By Catherine Tsounis
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America proudly upholds the language, culture, and traditions of its Greek and Eastern Roman/Byzantine heritage. From kindergarten to high school, the education system instills a deep sense of heritage, ensuring that children will never forget their roots. As long as the Greek Orthodox Church continues to preserve the Greek language and traditions, this ancient civilization will endure. Greek civilization, which laid the foundation for Western civilization, is transmitted to students from all walks of life, fostering an appreciation of the world’s “first democracy.”
The fifth annual Greek Education Conference, themed “Climate and Culture in Our Schools Today,” was a resounding success. Held on November 7, 2023 at St. Demetrios Cathedral School in Astoria, NY, the conference brought together distinguished speakers and educators dedicated to Greek language education. His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, graced the event with an inspiring speech on Greek education.
Guest speakers, including Joseph Cantara, Director of Educational Support at Brienza’s Academic Advantage, as well as Drs. Eleni Griva and Eleni Korosidou from the University of Western Macedonia, delivered exceptional presentations. Their discussions focused on modern methods and techniques of teaching the Greek language.
The conference program included various sessions focused on effective lesson design, planning, and engaging teaching strategies. The workshops covered topics such as course design, activity design, and state testing guidelines. Participants engaged in interactive discussions, sharing their experiences and ideas in class.
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Father Gregory Stamkopoulos, superintendent of Saint-Demetrios School, highlighted the importance of Aristotle’s educational philosophy in developing students’ reasoning potential and ethical character. Father Gregory has worked tirelessly for five years to promote the teaching of the Greek language in the United States.
Keynote speaker Joseph Cantara highlighted the importance of social and emotional learning skills in improving academic success. He emphasized the importance of preparing students to succeed in today’s world, emphasizing critical thinking and creative problem solving.
Dr. Griva and Dr. Korosidou shared valuable insights on teaching Greek as a second language, with an emphasis on active participation, the use of myths and innovative teaching techniques. Their presentations left a lasting impression on the participants.
Ms. Giota Pechlivanidi, Acting Educational Advisor at the Consulate General of Greece in New York, announced upcoming seminars for Greek language teachers, both online and in person.
His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros, expressed his unwavering commitment to the preservation of the Greek language and culture. He believes in presenting Greek Orthodoxy in a positive light and engaging with young people to pass on Greek heritage to the next generation.
Dr. Anastasios Koularmanis, Director of the Department of Greek Education, highlighted the essential role that Greek schools play in preserving language, culture and traditions. Encouraging children to learn Greek from a young age is seen as a vital investment in their future.
The conference received praise from various attendees, educators and community leaders. The event provided invaluable information and fostered collaboration among Greek language teachers.
In conclusion, the Fifth Annual Conference on Greek Education was an important step in promoting Greek language education and preserving Greek heritage in the United States.
For more information, please contact Director Dr. Anastasios Koularmanis at (email protected).