My learning diary Katerina Toubeki - GREECE

happy to be joining this PBL course!

About me...

I 've been teaching English for more than 20 years, most of them in the Primary Sector. My main concern is to create an enjoyable and motivating environment for language learning, which stimulates my need for experimenting with a variety of tools and techniques. It also gives a refreshing perspective to my everyday teaching and helps me understand how children and young people think.

My school

I work in the 6th Primary School of Pyrgos, Greece. It is a large public school with about 400 students and 30 teachers. We have very good computing facilities, but not enough outdoor space and green areas. We are quite experienced in European collaborations and are working towards enhancing our European profile and building up a setting of productive collaboration among teachers.

My area

I live in Pyrgos, Greece. Pyrgos is a town of about 30.000 people, very close to the archaeological site of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. It is an area surrounded by beautiful countryside and seaside areas with clear blue water.


1.1 Why PBL?

Our world is full of problems that work against progress. PBL can help young people develop skills of coping with difficulties and working out solutions. It can foster creativity and stimulate initiative. It can make the most of diversity in thinking and foster collaboration. It is a method that can stimulate work for authentic goals.

1.2 Why is PBL not widely used in my educational system?

Although most Greek teachers would agree that PBL is the ideal tool for educating future successful personalities, they wouldn’t be really prepared to implement it in everyday school practice. The main reason for this is unwillingness of a large number of teachers to abandon traditional tools and techniques. Teachers would need to go through training and devote extra time in order to be able to put PBL in practice. They would need to abandon long used testing techniques and to design new material. They would need to re-consider the bulk of knowledge that long used schoolbooks mean to provide. Moreover, successful implementation of PBL would require good collaboration among teachers of various subjects in the same school. It would require teachers to make very good use of technology and be ready to work beyond classroom walls.

In a nutshell, teachers would need specific training in order to become more effective professionals. As long as teaching improvement is left to individual initiative, PBL use is hard to be widely adopted .

1.3 Reflecting on my teaching practice

I try to apply a communicative approach in language teaching, by exposing students to authentic language as often as possible. We use the textbooks a lot, but most of the times I try to enrich language input with material from videos, songs, books or comics.

Students often do projects related to our points in focus and often collaborate, but we haven’t used PBL a lot. We have used some of its aspects, though, like working in groups to identify a problem and finding solutions, organizing campaigns in the school or producing digital material.

I try to incorporate technology tools in my teaching as I have seen that their use motivates young learners and provides a realistic setting for learning.

In general, teaching English in the public sector in Greece is a very complicated issue. Most students take English language lessons in afternoon private schools or private lessons at home. The structure of such lessons is strictly exam-oriented and the main goal is for students to get a certificate as early as possible.

How can I persuade parents that language learning in our times is not just obtaining a certificate?

And how can I improve learning standards without missing out on the general demand for a certification at an early age?

These are MY Problems requiring solution.

I intend to experiment with PBL in ELT next school year by having 6th grade students design a series of English language lessons and asking them to teach younger students.

1.6 My driving question:

How can learning English be fun?

Student-led survey on the essence of English language teaching.

Module 2

My collaboration picture


This is a game having its roots in ancient Greece. It’s called “dielkinsteda”. The members of each team need to combine their effort in pulling the rope.

In every collaboration, individual skill and effort is very important, but it means nothing on its own. It needs to function as a part of the group.

Good organization of "joint forces" is a key to success!

An activity I use a lot for building up team spirit is chain story writing. Each group produces a few words and an unfinished image and passes on to the next group to complete. There is music on the background. Every time the music pauses, the information changes group until the story and drawings are completed.

Involving the community

I work in a primary school. In my opinion what schools mostly need is good communication with parents. Parents can offer a wide range of cooperation opportunities and can be of great help. At the same time teachers create a good platform of communication which can help their educating role. Among parents we have found professionals on almost any subject we wanted to introduce to young learners and help them see applications in the real world.

Moreover, a school can create links with university representatives. A cooperation with young people can have a very important effect on children development.

As far as English language teaching is concerned, it's good to bring students in contact with international organizations and involve them in actions with a worldwide effect.

Module 3

Teamwork divides the tasks and multiplies the success.

Life is full of failures. It's a matter of personal choice to use them constructively. Every failure is a leadway to a new beginning.

My most recent failure was with an Etwinning project I started this year. My partner didn't cooperate, although I had planned the project very well and students were very enthusiastic about it. I'm not going to give it up. I want to go on next year. Anyone interested? For more details here's my mail:


My results!

You got: You are quite resilient! Your answers indicate that you have many traits and thinking habits that are associated with greater levels of resilience, which is a very good thing. You are likely more able to handle life's crises – both major and minor – and turn difficulties to your advantage, or at least weather them optimally. The resources below can help you to build even more resilience in your life, and help those in your life do the same.

Confidence and solution-focused coping can relieve stress. - Sam Edwards

Resilience is a quality that helps us through daily stressors and major life crises. While some of our resilience is associated with inborn personality traits, there’s much you can do to develop your resilience level.


Imagine the intentional focus you would bring to crossing a rushing creek. Each stepping-stone is different in shape,each distance uneven and unpredictable, requiring you to tread with all senses intact. the simple act of traversing water on stones is an extraordinary exercise in concentration. (Margaret Regan, teacher & founder, Martha's Vineyard master teaching Institute)


A great sharing experience! Thank you Teacher Academy organizers!

Module 4

Assessment in Greece

In our educational system we mainly use summative assessment but in my class I prefer the formative ways to get immediate feedback of students progress. In my English lesson I use a variety of techniques according to the age. For younger students: they have a card on their desk for every lesson, which we also use for vocabulary revision. If there is something they don’t understand, they hold their card up. Sometimes I ask if everything is clear, and then all students have to put their cards up. If it is turned on the coloured side, it means OK! If it’s turned on the white side it means not ok! For older students there is a box on mydesk, on which they can write their questions concerning the lesson. This year I started using the edmodo platform for communication with my 6th grade students , so they can also send me a message there from home.

Created By
Katerina Toubeki
Created with images by neufal54 - "greece olympia olympic games" • MemoryCatcher - "column ruins roman" • ballswinger - "sunset sea greece"

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