Since getting a Master of Arts in Teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and doing a year of intern teaching English at the Phillips Exeter Academy, Elias Kulukundis has taught the following academic courses which he developed himself.
They were all six weeks long; they were all different; and they were successful, each in a different way.
- Creative Writing, in the summer session of The Phillips Exeter Academy.
- The Travel Memoir, at Marymount College in New York City. This was essentially a writing course for adults, centered on traveling which is a popular subject as many people travel and like to write about their trips.
- Creative and Strategic Thinking, at the Woodhall School in Bethlehem, Connecticut. Woodhall is a school for boys in grades 9th through 12th, who have had difficulties in traditional school environments. As the students’ general attitude was one of non-conformism, my taking a non-traditional approach to problem-solving by direct action (as in the rescue of the prisoner) had a definite appeal.
- The Discovery of Greece, at the Westport Arts Center, Westport, CT. A more traditional course, this one nevertheless cut across different disciplines – history and once again travel writing . The subject was Greece as seen through the eyes of Western travelers—Henry Miller (The Colossus of Maroussi,) Lawrence Durell, and others, including my own The feasts of Memory which is by a Greek born abroad who could be alternately an outsider and an insider.
- Twentieth Century History through Literature and Film, at the Baltic International Academy, Riga, Latvia. In this course in modern literature for social science majors, we saw various events in twentieth century history through works of literature and film –for example, Lenin in Zurich by Solzhenitsin, Ten Days That Shook the World by John Reed, and the film “Reds” by Warren Beatty—all about the Russian Revolution. Many of my students were ethnic Russians, but this was the first time they had read or seen works about the Russian Revolution. It was also the first time any of them had been exposed to the Harkness method of teaching. I asked them, “What did you think of the music in ‘Conspiracy?’ a film with Kenneth Branagh, about the Wannsee Conference at a lakeside resort outside Berlin in 1942 which decided the policy of extermination of the Jews. “I don’t remember the music,” one student replied “And do you know why you don’t remember it?” I asked. A long pause. Mock suspense. “Because there wasn’t any.”
- Geography for sixth graders, an after school club at Long Lots Elementary School in Westport, Connecticut. Meeting for an hour and a half after school, I taught an awareness of different cultures by using paper money from different countries, and considering the relative value of the currencies. I also managed to demonstrate the relationship between the romance languages, German and English, Russian and Greek, and Hebrew and Arabic by listing the numbers between one and ten in each language on a chart. Strikingly the languages could be visibly identified as belonging to one of these groups simply by observing the numbers one through ten.