[b-greek] Greek drop outs

From: Alan B. Thomas (a_b_thomas@yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Nov 22 2000 - 01:44:05 EST

A gentleman named Mark W. made this comment:

And this is not to say that rote is not needed in
learning a language; it is.
But there are memorization techniques that are nothing
less than extraordinary.

And a gentleman named Daniel C. commented:

Yes, I am aware of some of the techniques; however, it
is also clear that they are not
usable by all persons. Even though there are memory
"gurus" out there in the market
place, who insist that anyone can be so taught, I have
not seen convincing evidence.

Rutgers University and Georgetown did independent
studies of visual memory aides.
The retention rate for groups using visual methods was
in both studies more than
twice as much as groups using verbal methods.

The Georgetown study did segregate a group of students
who preferred verbal
study methods to visual ones. They also showed an
increase in retention of
nearly 50 percent.

I am not sure what this proves, but it does seem that
visual methods help students
of practically all study persuasions.

Daniel C. elsewhere said:

As far as I am aware, children do not obtain language
fluency through the visual/analogical method, but
through memorizing sounds and constant exposure to
those sounds in the context of

This is very true. What this does is exposes the
children to another sensory method. I think this is a
good reason to introduce audio study methods to Koine
Greek. Of course, some would object to
various pronunciations, but that should not deter the

Mark commented:

I would suggest you familiarize yourself with
And Daniel commented back:

Of course, yes, I am familiar with the discipline.
And, I think that you will find this
is true of most language teachers. Some of us choose
not to use the methods, because we
see inherent difficulties in the later progress of
students attempting to achieve a
degree of fluency and style in the language.

I think seeing "inherent difficulties" is
unjustifiable. I thought the same thing before I
began using some visual methods. Although I am more of
a verbal learner, I would say
that the visual channel has greatly advanced my
understanding of Greek, primarily
by allowing me to learn words much faster and
therefore being able to read (out loud) much more.
After reading a New Testament book several times in
the Greek, I no longer have to rely on visual methods.
That is the benefit
of usage. Your mind sees it enough times to recognize
it without reverting to your
visual aide. I guess visual methods only need to be
used for a short time if you keep up your reading.

My final comment regards this comment by Daniel:

It's simple mathematics: remember 1Greek word and the
meaning? or the 1 Greek word, and a phrase/picture,
and the meaning? I'll choose the shorter version any
day of the week.

I wish I could agree with you. But this is exactly
what the Rutgers and Georgetown studies
found to be false. I will look for the articles on
these studies. I think it will help you
see why a person's memory operates on a visual level

One example was to show students a series of numbers
and pictures, like this:

294857 39470 983274 0483047 (this represented the
verbal model)

Below each series of numbers were pictures. Of over
3,000 students tested, only 19 remembered
the series of numbers (30 minutes later), and the next
day, only 2 could reproduce the numbers.

Oddly enough, all but 15 could not recall all the
pictures. And the next day, only a few
could not remember all the pictures.

Basically, the independent studies confirmed the
visualization method of learning (retention),
regardless of one's previous study method preference.


Alan B. Thomas

"the questions that rose out of the depths of the mystery
of Job were answered only by a deeper mystery....
that of God Himself." (Elisabeth Elliot)

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