What does learning Greek in a social context mean for kids?
In principle, learning Greek in a social context is similar to language immersion learning; kids learn Greek better when Greek lessons are not just a ‘classroom subject’. To achieve this, Greek language teachers and parents have to enrich kids’ everyday life with the Greek language, traditions, history, mythology, and Hellenism as a whole. This way of learning Greek for kids brings each word, sentence, paragraph, and passage to life.
Greek for kids - it’s up to us adults
We know that as parents and educators we have to provide the right tools and motivation for kids to learn Greek. However, sometimes we forget that kids learning any language don’t do so in a ‘vacuum’; they learn naturally in a social context. In other words, we need to give kids the opportunity to enjoy learning and using the Greek language in their everyday life – at the breakfast table, at school, at soccer class, on holiday. To allow our kids to bear the fruits of the Greek language and Hellenism, it’s up to all of us to come together to give them that. The rewards they will reap in life are far greater than they, or we, can imagine.
Talent is not enough
A British-born English/Greek Cypriot pop star was once interviewed on Greek television where he was asked how much Greek he understood. He explained that he understood very little because as a child, his Greek-Cypriot father was busy working at the family restaurant and his mother was English. For this reason, it was impossible for him to understand the Greek spoken by the teacher at Greek School. He added that the other kids came from all-Greek families. This, he claimed, resulted in him spending three years in Greek school where he didn’t learn much.
Even though his musical genius would have helped him to pick up language fast, he didn’t have the social context to learn. He needed a platform and a teacher to motivate him during the week to be able to use the Greek language with the other kids on weekend.
Overall, a child growing up in the culture of their adopted country - such as the US - without any Greek language influences during the week, will face certain challenges. If other kids at school don’t speak Greek during the week, and if Greek is rarely spoken at home, then it’s likely that learning Greek on the weekend will not be exciting. Our goal is to make Greek a fun and important part of kids’ everyday lives.
The right environment for Greek to flourish
For our beloved Greek language to put down roots and flourish, it needs the right environment where children are invited and motivated to speak Greek throughout the whole week; it needs to become a living, breathing part of their lives where they listen to and speak in Greek. We can achieve this through Greek Schools and parents keeping their kids motivated during the week with just 5 minutes a day on Ellinopoula.
Our method for a Greek learning social context
We built Ellinopoula to help kids learn Greek one step at a time. We built our platform as a gateway for Diaspora kids to enter the world of Hellenism via the Greek language. We achieve this by giving beginners access to bilingual material with fun games and activities they encounter in everyday life. Ellinopoula becomes a daily companion for kids and parents to bring Greek and Hellenism into their everyday life. Here’s an example of how Ellinopoula enables schools and teachers to administer a variety of fun and easy weekly activities to foster a Greek language learning environment for kids:
- Watch one Aesop’s fable story
- Listen to the Learning Path stories
- Play the Shooting Hoops game (or any other game)
- A ‘group’ assignment splitting kids into 3 or 4 groups. For example, learning 5 new words of items they saw on the Theme Collections page. One kid may choose words from the Clothing collection and another from the Sports collection.
What can parents do to create a Greek language social context?
- Share their joy of their kid’s progress and benefits of learning Greek, while also encouraging one another to keep supporting their kids’ efforts.
- Encourage kids to play games and carry out activities on Ellinopoula for at least 5 minutes a day.
- Join in on their kid’s efforts in learning Greek! Parents who do not speak Greek can learn alongside their children by following their own Learning Path on Ellinopoula or taking an adult class at the same time.
- Create custom games such as pointing to a football, a drinking cup, or the fridge, and asking kids to find it on Ellinopoula’s themed sections and tell you what it’s called in Greek. (maybe you can give them little rewards for getting the words right!)
- Assign one or two evening per week to watch an episode of their favorite Ellinopoula video series with them, such as Mission Odyssey.
What can we do as teachers?
- Greek schools as a whole and each teacher individually can create Greek language programs that:
- Assign fun (modern, animated, interactive) weekly activities to children
- Hold a ‘student of the week’ competition (point-based competitions) so that kids get involved in their weekly assignments and interested in who’s going to win the award.
Every day can be a fun ‘treasure hunt’
Learning Greek is meant to be a fun and inspiring journey of discovery for kids. Similar to a treasure hunt, it’s up to us parents and teacher to give kids “little treasures” to discover daily. It only takes one little step per day with Ellinopoula!