An interview with Sophia Mavridi

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1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your teaching background?

I’m an EFL teacher and a teacher trainer. I’ve taught for more than 15 years mainly at primary and secondary school level in Athens, Greece and quite recently as a senior teacher in Cambridge, UK. I’m currently completing my Master’s degree in educational technology & TESOL with the University of Manchester. I am also involved in the IATEFL LT SIG committee as treasurer.

2. Tell us a bit about your session. What was your inspiration source?

My session is about “Transforming Internet Users into Digital Citizens” and was inspired by the research I have been conducting for the purpose of my MA thesis. In essence, I will be talking about the pedagogical considerations such an endeavor involves and about the powerful role of teachers.

3. Why are you interested in the area you’ll be presenting on?

I am very keen in using technology in the classroom. I believe that effective use of technology can revolutionise teaching and learning; there are so many opportunities to connect, learn and share. However, just being able to use technology competently is no longer enough. People should have the skills, competences, ethics and knowledge to be effective users of it. They should be aware of the roles and responsibilities online participation involves and be able to make informed decisions about it. Simply raising awareness of online risks or scaring students about potential dangers is not going to change their mindsets. They need skills and mentoring so our role can be really important here.

4. In terms of teaching experience what kind of audience do you think your presentation would appeal more to?

I think that teachers who have integrated technology into their contexts will find it useful because they will be able to reflect on their own teaching. However, it may also be a good learning opportunity for those who haven’t used technology yet; teachers might be skeptical about the risks or dangers involved so knowing that they can actually handle risk may encourage them to give technology a try J

5. What should your audience expect from your session?

This is an interactive workshop so along with theoretical concepts regarding online risks and opportunities, teachers will engage in an interactive activity aimed at giving them a real perspective of what has been discussed. All in all, there will be a lot of discussion and group work along with some food for thought.

6. What are three words that sum up your presentation?

Enlightening, interactive, thought-provoking

7. When giving a professional presentation do you feel that you become richer in any way?

Most certainly! It is the prior research on my topic and the interaction with the audience that make each presentation a learning experience for me. Like teaching, presenting to an audience of professionals can never be mechanic or passive. I contribute to their learning as much as they contribute to mine.

8. Which other presenter(s) are you looking forward to seeing?

There are so many great sessions this year. Some of them clash so it’s always difficult to decide where to go. I usually decide on the day prior to the event and that’s what I’m going to do this year as well 🙂

9. Do you blog? Tell us about it

I do blog and I love it. Blogging gives me a voice and also helps me reflect on my teaching. I currently blog less frequently than I wish as my research thesis takes up most of my time. But once I finish, I know I will be a more regular blogger again. You can read my posts here http://sophiamavridi.edublogs.org/

10. Have you been to a TESOL Greece Convention before or is this your first time?

This is my third time as a presenter. I have also attended a couple of conferences when I was a student.

11. What other aspects of the conference are you looking forward to?

Catching up with colleagues I haven’t seen for a long time, and also meeting new ones. Apart from educational, TESOL annual conventions are always enjoyable and give you plenty of opportunities for socialising and networking.

Interview by Natassa Papakonstantinou and Julia Alivertis, Roving Reporters for the 35th Annual International Convention.

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