Monday, 16 November 2015



Watching, discussing and reflecting on "Freedom Writers" with my teenage students: The ideal way to celebrate the International Day of Tolerance (16th November), especially in the light of the recent inhumane terrorist attacks.

An outstanding film on the value of tolerance and the difficulty, but also glory, of learning how to co-exist. Proof of the brilliance of proper educators and the extent of difference they can make, one person at a time, one class at a time, in an ever-changing multifarious world.


Related information:


School's slides on tolerance:


The film on IMDB:


The trailer:


Quotes as a discussion springboard:


Erin Gruwell: Maybe we should talk about art. Tito's got real talent, don't you think? You know something? I saw a picture just like this once, in a museum. Only it wasn't a black man, it was a jewish man. And instead of the big lips he had a really big nose, like a rat's nose. But he wasn't just one particular jewish man. This was a drawing of all jews. And these drawings were put in the newspapers by the most famous gang in history. You think you know all about gangs? You're amateurs. This gang will put you all to shame. And they started out poor and angry and everybody looked down on them. Until one man decided to give them some pride, an identity... and somebody to blame. You take over neighborhoods? That's nothing compared to them. They took over countries. You want to know how? They just wiped out everybody else. Yeah, they wiped out everybody they didn't like and everybody they blamed for their life being hard. And one of the ways they did it was by doing this: see, they print pictures like this in the newspapers, jewish people with big, long noses... blacks with big, fat lips. They'd also published scientific evidence that proved that jews and blacks were the lowest form of human species. Jews and blacks were more like animals. And because they were just like animals it didn't matter if they lived or died. In fact, life would be a whole lot better if they were all dead. That's how a holocaust happens. And that's what you all think of each other.




Eva: White people wanting respect like they deserve it for free.

Erin Gruwell: I'm a teacher, it doesn't matter what color I am.

Eva: It's all about color, it's about people deciding what you deserve, about people wanting what they don't deserve. About whites thinking they own this world no matter what, you see, I hate white people.

Erin Gruwell: You hate me? You don't even know me.

Eva: I know what you can do. I saw white cops shoot my friend in the back for reaching into his pocket, his pocket! I saw white cops come into my house and take my father away for no REASON except they feel like it! Except because they can! And they can, because they're white. So I HATE white people on sight



Marcus: I've never had a hero before. But you are my hero.

Miep Gies: Oh, no. No, no, no, young man, no. I am not a hero. No. I did what I had to do, because it was the right thing to do. That is all.




Marcus: Lady, stop acting like you tryin' to understand our situation, and just do your little babysitting up there.

Erin Gruwell: That's what you think this is?

Marcus: It ain't nothing else. When I look out in the world I don't see nobody that looks like me with their pockets full unless they're rapping a lyrics or dribbling a ball, so what else you got in here for me?

Erin Gruwell: And what if you can't rap a lyric or dribble a ball?

Andre: It ain't this.

Marcus: I know that's right.

Erin Gruwell: And you all think you're gonna make it to graduation like this?

Andre: I made it to HIGH school ain't nobody stop me.

Marcus: Lady I'm lucky if I make it to 18, we in a war! We graduating every day we live because we ain't afraid to die, protecting our own. At least when you die for your own, you die with respect, you die a warrior.




Erin Gruwell: So when you're dead, you'll get respect, that what you think?

[murmurs of 'yeah' from the class]

Erin Gruwell: You know what's gonna happen when you die? You're gonna rot in the ground, and people are going to go on living, and they're going to forget all about you. And when you ROT, do you think it's gonna matter whether you were an original gangsta? You're dead, and nobody, NOBODY, is gonna want to remember you, because all you left in the world is this.

[holds up Tito's drawing]




Miep Gies: You are the heroes. You are heroes every day.




Margaret Campbell: You can't make someone want education.



Thursday, 12 November 2015

Public Health Care

One of the sad realities of modern life is that, although contemporary medical advances have occurred, the availability of quality treatment for all members of society has yet to be accomplished. In my country, for instance, public health care already exists, but hardly a day goes by without citizens complaining of its malfunction. Hence, topping my changes' list are where treatment is given and who actually gets it.

The question of who gets quality treatment is probably the greatest problem facing public health care nowadays. More specifically, affluent people are more likely to be registered with a prolific treatment, since doctors of National Health System (NHS) are governed by corruption. That is, local physicians expect patients to leave them an exorbitant amount of money in an envelope. A case in point is that even though parents are offered with health insurance, they opt to hand this envelope over for fear of the ramifications if they do not. It is outrageous that daunted patients are exploited this way. So, to alleviate the situation, governments should inform citizens about their rights to health care and the phenomenon of corruption.

