Online learning is becoming increasingly popular.  One of the sectors to benefit from this trend is foreign language learning.  We had the chance to interview Vasiliki Baskos, teacher of  modern Greek and founder of Learn Greek Online.

What is Learn Greek Online and what does it offer?

Learn Greek Online is the first educational organization that offers one to one Greek lessons through Skype with highly educated and extremely experienced native Greek teachers.

Greek lessons online, how did it start?

Teaching modern Greek online as a second language started as a hobby in 2012.  Soon became apparent the need for more experienced Greek language teachers all over the world.  Learn Greek Online was founded in 2013 with a goal, to make learning Greek easier and accessible to everyone that wants to learn it.

What made Learn Greek Online so successful?

With Learn Greek Online everyone from all over the world can learn Greek from the comfort of their home.

  • The lessons are from native Greek teachers.
  • We use the most modern methods on the field of pedagogy for teaching Greek as a foreign language   
  • We utilize every new technological way that can make our lessons interactive, modern, fun and above all efficient.

What in particular Learn Greek Online offers that makes it stand out from other online learning services? 

In Learn Greek Online we don’t believe in prepared courses that are predesigned to fit, more or less, in everyone giving a medium result.  We strongly believe in personalized teaching. We design our courses based on the interests, goals and particular inclinations of every student utilizing 100% of his abilities. 

Before we begin the lessons we examine all those factors that will make our lessons as effective as possible. Of course we also use books, but we are constantly offering personalized tasks and specially designed materials for each student. 

We do not seek and does not interest us to have many students, if this is going to degrade quality of teaching and learning.  

Moreover we have created “Ask Greek”, the first Question & Answer forum where anybody can ask a question related to the Greek language and receive an answer from a qualified Greek language teacher.  The forum is located at https://learn-greek-online.com/ask-greek/ and is free to everyone.

Doesn’t everyone learn the same way?

Of course not. There are people with innate talent that can learn foreign languages very easily and without a teacher. There are also people who want to learn a foreign language but it is difficult for them without knowing why. Some understand grammar and are familiar with its terms, while others have no idea. Some people learn by writing while others learn by listening. For some their native language has the same structure with Greek (e.g. Balkan languages) so it is easier for them to better understand grammar, while others with native languages like English or Japanese find it particularly difficult to because they have completely different structures.  Is it possible for all those people to learn with the same methodology?

Greek has more difficulties compared to other languages?

Greek is one of the most difficult languages in the world. The saying “It sounds Greek to me” it is not at all accidental. Greek is a very old language that reflects its different historical phases in all language levels (grammar, syntax, vocabulary). It has a large variety and complex  conjugation systems. The learning process, therefore, if is not done with the right way, is not always easy and could disappoint those who will try to learn.

Do you apply specific learning strategies that are effective for the Greek?

In Learn Greek Online we apply special learning strategies that helps in learning foreign languages in general (not only Greek) .We practice the most modern ways in the educational field, we continually watch seminars to be informed and become as efficient as possible. We utilize with a specific methodology songs, videos, materials from newspapers and magazines and we use strategies that help memorize vocabulary and grammar rules. 

How important is for a teacher to be a native speaker?

It is very important for somebody to be native speaker of the language he teaches because he talks with much more convenience and more natural accent, but it is not the most important thing. During the first stages of learning a language it is necessary a proper tutor, who will give the right incentives to the student and he will teach him the correct methodology. Also important to a Greek teacher is not only to be a native speaker but to live in Greece. That way he will be able to follow the evolution of the language in every level (vocabulary, accent etc) and to pass it on to the student. Language is a living organism that is constantly evolving. Many times the language of the books and the spoken language of the street have nothing in common.

You also do online Greek lessons to children?

Yes. We have an educator specialized in children (primary education teacher). Teaching children is different and much more demanding than teaching adults. 

From what age a child can learn Greek as a foreign language?

A child can learn Greek from a very young age (like any other foreign language). However, because of the need to use a computer and the physical absence of the teacher, the recommended age is above eight. Of course, we see how each child responds and we act accordingly.  Usually children are much better with the technology than the adults.