Wednesday, June 22, 2016

So You Think You Can Teach - Report on Cathy Salonikidis's Session

So you think you can teach ...was the title of the inspired and inspiring workshop by Ms Cathy Salonikidis who managed to bring the warmth of the lessons she teaches in the UK during the summer to our annual convention. Ms Salonikidis was aiming to involve and engage both novice and experienced teachers and that was exactly what she did. By posing the inevitable question: "Have you ever wondered why lesson plans sometimes fail?" Ms Salonikidis created a friendly atmosphere of teachers who had loads to share on the topic and yet longed for an answer to quench the thirst for successful lessons in them.

                                                                                                                            Photo by Efi Tzouri

 Improvisation, Creativity and Imagination  is the triptych of success according to Ms Salonikidis and by presenting it to us she divided the participants into groups and shared the first task. "A lesson without a lesson plan" which was a hands on approach to cases of last minute substituting.

Moving to the next activity, Ms Salonikidis amazed us not only with her creativity in finding activities but also her ability to give them catchy titles which made us want to learn more. "A reading without a reading". I found this activity really interesting as within the very first seconds I was ready to read a text and follow Ms Salonikidis instructions, imagine my excitement when I was given a children's book and then asked to look at a picture. A picture? But what about reading? That was the twist! Along with my team WE had to write the text to describe the picture but by actually making up a story out of it. The other group had a trickier picture I have to admit as they were at an upper level. We came up with a crazy story and then our beloved instructor opened her next card... "Now read your story to your peers and they will ask you questions."You can't imagine how many questions each story created and how much discussion. It was a brilliant moment and one I would love to try with my students.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Photo by Efi Tzouri

The third activity was the charm: "Shy students talking!"
After the excitement of the previous activities Ms Salonikidis asked us to close our eyes, take some deep breaths and imagine we are shy students dreaming of a place we want to be. Then she would walk around the classroom and tap a student on the shoulder. The student had to describe the place without naming it and without anyone opening eyes. Then the rest of the class had to find where this person has been dreaming of being. The activity was not only relaxing but also inspiring, as every description made us travel to various places, from an exotic beach to a mother's hug.

                                                                                                                                          Photo by Efi Tzouri

Last but not least Ms Salonikidis got us standing to play various grammar games, approaching grammar with fun and creativity.

All in all, Ms Salonikidis provided practical ways of teaching based on improvisation, imagination and creativity. It was a workshop full of action and discussion, all in good proportion by a teacher who knows how to teach!

Report by Fani Miniadou

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