Keep Moving Forward – An Interview with Christina Chorianopoulou (@Kryftina)

1016688_10151558577278358_481848980_nFor April, my birthday month, I am very happy to present you with another super educator I admire tremendously for her creativity and optimism, Christina Chorianopoulou! Christina lives in Athens, Greece and she teaches students of all ages and levels.

She blogs at My Mathima (which is the Greek expression for My Lesson) and is very active on social media. She shares and writes and constantly creates something – either in education or as one of her hobbies!

Watch her extremely motivating interview:

Feat No 27: Honored by a student

Vicky Loras:

Today we had a special visitor at The Loras English Network​! One of our students came to visit us and spend the day as part of the Swiss apprenticeship programme. Read more on Eugenia’s blog:

Originally posted on Eugenia Loras:

Today we had the honor, beyond the great pleasure to welcome one of our students to The Loras Network, not as a student but as an observer.

One of our students chose to visit our school, our business, our family as part of her opportunity to observe several professions. This opportunity is given to all students attending the Swiss public secondary schools at the age of 15. It is an opportunity to go behind the scenes in some professions or sectors of interest and get a better feeling of what is involved.

We had the honor not only to have been chosen by our student, but to do what we love doing; tell her why we love it! All the reasons that we love every single aspect of the Loras Network and its past and present. The maturity with which she was absorbing our chapters was also due to the…

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We’ve been…sketchnoted! Between the Ferns with Doug Peterson

Vicky Loras:

We’ve been…sketchnoted!

Sylvia Duckworth, a great educator from Canada, has been posting her sketchnotes on social media and they are superb! One of them includes quotes from teachers who have been interviewed on Doug Petersons blog. Thank you so much for including me, Sylvia!

Originally posted on doug --- off the record:

I was the beneficiary of Sylvia Duckworth’s latest creation. Well, at least some of my interviews were.

As I’ve noted, she’s on fire lately drawing her #sketchnotes of various things. Here latest effort includes some of the memorable quotes from interviews that have been posted to this blog. She waded her way through and pulled out quotes from eight of them:

Here’s her latest piece of artwork.

Doug

I was honoured that her interest turned to creating one to celebrate all of the terrific quotes that have been an important part of the interviews.

You can check out all of her works in this Flipboard document.

As for the title…

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Flipping Vicky Loras’ Blogging Challenge

Vicky Loras:

I have said many times and I will keep on saying that when I first joined social media, I was not sure at all if it would work out for me. Almost six years later, I have not looked back.

I have met amazing educators both online and in person, and I am greatly indebted to them for teaching me a lot of things and for their friendship, as I have forged super friendships!

One of these people is the amazing Doug Peterson, who is a prolific blogger and edtech specialist. Doug and I connected on Twitter first and then Facebook, and we have shared lots of stories and he also lives in Ontario, where I was born – so one more thing to connect us : )

I am very moved while writing this introduction, both because of his incessant kindness and wonderful words. Doug did something terrific for the blog challenge I started in 2011 with 27 educators who shared their stories…and more revived it at the end of last year and are keeping it going. He flipped them all into one place, and now it is a beautiful collection. We can still keep adding to it.

What can I say, Doug, apart from THANK YOU and I truly hope with all my heart to meet you in person – let’s hope my plans to visit Canada next year come to fruition : )

A huge thank you to Doug and to all the teachers contributing to and supporting this blog challenge – it belongs to all of us!

Originally posted on doug --- off the record:

Earlier this week, I had shared a story for Vicky Loras’ Blogging Challenge “What’s Your Story?”  One of the things that you have plenty of time to do while suffering from a cold is doing some reflection.

As I reflected on the extent of the content, the stories, and the global connections from her challenge, I really became with how impressive this young lady’s reach is.  I certainly couldn’t even begin to reach the number of educators that she has worldwide and then have them share their story.  So, I hopped over to her blog and posted a reply and then it came to me – her blogging challenge is actually in two parts now.  Wouldn’t it make sense to put them all together in one spot?  I thought of a number of ways to curate that sort of thing and thought that a Flipboard magazine would probably…

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A guest blog post by Vicky Loras-” Oh, Canada….in Larissa”

Vicky Loras:

At the beginning of October I was invited by the Teachers Association of Larissa, Greece to do two workshops – while I was there, the next day I was honoured to be invited to Aphro Giouris’ classes in the 30th Primary School of Larissa. In this post I wrote for her blog, I share my experiences and all the super things we did with the kids!

