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Wednesday, August 12 • 12:00pm - 12:25pm
Beyond the Single Language Classroom: The Modern Greek Experience at Harvard

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The use of google documents has provided the students and instructors of Modern Greek at Harvard in spring 2015 to build a community of interest and engagement beyond the confines of their language classrooms. Thus, a larger community of learners constituted of three classes (15 students, one head instructor and three TAs) has been built around Modern Greek language and culture instruction outside the comforting presence of physical “place.” The word is about the Modern Greek A/Ba/B video-performance collaborative final project at Harvard, entitled Waiting for Eva, a funny adaptation of Samuel Becket’s play Waiting for Godot (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccYgoo6Mk8U), which also draws on the novella An August on the Island of Spetses by Kleanthis Arvanitakis.
This final project, thanks to technology, gave students the opportunity to work with students from the other levels of Greek and thus learn from each other. On the one hand, the advanced students functioned as mentors to the lower-level students while the latter aspired to reach the level of the former. They increased all language skills because they were able to see how the different aspects of theater work. They were writers, actors, directors, translators, and movie editors, while they had a great time in each role. They liked the final project because they put the Greek language and culture in one play. They were writing, speaking, and thinking in Greek. And the best part was that they did it all together with their peers, their Greek at different levels, but all together in one language and one school, the virtual “Café Monastiraki”.
Using google documents, the students of Modern Greek at three different levels were challenged to rethink the possibilities for building communities around language and culture instruction outside the comforting presence of physical “place,” while they kept expanding their community of learners of Modern Greek by having downloaded their play on youtube, which will be also recycled next year for another language project. This 25-minute session will present the challenges and the benefits of such a seemingly daunting task that becomes possible thanks to the new technologies available for language instruction.
The use of google documents has provided the students and instructors of Modern Greek at Harvard in spring 2015 to build a community of interest and engagement beyond the confines of their language classrooms. Thus, a larger community of learners constituted of three classes (15 students, one head instructor and three TAs) has been built around Modern Greek language and culture instruction outside the comforting presence of physical “place.” The word is about the Modern Greek A/Ba/B video-performance collaborative final project at Harvard, entitled Waiting for Eva, a funny adaptation of Samuel Becket’s play Waiting for Godot (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccYgoo6Mk8U), which also draws on the novella An August on the Island of Spetses by Kleanthis Arvanitakis.

This final project, thanks to technology, gave students the opportunity to work with students from the other levels of Greek and thus learn from each other. On the one hand, the advanced students functioned as mentors to the lower-level students while the latter aspired to reach the level of the former. They increased all language skills because they were able to see how the different aspects of theater work. They were writers, actors, directors, translators, and movie editors, while they had a great time in each role. They liked the final project because they put the Greek language and culture in one play. They were writing, speaking, and thinking in Greek. And the best part was that they did it all together with their peers, their Greek at different levels, but all together in one language and one school, the virtual “Café Monastiraki”.

Using google documents, the students of Modern Greek at three different levels were challenged to rethink the possibilities for building communities around language and culture instruction outside the comforting presence of physical “place,” while they kept expanding their community of learners of Modern Greek by having downloaded their play on youtube, which will be also recycled next year for another language project. This 25-minute session will present the challenges and the benefits of such a seemingly daunting task that becomes possible thanks to the new technologies available for language instruction.

Speakers
VR

Vassiliki Rapti

Harvard University


Wednesday August 12, 2015 12:00pm - 12:25pm
Jefferson 256 17 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA