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10 questions with...

Marios Vasiliou

Director, Greek teacher, and Head of Studies

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How many languages do you speak?
I speak 4 languages and a dialect (English, French, Turkish, Greek, and Cypriot).  And I also begin to understand Scottish 2-3 days after landing in Scotland.

What is the most difficult aspect of Greek to teach?
This depends on the student you are working with; for some, it is the pronunciation of Greek whereas for others it is the matchings of articles, adjectives and nouns.

Is there something you particularly enjoy teaching?
I love teaching the alphabet because I can see the results in my students immediately since after one session most of them can actually start reading.  I also love teaching people who like etymology as I find kindred spirits in them. 

Do you find there is much difference teaching Greek to different nationalities? Do different nationalities exhibit different strengths / weaknesses for example, and if so, can you give a couple of examples? 
Absolutely. But, before speaking about some differences, I would like to focus on one similarity amongst almost all adults who embark on learning a new language; irrespective of nationality, they want to learn, and this makes our jobs as language teachers of adults so much easier compared to teaching children who generally would rather be anywhere else but in class with you.  

Back to differences.  People whose languages have more similarities with Greek pick up Greek more easily than those whose languages share very few similarities with Greek.  For instance, Russian-speakers pick up grammar points a lot easier than English-speaking people, in general.  Now, this is not an inviolable rule.  In fact, having already been through the process of learning a foreign language might be equally important as a factor in the whole process.   This applies to the example I gave since apart from the fact that Russian and Greek are more similar grammatically than Greek and English, Russian speakers generally have already been through the process of learning a foreign language which means that they have developed the necessary skills, patience, and perhaps realistic expectations of learning a foreign language as opposed to those who have never been through the process.  

So, in essence, although there are some differences in learning that relate to the different nationalities, there are also other factors at play that could either reinforce those differences or neutralise them.  The most important part in the process, though, is to find each student's strengths and build on to those.  

How would you describe your teaching methodology? 
I think the most characteristic thing about the way I teach is that I try to tailor my lessons to each student's needs, preferences, strengths, and learning style.  Evidently, this is more difficult in large groups than it is in private lessons, but even then, there is room for customisation. 

And now a bit more about you personally....

When life returns to a more normal state, what restaurant in Cyprus would you like to visit again and what dish would you order? 
There are a few places I’m looking forward to visiting again. I would like to go back to the Koh-i-Noor in Paphos and have a fantastic curry. In Nicosia, I always enjoy the food at Elliniko – especially their dips and starters. For sentimental reasons, I would like to go to Achilleon in Agios Omologites, not so much for the food but to raise a glass to my dear friend Alexander. I’m also looking forward to sitting by the sea with some barbouni, salad and potatoes accompanied with an ice-cold beer - Adamos in Governor’s is a good spot for that.  

What's your favourite place in Cyprus to visit?
I love the villages around Paphos, and some hidden gems in the mountains. 

What country would you like to visit most, and why?
I know that my wife wants to visit Iceland soon, so I guess I am going to have to settle for that for the time being.  But, one day, I certainly want to visit South America. 

Can you tell us your favourite book, tv series and film?
Favorite series : "IT Crowd" since it has sufficient political incorrectness to make up for all the political correctness that all the other series have together.
Favorite Film: "The Butterly" (a Spanish movie about the Spanish Civil War)
Favorite Book: this changes quite often, but I was recently in awe while reading Roberto Bolano's "2666". One book that I think is an absolute masterpiece is Milan Kundera's "The Joke".  But, I am sure I would come up with something completely different if I were to answer this tomorrow. 

Name 3 things you'd take on a desert island with you.
My bicycle, my wife's pillow, and a radio with a never-ending supply of batteries.

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