OCW Stories

Demetra Tzevelekos

Educator | Greece

"OCW gives me accessibility to a plethora of valuable resources and courses, thus enhancing my teaching."

Sara Sezun | MIT OpenCourseWare

“Bringing MIT into our University Prep classes has been incredible for my students, opening up their minds to the many possibilities, making them want to excel even more.”

Demetra Tzevelekos describes her students’ experiences with OCW as very positive. Founder and Head of Studies at the International Languages and University Preparation Academy (ILUPA) in Athens, Tzevelekos has been teaching there for nearly 25 years. A native of Montreal, Tzevelekos frequently visited Greece with her family while growing up. During these vacations, Tzevelekos had “the chance to learn about Greece’s education system and language learning, showing me that there was a lot that could be done.” After graduating from McGill University, Tzevelekos moved to Greece to make a difference.

Preparation for university education is very demanding for Greek high school students. They attend their regular school during the day, as well as a foreign language school in the afternoon or evening. Tzevelekos explains that “once their foreign language learning is over, they start their two-year preparation for the extremely competitive Greek university entrance exams, yet once again going to tutorial school in the afternoons or evenings.”

At ILUPA, Tzevelekos and ten other faculty members give classes in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, from the beginner to advanced levels. In addition, they prepare students for international tests such as TOEFL and IB (International Baccalaureate), as well as similar exams in the other languages offered at the school. She also instructs educators on methods for teaching foreign languages.

Besides using OCW materials in her classes, Tzevelekos uses them for her personal enrichment. After completing her MSc in Education, she “missed being back in school, and (having) the great class discussions. I thoroughly enjoyed the courses, and at times it was amazing to witness how some courses that were there fifteen to twenty years ago (at MIT) are still current and prophetic.” Tzevelekos is now planning to take 24.906J Linguistic Studies of Bilingualism through OCW, to assist with research for her Ph.D. in Transforming ESL into Bilingualism.

Students at ILUPA have used OCW materials with great success. “I do not believe in teaching for the ESL exam simply by following the curriculum,” says Tzevelekos. “I believe that by having students read, prepare, and discuss any subject, then they will have worked towards the exam more successfully.” For example, Tzevelekos has used video lectures from MIT’s Linguistics and Philosophy Department courses “to stimulate discussion on the topics, further developing [students] English language [proficiency].” She even encourages her students to work with OCW materials pertaining to subjects they wish to study at the university. This way, they can find out what it is like to study a given subject while improving their English language skills.

Either individually or in groups, ILUPA students have studied many OCW courses, including 7.01SC Biology, 9.00SC Introduction to Psychology, and 9.20 Animal Behavior. “They enjoy being able to access and learn from such a prestigious university,” says Tzevelekos. “It has had an amazing impact both psychologically and academically. We are no longer working to get to University; we are already there and working!”

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