By Natalie Martin
Greek school is an important part of life for many Greeks no matter where they live, as it allows people to connect with their culture, keeps traditions alive and families together as they bond over their common heritage and love of their background.
Stella Bompotsiari and her team of teachers teach Greek to people worldwide, through The Greek Online School “Greek Lessons OnLine,” which teaches students of all ages to read, write and speak Greek fluently.
With courses to suit all levels from children through to adults- you can learn from which ever corner of the world you call home – all you need is a computer and a high-speed internet connection.
Greek Lessons Online teaches over 500 students from the age of 5 up to 75 years of age, from Australia, Morocco and Doha to Lebanon, France, Italy, and Switzerland through to Norway, New Mexico, New York, Washington DC, Texas, Alabama, Oregon and beyond – all sharing the same love for the Greek language.
Stella Bompitsiari Vri, Founder and Director of Studies and the Head Teacher of Greek Lessons Online had a recent chat to Greek City Times about the changing face of Greek schools and her passion for teaching the Greek language.
The idea of an online school has always been on my mind.
I studied Greek Literature in Greece and then started looking for a Master’s degree that would really inspire me and would make a difference in the future of Education. In the meantime, I travelled a lot and also joined my brother, Panagiotis, in NC, USA. Whilst in the States, I realised there were many people who wanted to learn Greek and likewise, many people wanted to go to a Greek school. However, joining a Greek school is not always feasible for a plethora of different reasons. In 2005, I applied for an E-Learning Master’s degree, offered by UCL, Institute or Education in London. My studies in E-Learning opened my eyes to a whole new world in education.
Thank you, Universe!
Like most Greeks, after acquiring my MA, I went back to my country to find a job. I wanted to implement all of this new knowledge in my way of teaching. Nevertheless, the financial crisis along with the high unemployment rate were of course constraints in this effort. At that time I felt like I was the most useless and unsuccessful human being in the world. However, not having a full-time job as a secondary school teacher meant I had more time to do things I liked! Together with my present business partner, Pavlos, we started working full-time designing our online Greek school.
Your Greek school at home.
Everything is very simple, our students just need a computer, internet connection, a microphone, a webcam and their books. Instead of having somebody drive them to their Greek school they just enter their class from their computer! One of my students’ parent was telling me it takes him 60 minutes to drive to Greek school every Saturday morning and another 60 to drive back. Imagine how many creative and fun things you could do in 120 minutes…
One Greek school for all.
Our students come from many different parts of the world. I am based in London and all of my team, including IT support and teachers, operate from Greece. The feeling of creating and managing a school with students of multinational backgrounds is quite challenging and at the same time so exciting and creative.
Bespoke & student-centered lessons.
Lesson materials have been designed to encourage our students to continuously get involved, act and interact orally and in writing, in and out of class. Computer screens transform into an interactive whiteboard for teachers and students and we have implemented the use of educational applications and tools that assist our students to learn easier.
Effective, easy, and fun.
We enrich our lessons with quizzes, flashcards, videos, and songs because we want our students to interact effectively and to also have fun in class and when doing their homework. We are committed to making Greek language learning easy and enjoyable for all our students.
Learning through production and collaboration.
It is unbelievable how easily and effortlessly kids learn when working on projects. We have been amazed by our students’ performance and learning results after the completion of our video animation projects.
Safety and control.
I am often asked, “Stella, how do you know that a student is not on Facebook at the time of the lesson?” We are lucky because we have a control tool, which locks the screen to the classroom view, however regardless, do you think that a teacher cannot really tell who is paying attention to him/her and who is not?!
Despite the distance we are very “close” to our students.
The first time I had the chance to see one of my students in person, was when Leonardo from New Mexico visited me in Greece. It took me only 5 seconds to realise there was no screen between us…. because actually, this was the only difference.
Cultural activities & summer Camp.
The more you can do for your Greek community the better it is. We organise online events for ALL our students to celebrate Greek national holidays, we hold online Christmas parties, run teleconferences and more. Also in July 2018 we will host a 10-day summer camp in Greece for our little students to boost their speaking skills and confidence.
How happy can ευχαριστώ make me.
I want our students to express themselves in Greek as well and not only use thank you and merci… Ευχαριστώ πολύ!
You can learn more by booking your FREE trial lesson now!
Visit the website greek-lol.com