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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 9 February 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 9 FEBRUARY 2019 23 INTERNATIONAL GREEK LANGUAGE DAY You can learn Greek - even if you’re in the middle of nowhere VASILIKI BASKOS There are many benefits in teaching our kids Greek Learning the Greek language is very important for the preservation of the children's cultural heritage and identity and for developing their selfawareness. Knowledge of the language means better access and understanding of Greek literature, poetry, music, art, original philosophical, historical and religious texts. So if we want our children to know their culture and roots and these to be passed to future generations, we can help them by teaching them their mother tongue. Language acquisition also paves the way to a closer relationship with Greece. The person can then more easily communicate with friends and family members in Greece, visit it more often and even someday return and settle there. The Greek language will also naturally prepare the child to interact with the Greek community abroad. If the child grows up abroad but speaks Greek at home with the parents, the family ties are strengthened. If the parents' first language is Greek, then the parents Learning Greek has never been easier - and can even be done through online private lessons catering to the needs of every child. can better communicate on an emotional level in Greek, and better influence their children. There is a deep psychological need to connect to our roots. It not uncommon to see people searching for their roots, their place of origin, their ancestors, their language, the one that they did not have a chance to learn young. Wouldn't it be better for them if they had the chance to learn it earlier? It is a well known fact that kids learn languages much faster than adults. Learning another language is beneficial in many ways. Studies show that it improves brain functionality; builds multi-tasking skills; improves memory and perception; improves decision-making skills; enhances knowledge of the different mechanics of language eg. syntax, grammar and hence has an affect on the first language learnt; and studies have even found that it delays signs of dementia. And these days there are no excuses for not being able to learn the language. With new technology readily accessible there is no excuse for not learning Greek. Even if you live in an isolated area TIPS TIP #1 HOW TO GET KIDS TO LEARN ANOTHER LANGUAGE TIP #4 Explain the value. Children should be made aware that they’re not just learning a second language but also becoming more in tune with another side of themselves. Show them pictures of friends and family in Greece that they’ll be able to communicate with. Set up Skype chats with cousins living in Greece to create a need for them to communicate in that language. TIP #2 Associate Greek school with fun. Getting up early on a Saturday when other kids are watching cartoons isn’t easy, so make the prospect a little bit more exciting for the child by associating the school with a simple outing afterwards. Take a break together or a walk to the park after the lesson is over. TIP #3 Take a holiday. A visit to Greece can work wonders for the child to be immersed in the language and see it as relevant and fun. TIP #5 Play language games. There are many fun word games, board games and card games that can be used to keep kids interested. The focus is taken off language but they still use language as they play the game and compete. TIP #6 Culture. The next best thing to going on a holiday to Greece is to visit the country through books, movies and theatre productions in the language. The more contact, the better. Ask for help. Parents wait too long to inform the teacher that their child is acting up and doesn’t want to go to Greek school. By the time they address the problem, it is already firmly entrenched. Don’t waste time and discuss the student’s reluctance to continue learning the language with the teacher so that you can work together to get over the plateau. with no other Greeks around, you can find a very experienced Greek language teacher, who lives in Greece, who is in touch with the current live speaking language. This teacher can help you speak with correct pronunciation and colloquial expressions so that you sound more natural. You can take lessons from the comfort of your home or office. And there is no need to commute to Greek school. A study by the US. Department of Education found that "instruction conducted entirely online is as effective as classroom instruction". After all, the teacher is available via Skype to answer questions as though she were in the room and homework is scanned and checked. These days there are no excuses for not learning Greek and technology has made it possible to overcome hurdles of time and distance. Vasiliki Baskos is a modern Greek language teacher and founder of https://learn-greekonline.com/. She teaches Greek as a foreign language online since 2012. In 2014 she founded Ask-Greek ( https://learn-greekonline.com/ask-greek/ ), a forum where people can ask questions about the Greek language. YOUR WORDS. YOUR VOICE. Our Facebook audience responded to our article, titled "My kid doesn't want to go to Greek school. What can I do?" They shared their stories and gave us tips and pointers. Dennis Vithoulkas It’s funny because parents don’t speak Greek and they expect the children to speak Greek. Chrissy Sourdis Greek was never a ‘second’ language. We need to be brave enough and bring it back into the home. John Callas Two months in Greece will fix that. Natalie Rombotis I highly recommend the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria Greek language schools. There are other days apart from Saturdays that are also offered. I’ve attended these schools, taught in the past at these schools and now my two little ones attend and love it. Their teachers are wonderful and engaging and provide them with a broad range of learning material (there is also a drama, culture and dancing component). I’ve seen children of all abilities thrive. If you can develop your child’s love for language, the earlier the better in my opinion. Harley Mitaros Always felt like Greek school helped me know words but not grammar and forming sentences. Picked up the majority of my Greek at a 4-week intensive class in Chania at 18 years of age, (and I) couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Bill Kazanis Get over it? Sofronis Semetzidis I would say that we shouldn’t correct them even if they had the wrong sentence, and not interrupt them when they are reading with mistakes... and most importantly, don’t speak English at home. Nick Rodintsis You should also add number 8! Make sure your kids have a good Greek school teacher! Many of us resented going to Greek school because the teachers weren’t very good. Kostas Karakonstandis Nothing. Accept the fact that they won’t learn Greek in Australia and move on. Alexa Valavanis Dee I had good memories of Greek school and had terrific and passionate teachers but towards the end (it) was tiring (with) Friday night classes. Glad I stuck at it and a big shout out to my sweet, beloved mother who ensured we finished. She took us to Greek school and made sure we did our homework. It’s more difficult now for the second generation of kids to go to Greek school and maintain the language, especially with mixed marriages and no grandparents around for the kids to speak with. I send my kids to Greek school and I hope that they will finish. My eldest child had lost interest at about 8 years of age but after a trip to Greece, he came back with so much enthusiasm and this year will complete Year 12 Greek. Write your comments on our social media pages and see them publicized here...
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