Originally posted on ELT inspired:

Oh, Canada…in Larissa!

loras photos4
Discovering Canada with the amazing kids in Aphrodite Gkiouris‘ classes in primary school

loras photos10

How I Got There
Two weeks ago, I went to Larissa, a city in Greece, in order to do two workshops after being kindly invited by the amazing English Teachers Association of Larissa.
The next day, I was very fortunate to be able to visit the 30th Primary School of Larissa, where my good friend Aphrodite Gkiouris works as an English teacher. I was excited to be there, as it had been quite a few years since I had been in a primary classroom in a state school.

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The Visit
Aphrodite and I had decided that I take part in teaching four classes, one Grade 4 class, two Grade 5s and a Grade 6. I was going into the classroom as an unknown guest – the kids did not know where I was from…

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Feat No 23: Behind the scenes… behind it all!

Vicky Loras:

The Loras Network has moved! Read Eugenia’s post to see what happened all this past week!

Originally posted on Eugenia Loras:

What a week! What a long, hard-working, stressful yet blissful week. During the two-week Sports Break here in Switzerland, our family is working out… by working.

We have been in the process of looking for new facilities the past 3 months as it would be much more professional and practical to each have permanent separate offices. Many of our lessons are simultaneous and have increased recently.

Literally, last minute, on Friday 31.01 we found the best possible facilities, received the keys and managed to move everything out of the old and into the new during the weekend. That means that as of today we are ready to welcome you to our offices at Uptown, General-Guisan-Strasse 6, Zug in the Premium Business Center.

The main entrance is on the side of their vast parking lot. You can almost always find parking space there. There is also free parking in the “Hertizentrum”…

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A Reason to Move to Switzerland

Vicky Loras:

Another great post by Doug Peterson about internet speed and more…thank you for mentioning us, Doug!

Originally posted on doug --- off the record:

Other than to learn English at the Loras Network … Read my interview with Vicky Loras here.

You may come for the learning, but you’ll stay for the internet access.

Akamai has an interesting interactive visualization that they call “The State of the Internet“.

Select your metric for comparison and roll over the various countries to see the results.  As a basis for comparison, I ran an internet speedtest here.

My results….

Online life as I know it.

What’s the average for Canada?

Hmmm….

So, when Vicky says life is nicer in Switzerland, maybe this is part of her logic.

It’s an interesting activity to move over countries and look at the speeds that are reported.  What a great start for talking about digital divides.  How about testing and comparing speeds at your school?  Overall, it’s an interesting collection of data which could be used so…

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Presenting the Plenaries – Part Two

Vicky Loras:

Another plenary speaker I am looking forward to listening to in Bratislava, on June 7-8, 2014 at the ELTForum.sk Conference, is Maggie Kubanyiova!

Originally posted on ELTforum.sk Conference 2015:

It is with great pleasure that we present to you our next plenary speaker, the outstanding Maggie Kubanyiova!

Maggie and her work

Maggie, originally from Slovakia, is a university lecturer and researcher at the University of Birmingham (UK) where she directs the MA Education TEFL programme which enables English language teachers from all over the world to develop their teaching skills and expertise. She has also lived and worked as a language teacher and teacher trainer in Slovakia, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

Expertise and Writing

Maggie’s areas of expertise include communicative language teaching, motivation, classroom interaction and language teacher development. Her writing activity includes published articles and chapters on those topics in a variety of ELT journals and books, including ET Professional, Modern Language Journal, and TESL-EJ. Her book ‘Teacher Development in Action’ (2012, Palgrave) delves into the development of English language teachers…

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Presenting the Plenaries – Part One

Vicky Loras:

I am delighted to be part of the ELTForum.sk conference! I love the enthusiasm and dedication of the organisers.
I am also very happy that I will get the chance to see Professor David Crystal in action once again! A huge thank you to everyone at ELTForum.sk – see you in Bratislava in June!

