[b-greek] Greek 101 drop outs - Follow up

From: Mark Wilson (emory2oo2@hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Nov 21 2000 - 11:07:02 EST


Carl wrote:

I tell students in the opening class that they should drop immediately
unless they are prepared to work industriously and consistently for the real
rewards which will come only when they have mastered an awful lot of
tedious rote learning and achieved a good grip on the Greek verb as well as
a powerful lot of vocabulary.

What I think this statement might do, as much unconsciously as consciously,
is to put students in a stressed out pre-disposition toward learning Greek.
(Remember, there may be many sitting in your class that will just find it
much easier to learn than us B-Greekers did. Maybe Greek will just come
natural to them... who knows.)

Consider this: Suppose you used the opposite approach. Suppose you told your
students that learning Greek is quite easy and extremely rewarding. In fact,
by the end of this first year, you will be able to translate many passages
in the Bible. And further, you will not believe how quickly you will begin
picking up more advanced Greek, because it all builds on previously learned

And then, of course, you go into my previous posting, and begin the sales
job, etc. :o )

But what happens is this relaxes the students. Their entire disposition
begins with a radically different paradigm.

And don't feel like they have to learn a lot of material by some end point.
(That may be imposed on you by your University or Seminary, but only you
know how tough it was for you when your Greek teacher taught you. Why put
your students through THAT.)

They have the rest of their lives to learn it. Simply tell them this: "We
all learn at different rates, so just how fast you progress and advance will
relate to how much time you invest. And like any language, if you do not
"keep it up" you begin to forget and eventually lose what you had learned.
So, never stop learning Greek, if only a little a day (or week). But
remember folks: learning Greek is only a means to an end: knowing Him."

And once you teach them just a few basic declensions and conjugations, and
they then "translate" John 1:1, just watch their eyes! (Imagine what happens
to their interests and motivations when they are translating ALREADY!)

After they do this, here is what I would say: "Well, essentially, you have
learned Greek. That's all there is to it. For the rest of your life you will
begin learning more vocabulary words and grammatical principles which will
allow you to translate more and more of the Bible...

So, congratulations... you are well on your way to understanding the BIBLE.
(Notice I did not use the word "Greek" here. Pretty sneaky, eh?)"

Finally, most of us on this list, I would imagine, have a very strong desire
to learn Greek, so very little is going to detour us. But imagine how many
dropped out because of their "fear." (A fear that was unfounded.)

BTW, I wonder how many drop outs had a natural ability to retain Greek
vocabulary, declensions, conjugations, grammar, etc... only to conclude
after Greek 101, "Well my teacher said it is going to get really hard, so I
better drop out now before I get in too deep."

Today's motto: Teachers: be very upbeat, creative, and "sneaky" :o )

Still rambling... sorry.

Mark Wilson

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