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【Excellent Foreign Teacher】Anastasia: Learning and Innovating in Cultural Exchanges

Time:April 11, 2022  Author:Liao Yisha  Editor:Kyle Muntz, Wang Mengyu  Source:From the GDUFS news website   Photo:From the GDUFS news website

North Campus, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, April 11th 2022: To enhance overseas teachers’ sense of honor and responsibility to participate in teaching, scientific research, social service and other work, fully arouse the enthusiasm and creativity to participate in the international construction of GDUFS, and create a working atmosphere of love and dedication, striving for progress and excellence, GDUFS held its annual election of “Outstanding Overseas Teachers” awards. Alison Mullins and other teachers were awarded the title of “Outstanding Overseas Teacher in 2020-2021”. They have consistently showed an exotic style on the lectern, and built a cultural bridge through their charismatic work. GDUFS specially planned its report on "Outstanding Overseas Teachers", and interviewed the overseas teachers and teachers from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan who have won that title. It was an opportunity to listen to their experience of learning and living at GDUFS. This shows the persistence and dedication of overseas teachers who devote themselves to educating and spreading culture.

As a Greek foreign teacher at GDUFS, Anastasia Gkortsila has made an important contribution to the development of the faculty of Greek since she began to serve in the department. This school year, Anastasia Gkortsila taught several core courses for the Greek majors. She has a rich history of experience, a serious and responsible attitude towards lesson preparation, innovative and interesting teaching methods, and is able to interact with students excellently. Her teaching has been well received by students. Anastasia Gkortsila is strict with herself, and works serious-mindedly and with responsibly. What’ more, she cares a lot about the construction of the Greek major and supports it with all her efforts. Also, she has played an important role in the construction of the Greek major and the development of this discipline.

Anastasi Gkortsila in class

Actively integrate to facilitate cultural exchange

“Do the students understand what I mean? Should I add a bit more Chinese-style communication?” This is the question that Anastasia asked herself when she first started teaching. At the end of each class, she will constantly reflect on her teaching methods, and continuously improve her teaching through suggestions and feedback. "To come into contact with a new language is to come into contact with a new culture, and to come into contact with a new culture is to come into contact with a new way of thinking. I try to put myself in someone else's shoes and think about things." She explained that teachers should improve themselves by studying hard, and they should set a good example for students at the same time.

Anastasia feels fortunate to have been able to come to GDUFS as a foreign teacher, meet so many excellent teachers and students, and experience this contact with new cultures and a new environments. The process of teaching is also the process of learning, she loves to learn new knowledge. In order to better understand what the students need, Anastasia signed for the university’s Chinese class and learned about Chinese culture. At the same time, she carried out the "Greek Corner" series of lectures to introduce Greek culture, history, customs and habits to student. That is a process of cultural exchange, and it also gives her the opportunity to continue to learn something new. She is very grateful for such activities and cherishes them.

Never feel tired, innovate by constantly trying

Teaching style plays a particularly important role in teaching when Anastasia tells the story of her career. Because of the impact of the epidemic, teaching couldn’t be carried out face-to-face, and it was difficult to get timely feedback from students. Anastasia constantly adjusts her teaching style according to the actual situation. In the process of online teaching, she encourages all the students to open their mouths, and students who are too shy to say something can turn off the camera to express their ideas more boldly. In the process of offline teaching, she uses group cooperation, personal evaluation, as well as impromptu sharing of small stories in the classroom to make the courses more interesting. Her goal is to capture the enthusiasm of the students. This is a continuous attempt to increase the interaction between teachers and students, enrich the course with new content, and strive to be humorous and effective when lecturing, so as to teachers as well as students. "The fastest way to learn a language is to use it. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. In my case you don't have to be afraid of making mistakes. You can just do what you want to do, just say what you want to say," Anastasia said.

Being a teacher at GDUFS is blissful

"I missed the life here, and that’s why I'm back,” Anastasia said. Last year, when many foreign teachers were stranded in their own countries due to the epidemic, Anastasia submitted an application to come back to school, and decided to return to Guangzhou to devote herself to the language teaching career she loved. Teaching, which began as a job, a profession, had eventually a career she genuinely loved. As a young teacher, Anastasia has resolutely learned to integrate her love of China into her life. She has gained a lot; her heart is full of pride.

Whenever she talks about her work, Anastasia always smiles and says she was lucky. She said that GDUFS is the moist soil of cultural collision: it provides a port for cultural exchange. The convergence of multiple cultures at GDUFS builds a thriving cultural atmosphere. Although she is far away from her homeland and often misses it, Anastasia has stuck to her post for the sake of the students she loves, the teaching career she loves, and the cultural exchanges she yearns for. In her opinion, it is a blessing to become a teacher in GDUFS. "It's a place that offers different kinds of opportunities,” she said. “Here, I can learn and make progress. It’s a career I’m devoted to. It’s how I experience the Chinese culture that I love."