I officially started teaching Greek as a foreign or second language in 2015 at the University of Aberdeen, in collaboration with the Scottish-Hellenic society.
In 2018, I needed though to leave Aberdeen and the class I was teaching Greek for three years already, due to that I had to be off Scotland for my PhD fieldwork. Leaving a class full of keen adults learners with whom we gradually became friends, was not easy.
I would soon find myself exchanging dozens of emails with my students, in order to keep in touch. But it was not only that! My need to keep an eye on their progress with the Greek language would have me writing each email in both languages, line-under-line, with parentheses of explanations, and often times with vocabulary underneath. Including pictures on my emails, songs, our news, and keep exchanging, started a lot to look like … a blog!
It was then that the idea of creating a blog was unavoidable! I lacked any technological knowledge on how I could do that, due to my daily engagement with outdoor education programmes in all ages. My motivation though was strong enough to find out how! “Greek Briki” was the symbol we used with my students in order to accommodate our get-together for a cup of coffee, around a blog post, a story, and often an online coffee.
When Greek Briki opened to the world, I soon found out that there are a lot more keen learners of Greek in search of an educational blog out there, than I would have ever imagined! Within the first year of its online presence, the blog site had over a thousand visitors benefiting from the posts. Each post included a photo I would take for the purpose of the lesson, daily use of vocabulary in Greek, its pronunciation and translation in English, and a question for the viewers to answer.
But the most important characteristic was that this was a blog that invited any member to create a post, sharing a story, a painting, a photograph, an experience! Cultivating a culture of empowering the learners to create, was something I paid particular attention to.
When the followers of the GreekBriki blog got larger dimensions – most certainly I could not call it a small community of learners any more- I was overwhelmed by what this translates to. It has been always clear to me that the experiential and engaging character of the lessons I design should remain the same. How could I then develop personal contact with the now 3000 faithful followers of this project? Having covered both the crowdfunding goals we had set as a community, which was the financial sustenance of the blog for 2019 and 2020, it was high time for bringing about changes in the project and prepare for a larger impact. It all started with our name: Greek.and.Green
The transition from GreekBriki to Greek.and.Green was gradual and organic. When thousand of followers show their love to a Greek educational project, the responsibilities change scale. It is not a matter of what you teach any more; it is also a matter how. Online education often forgets that we, humans, have bodies too. What do we do with them and where is this era going to take us?
That’s what Greek.and.Green is here to do. My take on that is clear: while we teach and learn we can also offer. Learning in an experiential way means all our senses are engaged. That is what you will find out here. For every lesson you are going to purchase, you will have contributed to a greener environment. What is this contribution going to be, differentiates from lesson to lesson, but it is always stated in the educational achievements of each course. Plant trees with us, help us recycle, clean beaches and parks, reuse material, and educate more people on how they can do it too. While you are excelling the Greek language you so much love, you help Greece to become greener! Be Greek.and.Green – welcome on board.