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Teaching Greek online is a ten year success story – Neos Kosmos

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The Greek Online School
Neos Kosmos talked to Stella Bompotsiari-Vri, the CEO and founder of the Greek Online School about what inspired a unique learning enterprise
A group of children enjoying immersion into Greek through the Greek Online School summer camp. Photo: Supplied

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The Greek Online School is celebrating its tenth birthday. Ten years of teaching Modern Greek online to students across the world. Neos Kosmos talked to Stella Bompotsiari-Vri, the CEO and founder of the The Greek Online School about what inspired this unique enterprise.
“What inspired us was trying to make the Greek language accessible to every single corner of the planet,” Stella says to Neos Kosmos.
“My business partner, Pavlos Ksinas, and I came up with the idea for Greek Lessons Online in 2007 while I was still studying my Master’s.”
Stella says that they “felt the urge to do something interesting for education.” With a family that lived abroad, Stella knew “how important the Greek language was for Greek immigrants and expats.”
Greek Online School now boasts 50 teaching staff and all of them are university-qualified Greek educators who are based in Greece.
“We have transformed what can be a traditionally conservative class into a lively and exciting environment that has changed students’ and parents’ idea of Greek language education” – Stella Bompotsiari-Vri
Stella, herself a teacher, said “recruiting Greek teachers based in Greece is a personal affair.”
“People are now far less worried about online learning” she adds.
“Learning online has become a huge part of our lives over last two of years and most people are expert at on-line learning.”
“In the past we used to send all these guidelines and instructions just to help people connect, now they are naturals and people trust us with their children.”
When The Greek Online School began 90 per cent of the students were adults, now two thirds of their students are children.
“Parents have realised the benefits of online learning, how much time they save and how safe it is and trust us a lot more with their children.”
“This is great for us especially because now we have the chance to create group classes, group projects and even Greek anniversary celebrations.”
Online get-togethers distinguish the Greek Online School both as a school, and community. Stella said that the most important thing is that the school can see its students “enjoying their Greek lessons.”
Stella says that many people who attend the summer courses “are not even our students which makes us extremely happy since we have the chance to introduce the Greek language to more people.”
“We have transformed what can be a traditionally conservative class into a lively and exciting environment that has changed students’ and parents’ idea of Greek language education.
“COVID made online learning essential, it was the only alternative for most people, and it created the opportunity to try something new. And we could gauge the benefits from a different perspective,” Stella said.
She highlighted the difficulties faced by children who lost their school communities during COVID. Their key socialisation outlets.
“Our online classes provide students the chance to communicate with children their own age from different sides of the world.
“They stayed with us after the first two years of pandemic and made friends; they created an online community of teachers and classmates,” Stella said to Neos Kosmos.
Greek Online School tailor their lessons for beginners to advanced. Asked about some of the main attributes to being a successful student on-line, Stella says that anyone can be a successful online student, “all they need is access to a computer and the internet.”
“Online learning utilises multimedia more than a traditional lesson does, and that helps students learn using several different tools.”
“The key is to treat the lesson as if it was taking place in a physical classroom”, Stella says.
“You need a quiet space, and a desk, we do not let students take their classes from their beds for example.
“And you need to follow some basic classroom rules like not eating in class. If you treat it properly, you will be amazed by the results and how much enjoyment it brings.”
Greek Online School offer language camps in Greece and they seem to be particularly popular. The idea behind the summer courses for children and adults is that they should function as an extension of the online curriculum.
“Online classes pause during summer, and we all meet in Greece and add the physical element to our online School.
“We wanted to create learning opportunities that would bring Greeks back to Greece. Back to their roots, and heritage where they can understand a lot more about the Greek language and culture”
Stella says that many people who attend the summer courses “are not even our students which makes us extremely happy since we have the chance to introduce the Greek language to more people.”
Greek Online will be celebrating their 10 years with summer programs in Greece.
“This is a special summer for us since we are back with our courses in Greece after two years,” says Stella.
The Greek Immersion Course for adults will take place at the Anargyrios School in Spetses for the first time. The Greek Summer Camp for children will take place at the Ranch in Sofiko between July 3-13, and August 4-14.
“Participation is greater than ever, and we will get to celebrate our 10 year-anniversary three times this summer with all these people who are traveling to Greece to meet us.”
For more information visit The Greek Online School

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