A new series of seminars organized by our English Studies Department was inaugurated on June 4th with an event on “Social Issues in the ELT Classroom.”
The audience composed of both ESD students and staff, but also external guests, as well as online viewers, had the opportunity to listen to two presenters approaching the topic from different angles.
Dr Luke Prodromou, our guest speaker, delivered a very interactive and entertaining session entitles “Social and Global Issues and the Language teacher. From Dickens to Debt; The Current Crisis and its Consequences from a Critical Pedagogy Perspective” in which he discussed the negative impact of the debt crisis and the power of the free market on education, child labour, human trafficking and gender equality. Inspired by Charles Dickens, Dr Prodromou talked about the power of education in the fight against inequalities and he called on teachers and educators to take action against social injustice through their teaching.
Ms. Margarita Kosior, Lecturer in the English Studies Department, took over with her talk under the title “Teaching for Social Justice: From Social Context to Teaching Content.” In face of serious global issues and social injustice, such as poverty, war, modern-day slavery, and many others, English Language Teaching has acquired a new dimension. Ms. Kosior’s presentation looked into how the new social context can be used in ELT and turned into engaging and thought-provoking teaching content, using materials ranging from reading passages to digital resources, and engaging students in tasks from reflective writing and oral presentations to silent discussion and poster preparation.
During their sessions, both presenters suggested some practical ways in which ELT can raise awareness of social issues. With the added responsibility of not merely preparing students for certification exams, but equipping them with tools to become responsible world citizens, teachers are turning into educators with a mission of making the world a better place. Utopian and cliché? Possibly, but definitely a possibility to live into.
After this successful beginning, the Methodology for All Seminar Series has concluded for the academic year and will resume in October, 2015. The events are aimed at current and prospective foreign language teachers, postgraduate and undergraduate students, the ELT community in the wider area of Northern Greece, and online viewers able to access the sessions through live streaming or by watching the recording of each seminar.