The second problem of our NHS that is crucial we comprehend is the fact that although there are public hospital and a wide variety of clinics, some citizens are not able to take advantage of them, either because they are not in close proximity to them, or since they are inadequately equipped. More specifically, not only is the absence of hospitals in rural areas and islands a serious complaint on the grounds that patients have to travel when they are inflicted with an  immense amount of pain, but also the system's inability to care about diseases is undoubtedly blameworthy. Therefore, fund raising so as to build hospitals in underdeveloped parts of the country and setting up evacuation systems, which will facilitate the patients in remote ares are to be done.      

Taking everything into consideration, there is no doubt in my mind that these problems of our National Health System will exist perpetually unless the government and the doctors take action in order to make public health care a service fairly provided to everyone, since health is always the most important priority.                         

Fame and Public Recognition

Since  the dawn of civilization, some individuals reckon that fame and public recognition are the most primeval and powerful stimuli, especially when they strive to surpass their expectations and achieve something outstanding. Nevertheless, I am inclined to believe that this kind of success is not the most important virtue in life, although it is rewarding for a personal feat.

Albeit the fact that the way media treat famous people indicates that the price of fame has peaked, it is an undisputed fact that being publicly acclaimed for an admirable achievement contributes to elevating a person's self-esteem levels. That is, the elation a person feels when they are hailed as paragons of virtue is priceless, especially when those people have experienced an ordeal. On the contrary, people are generally poor judges and their opinions are quite easily swayed by ostentation; subsequently, people who seek fame and public recognition are vain and quasi proud of their career. So, it is crucial we comprehend that achieving something and being modest about it should be our top priority instead of yielding to fame, which is directly related to being in the limelight and having almost no privacy. 

Moreover, it is a fact of contemporary life that fame is no longer contingent on real and substantial achievement; thus, it has been devalued. A case in point is that fame and public recognition are for a tiny minority, when millions of people living, for instance, in unsanitary urban slums struggle to keep the wolf from the door. So, real heroes who deserve to be paid tributes to are simple people who fight with their own demons. Apart from that, far more satisfying than the transient enthusiasm of an audience, is the more permanent love of a partner and family. More specifically, not only does domestic sphere constitute the most honest means of feeling that true value is really recognized, but it is also the only place where true happiness and mental triumph, which are extremely important virtues, can be attained. 

Taking everything into consideration, there is no doubt in my mind that fame and public acclaim actually disgrace the importance of an achievement and should not be the objectives of people. Only if we endeavor to understand what is really crucial in our lives, will we be able to make the greatest achievement, without involving fame. 

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Home Schooling

          There has been a great deal of heated debate about the purpose of home schooling. This alternative method of education is the education of children at home by a parent or a tutor. It's very popular especially in America where 1.7 million families seem to prefer it. However, every coin has two sides and so does home schooling.
         To begin with, there are many benefits of home schooling. Firstly, it focuses on students' educational needs. Parents have the chance to give more emphasis on subjects that their children is not good enough. Without going to school children will not have to deal with bullying or peer pressure. Moreover, students don't need to wake up early. Sleeip is a vital factor in students' lives. If the don't sleep enough, they will be exhausted and ineffective at learning. Also, home schooling strengthens the relationship between children and parents, as they spend quality time together. However, this alternative educational method has significant disadvantages. School is the image of our community and helps students to be more sociable and make more friends. At school children can easily learn how to work in a team and spend a lot of time with other people. By going to school and not spending too much time with parents children learn how to be more independent and more mature. Furthermore, most parents don't have the necessary educational skills in order to teach their students as a professional teacher does or they may not have enough time because of their demanding job. Also, they may lack in control because home schoolers don't see them as teachers, but as parents and therefore, become less obedient. Lat but not least, students may not have pleasant memories with their friends  from school that they can talk about when they are adults.
                  Taking everything into consideration, I believe that the advantages are outweighed by the disadvantages. If I were a parent and had the choice, I would definitely opt for the traditional method of education which is public schools because in my opinion it is the most effective way of learning, taught by professional teachers.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Importance of keeping traditions

Why is it important to keep our own traditions,as well as learn about foreign traditions? 

