[b-greek] Greek 101 drop outs

From: Mark Wilson (emory2oo2@hotmail.com)
Date: Mon Nov 20 2000 - 20:06:58 EST


Concerning this statement by Dr. Decker:

As a teacher, I see more students than I'd like who drop Greek after
their first year. I suspect that in our undergrad program where the numbers
of beginning Greek students is much higher (due to school size), there would
be an even higher attrition rate.

I have no scientific data or empirical basis for offering this suggestion,
but I believe the problem lies with the Greek teachers, not the students.

Here's how I might approach teaching Greek:

For the first three weeks (or so) I would "sell" the CONCEPT of "why learn
Greek." I might, for example, relate the 'understanding of Greek' with the
'understanding of the Bible.' I might then relate the understanding of Greek
with not being at the mercy of every Bible "scholar" who peddles his or her

I would ask the would-be students, "Why would you want to put yourself in a
position where you have to be told by others what the Bible actually says

I would show where long-held beliefs (the once-for-all aorist, or the
habitual-present) has lead to many false teachings. I would open to at least
25 verses and first show them, one by one, how Greek helps them understand
the passage. I would do all this BEFORE I ask them to start memorizing the
accent marks and the conjugation of liquid verbs.

I would always begin with KNOWN. Begin with the KNOWN then proceed to the

Also, I would not allow the word "exceptions" to be uttered in my first year
classroom. There is plenty of Greek to learn without pulling the rug out
from them every time they learn something.

I would make sure the basics are FULLY understood before going on. In other
words, I would even consider having the second year of Greek almost be a
repeat of Greek 101. Until a large portion of Greek becomes "natural" there
is little reason to plow ahead. (I would allow some students to go from year
1 to 3, but not many.)

I would make learning Greek, and I apologize for using this next word, but,
I would make Greek....fun. I might have them draw pictures to aide them in
visualizing new vocabulary words. I am looking at a vocabulary card where a
guy is "rebuking" A PEA TAMALE. It is funny. And helpful, since EPITIMAW
(not too far from 'a pea tamale') means rebuke.

I remember a Greek guy coming up to me and saying: "I'm going to heist me a
hen." From that, I learned the Masc., Fem., and Neut. of "one."

Sorry for rambling, but I really haven't even got started. Anyway, you get
the idea.

Here's my new motto for today: Once students get it, make sure it becomes
"natural." Only then can you move on.

Yea. Yea. I know. There's not enough time for all that. :o )

Thank you,

Mark Wilson

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