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 preschool to high school, the education system instills a deep sense of heritage, ensuring that children never forget their roots. As long as the Greek Orthodox Church continues to preserve the Greek language and traditions, this ancient civilization will endure. The Greek civilization, which laid the foundation for Western civilization, is being passed down to students of all backgrounds, fostering an appreciation for the world’s “First Democracy.”
The Fifth Annual Conference of Greek Education, themed “Climate and Culture In Our Schools Today,” was a resounding success. Held on November 7th, 2023, at St. Demetrios Cathedral School in Astoria, NY, the conference featured distinguished speakers and educators dedicated to Greek language instruction. His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, graced the event with an inspiring speech on Greek education.
Guest speakers, including Joseph Cantara, Director of Pedagogical Support at Brienza’s Academic Advantage, and Dr. Eleni Griva and Dr. Eleni Korosidou from the University of Western Macedonia, delivered exceptional presentations. Their discussions centered on modern teaching methods and techniques for teaching the Greek language.
The conference program included various sessions focused on effective lesson design, planning, and engaging teaching strategies. Workshops covered topics such as lesson design, designing activities, and guidelines for state testing. Participants engaged in interactive discussions, sharing their classroom experiences and ideas.
Father Gregory Stamkopoulos, Superintendent of St. Demetrios School, emphasized the importance of Aristotle’s teaching philosophy in developing students’ potential for reasoning and ethical character. Father Gregory has been working tirelessly for five years to promote Greek language education across the United States.
Keynote speaker Joseph Cantara highlighted the significance of social and emotional learning skills in enhancing academic achievement. He stressed the importance of preparing students for success in today’s world, emphasizing critical thinking and creative problem-solving.
Dr. Griva and Dr. Korosidou shared valuable insights into teaching Greek as a second language, emphasizing active participation, the use of myths, and innovative teaching techniques. Their presentations left a lasting impression on attendees.
Ms. Giota Pechlivanidi, Acting Education Counselor at the Consulate General of Greece in New York, announced upcoming seminars for Greek language educators, both online and in person.
His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros, expressed his unwavering commitment to saving the Greek language and culture. He believes in holding Greek Orthodoxy in a positive light and engaging with the youth to transmit Greek heritage to the next generation.
Dr. Anastasios Koularmanis, Director of the Department of Greek Education, emphasized the critical role Greek schools play in preserving language, culture, and traditions. Encouraging children to learn Greek from an early age is seen as a vital investment in their future.
The conference received praise from various participants, educators, and community leaders. The event provided invaluable information and fostered collaboration among Greek language instructors.
In conclusion, the Fifth Annual Conference of Greek Education was a significant 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].