Alumni Profile: Kosta Dalageorgas
There are many reasons why Kosta Dalageorgas chose to earn an ESL endorsement from North Park University. He wanted to attend a school that emphasized student-centered learning and take classes from professors who are actively engaged in research and the classroom. He was also drawn to the small class sizes, availability of technology, and library resources and staff. North Park’s community-focused philosophy strongly resonated with him too. “Giving back to the community is part of my personal philosophy and North Park embodies the highest ideas of community service and stewardship,” he says.
The ESL endorsement, which is one component of North Park’s new master’s in literacy, language, and culture program (MALLC), helped him understand which resources and activities to use in the classroom. School of Education Associate Professor Angelyn Balodimas-Bartolomei, in particular, encouraged discussion of a variety of ESL topics and taught him useful strategies to teach students a new language—strategies that he uses today while he teaches English skills to entering students at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey.
One strategy that he learned at North Park was the idea of free and creative writing. In this technique, he gives a topic and students write whatever comes to mind about it. He also gives a link of 10 vocabulary words from the unit they are studying and students try to write a short story using those words. Another activity includes starting a story with a sentence and then having each student in class write an additional sentence to make a story.
In addition to these activities, Kosta—who completed the ESL endorsement in 2008 while he was teaching at high schools in the suburbs of Chicago—teaches his students listening, note taking, and speaking skills in Turkey. “I still use what I learned at North Park in my classroom today,” he says.