An interview with Lilika Couri

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

I have had the privilege to teach and conduct teacher development courses and EFL School management consultancies for an impossible number of years. Suzanne Antonaros and I will be celebrating the 30th Educational & Training Consultants this June. I think I must have taught all levels throughout my career. However, my studies and first teaching background is in Literature. I believe I was very lucky because this background has helped me tremendously in terms of working with the language as well as in terms of personal philosophy.

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

EFL professionals have been talking so much about technology and I do use it whenever it is possible (It is not, you know, in many places/countries, in some schools and in certain situations), but we tend to forget two of the most important and effective teaching/learning visual “tools” in the classroom: the learners and the teacher. So, I started focusing on the importance of body language, especially the body language of the teacher and on how it could further encourage and empower learners. If you really think about it, it’s like a dance. In the EFL classroom, there is a two-way communication between teacher and learners; at times, one leading and the others following. In many ways, a kind of a “tango”.

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

I guess, teachers of all levels, especially though, teachers who are aware of body language and would like to talk about it more.

4. What should your audience expect from your session?

Practical ideas/suggestions, a lot of “movement” and ideas from those attending, i.e., demonstrations of their body language in the classroom, which, hopefully, create rapport, minimize threat and fear and encourage learning.

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

Awareness – communication – inspiration

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

Absolutely. It’s a kind of giving and taking, a “communion” with those who understand you fully, as they know exactly what your profession is. Many friends and even family do not usually know exactly what it is we really do. So, being among your peers, helps one measure herself, confirm ideas, practices and feel content. In addition, there is a great deal of research and work before the workshop. So, learning goes on.

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

If I could, just about all, but other than the plenary speakers, I’d like to attend the presentation of one of our trainees, Olga Giovanni. There is nothing more gratifying. And, I will try to attend the talks of visitors from abroad. This is something Mario Rinvolucri taught me long ago, i.e., to honor those who come from far away and honor us with their presence”.

8. Do you blog? Tell us about it

No, I don’t. AND, I don’t chat. Don’t have the time. I do respond to colleagues personally when they write to me.

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

From day one (January 30th , 1980). I’m a founding member of TESOL Greece and one of the people today who cannot possibly believe that we are celebrating 35 years. A dream come true, indeed.

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

I’m looking forward to seeing old friends, especially those who renew their TG  membership, having a chat with some of them, hugging again our colleagues and friends from other parts of Greece and abroad, reflecting and feeling grateful that the TG Board has been able to perform a “miracle” again, like all the Boards in the past.

And, can I say thank you to you two, Julia and Natassa, for all the work you have put into it and for the work you’ll do throughout the convention.

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

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