A Positive Education


Kids positive education_smallA Positive Curriculum and a Positive Approach

Zenon education aims to be abreast of the latest advancements in educational practices. For this reason it is always updating its curriculum and teaching approach to provide the highest quality of education to its students. It does this through its People, its Program, and its Principles:

 

People

All members of staff at Zenon hold teaching qualifications, and many years of experience in teaching Greek as a second language.

Zenon also takes pride in its Parent Association, which contributes to Zenon events, and organises yearly fundraising activities to enable the purchasing of teaching resources. During the last three years, the Parents Association has raised significant funds which were used for mythology and history books, maps, audio-visual material, ipads and other classroom resources.

Program

The curriculum at Zenon is divided into two strands: Greek culture and language.

Dedication to Greek Culture

Greek culture is taught through Greek dancing and theatre/drama – two areas in which Greece has a rich history. At Zenon students will be immersed in these two strands, to help develop a vibrant Greek identity. Greek dancing has always been offered at Zenon, but Greek theatre is new.

Greek theatre and drama enables Greek language learning through developing a person’s communicative competence by the power of an inquiry-based approach. This approach to teaching and learning has the potential to increase intellectual engagement and foster deep understanding, as it involves a variety of project based teaching techniques. Fittingly, inquiry methodology draws inspiration from Socrates’ questioning method in Ancient Greece, and adopts a complex, interconnected nature of knowledge construction, which strives to provide opportunities for both teachers and students to collaboratively build, test and reflect on their learning.

Applying the inquiry-based approach in drama and theatre will allow students to take an interest in the Greek classics, and facilitate language learning. This is because the stories of these classics provide tools that capture children’s interest, and thus, create motivation to learn and sustain engagement. By encouraging adopting the inquiry-based approach students will inquire, question and debate; and become aware of the great influence of the ancient world on their own lives and identity.

Drama and theatre fosters the communicative approach to language learning through a deeper cultural awareness, extending vocabulary, drawing on literacy, drama and philosophy, enabling critical thinking, flexible problem solving, and works on the emotional involvement typical of all theatre performances.

Dedication to Greek Language

All learners in the process of acquiring a second language have an invisible filter inside of them which Stephen Krashen theoretically calls the “affective filter” that can often result in anxiety, stress, and lack of self-confidence associated with second language learning. Stephen Krashen’s theory of language acquisition claims that, in contrast, learners with high motivation, self-confidence, a good self-image, and a low level of anxiety are better equipped for success in second language acquisition. This invisible filter has an important role in the learning of another language. By decreasing the influence of the affective filter through inquiry based teaching facilitated by theatre and drama the students will develop the love of learning Greek.

What sets us apart at Zenon is our qualified experienced staff and the discernment and our delivery of the contribution of Greek language and classical studies which has contributed to Western civilization.

We are fortunate to a Specialist in the field of second language learning using drama, consult with us to establish this new approach to teaching and learning. 

An exciting Academic Calendar

Zenon has prepared a range of events throughout the year, to keep students interested and excited about learning. In 2016, Zenon will host events such as Language Olympics, Grandparents Days, School Carnival etc and will continue to Zenon also participate in yearly community events, such as the Greek National Day march at the Shrine of Remembrance, Greek Immersion Days, student Film Festivals, and competitions organised by the Modern Greek Teachers Association, the Australian Hellenic Greek Memorial Committee, the Pan-Hellenic Education Program for Cyprus, and the Pontian Association. Zenon always has a strong presence at award ceremonies it participates in.

 

Principles in Positive Education

Zenon has adapted a set of 4 principles that foster positive engagement with the curriculum. These principles are founded in evidence-based positive psychology. The principles will be implemented through the activities and initiatives adopted in Zenon classrooms, across all levels of ability:

1- Developing a growth mindset

At Zenon we recognise that families have competing demands on their time, and their effort in prioritising learning the language of their heritage is to be commended. For this reason we praise effort just as much as achievement, to foster a sense of pride in our students. Research shows that by rewarding effort students are encouraged to increase this effort, and are taught to recognise that they are in control of their achievements. A sense of control and autonomy leads to the best of learning outcomes.

2- Fostering guided attention

Practices of guided attention in education, such as mindfulness, have been scientifically established as effective in focusing the attention of learners whilst at the same time broadening their attention such that they derive creative ideas and solutions to problems. These practices involve sitting quietly and focusing on the task at hand, drawing attention to themselves and their breathing, and taking an active role in learning.

3- Creating positive relationships

Educators have always know that students learn from each other. This is the advantage of learning in a school as opposed to learning alone. Zenon adopts activities that foster group work and a team spirit, respect for each other and positive regard. Positive education recognises the benefits that positive relationships in school bring to learning and well-being.

4- Enhancing positive emotions

Zenon’s key goal is to produce happy students. Positive emotions, such as happiness, pride, and gratitude are integral to positive education, as they enable better development, through the broadening and building of ability. Positive emotions, therefore, are cultivated at Zenon, through its cultural and language curriculum, such that students become more engaged in an adaptive manner.

 

To achieve a positive education and implement these 4 principles, Zenon is collaborating with Dr F Garivaldis, Registered Psychologist and Lecturer and Course Convenor at Monash University. Dr Garivaldis has taught Positive Psychology and Social Psychology at the tertiary level for over 10 years, and also has experience in teaching the Greek Language in Australia. This initiative will also be evaluated, such that the outcomes of these principles can be quantified.

If you would like any further information on the above, or any references of research, please contact:
info@zenon-education.org.au

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