Originally posted on ELTforum.sk Conference 2015:

At ELTForum.sk, we are delighted to announce the first of our plenary speakers, who is none other than Professor David Crystal! We are honoured to have Professor Crystal as our keynote speaker at our June conference, where he will speak from his wealth of knowledge and expertise as the world’s foremost English linguist.

About David Crystal

Professor Crystal, who has been called a British ‘national treasure’, is a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster renowned for his research work in English language studies, in such fields as English language learning and teaching, clinical linguistics, forensic linguistics, language death, style, English genre, Shakespeare and lexicography. He held a chair at the University of Reading for 10 years and is now Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor.

His Writing

Professor Crystal is a prolific writer, with more than 100 books to his name. His two greatest…

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Eleven! – Tagged by @dougpete, @cgoodey and @yearinthelifeof

Not Ocean's Eleven : )

Not Ocean’s Eleven : ) (Image taken from http://www.musicland.in)

There is a great blog challenge making the rounds these days – and I have been tagged by three educators I admire tremendously (in order of tagging!): Doug Peterson in Canada, Carol Goodey in Scotland and Adam Simpson in Turkey. I have met Adam and Carol in person, but could it be 2014 that Doug and I will finally meet? I sure hope so! And I am sure it will happen in a Tim Horton’s ; )

So if you are tagged, here is what you need to do:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

11 Random Facts About me

  1. I love reading and have around 500 books, which are multiplying like crazy : )
  2. I don’t know how to drive a car, ride a bike or swim.
  3. I am afraid of earthquakes, clowns and heights.
  4. I don’t like eating watermelon or honey, and I am allergic to apples, pears and kiwis.
  5. My oldest ancestor we managed to track down and lived in the 1700s, was French.
  6. Vicky is short for Vassiliki (a Greek name), which is my maternal grandmother’s name and means of royal descent : )
  7. I became a teacher by accident. As long as I remember myself, I wanted to be a lawyer : )
  8. While my sisters were amazing ballet dancers, I loved and played basketball.
  9. My favourite philosopher in university was (and in general is) Ludwig Wittgenstein, and I later discovered that we share the same birthday.
  10. I never drink alcohol (not my cup of tea) but I love coffee, tea and coca cola and drink loads.
  11. If I were to be told that I cannot live in Switzerland anymore, I would move to a Scandinavian country or Turkey : )

Now I hope you will be patient as I answer the questions:

Doug Peterson, Canada

Doug Peterson, Canada

Doug’s Questions:

  1. When was the last time you backed up your computer? I think it was in March – unfortunately, it crashed and asked me if I would like to back it up. I wish I had done it earlier, but I managed to save the majority of my files.
  2. If you could speak any language other than English, what would it be? I wish I could speak Turkish and Finnish fluently. They have always been languages that I would love to learn. I started off with Turkish and hope to start Finnish too.
  3. Where would you go for your dream vacation? I would love to go to Corsica, because I have been told a lot and shown lots of photos by a French student of mine.
  4. Have you ever received a parking ticket? No, because I don’t drive! Ha ha!
  5. You’re in control of the thermostat.  What’s your ideal room temperature? Really warm, because I get cold easily.
  6. Have you ever taken an online course? I have – it was a 60-hour TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course which I enjoyed immensely, and a Grammar one too.
  7. What was the last educational conference that you attended? It was the IATEFL BESIG (Business English) conference in Prague, in November. I loved the sessions, the conversations that emerged from them – but my only disappointment was that I didn’t manage to see Prague almost at all, as I was there for only two and a half days.
  8. When was the last time you were in a public library? Very recently – it is one f my favourite places to be : )
  9. Have you ever dabbled with Linux? No ; )
  10. What would you consider to be the best photo you’ve ever taken? A sunset over Lake Zug. The colours were astounding and I was really surprised it came out that good, as it was taken with my phone.
  11. What, and where, is your favourite park? I love the parks in Niagara-on-the-Lake (well, actually the whole place : )
Carol Goodey

