Dr. Themistoklis Aravossitas
University of Toronto, York University
Place: Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
10:30 am-1:00 pm, Saturday 09/15/18
Teaching Greek as a Heritage/Community language: From Theory to Practice
Modern Greek is taught in North America primarily as a heritage language (HL) through a semi-official education system that involves mainly community organizations but also public or private schools, and universities. The institutions responsible for administering HL programs in the Greek diaspora, as well as the participating teachers, students and parents, are faced with several organizational and educational challenges. This presentation draws on a theoretical framework for heritage language education as well as on a series of research initiatives in Canada, to suggest a comprehensive approach for teaching the Greek language and culture at the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels. This approach involves:(a) defining the diverse needs of young heritage learners and their expectations (including family needs and limitations); (b) addressing some of the most common teaching challenges in community settings, such as mixed ability classrooms, lack of motivation, student/teacher retention, syllabus repetition, textbook-focused instruction, etc.; (c) setting realistic goals that correspond to tangible skills for oral and written communication in the target language; (d) selecting and developing proper educational material; (e) using new technologies and strategies for assessment; (f) supporting the teachers through professional development and networking; and (g) planning collaboratively for the intergenerational transmission of the Greek language and the ethnolinguistic vitality of the community.
Themistoklis Aravossitas teaches Modern Greek Language and Culture at the Centre for European, Studies of the Munk School of Global Affairs, at the University of Toronto and at the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics of York University in Ontario, Canada. He holds a B.Ed. from the University of Athens, an MA and a PhD from the Department of Curriculum Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE/ University of Toronto). As a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of the Aegean in 2016-2017, he researched community/heritage languages and teaching in the Greek diaspora. He specializes is Teacher/Curriculum Development and Heritage/Minority Languages. His research interests include Language, Culture and Pedagogy, Multilingual Education and Knowledge Media. His recent publications include the co-edited books Rethinking Heritage Language Education (Cambridge U.P. 2014), Handbook of Research and Practice in Heritage Language Education (Springer, 2017), and Interdisciplinary Research Approaches to Multilingual Education (Routledge, 2018).
Sponsored by The Ohio State University Modern Greek Program in collaboration with the Annunciation Cathedral Greek Language School