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Dealing with adults

hyphensa CEO

Since the beginning of our co-operation with schools it has been pretty obvious that the adult students’ issue is rather a painful one. Adult classes are necessary, but at the same time they are problematic for the same reasons throughout Greece. We started our market research focusing on the adult sector and here are some interesting and useful results, I hope, and ideas.

First of all, this year’s research methods became more sophisticated. We approached a respectable sample of about 1200 employed adults, as well as a smaller sample of about 800 students in tertiary education. However, our research did not consist of only a set questionnaire, but an amazing 40% of both samples agreed to fill in a more in-depth personal questionnaire, along with a short placement test in English.

It was amazing to see that 48% of the employed adults and 68% of the university students claimed to hold a B2 certificate, while 24% of them held a higher certificate as well, equal to C1 or C2. The average time since they successfully took the examination was approximately 11 years.

The shocking results of the second, more in-depth research, which took place exclusively amongst the adults who held a certificate, revealed that the certificates barely reflect the adults’ actual level of English. More specifically, the placement test we gave them showed that part of the sample could only just reach B1 level, with the majority only able to confidently perform up to A2. Only 4% of the sample that moved onto the secondary level of our research proved to know the foreign language in practice up to the level reflected by their certificate.

The tasks provided were precisely linked to the specific needs of using a foreign language, i.e. dealing with the spoken language requirements for everyday and work environments, as well as written forms encountered in work and social settings, like application forms, short reports and e-mails. The tasks for the university students’ community included application forms, covering letters, reference letters, CVs and short essays.

Interviewing managers or employers with activity in other countries, we saw that very few of them were confident enough to rely on their knowledge of a foreign language. Usually, they travel with an employee who speaks the foreign language better, but with a lot of compromise, or sometimes they have a hired interpreter or a non-official interpreter. Actually, about 70% of the managers/employers we asked do not mind the amateurism of a relative or an acquaintance, either for on-site support or translation of documents. This is, of course, so indicative of the business practices in our country, relating to the complete lack of competitive advantages in every professional field.

Another shocking conclusion from our research was that 100% of the sample recognise the importance of speaking at least one foreign language well, but when we moved on with the more in-depth questionnaires and placement tests, the vast majority of the sample answered as follows:

  1. They are highly interested in examinations and certificates only if and when these are prerequisites for employment or a promotion, either in the public or private sector, or for studies abroad.
  2. Almost 100% of the secondary sample replied that they do not relate or connect examinations and certificates to the thorough knowledge of a foreign language.
  3. They do not feel that the thorough knowledge of a foreign language is in substance important, and when they need it every now and then, they think they can get by with limited knowledge or help from somebody else.
  4. They do not consider the thorough knowledge of a foreign language a real competitive advantage in finding a job, as most employers do not pay the necessary attention to foreign language proficiency.
  5. They do not recognise any foreign language knowledge standard in certificates, apart from as an official qualification if and when required by employers or agencies.

This entire attitude, if not mentality, reflects both the tendency of Greeks to consider private foreign language education a necessary evil, and the lack of responsibility in business and state initiative, ambition and success. However, it also shows the need for this nation to be trained to better understand what the international environment we are part of requires. The role of the foreign language teaching community has not been exploited to the full as, apart from students and teachers, we should be carriers of another mentality, promoting cultural awareness and international communication, as well as promoting or designing measures against our national isolationism. As a field, we take the need of knowing and speaking a foreign language for granted, and all we advertise is that we teach foreign languages at our schools, and that we do it well! Our exclusive focus on the children’s/pupils’ community, which as long as the certificates are recognised can be taken for granted, has limited our scope into how we can help our students “finish" English in as few years as possible. However, we forget that young learners do not themselves make the decision to go to a foreign language centre independently. And if the situation stays as such, then the only criteria in choosing the best foreign language centre will be just the distance from home and how cheap the tuitions fees are. Not to mention of course that 38% of foreign language centre owners have not even been to the country of the language they teach, even for a week…

Focus on Publishing



EdTech for rapidly developing economies

by George Theodoropoulos, Production Editor, hyphen SA

The transition to exports for the most rapidly growing markets of Asia, the Middle East and Latin America has created an emerging need for foreign language learning in a larger proportion of the population than ever before. Markets, countries and cultures that we once considered to be isolated are now blooming in fields such as construction, exports and the service sector.

Emerging needs

The emerging industry needs for recruitment in these markets has raised the standard of qualifications and skills required by jobseekers. Younger generations of scientists and executives are facing competition resulting from the continual growth of markets, and they respond by seeking international quality training, especially in the fields of new technology, economics and media. The working language in these fields, amongst many more, is English.

English as the primary choice

Making informed choices regarding studies and career opportunities within the global market and the online world makes English the primary choice of medium and means to success. Not only does the English language offer a universal terminology in most growing sectors, it is also interwoven with business communication and the culture of work on a global scale. The advantages of this mindset is what Education Technology (EdTech) is trying to make use of for the benefit of the millennial learner.

