Re: Remediation

From: J.E.Harding (
Date: Tue Apr 06 1999 - 11:48:07 EDT

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superseded.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

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