student’s error that at first glance might seem as a grammatical one is indeed evidence of a lack in his / her lexis, and it should thus be remedied accordingly. 

It is also worth mentioning that the members of the Board as well as the volunteers did their best throughout the conference in order to cater for all our needs and make us feel most welcome. On the whole, it was a convention worth attending, that raised our awareness to so many trends and techniques of our ever changing world. 

By Eleni Kampadaki
For TESOL Greece


Note from the Editor: [First published in the TESOL Greece Newsletter, issue 133, p23]


Sunday, March 5, 2017

ELT in Greece: What has actually changed? - Report on Dr. Marina Mattheoudakis's Plenary Talk

On the second full day of the 24th Annual TESOL Macedonia Thrace Convention, Dr. Marina Mattheoudakis delivered a highly energizing Plenary Talk to a full house in the Bissell Library, American College of Thessaloniki.   Dr. Mattheoudakis’ warm and dynamic speaking style immediately engaged her audience, and her highly informative presentation kept us all engaged throughout her talk.  

                                                                                                                                   photo by Vassiliki Mandalou

Dr. Mattheoudakis began by explaining that foreign language instruction in Greek state schools is conceptualized within a more encompassing E.U. language policy, which advocates pluralingualism through foreign language education. The E.U. initiative aims to promote lifelong learning, to strengthen creativity and to encourage entrepreneurialism in Europe through a program of high quality foreign language instruction. Despite these worthy goals, however, recent legislation in the Greek Parliament seems to undermine their long-term viability.  As a response to this dilemma, Dr. Mattheoudakis suggested the possibility of classroom-based educational change which recognizes the crucial role of teachers as agents of change in a bottom-up grassroots reform movement. 

Dr. Mattheoudakis then provided a historical overview of foreign language instruction in Greece, and the special role of English as a foreign language within this scenario. Although Greek public policy of 1832 required foreign language instruction in all public schools, it wasn’t until 1945 that EFL was adopted as part of the secondary school curriculum. Beginning in the 1960’s, several academics, such as Professors Efstathiadis and Tokatlidou in Thessaloniki, and Professor Dendrinos in Athens, lobbied for improved foreign language instruction in Greek state schools. As a result of such efforts, by the 1990’s the number of contact hours was increased in all state foreign language classrooms, and high quality classroom instruction was prioritized. 

Continuing this innovative agenda, the National Curriculum for Foreign Languages of 2011 required that all foreign languages must be taught with analogous approaches, and the number of contact hours was increased from three to four hours per week.  However, the National Curriculum was never fully implemented, and in fact, recent years have seen a reduction of contact hours in foreign language classrooms in Greece.  Dr. Mattheoudakis then summarized recent legislation in the Greek parliament from 2016-2017 which seems to undermine the ability of teachers to deliver quality foreign language instruction. She also reported that not surprisingly, the vast majority of learners do not trust the state educational system and thus seek instruction outside of the state system.

                                                                                                                      photo Vassiliki Mandalou

As a response to this disjunction, Dr. Mattheoudakis suggested a more pro-active approach which foregrounds the crucial role of classroom teachers in bringing about change. By working more closely with the parents of their students, teachers can help to counter the negative effects of recent legislation on student learning.  For example, teachers can help parents understand that a heavy emphasis on exam scores rather than innovative instruction negatively affects students’ ability to develop genuine language proficiency.  Students should be encouraged to develop fluency, rather than accuracy, and parents should support their children’s efforts to develop fluency and communicative competence in foreign languages.

Teachers in public schools can also work to upgrade their teaching in a number of ways.  For example, teachers can find ways to use social media and other technologies more regularly in their teaching.  Teachers can also make learning more relevant to students by connecting their learning objectives to students’ lives and priorities outside of the school context. By making instruction appealing to students, teachers can create more meaningful learning experiences for their students.  In this way, teachers become active agents of change, rather than passive consumers of a state-generated curriculum which foregrounds test results at the expense of active learning.

Dr. Mattheoudakis ended her talk by reminding teachers that ultimately, each one of us has the power to shape what happens in our respective classrooms.  In particular, teachers can counter the trickle-down effects of a weakened economy by introducing educational innovation to upgrade their teaching practice, wherever and whenever possible.  As Dr. Mattheoudakis reminded us in her closing statement,  “If you want changes in public education, you must be the agent of change.”  


Report by Linda Manney


Interview with Marina Mattheoudakis by Linda Manney