“Eurydice (Evie) is a dynamic and fun teacher. I can recommend her if you are a school hiring, or a parent looking for a great teacher for your children. When your children study with Evie, they learn more than English, they also learn about the world and to express themselves with confidence through drama and stories.”
-Shelley Ann Vernon (www.teachingenglishgames.com), a well-known international speaker and author of English (ESL/EFL) learning materials and books for children.
I have been a teacher of foreign languages (English, Spanish, French and occasionally modern Greek) for the past 18 years. I currently teach all core subjects of the British curriculum to year 3 students (children aged 6 – 7) at the Maria International School in Bucharest, Romania with additional German and theatre as elective classes.
Before this current post I was solely a foreign language/ ESL teacher to students of all ages, from kindergarteners to adults. Before moving to Bucharest in August of 2018, I spent a two year sabbatical in Bonn, Germany, where I missed teaching so much that I took a part time position teaching adults English (from A1 through C2 /Cambridge CPE levels), and I volunteered with various NGOs, including with refugee children through the German Red Cross and the City of Bonn, and as a children’s animator at multicultural fairs through PLAN International. Before my two year sabbatical, I worked as a full time school teacher in Prague, Czech Republic, first teaching IB French and Spanish at the International School of Prague, and then as an ESL / Drama teacher at Zakladní Skola Na Dlouhem Lanu, a Czech state school with a Montessori program. Going back further still, I started my teaching career as a French and Spanish high school teacher at FLAGS High School in New York City.
Over the years, having experienced work in a wide range of institutions (state, private, international, Montessori schools at kindergarten, elementary and high school, community colleges and numerous private lessons) I have developed a dynamic style of teaching languages through drama and music (I play the guitar and love singing) with a focus on global studies, humanities and other core disciplines.
I believe that it is not enough for children to learn a new language but to love the experience of learning. By extension, confident expression through public speaking is an important and far-reaching skill whose success is not only limited to mastering the target language, but changes a child’s life for the better. Drama gives children the opportunity to master their public performing skills and because drama is the medium, it is open to any subject. While I offer straight-up English classes through drama and performance, there is no reason why I cannot insert some content from maths, science, history, geography, or any school subject, into our play. We start with fun “games with aims” to learn the vocabulary and grammar of just about any topic, and end with a performance: a fantasy play, a talent show, a “documentary” of a city at home or abroad, the role-play of a child as an Ancient Greek maths teacher with his disciples and students, or tackling personal identification role play under the guise of Vincent Van Gogh, Leonardo Da Vinci or Frida Kahlo. Children assemble together some of my famous people dolls – Queen Elizabeth the First, Da Vinci and Sherlock Holmes, throw in my Star Wars character dolls into the mix – and create a time machine story where they travel back in time to the Jurassic period, with a final addition of toy dinosaurs into their adventure. These plays are filmed or performed for their parents and the content is a combination of my non-fiction plus English language teaching, with my young students’ fantasy storytelling You name it – I can get the kids to do it! And often enough, the performances will include facts that the children’s own parents did not know. The results and the effect on the children in terms of their self-esteem is priceless.
We start with fun “games with aims” to learn the vocabulary and grammar of just about any topic, and end with a performance: a fantasy play, a talent show, a “documentary” of a city at home or abroad, role-play of a student as a maths teacher … you name it – I can get the kids to do it! Often enough, the children will include facts that their own parents did not know. The effect on the children in terms of their self-esteem is priceless. My mission is to design and teach “highly intelligent play“, which produce the following results:
- proficiency in the target language (English, Spanish or French)
- performance (on stage or on video or both – depending on each individual child’s wish)
- comedy. I want to hear parents LAUGHING. Not only because it is their child performing – but because it is genuinely funny by their own (adult) standards! Imagine your child as
–Van Gogh, explaining how he lost his ear from a fight with artist Gauguin, also explaining why he got angry with Gaughin,
– as the model “Mona Lisa” complaining how long Leonardo Da Vinci is taking to finish painting her, and Da Vinci’s response, elucidating the audience as to who he was and how he worked.
–or as Queen Elizabeth the First traveling with Da Vinci (in Da Vinci’s “time machine”) to the future, meeting R2D2, and then returning to the past. The deep past – to the beginning of Earth’s history, where we reconstruct a Hadean Eon environment complete with black and red backgrounds, an orange sky, and erupting volcanoes which the children and I make together. Or else, traveling in time to the Mesozoic era of dinosaurs, and nearly getting eaten by them. Then the parents see the child playing Queen Elizabeth knighting R2D2 for saving her life, and the children (and parents) learn all about the “knight dubbing process”.
- multi-disciplinary learning (there is NOTHING that children cannot learn if you have the right approach and engaging materials which children would use in their own free time.)
- enlightenment, even by grown-up standards (every play should include something that perhaps even the parents did not know and thus, the children are “teachers” and “experts”.)
- pride and satisfaction and ownership of one’s work.
I also encourage practical skills useful for every day living. One of the most useful skills is getting children to present and perform in public or in front of the camera. I am proud to say that I have inspired some of the most recalcitrant children to volunteer to do this on their own, and that is because the common denominator in my lessons is PLAY. When children are playing, they do not even know they are working and learning. According to Maria Montessori, the child “simply cannot help but learn.” The child has an “absorbent mind” in every activity, and those activities should be honoured and encouraged if they involve imagination, movement, music, comedy and guided or independent play. Regarding the last two words, Maria Montessori wisely stated that “the greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say that ‘the children are now working as if I did not exist.’” I I give children some toys; they turn them into “tools”. I engage them in a given topic or activity, and then they practice it until they have found their own way of doing it. Then children can practice (through role-play, in their own way,) scenes that represent possible challenges and necessities in real life, such as:
- what to say if you lose your parents in a crowded market-place on holiday, and who to get help from (so they do not get lured away by some dangerous stranger); how to recognise “safe” people to turn to…
- how to cook a nutritious meal that is also from another part of the world, with a cuisine previously unknown to them.
- How to actually enjoy doing housework; if taught in a funny way in the classroom, the children will soon be asking their parents to do various chores around the house – instead of the parents asking them, countless times, to help them. I have toys and materials (and also real things) that help them to do just that – and to love to do it!
- learning about First Aid, knowing what to do in various accident scenarios – and to help their parents to deal with it.
- how to plan, prepare for a holiday… how to pack a suitcase for a flight or any other kind of trip, whether it is a vacation (for which we discuss the country, its climate, its weather, its culture, and the practical needs of the traveler based on the destination.)
- We also practice airport protocol: how to find the right check-in counter, what happens at security clearance, duty-free shopping, going through the gate, and the take-off and landing procedures once on the plane.
Every lesson should include some practical component because a child then knows what to do – and feels GREAT at being able to help his or her parents!
The feedback I have received from parents whose own home life has been improved by the improvement of their children’s sense of responsibility – and their children’s personal happiness – gives me immense joy. It informs me that I have done my job properly.
I am especially passionate about helping my young (and older) students to become global citizens. As a teacher preparing children to travel and explore the world, I use my experience to inspire children to be curious and knowledgeable about everything – not only about the world around them, but about the world at large.
Phone: +40 762 273 102
LinkedIn: Eurydice Prentoulis (Evie)
YouTube Channel: evie prentoulis
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