News bulletin - September/November MMVII

On 14th May extant, SETUI, Mr Theodoros Skenderis, ELT school Adviser for Emathia, Pella and Pieria and the directorate of the private Primary School of Berrhœa organised a seminar at the premises of the I. Safarikas – I. Barbarouses Schools generously allocated free of charge.
The room was packed to capacity, as the event was attended by over 90 teachers of English. Mr Asterios Papastergiou, Berœa Vice-Mayor for Education and Mr Evangelos Tsioumas, the Private Primary School headmaster and former Primary Education Adviser kindly addressed the audience.

(Legend: From top left, clockwise, Mr Skenderis, Mrs Taylor, Mrs Tetou and Mrs Karatsali.)

After the official greetings, Mr Skenderis opened the conference with a fascinating presentation on “building a good relationship” between teachers and pupils. With the help of a worksheet based on Socratic Maieutics that involved each and every one present, he compared and contrasted the notions of Respect, Genuineness and Empathy, citing particular behavioural manifestations corresponding to these attitudes/feelings. It was concluded that, in the final analysis, English classes cannot and should not just be dreary, impersonal lectures delivered by nonchalant teachers; instead, it became clear that English lessons can be perfect channels for healthily developing the children’s/adolescents’ personalities. After all, rapport, support and encouragement not only do not hinder learning but, rather, facilitate and enhance it.
Next, it was the Thessalonica-based Study Space Teacher Training Centre speakers’ turn to offer valuable insights. Mrs Chrissie Taylor, MSc RSA Dip. TEFLA, teacher trainer and secondary school teacher literally riveted the audience with her hands-on tips on “classroom management – principles, practice and problems”. Delving into the nature and cause of various class management predicaments, she illustrated ways of preventing them beforehand, successfully dealing with them when they occur, and, what’s more, turning what would otherwise be deemed as traits of helpless losers into account, by providing arenas for success, instilling a sense of responsibility and developing autonomy in our pupils’ minds and hearts.
After that, it was time for a coffee break with snacks and refreshments made and offered by the Private Schools of Berrhœa kitchen staff.
Last but not least, Mrs Maria Karatsali, MSc RSA Dip. TEFLA and teacher trainer for Study Space, too, took over with a vivid, memorable presentation on Speaking. The accent being on either text-based or task-based activities, focusing on fluency or accuracy, there were ideas and practical suggestions galore about how to master basic conversation skills and build phonological awareness. Like the other presenters, Mrs Karatsali proved her points –if in an unlikely, yet highly convincing manner, for she got some English teachers successfully communicate in Japanese, at which point, even the most sceptical ones had to admit that her methods work!
The seminar drew to a close in a rejuvenating, upbeat way, as 4th-formers from the 12th Primary School of Berrhoea, instructed by their teacher of English Mrs Grammatice Tetou, gave a superb performance by dancing and singing -a cappella, mind you- on stage. Their repertoire included great hits, like Hokey Cokey!
At the weekend of 19th and 20th May, SETUI members were lucky enough to attend a highly educational seminar at the Centre for Further Educational Development – HILLSIDE INSTITUTE, on the Island of Dreams, Eretria, Euboea. Both the trip and the seminar were kindly sponsored by HILLSIDE PRESS, who are renowned for their hospitality as well as professionalism. Presentations by Ms Addie Kostakou, Ms Marialena Kalyva and Ms Christian Kazazi impressed the participants, who left the venue with excellent ideas to take home. Among the areas discussed were “Education for peace and ELT”, “Conflict resolution in classroom”, “Streaming and inclusion – peer tutoring”, “Studying and working in the EU”, “Putting on a play”, etc. It would be an understatement to write how valuable this seminar was, by all accounts. Happy faces in the above photograph, taken at the entrance of the Institute shortly before departure, attest to this.