As far as I am concerned, I firmly believe that tradition is a very significant factor of a country to continiue to exist in the future as it works like a reminder of who we are and what our culture is.. Traditions make up a part of history of each country which describes their residents. Keeping traditions has many positive aspects. First of all people come closer and the gain information about their ancestors and their lifes. What is more people feel secure and they are keen on, on this way of living.Finally it is an significant idea to learn about foreign traditions as well as our country's traditions. Learning about the culture, the way of living, the customs and the history of other lands can be beneficial for you in the future.

Friday, 30 October 2015


Immigration, that is the movement of streams of people, is a primeval phenomenon. Nowadays, though, it has become more intense than ever, since an excessive amount of immigrants are fleeing their countries because they strive to find refuge in safer and established countries. Due to the sheer volume of refugees in different countries, governments and international organizations need to take the initiative to control this wave of desperation. Hence, the question that arises is: 
What can be done to remedy this mammoth problem?

There are many measures that the governments should take in order to alleviate the situation. First and foremost, they could accept a certain amount of refugees so as to restrict illegal entrance in the countries. A case in point is that a wide variety of facilities and many camps could be created after the government will have decided how many people will finally enter the country. Apart from that, the very immigrants should be provided with papers and passports, which will make their legal entrance feasible, without creating a frenzy. As a last resort, inhumane though it may seem, closing the barriers of a country could refrain terrorists from entering illegally; subsequently, terrorist attacks will be eliminated.

There are other implementing measures to deal with immigration. Firstly, the collaboration of all United Nations could be the optimal one, on the grounds that concerted efforts will be made to help immigrants assimilate into foreign societies better. Furthermore, governments in conjunction with International Organizations could offer refugees food supplies, clothes and shelter with which these unfortunate people are not provided when immigrating. Last but not least, the co-ordination of United Nations and International Organizations with governments could contribute to creating an egalitarian atmosphere, governed by deference and tolerance towards diversity, which is vital since locals do not "condescend" to help immigrants.

Taking all this into consideration, there is no doubt in my mind that the problem of immigration will exist perpetually. Only if everyone comprehends the seriousness of the situation, will they come up with beneficial solutions to make the shape of things to come positive in the era of immigration.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Dialogue with an examiner

- Examiner: John, could you tell us a little about your neighbourhood?

- John: I live in a quite neighbourhood in Heraklion near the city centre. It's not really far away from here. My neighbours are all very friendly and kind.

- Examiner: Is there any greenery?

- John: No, there are no trees or big parks near my house which is really disappointing.

- Examiner: John, I wonder if you could tell us about your family.

- John: Well, there are six of us in our family. I have two older sisters called Anna and Maria and an elder brother named Nikos. Anna works as a lawyer, Maria is a physical therapist and Nikos is unemployed. We get along really well together. My mom is a shop owner in Knossos and my dad who is a pensioner helps her at the shop.

- Examiner: It seems you have a big family. So John, could you please tell us about your leisure activities?

-John: I don't have enough time for leisure activities but when I do I love playing volleyball. Also in my spare time I like listening to music or reading a book.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Peer pressure

            Nowadays, lots of adolescents are getting influenced by peers to change their way of thinking, their beliefs and their behaviour. This is called "Peer Pressure".
            First of all, peer pressure has negative impacts on teenagers' lives but also on their psychology. Adolescence is a tough period for them so they feel the need to fit in and to be accepted. Teenagers are trying to change their personality and their personal opinion in order to agree with the opinion of the peer group. But what happens when a teenager can't fit in? A possible rejection from the peer group could cause a lot of problems on their psyche. They may feel they will never fit in another group or make any new friends. Also, peer groups can easily influence them not to study. This fact has negative impacts on their marks and parents may react. Last but not least, they have to drink alcohol or smoke as other peers do. Adolescents want to experiment with all these kind of things but they ignore the tremendous problems they can cause in their health.
            Our community and parents should all help these young people to form their identity and to make their own personality. Most parents may react when they see that their child is depressed so they are trying to have a conversation with their teen, but lots of teenagers refuse to talk with their parents. As they say they are mature enough to make decisions and to understand what is good or bad. Many conferences all around the world are necessary so we can all help both parents understand what is the situation like but also we should advise adolescents and inform them of the problems they may face in their life.
            Taking everything into consideration, I believe that as a society we have to deal with the vital problem called "peer pressure" and whatever other psychological problems may be caused on teenagers' lives. We should inform adolescents that they have their own personality, opinion and personal beliefs and that they shouldn't change in order to fit in to a bad influencial peer group.