J.E.Harding BSP97JEH at
Tue Apr 6 11:48:07 EDT 1999

Part of the problem I have found in teaching Hebrew (not Greek, but 
the same problem may obtain) is with working within very narrow 
confines in terms of assessment methods. All students work at 
different levels and have different abilities, and good teaching 
needs to account for that. Everyone learns in different ways. In 
light of this, an assessment system which works in terms of grades 
and exams, that is, in terms of *summative* assessment, needs to be 
superseded. I am using a teaching method known as problem-based 
learning (PBL) to introduce students to the resources the need to 
tackle Hebrew texts, and they have responded extremely well. However, 
this method does not fit in well with written examinations, and I 
feel that *formative* modes of assessment are more appropriate. Also, 
we need to ask what exactly we judge students on. Ability to 
translate into idiomatic or literal English? Ability to memorise 
paradigms? Ability to work with each other to achieve specific aims, 
e.g. the translation of Exodus 20:1-3 (a recent class exercise)? When 
I began to study biblical languages, I got first class grades in 
exams and could recite paradigms of Greek participles and Hebrew 
Pe-Nun verbs, but I had no idea what to do with a Greek or Hebrew 
text. My ability to read texts came much later, and in the case of 
Hebrew it was mainly self-taught.

A few reflections.

James Harding
University of Sheffield
>bsp97jeh at<

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