- Why do people learn languages?
- Is there a point in learning a language if you aren’t given a chance to express yourself through it and even create something with its help?
Ms Eleni-Maria Parissi, an English teacher at Anatolia College demonstrated how the two questions could be answered by presenting the two projects she did with two different classes of hers. Having already admitted that “going by the book” was safer and more convenient, she tried to encourage the many teachers who were attending her talk to deviate from the assigned curriculum occasionally and help their students produce effective language even when they leave their books aside!
First project-The Peaceboat Project
Ms Parissi and her 2nd form gymnasium intermediate level class met an activity in their coursebook about the Peaceboat. She explained to them that it’s a real boat and they asked if they could write a letter to invite the ship to Thessaloniki as Athens is regularly visited by it. She told them they could try and so did they. That was the start of correspondence of the class with the representative of the organisation whose headquarters are in Japan who gave them a lot of information about the crew’s activities and their noble causes. The children were so excited that they wanted to arrange a visit on the boat. Although this was not realized in the end, they must have been more attracted to their coursebook because their teacher brought it to life.
Second project-The 30 Days Project
A lawsuit against McDonald’s, a short film by Morgan Spurlock and a TED Talk initiated Ms Parissi’s two 3rd form gymnasium advanced level classes into attempting something they had always meant to do but had never done it before.
They chose an activity or the abandonment of one which did not put their physical, chychological or mental health at risk and they kept their promise! They recorded in a 30-page notebook their experiences, feelings and thoughts as well as other people’s reactions to their experiment. When the project was completed they presented the findings of their research orally to their classmates and they handed in their notebooks. Reading, writing, speaking, listening, spelling skills. They were all practiced through that activity. And there was a bonus out of it! Students more determined to pursue their goals!
I think the best way to round off this report is by answering the questions at its start.
- In order to communicate!
- Yes, there is. Actually, the second project gave the students more than one!
TESOL Macedonia Thrace Northern Greece would like to thank Ms Eleni-Maria Parissi for the enlightening talk she gave at our convention.
By Elsa Tsiakiri