In Memoriam: Keti Zouganeli
By Bessie DENDRINOS

 

Katherine (Keti) Zouganeli was not merely a colleague and a friend with several of the people whose papers appear in this issue of RPLTL, which is dedicated to her, but an inspiration to those of us who were fortunate enough to work with her up until the last few days of her untimely passing. A diligent, passionate educator, concerned about the politics of language teaching and learning, she was truly appreciated by countless members in the ELT community in Greece, by those of us who were amazed with her commitment to public education, her enthusiasm for innovative ideas that would appeal to youngsters, her forward thinking about issues of ELT pedagogy.

Keti Zouganeli, who was born in 1952 and raised in Athens, graduated from the Faculty of English Language and Literature of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 1975. From 1995 to 1997, she studied at the University of Warwick in the UK and was awarded with a Master’s degree in TEFL. In 2001 she completed a postgraduate programme in distance learning at the Hellenic Open University, where she later taught a module in English for Young Learners –the area in which she had specialized during her studies at Warwick. This is the area in which, as a volunteer, she offered workshops to senior students at the Faculty of English Language and Literature of the University of Athens, going through their initial English teacher education programme.

Keti Zouganeli had started by working in the private sector, as a language school owner, but then went on to be a state secondary school English language teacher. In 1993 she chose to switch over to the primary school sector, as she loved youngsters and adored working with and for young learners. Not that she appreciated older learners any less. She was ready and eager to be a facilitator to anyone who was interested in new learning experiences in formal, semiformal and informal education. She served the state school system until 1999, the year she was seconded to the Ministry of Education to be an adviser on education matters to the Minister himself. She remained in that post until 2004. In those five years at Dendrinos / Research Papers in Language Teaching and Learning 8/1 (2017) 6-7 7 the Ministry, she promoted issues that the foreign language teaching community in Greece was concerned with. These included the development of a multilingual examination suite for the state certificate of language proficiency, known as the KPG exams. The first Central Examination Board, which was effective in starting to develop the assessment and certification system, was appointed upon her advice and counsel.

From 2004 to 2010 she served as a Counsellor at the Pedagogic Institute, attached to the Ministry of Education. As a member of the Department of Evaluation and Assessment she coordinated the research programme for the quality in Greek school education and was editor of the research report, published in Greek (http://www.pischools.gr/programs/erevnes). She was also editor of the proceedings of the Panhellenic Conference organised in 2006 by the Pedagogical Institute and the University of Athens on foreign language teaching in compulsory education in Greece (http://www.pischools.gr/download/news/pract_sinedr_xenes_glosses.pdf). One additional important project for which she took responsibility, while at the Pedagogical Institute, was the coordination of the “European Survey of Language Competence” in which Greece took part in 2000-11. Later, as a fellow of the RCeL of the Faculty of English, University of Athens (2011-2014), she collaborated for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the Greek data, and was also one of the editors of Greece’s national report in Greek (http://gr.rcel.enl.uoa.gr/fileadmin/rcel.enl.uoa.gr/uploads/images/ESLC_GR_WEB.pdf) and in English (http://www.rcel.enl.uoa.gr/fileadmin/rcel.enl.uoa.gr/uploads/images/ESLC_EN_WEB.pdf). From 2011 until 2014 she was a member of the project team that developed the programme for the teaching of English to pupils of the first two grades in primary school. But Keti was so much more than a collaborator. She was an energizing force of the project to which she gave heart and soul. One of her significant contributions was her part in developing an e-course for self-directed learning entitled TEACHING ENGLISH TO EARLY LANGUAGE LEARNERS (TELL), working closely with Prof. Kia Karavas and Smaragda Papadopoulou, an e-learning expert and tireless, gifted e-educator.

Keti Zouganeli, a lady with such a charismatic personality, will be sorely missed by the Greek EFL community.