EdTech and innovation in publishing

Modern educational content is now influenced by the diversifying needs of leaners. It comes in a number of digital formats such as whiteboards, eBooks, online learning platforms and apps. It is interactive and is tailored to the needs of learners. It can easily become available on a global scale and is platform agnostic (i.e. it can be used with any device). It can also adapt to the needs of every discipline, business and market through the Extensible Markup Language or XML that it is now built with. This allows publishers to present, manage and control the learning path according to market needs.

The fastest growing markets in the world have already jumped on the bandwagon of EdTech, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world follows suit.

Customer Spotlight



Content marketing opportunities and prospects

by Yannis Stergis,
CRMDr, President – CEO, hyphen SA

Content marketing is a very popular method of approaching and attracting new customers and clients. However, constant changes in the digital world dictate constant redefinition and updating of the term.

The mobile technology “revolution” continually creates new data whilst interactive content dominates all platforms and devices, thus creating the need for properly adapted content.

Despite this, we are wrong to believe that consumers will keep “consuming” everything we produce without testing it through research or their own critical thought. We must provide them with the best possible content in order to win them over.

The truth is, however, that many consumers are addicted to mediocrity. To communicate with these people, we first need to understand them and show creativity and loyalty.

Besides, people are not just looking for more content but for more relevant and targeted content. Indeed, although content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, it triggers consumers’ awareness three times more.

Β2Β companies with blogs get 60% more website traffic than companies without blogs. Branded content is much more effective than direct mails, public relations or printed ads.

Within this framework, the strategy to increase engagement through content marketing use boils down to the following key points:

  • Acquaintance and contact. We approach people or our followers under the best possible conditions. We are convincing and real.
  • Forging relationships. We connect people to the right content. We bring people closer to us.

For a company that aspires to enter international markets, it goes without saying that the editing of its website is not a luxury, but an unavoidable necessity.

  • Fulfilling goals. We keep our consumers interested and enthusiastic. Our relationship is developed by means of doing more quality and quantitative work.

True engagement isn't something you sell. True engagement is something you feel.

Engineering education: A necessity for the future

by Eleni Michailidou, Public Relations, hyphen SA

According to the cynical philosopher Diogenes, “Education is prudence for the young, wealth for the poor and jewels for the rich.” With these few words, Diogenes expresses the great importance education holds for society. Education, however, should not be addressed as a static concept or as an object that we are not allowed to touch. On the contrary, it has to be in perpetual motion, continually adapting to new ideas – technological, social and economic – to remain contemporary and alive.

Unfortunately, education in Greece seems ‘glued’ to obsolete methods; it does not cultivate knowledge as a stepping stone in life, but rather parrots without meaning. Concurrently, it is considered a process that affects only children and young people, cutting the older generations ‘out of the game’. However, the parameters have now changed and there is a need to adapt to a new reality, accepting the fact that we now live as equal members of a global community – one that is interconnected, interactive, restless and full of opportunities and challenges that can lead us forwards with knowledge as our weapon.

hyphen SA, the only group in Europe specialising in engineering education within an international setting, has designed and implemented a series of educational programmes which utilise innovative entrepreneurial techniques and state-of-the-art technological tools to serve this very philosophy and need. Bearing the signature and educational expertise of the αriston project, hyphen SA’s educational programmes retrain society in the skills required by parents, children, young people, entrepreneurs and educators, so they can meet the demands of the future of work. The programmes also train participants how to take control of their lives and how to effectively use cognitive load as a daily tool to succeed, finally, in the ultimate goal of education: to be the very best we can be.

Company News

Second cycle of protifora αriston project coming soon!

From Friday 4 November 2016, the President of hyphen SA, Mr Yannis Stergis, and journalist, Mr Dimitris Diamantidis are back on air across Thessaloniki and Northern Greece. Every Friday at 10 am, the second cycle of the successful radio course protifora αriston project (http://protifora.edu.gr/) will air on Focus 103.6 FM.

Based on Mr Stergis’ new book, ‘the αriston project CODEX: A guide to personal and entrepreneurial empowerment’, the second cycle of the radio show focuses on how to develop businesses with assured viability, offering useful advice on the valuable tools required by entrepreneurs who strive to achieve sustainable growth for their companies.

Tune in to Focus 103.6 FM every Friday at 10 am, and register at http://protifora.edu.gr/, to be able to participate in the unique educational radio course and acquire certification from the centre of educational expertise, the αriston project!


the αriston project

Edu KMS: The competitive advantage
for educational enterprises

by Dimitris Panagiotidis, Business Analyst, hyphen SA

The Knowledge Management System for educational enterprises (Edu KMS) is an essential and contemporary tool for the overall organisation and management of educational processes. Through this flexible database, businesses and institutions operating within the field of education can facilitate not only the everyday practices and procedures of its personnel, but also that of its customers.

