Our first education centre opened in October 2016 and was instantly oversubscribed.
We offer English, Greek and German language lessons as well as creative learning classes to more than 70 refugees of all ages on a daily basis, taught by qualified teachers in the heart of Athens.
The approach followed by our teachers is based mainly on the CLT approach (Communicative Language Teaching). According to this, students work in groups or pairs having the chance to work collaboratively and receive feedback from their fellow classmates. Moreover, learners develop their communication skills in the form of role-play or interviews in order to practice the target language and gain confidence. The lessons are divided thematically involving cultural references and general knowledge to prepare students in becoming citizens of the world.
English and German Language Lessons
During the first month of the programme, learners explore everyday life phrases used for greeting. Working with refugees who are more concerned about with whether food would or would not be on their table in the evening, rather than sitting quietly in a classroom has been challenging. However, the teaching staff have overcome this obstacle by incorporating creative activities and materials to entertain and educate at the same time. Therefore, lessons have been created taking into consideration students’ needs and backgrounds. Children are also offered fresh fruit and adults sweet tea to ensure concentration levels are maintained throughout class.
Our first aim is to provide language education within a supportive environment. Many students have experienced trauma and therefore we help them by respecting and responding to their personal circumstances, ensuring that lessons are inclusive. We encourage students to ask for information and introduce themselves to the class at a level that best suits them. We review and develop their basic grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation skills every day to build their confidence. Each day we focus on one skill such as listening, writing or speaking and at the end of each week we practice and revise what we have covered throughout the week.
Greek Language Lessons
Greek language lessons are an important part of the programme, as it allows students to learn the language of their residing country, giving them the chance to communicate with the local community. During the first month, students are taught basic aspects of literacy at level A1. Starting with the Greek alphabet and how to spell their names, to learning and using everyday phrases such as greetings, introductions and moods. Moreover, we try to use a variety of teaching aids, such as cards of letters and numbers, audios and extra education materials.
Beside the fact that Greek is a difficult language for Arabic speakers, due to different alphabet syntax, an effort is made to translate as many words and phrases as possible, in order to facilitate the learning. So far, we are positively surprised to witness the rapid evolution of the student. The highlight of the process was when they would come and proudly talk or respond to us in Greek, having a wide smile on their faces.
One of our main considerations whilst designing the Education Centre programme was to offer a holistic approach to learning. As such, we decided to include creative lessons including language focus, history and geography. Language teachers’ co-work with the creativity team in order to create materials and posters that can later be used in English or Greek lessons. During this first month of the programme, students collaborate to create puppets to practice conversation, pictures of food and flags of the world, and are encouraged to develop their language skills in the process. Educating through play is a great technique especially for young students who have concentration problems to further their learning. Moreover, activities that include arts and crafts affect children on a deeper level as they help them to recover from trauma and loss.