First Time Teacher
B. Ward Powers
bwpowers at optusnet.com.au
Fri Aug 31 22:48:26 EDT 2001
At 05:02 PM 010831 -0400, Christopher L Lang wrote:
>I am a new subscriber to this list and a first time teacher of Greek. I
>have not taught a language before and have been given the responsibility
>of creating the curriculum for Intro Greek.
>I am interested in using Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek but open to
>others. (I learned from the Joint Association of Classical Teachers and JW
>Wenham.) We will be on a quarter system and I'm curious to know what
>others think is a reasonable pace for such a course.
>I should also tell you that the class is being offered through our church
>in conjunction with a divinity school extension program. Therefore the
>class will meet only once or twice a week for three hours each.
A great deal will depend upon (a) the level of motivation of the group, and
(b) what amount of time they have available, out of class time, for
revising, learning paradigms, doing grammar and translation homework.
Other factors will be what the members of the group plan to do with the
Greek they learn, how many weeks the class will run for (I note you mention
you are on a quarter system - how many weeks all up do you have available
for the class?), and whether (in the divinity school extension program)
there is going to be assessment of student work either on a progressive
in-class basis, or through a final examination of some kind, or both. And
also: how much the students will care what level of mark they receive.
You should aim to stretch them, i.e. to take them as far and as fast as all
these factors allow.
> Any ideas what to expect here and what level of competency to shoot for?
The lowest level you should aim for (below which the group could hardly
rate their class as having been successful) is that they know the alphabet,
can read Greek words, pronouncing them with a reasonable measure of
fluency, using one of the current pronunciation schemes, and as an outcome
can make use of commentaries and other books which discuss Greek words, and
look up Greek concordances, lexicons, dictionaries, word studies and the
like. In other words, that they can access what others are saying about
Greek words and meanings.
But this is pretty basic. Can you aim higher? I recommend the target for
them of learning the twenty basic Greek paradigms, and of completing at
least a survey of all the Greek Grammar they would need in order to
commence reading from the Greek New Testament, so that they are aware of
this grammar even if they do not master it; and then several weeks in class
of actual translation-and-exegesis from one of the more straight-forward
books of the NT (Gospels of Mark or John, or 1 John). Your intention would
then be that they could thereafter continue to explore the Greek NT on
their own, using one of the available books that can help them with this,
such as Zerwick and Grosvenor's "Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New
Testament". And hopefully they would now be motivated to continue this
Chris, as a first-time teacher of Greek you may also find it useful to read
something about how to teach a "dead" language (that is, one which is not
now spoken by anyone as their mother-tongue). For example, in "Basic
Principles For Teachers" (Appendix B in my book "Learn To Read the Greek
New Testament", SPCK Australia), you will find discussions of: approach,
teaching patterns, course timing, motivation, class participation,
encouragement and recognition, enjoyment, aims, methods, drills,
memorization, practice sessions, reinforcement, assignments, assessment,
and so forth.
But overall, I would say the two most important things about taking your
class are (a) that YOU believe that what they are learning is important,
and (b) that YOU enjoy Greek, and enjoy taking this class with them, and in
fact you are really excited about it - and you communicate this excitement
When that is the case with a teacher, (s)he can use just about any approach
to teaching Greek, and the class will learn it.
We wish you every success with your class.
Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-8714-7255
259A Trafalgar Street Phone (Australia): (02) 8714-7255
PETERSHAM NSW 2049 email: bwpowers at optusnet.com.au
AUSTRALIA. Director, Tyndale College
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