Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Spread Literature into the World by Georgia Psarra and George Raptopoulos - Report

The idea of this wonderful presentation is as simple as the title: to spread literature into the students’ world.
George Raptopoulos and Georgia Psarra have tried to translate and interpret Greek literature with their students and use it as a tool to teach English.
They have worked with three groups:

The C2 level group consisted of university students. They took an extract from Costas Ouranis’s “Travels to Mt Athos”, translated and evaluated  it.
They did not only translate, but also described how they felt with the images and the emotions, they negotiated the meanings, and chose the right words and phrases using English.
The teacher set the rules, was more of an observer and a guide, while the students did most of the work.
In the end, they presented their work on video. Again, students picked the roles themselves while the teacher was a proofreader of their work.

With the younger groups, they used poems.
With level A1+ (primary school pupils), they used “The Seagull” by Odysseas Elytis. The students did research on Elytis’ life and work. They listened to a song called “Ο γλάρος” by Afroditi Manou. They read the original text and talked about whether they liked it or not. They also made an attempt to translate it. Reading the English version, they tried to find the differences in structures and answer to describe the seagull’s life.

B2 level students worked on Cavafy’s “As much as you can”.
They had to answer questions aiming at deeper meaning:
  • Why can’t people have what they want?
  • What’s wrong with being part of the mass?

Students worked in pairs or in groups, whereas the teacher again had the role of the facilitator. Students practised all skills, including team work and discussion skills. We were then shown a video with the wonderful work of their students, as a well as a song surprise composed by a student and inspired by “As much as you can”.

By Theodora Papapanagiotou

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