Insight or Perspective: What is the problem with Greek language learning in Australia?


By Eleni Elefterias

What do you think is the problem with Greek language learning in Australia and do you have a solution?

Recently, I asked this question to a University colleague from the Engineering and Biomolecular Faculty of Sydney University.

“The teaching of the language needs more structure and to be geared for our Australian born children,” says Alex Missiris.

Alex successfully taught her daughter, Christina, Greek and highly recommends a private tutor.

“As an Australian-born Greek, I was not impressed with my own language learning as a child at Greek afternoon school, when I was slapped across the face and fell to the floor because I couldn’t answer a question in Greek. This happened in the 70’s and it stopped me from learning better Greek.

“I went through eight different tutors until I found the right one for my daughter in Michelle Pikoulas  If it were not for Michelle, my daughter who is half Italian, would not have acquired the fluent language skills in Greek she has today,” says Alex.

Alex gave up Greek school after her bad experience, which is a pity, because for those of us who persevered, in the 60’s and 70’s, we learnt a lot.

Of course, there will always be good and bad teaching. Today we are lucky that we have a new influx of Greek teachers from Greece migrate to live or work Australia.

Unfortunately, their teaching methods are geared to children in Greece who have already had much incidental learning before starting school.

Luckily, we have a new program offered by the Sydney Institute for Community Languages directed by Professor Ken Cruickshank, which is open to all teachers of Community languages, whether they have completed University previously or not.

The course provides is a valuable resource for teachers as not only does it teach teaching methodology but it also teaches the difference between indigenous language learners, in their own country and children born to migrants in Australia. 

READ MORE: How can associations help the continuation of the Greek language?

*Eleni Elefterias-Kostakidis is a teacher of Modern Greek and University lecturer. Read her column ‘Insight or Perspective’ in Greek, every Saturday in The Greek Herald’s print edition or get your subscription here.




By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


Latest News

83rd Anniversary of Battle of Crete marked by Memorial unveiling in Thomastown

Greek-Australian Memorial dedicated to the Battle of Crete and the ANZACs was unveiled in Thomastown, Victoria.

Watchdog fines Greek Interior Ministry, MEP over diaspora email data breach

A data breach watchdog has imposed fines on the Greek Ministry of Interior and MEP Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou.

Sakkari out of French Open as Tsitsipas survives sticky start

The French Open has started this week and whilst Maria Sakkari was knocked out, Stefanos Tsitsipas survived his sticky start.

Hellenism takes over Brighton-Le-Sands as Greek Fest makes triumphant return

On Sunday, Bay Street in Brighton-Le-Sands was packed with people as the Greek Fest made its triumphant return after 21 long years.

Cypriot communities across Australia and NZ gather for 51st Annual Conference

On Friday, May 24, the Federation of Cyprus Communities and Organizations of Australia and NZ officially inaugurated its 51st Annual Conference following a four-year...

You May Also Like

Outgoing Ambassador of Greece in Australia honoured with prestigious Grand Cross

Archbishop Makarios of Australia met with the outgoing Ambassador of Greece in Australia, George Papacostas on Thursday, February 22.

Brisbane’s Greek community leaders attend civic reception to mark Greek Revolution bicentenary

Brisbane's Greek community leaders have attended a civic reception to mark Greek Revolution bicentenary at Brisbane's City Hall.

#KeepItGreek watching the classic 1970 Greek film “A Crazy… Crazy… 40-year-old”

The comedy by Alekos Sakellarios and Christos Giannakopoulos "A Crazy… Crazy… 40-year-old", was shown in the 2012-2013 theatre season in Mikro Pallas.