Tuesday, August 23, 2016

TESOL MTh Welcome Back Day Conference

Three talks, three exceptional ladies
Two workshops.

Speaker: Prof. Angeliki Athanasiadou 
Title: Current research in Cognitive Linguistics and its application to areas of English                      grammar.

Language, including its grammar, is part of human cognition; it is motivated and usage-based, and its primary function is to convey meaning. The aim of this presentation is twofold: first, we will place cognitive grammar within the Cognitive Linguistics framework and discuss its basic tenets, and secondly, we will see how these basic assumptions contribute to the interpretation of temporal units.  A situation is grounded in reality (tense) and in potential reality (modality) from the speaker’s viewpoint. Through this approach, in which meaning is conceptualization, I will consider how time is conceptualized and expressed in the system of English and, in particular, what special role modality has in the English language.

Speaker: Ms. Ioanna Ntaidou
Title: Gamified Activities Using Sticky Notes.

As an educator do you want to involve all the students all the time, make them want to learn and look forward to the lesson, keep them alert and motivated and make them active learners? Then, all you have to do is attend the “Gamified Activities Using Sticky Notes” workshop, get a resource kit with highly engaging, interactive, fun, game-like activities and be inspired. 

Speaker: Ms. Foteini Malkogeogou
Title: Children have only one path of learning.

Children’s foreign language education presents multiple challenges as it requires from the language educator to address first two fundamental questions; how do children learn and perceive the world around them? And how can they learn a foreign language? Then in order to meet the children’s needs there is a third challenge; how do we, the teachers, overcome the limitations of the classroom?

Meet our Speakers

Angeliki Athanasiadou is Professor at the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics of the School of English at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. She holds an M.A. in Theoretical Linguistics and a Ph.D. in General Linguistics. Her teaching and research interests are in the framework of Cognitive Linguistics and, in particular, in the relation of areas of grammar with cognition, the study of Metaphor Metonymy, the language of Emotions. Her publications include four books (On Conditionals Again, A. Athanasiadou, R. Dirven (eds.), CILT series 143, J. Benjamins/Amsterdam, 1996, pp. 414, Speaking of Emotions: Conceptualization and Expression, A. Athanasiadou, E. Tabakowska (eds.), CLR series 10, Mouton de Gruyter, 1998, pp. xxii, 444, Γνωστικές Ανιχνεύσεις στη Γλώσσα και στη Γλωσσολογία (Cognitive Exploration of Language and Linguistics), A. Athanasiadou and M. Milapides, University Studio Press, Thessaloniki, 2004, pp. 348, Subjectification: Various Paths to Subjectivity. A. Athanasiadou, C. Canakis, B. Cornillie (eds.). Mouton de Gruyter, CLR series 2006) and articles in books and international journals.

Ms Ioanna Ntaidou is the Founder, The LE.G System (Learning Gamification System). She is an EFL teacher, a CaMLa examiner and an NLP Practitioner.

 Foteini Malkogeorgou MA in Educational Technology and TESOL, University of Manchester, UK / RSA Dip Cambridge ESOL
Academic Manager of the English Department and the BA (Hons) in English and English Language teaching Program of the University of Greenwich, NYC  Thessaloniki Campus.
Lecturer in Linguistics, Methodology of teaching English as a second language, and Language Teaching Desing. 
EAP Lecturer at Middlesex University London.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Playing Games in the EFL Classroom - Report on Maria Karatsali’s Session

On 25th June 2016, at the TESOL Macedonia- Thrace Northern Greece Summer Event, Mrs Maria Karatsali, successfully demonstrated the significance of incorporating games in the learning process in her exceptional talk titled "Playing Games in the EFL Classroom". 

                                                                                                                                                                     Photo by Efi Tzouri
After sharing with us how deeply she understands the value of playing games herself and the profound impact they have on learners’ learning process, she continued by presenting some interesting facts from the past. To mention a few: starting with Ancient Greece, Plato highlighted the importance of games in education 2500 years ago and Socrates, for some the greatest teacher ever, was teaching through games. Vizyinos introduced Europeans to the importance of games in education in the 19th century. In fact, his dissertation changed entirely the until then strict European pedagogical approach. As we can see then, games is very much a Greek story.