The Edu KMS organises classes and simultaneously stores records relating to teachers and students, enabling educational organisations and businesses to be able to consistently and systematically monitor their entire range of operations. The platform also offers the ability to manage customers and personnel through the efficient use of information relating to their interactions with the online system. The possibilities presented by the Edu KMS extend to financial analysis as well. Based on the theory of cost centres for businesses, the Edu KMS provides the additional advantage of automatic invoice creation.

With the Edu KMS, we are not only simply referring to a database which records information and events. Beyond the enterprise itself, the hyphen SA software is an equally valuable tool in the hands of learners. In a user-friendly environment, students can follow their schedule and organise their tasks from their own computer. Additionally, they have the opportunity to discover their individual learning style and assess their level of English by completing the personality test and placement test. The personality test helps learners to understand their learning preferences and as a result, how they can most effectively acquire knowledge.

Users also have the opportunity to access the Young Pioneers and Young Pioneers STEAM courses, combining the management of knowledge with the pioneering educational programmes of hyphen SA. All these services are available for smartphones via the mobile application, αristonGate. From student management and educational programmes to the actual transfer of knowledge and supervision of cost centres, hyphen SA’s Edu KMS presents the contemporary solution for every educational enterprise that seeks new competitive advantages in the marketplace.


elaeon

Young Pioneers STEAM – Lessons have started!

The lights were turned on, the desks pushed aside and a highly entertaining lesson got off to a flying start at hyphen SA’s Eleaon. On Thursday 6 October, children and their parents took part in the first lesson of the year, familiarising themselves with the English language through games designed to develop knowledge and teamwork.

The Young Pioneers STEAM and Very Young Pioneers (Junior) educational programmes aim to immerse young students in the English language through games and fun activities. Over the coming weeks, the learning platform will gradually be introduced.

These courses are designed to not only help children learn English effectively, but to also support them through the development of skills necessary in their daily lives. The Young Pioneers STEAM programme enables children to explore a variety of subjects at a level relevant to their age, all whilst learning English experientially. Cultural awareness, critical thinking, transdisciplinarity and virtual collaboration are skills that form a key part of every lesson in the Young Pioneers STEAM programme.

hyphen SA’s Young Pioneers and Young Pioneers STEAM programmes teach the essential skills required for the future of work.

For more information, contact us on 2310888125 or email f.boukouvala@hyphensa.com


Opinions

Towards another philosophy of communication

by Dora Papapanagiotou, Senior Educational Consultant, hyphen SA

The IATEFL ESPSIG International Conference took place on 1–2 October, at the IST College in Athens. The theme of the convention was English Language Teaching for Specific Purposes, and hyphen SA had the opportunity to gain valuable insight into the methodology behind teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and English for Academic Purposes (EAP).

The conference emphasised the importance of English as a lingua franca, stressing that a general knowledge of the English language is not sufficient; professionals should also be aware of terminology specific to their own field.

The role of the educator is no longer the traditional teacher that only teaches grammar and vocabulary. The teacher is now the organiser, motivator and consultant. It is crucial that the teacher is constantly informed about developments within the job market, new skills and relevant methodology that is needed for professional development within every field.

The conference’s workshops included how to create a comprehensive curriculum vitae, role-plays for professional and academic interviews, samples of presentations and speeches, as well as analysis of the teaching methods utilised for ESP and EAP.

Participants were informed about the uses and benefits of technology in the classroom, especially when interaction between professionals and students can be achieved via distance learning so that essential time is not lost on travel. After all, everyone now has the opportunity to attend courses and lectures by professors and specialists from all over the world, without limitations of place and time and with the ability to work at their own pace.

The conference presentations also highlighted the importance of the ability to communicate with people worldwide. Reference was made to the challenges that have to be faced due to cultural differences, and it was also highlighted that understanding and acceptance are needed to achieve the best results for collaborations of all kinds.

The pioneering educational programmes of hyphen SA reflect current trends and international business reality. Through Young Pioneers STEAM, children familiarise themselves with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) terminology from a very young age, learning English, conducting experiments and completing projects in order to gain knowledge and new experiences that will prove invaluable in their future studies.

Furthermore, the ROIEDU Global Skills programme is designed for adolescents and young adults who are preparing to enter the job market. The course has been created to teach students about the skills required for successful entrepreneurship, start-ups and employment in the competitive international marketplace. Graduates of this programme are equipped with skills to make them highly competitive in a range of professional environments.

hyphen SA continually adapts the training and development of its personnel in order to fulfil the needs of the constantly changing new economic environment.


hyphen SA
Vas. Olgas 24b, GR-54641, Thessaloniki, Greece
T: +30 2310 888 125
F: +30 2310 887 208
info@hyphensa.com www.hyphensa.com

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