Exams and other teaching stories

Having been a teacher since 1998, I have catered to the diverse needs of students facing various types of exams. I can confidently assert that my teaching style has continually evolved over the years, largely due to my inquisitive nature and restless personality.

Examinations are viewed differently by those involved. For teachers, the certificate should align with the participant's capabilities, ensuring fluency in the language. Parents, on the other hand, often refer to it as a diploma and are concerned with its quality. Students, however, simplify matters: passing is their success, failing is the teacher's problem -common knowledge, isn't it?

To some extent, this was accurate. The use of "was" is intentional, especially for our millennial colleagues. We were educated in a manner ingrained in us for decades. Admit it, we've all pondered at least once, "Why isn't the way we learned (successfully) the best way to teach?" Fast forward to the present, and one might wonder, "Why does teaching Generation Alpha require special qualifications?" Could it be because the teachers belong to a different generation? Why is it crucial to consider generational differences in teaching?

For Millennial EL/EFL Teachers like us, it is imperative to not only adopt a pedagogical approach that suits our millennial profile but also, and more importantly, tailor our teaching to the specific learning styles of Generation Alpha. Unfortunately, this is a detail overlooked by Greek state schools, which persist in enforcing obsolete methodologies.

To effectively teach, we must take into account the social profiles of the generations in our classrooms -be it Gen Z or Gen Alpha. While we've grown accustomed to Gen Z's educational profile, Gen Alpha is the new kid on the block. I've had the privilege of teaching 17 Gen Alpha students from ages six to 12, conducting a kind of research through their six years of close interaction. Observing their growth, celebrating successes, and building strong relationships with their families during the Covid-19 pandemic have been highlights of my teaching journey.

According to "Britannica," individuals born between 2010 and 2025 are categorized as Generation Alpha. They are the first to experience remote classrooms, streaming services, and portable digital devices from early childhood. The impact of digital automation, including A.I., on their cognitive skills and comprehensive abilities raises a crucial question: Is this digital immersion enhancing or hindering their developmental potential?

A pressing question emerges: Do Gen Alpha students still need us? The answer, I am willing to assert, is a resounding yes -perhaps more than ever. However, it requires our adaptation to the new era, a willingness to change, and a commitment to teaching in ways that align with their learning preferences. The future of education is loading, and educators must position themselves accordingly.

Drawing from my personal experience and educational background, I've compiled a list of suggestions to help you align with the Gen Alpha teacher profile.

1. Be Ready to be Amazed

There is no better model of a learner than a teacher who is open to learning. As babies, we model our parents, and later, our peers. Teachers, as perennial role models, can benefit from Gen Alpha's media-centric childhood. Embrace and be amazed by their world—it's an essential step before you can effectively teach.

2. Practice Active Listening

In a world saturated with artificial intelligence, Gen Alpha students have grown up with constant exposure to technologies like voice assistants and educational tools. Differentiate yourself by providing something they can't easily find -human connection. Start your lessons by actively listening to their day or anything they want to share. It fosters an enjoyable atmosphere and makes students feel seen and appreciated.

In essence, be consistent, fair, and present. Create an inclusive atmosphere where you can be yourself -joke, laugh, get angry, or even cry. In other words, be human. Gen Alpha has had enough of AI; what they need now is genuine human connection in their education.


Stavroula Grigoriadi

Stavroula Grigoriadi

Educator and Content Creator @ NLPOWERKIDS | British Council Teachers Training