What is also true about games is that they are not a "simple thing". They are not just having fun with our students. With the right handling, learners can be benefited by improving their speaking, writing, listening and grammar skills in a remarkable way. However, how easy is it to start one in a full classroom? Do we need some meditation? Do we have to clear our minds a little bit first? According to Mrs Karatsali, this is the key to success in a game. She immediately went on to help attendees reach a deeper state of consciousness by encouraging them to start counting up to fifty and backwards while enjoying some relaxing music. A few minutes later feeling relaxed and comfortable, the people in the room came alive when she let the Games begin!

                                                                                                                              Photo by Efi Tzouri

Flip the Picture, Describe and Draw, Palermo, Treasure Hunt, Bag at a Bus Stop and Pictionary were presented, all participants were instantly carried away and it wasn't long until a lively, playful atmosphere was created. To top things off, she not only explained each game carefully, but also joined attendees in the game fun! 

And now for the games themselves! "Flip the Picture" is a game that focuses on practicing writing, speaking, grammar and vocabulary. Students see a picture and try to note down as many words as they can in order to describe it with what they can remember of it. Then, they should exchange paper sheets and compare their descriptions to others'. "Treasure Hunt" is a fun way to improve writing, vocabulary and reading simply by searching to find the well-hidden treasure in spots around the classroom.

                                                                                                                               Photo by Efi Tzouri

Are your learners good at painting? Then, why not use the "Describe and Draw" game? It is also an excellent way to practice speaking, listening, grammar and vocabulary! Are you feeling a bit lazy and want some action? Do you think it is high time you added an element of surprise and anticipation in classroom? "A Bag at a Bus Stop” is a fun TPR game that can bring some suspense, yet help your learners remember that tricky vocabulary. Last but not least, “Palermo” is the right game for those who are into investigating and need a gentle push when it comes to their speaking and grammar.

Of course, Mrs Karatsali did not stop surprising everyone. She really rejuvenated us all when she kindly asked us to close our eyes, pick a favorite place and stay there for a while. We tend to be happier when we find ourselves in a place we really enjoy.  But most importantly, she reminded us that we need to remember to laugh. Besides, she asked us, have we ever wondered to what extent games can change the way we assume control of our own lives?

                                                                                                                             Photo by Efi Tzouri

Back to their value for teachers and learners alike, we can see that games help us all. Teachers can reflect on their teaching process and experience in a number of brilliant ways: games help us focus and achieve goals. They can promote optimism within the classroom and help students and teachers establish stronger relationships. Games make us better people and what is more, within the EFL classroom they develop trust, promote collaboration and most importantly encourage problem solving. Mrs Maria Karatsali closed her inspiring and really motivating talk by reminding the attendees of one simple yet fundamental teaching principle; Teachers Paint the Future of the Children. They Paint the Future Children. We can make it Dark or We can make it Bright - Our Choice, Our Game…

Report by Dimitra Christopoulou

Welcome to the SEETA WORLD: 10 Teachers’ Associations - One on-line Community - Anna Parisi, Nora Touparlaki and Rea Tsougari's Session

We had the rare opportunity and pleasure to hear and learn personally from the founders of SEETA the history behind this on-line community of TAs, the current affairs, and future perspectives of the South Eastern Europe Teachers’ Association. 

Anna opened the presentation by giving some facts about how it all started and how this virtual platform has grown to become an important community with about 5,600 members. SEETA was set up in 2007 by TESOL MTh and went live in 2008 in Belgrade. Anna guided the audience through the Internet site (real-time log in for attendants) and showed the opportunities members have in relation to blogs, presentations, and webinars.

                                                                                                                                                                 Photo by Efi Tzouri

Rea demonstrated live a film and webinar which are available on the platform for users and members that give great help, advise, and inspiration for issues concerning teaching English as a foreign language. We even had the pleasure of a live skype meeting with one of the members, G. Georgieva, from BETA Bulgaria, who talked about the benefits of this Association. As an example she named the on-line closed courses which can last from 1 week up to 2 months and come with a certificate. Furthermore, one can find very specific tips, like teaching young learners, on the SEETA platform.

                                                                                                                              Photo by Efi Tzouri

When Nora took over the presentation, she gave us an insight on the various blogs on the SEETA site, including lesson plans, teaching tips, exchange of ideas, as well as inspiring and motivating topics. She urged all of us to join as active members this fantastic opportunity of professional blogging. 

The presentation closed with Anna giving more details on a current research project which will be published in an e-book and made available to the community.

Report by Kyriaki Koukouraki

TESOL Macedonia Thrace Summer Event 2016

Snapshots in our memory box from a wonderful TESOL Macedonia Thrace Summer Event.