Several years ago, Antonia and Efstathia first met in the courtyard of their high school. Back then, they certainly were not able to think that through the years, apart from their friendship, their common love for education would also grow.
Three years ago, Efstathia, in an effort to share her classroom experience with parents and colleagues, created a personal blog called all4school.gr. All4school.gr, was the trigger for a continuous discussion around the needs of the modern teacher and student.
"If a child seems unwilling to learn, an environment has to be created so as to help him or her want to learn"
Bits4school was born from a desire to express the way Efstathia and Antonia perceive the modern educational reality. This was possible by combining their teaching experience and the different educational backgrounds from which they come.
1. The smiley of your logo seems to wink at us. Tell us a little bit more about it.
I am very happy that you got this impression. In fact, we have the same feeling when we look at it. However, the philosophy behind this has to do with the combination of two basic characteristics, which Antonia and I consider necessary for education. The square comes to meet the logic, while the circle expresses emotion.
2. What is your favourite tool in the classroom?
Those who know me well and have seen me work in the school and in the classroom, I am sure would immediately answer that Efstathia is not used to wearing bracelets, since her favourite accessory is paper tape (even better if it is coloured). The truth is that this very simple tool greatly facilitates my daily life in the classroom. Very quickly and easily - you do not even need scissors - you can post tasks, decorate your classroom, make constructions or even set up floor/board games for the whole class.
3. What would you change in today’s classroom, way of teaching and school?
It is a fact that in the digital age we live in today, students are closer than ever to new technologies. From a very young age they can use the computer/tablet with great comfort, while at the same time really enjoy dealing with these media. Therefore, it is not the intention of the children coming to school to disconnect from this digital reality. For me, the ideal would be to have time for a combination of both interactive activities through digital media as well as opportunities for creative experiential activities. In that way each student finds his/her personal space to express his particular inclinations and interests.
4. Tell us three characteristic elements of your teaching style?
The truth is that it is difficult to have to talk about yourself and your teaching style. Perhaps the best answer would come from my own students. But if I even tried a little to act as an outside observer of myself the words I would choose to describe my teaching style would be creativity and flexibility.
5. What was the most awkward moment in your class?
When I first entered the classroom twelve years ago I was very happy and very enthusiastic about my new beginning as a teacher. But very quickly the joy of the first days gave way to embarrassment when I was faced with a question from a student for which I had no answer, which did not happen only once. I had probably formed the image that the teacher is an enlightened personality who has immediately available all the answers to even the strangest of questions. However, my experience in the classroom taught me that the teacher is not there to give answers but to accompany the child on the journey of discovering knowledge and together to get to know the World.
6: What is your favourite bits4school game-product?
I find it very difficult to single out any product. A lot of passion and love has been put in all our products so as to be able to meet the different needs of children. But if I had to choose one, then maybe I would choose the letter and number tracing activities. For us adults, mastering writing is a self-evident skill, but it is an extremely complex process, the basics of which are laid out during the writing stage. During this stage children exercise their fine motor skills while at the same time cultivate their visual memory and perception.
7 + 1: What book do you have on your bedside table?
On my bedside table you will find only one book by Leo Buscalia, "to live, to love and to learn". It has been an endless source of inspiration and courage both in my personal life and my daily teachings.
1. What does bits4school means?
The literal translation of bits4school means pieces for school. We chose this name with Efstathia, in our attempt to describe both our project here and our approach to modern education. The modern educational reality is multidimensional and consists of many small challenges, which teachers are called upon to take into account in their effort to modernize their teaching.
2: Tell us three characteristic elements of your teaching style?
Patience - Understanding - Relationship
Patience is easier said than done. It is a challenge not only for me but for most education professionals. Young children need a lot of time to process their World and our World. By understanding this process and the rhythm of their development in my classroom it is very important that I am able to respond to these needs, by building relationships that will create a safe environment for the child so as to be able to discover the world.
3: What do you remember from your favourite teacher?
The enthusiasm and patience they felt for their field of expertise and the process of passing on that knowledge.
4. What is your favourite bits4school game-product?
I just love the dominos of the multiplication table! Multiplication tables still stress me out a lot and I believe that if the repetition was done in a more constructive way when I was growing up instead of the “parrot” method, I would have been able to comprehend it much better. The play-based approach to mathematics is for me an attractive way of teaching where children are called upon to participate actively.
5: What is your favourite teaching subject?
In kindergarten, the teaching topics are all more or less interconnected, as the same life is "taught". If we are talking about cognitive areas and areas of development, one of my favourites is undoubtedly emotional education.
6: What was your most difficult moment in class?
Various things come to mind, but I think the moments when I was just supervising a large class with young children due to lack of staff were some of the most difficult and stressful times.
7 + 1: What book do you have on your bedside table?
On my bedside table are usually 2-3 books on different topics. But what remains a constant is a book with short stories from the Greek mythology and Aesop Fables. The adventures and achievements of mortals and gods, their heroic deeds and love stories, always manage to travel me, move me and inspire me.