After a few more weeks at the 3rd Elementary School of Stavroupoli, I’ve come to notice very distinct characteristics between teaching in Greece and teaching in America. The schooling in Greece is definitely less formal than that of America. I had mentioned in a previous post about the apparent lack of rules and consequences. In ways like that, there do not appear to be many restrictions on the students.
Lately, Mr. T has been allotting my time at the school to spend at least one period with an English teacher in various inclusion classrooms. It is very different from my experience in American classrooms because the students are all rambunctious. They all randomly leave their seats, talk over the teacher (who yells at them to be quiet, rather than use a structural method like a chart or rules board), and are extremely outspoken. I was honestly shocked during my first few visits to this school, and first thought it was a unique case. After spending time in various classrooms of all grades with rotating English teachers, I have come to realize that this was not the case. The Greeks are all very open, which was a general observation when I first arrived, and now I realize that this openness is cultivated at a young age from how the students are taught. There is also less individualized planning. The students are all taught at one standard pace and there are no separate activities from what I’ve seen so far. I have not seen the English teacher adjust her lesson to individual students’ levels of learning. I am unsure as to whether this is because the students are at a very basic level of English learning or because individualized teaching is not a norm here.
Similar to American schools, Greek schools encourage the implementation of both visual and auditory tools to help the students learn. In English class, the teacher has flashcards of the alphabet and pictures. The students use the flashcards to gain familiarity with sounds and words and enjoy quizzing each other. One popular game is for the teacher to hold up a flashcard with an English letter on it and for the students to call out English words that start with that letter. The teacher also carries around a stereo with tapes of English phrases and educational songs. The students love to sing along with the stereo and seem to improve their pronunciation as well. These popular methods definitely made me reminiscent of similar practices in American schools. It appears that some things are universal!