“Humanising Language Teaching”

“Humanising Language Teaching"


My name is Paraskevi  Andreopoulou and I come from a Mediterranean island of Greece in the Aegean Sea  that is called Paros.  I have run my own school for 8 years now and I have taught all levels and age groups of English, Italian and Modern Greek as foreign languages. During the first years of operating my school, I aimed at transmitting  knowledge - cramming  material into their heads, like passive recipients, preparing them for exams  by attempting anxiously to “finish” the book with the view to “doing my job right” and awaiting anxiously to triumph over our students’ victory either on Facebook or Twitter  ,to celebrate and to rest on our laurels for achieving  high success  rates in such short time span intercepting the truth from our prospective clients for sticking to the book tradition and implementing nothing more than a typical Grammar Translation Method in our classrooms. And all of this,  thanks to a limited number of brightly gifted students, who “happened to pass the exam” in this barren method.
          This  “ successful system” has kept going steady for the first 4 years, with open lists for students to enroll in our “reputable” school; that was common practice with young learners and teenagers, whose parents aspired for their children to obtain the  certificate and to “finish” with it to focus on their A’ Levels. However, this didn’t seem to work with our elderly, shyest students, who began to complain about our methods and gradually, my class sizes shrank, in the pretext of “I’m too old to understand and collaborate”.
  To be honest, once I enrolled into the DELTA teacher training course, did I realize the value and significance of implementing a plethora of methods and approaches integrated into technology that would have in my teaching performance and enhancement in my students’ productive output? Part of my DELTA bibliography was to read and cite in my assignments “Teaching Unplugged” by Scott Thornburry that excited me at first, with its 3 main principles:
1.      Conversation driven language
2.      Materials  light
3.      Emergent Language
Little did I understand once I read it and I wondered how I was about to implement it in class .A few days later, an open and sincere discussion I had with one of my boldest,  elderly students enabled me to interpret the true meaning of these 3 principles:
1.      She wanted me to focus our lesson on small, everyday  conversations with neighbours she has in the local area
2.      She only preferred to use the course book as  reference
3.      Based on personalized interaction, our typical lesson would continue to flow smoothly in the teaching process.
Implementing these criteria in my instruction, I targeted at:
·         Teaching all grammar areas, vocabulary and pronunciation
·         Communicating authentically
·         Covering topics of real life interest for them

In essence, our dogmatic lessons became more meaningful.


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