Carol Goodey

Carol’s Questions:

  1. What do you most enjoy about blogging? I love writing, and I love the comments – they make me think and I learn tons from them.
  2. Do you play a musical instrument? If not, would you like to? Which one? I don’t, but ever since I was little, I wanted to learn how to play the piano.
  3. How far do you travel to work? How do you travel? I used to commute a lot for my work up until I opened my new school, but now I commute very little, to some company classes. I take the train (takes 13 minutes)!
  4. What do you enjoy most about the work that you do? The interaction with the students and the fact that there is a whole variety of cultures and ages: one hour I am teaching a four-year-old, the next an adult!
  5. What was the first thing you ate today? Coco Pops! That healthy ; )
  6. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Why? Canada, because I terribly miss it!
  7. What month next year are you most looking forward to? Why? July, because my baby sister is getting married!
  8. What meal do you prepare most often for friends? Roasts and salads.
  9. What was the last movie you saw? What did you think? I saw Night on Earth and I loved it! It is five stories happening in a taxi, in five different cities, on the same day : ) It was in English, French, Italian and Finnish.
  10. What three things do you like to have with you when working? My tablet or computer, so I can check in on social media in the breaks, tea and lots of coloured pens!
  11. What do YOU think about reality TV shows? I don’t watch any, because I don’t have a TV : )
Adam Simpson

Adam Simpson

Adam’s Questions:

  1. I am aware of the phenomenon called ‘twerking’ but I don’t really know what it is. Do you? Would you explain it to me in one sentence? Some form of dance? *hides*
  2. The Soviet Union still exists. Why does this make you happy / sad? It does?
  3. What did you eat for dinner last night? Farfalle bolognese with tons of parmesan cheese.
  4. I’m new to this planet. Tell me what a dog looks like. It’s the cutest animal ever, with four legs and you can keep one at home!
  5. Go to YouTube and basically surf around until you find a song that you’ve never heard before. Share that song with us here. I just typed in the letter h and got Happy by Pharrell Williams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM
  6. The 60s or the 70s? Why? The 70s – I was born at the end of this decade of awesome music – The Clash is one of my favourite bands.
  7. Invent a word for something that doesn’t have a word to describe it. Share your word and description here. Now that is really hard!
  8. Would you prefer to be that guy from ‘Memento’ who wakes up and can’t remember the previous day, or that guy from ‘Groundhog Day’ who wakes up to exactly the same day over and over again? I haven’t seen either, but the second seems more appealing ; ) I’d be scared not to remember.
  9. Go to this YouTube video. Be honest, how long did you last? Two minutes! Ha ha!
  10. What are your thoughts on becoming one of the first Mars colonists? If there are books and chocolate, I’m going!
  11. Based on the way things are going, which language should we learn to be a good world citizen by the year 2030? A lot of people say Chinese. Perhaps?

Here are the bloggers I’d love to see take up the challenge, if they would like to:

  1. @yitzha_sarwono
  2. @theteacherjames
  3. @Chieka_slw06
  4. @Priscilamateini
  5. @rosemerebard
  6. @leoselivan
  7. @michaelegriffin
  8. @AnneHendler
  9. @JosetteLB
  10. @FLCasella
  11. @tamaslorincz

And my questions for them would be:

  1. If you were not an educator, what line of work would you imagine yourself in?
  2. Which person in ELT would you like to meet in person and why?
  3. What new activity / hobby would you like to start?
  4. Which is the best book you have recently read? Why?
  5. If you could change one thing in the world, what would that be?
  6. Which is the nicest destination you have visited so far and why?
  7. If you decided to write a book, what would it be about?
  8. What is your favourite song this period?
  9. What is your favourite and least favourite food?
  10. Which is the next conference you plan to attend?
  11. With whom from the PLN was your first meeting in person? What was it like?

Thank you Doug, Carol and Adam! And thanks in advance to those bloggers who choose to take up the challenge!