“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 and French) for almost 17 years. I currently also teach modern Greek. I recently moved to Bonn, Germany, and teach children English through drama, with a focus on global studies and multiple disciplines. With me, children not only learn a new language; they reinforce their knowledge of (or learn from scratch) a number of core academic disciplines, from history, geography and world cultures, music and art, to the sciences: biology, Earth history and even maths.
We start with fun “games with aims” to learn vocabulary and grammar, and the final product is a performance: a fantasy play, a talent show, a “documentary” of a city at home or abroad … you name it – I can get the kids to do it, and they do it with willingly! Often enough, the children present facts that their own parents did not know. The effect on the children in terms of self-esteem is priceless.
I also work as an children’s animator for special events such as birthdays and other celebrations.
Finally, I volunteer at a local refugee center formerly run by the German Red Cross and currently run by the city of Bonn, giving free English and drama workshops to refugee children. In the process, these wonderful children and I learn German together, helping each other to integrate into German society. In fact, by interacting with them and being corrected by them, these children are my German teachers. We teach each other in a beautiful, mutually rewarding cooperation. I cannot think of better, more generous teachers, than children.
I also volunteer for PLAN International Aktionsgruppe which promotes and funds educationally disenfranchised children across the globe, helping this organisation to through children’s animation at various fundraisers.
I spent my previous nine years in Prague, Czech Republic. As here in Germany, I taught self-conceived Global Kids Through Drama and English workshops to children and young adults aged 6 through 18, teaching them English (and Spanish and French), with a strong emphasis on global awareness, multi-disciplinary content and performance. From 2010 to 2016 I taught at Zakladní Skola Dlouhy Lan – a combined primary and middle school in Prague, Czech Republic with a Montessori program, where I got invaluable Montessori teaching experience. From 2007 until 2010, I taught International Baccalaureate French and Spanish at the International School of Prague. From 2000 until 2010, I taught French and Spanish at the Foreign Language Academy and Global Studies High School in New York City, and also taught college-paced French courses to undergraduate students at Columbia University.
My background and education are as diverse as my teaching content, style and student age-range. I am a Greek/US citizen and I grew up in Greece, the United States and the United Kingdom. My first home as an independent adult was in Paris, France, where I learned French (which I speak fluently to this day). My nine years in the Czech Republic allowed me to learn how to communicate in a highly proficient Czech, thanks again to the time spent with the children I taught there and the collaboration I had with their wonderful teachers. I have also spent extended time in Guadalajara (Spanish language training through music and the guitar from the Spanish-speaking world), Buenos Aires (where I have extended family), Bucharest (where I developed a basic proficiency in Romanian, using my Romance language knowledge base), and Vienna, (where I learned my first German and where I also have family). My childhood and higher education have taken me from international schools in Athens, to public and private in the UK and the USA. I have an MA in French and Romance Philology from Columbia University, a New York State permanent teaching certificate for middle and high-school French, an NYC Board of Education ESL formation, International Baccalaureate (IB) teaching experience in Spanish and French, and TEFL certification and teaching experience in English (ESL/EFL).
I am a genuine “people-person”. My teaching experience is widely-ranged, starting with kindergartens, ESL immigrant immersion programs for adults and special-needs children in their home, via the NYC Board of Education home-schooling, up to giving animated classes at the Volkshochschule in Bonn during my sabbatical year, where I have taught English from A1 through C2 levels, including training adults to pass the demanding Cambridge Proficiency Exam. I speak eight languages fluently/ with high proficiency and have taught myself literacy in Russian and Hebrew. I am now working on Arabic, and dabbling in Farsi, Dari, Pashtun and Karmanji Kurdish, through my work with refugee children in Bonn. It is a humbling experience and reminds me of what first-graders experience when they are first learning to write letters in their language. Learning languages makes me feel at home everywhere I set foot. My mission is to inspire the same interest and joy in the children (and adults) who I teach, so that they feel the same way as I do, and can be both successful and happy.
As previously stated, my focus in every lesson includes instilling global awareness in children, in a multi-disciplinary way. True to Montessori principles and the principles of any holistic, student-centered teaching practice, it is my wish that children’s motivation for learning be intrinsic; that is to say, that they do not produce good work because of any possible punishment or reward, but because they are curious and interested in the work laid out for them. I want them to explore it and do their best, for its own sake. There is so much joy at seeing a child at work, whether it is through play, or during traditional academic activity – with the head bent down towards his or her work, quietly concentrating, and not even hearing you when you speak to them! This happens when they are writing a story, reading quietly or out loud, when they are painting a picture … and when they are playing, too. 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: +49 162 410 22 57
LinkedIn: Eurydice Prentoulis (Evie)
YouTube Channel: evie prentoulis
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