Reflection on teaching interactively.

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Stephen Hughes
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Reflection on teaching interactively.

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 21st, 2015, 3:54 pm

mhagedon wrote:My reflection on communicative approaches would mainly be self-reflection, since I haven't taught this way yet.
One thing I will say is that speaking Greek in real time is something that goes by so fast that you really don't remember just exactly what you did say, just whether and what message you got across. I didn't have much of a transition from reading Koine to speaking it.

I photographed each board-full of teaching I put up. Looking back on it, some was "Wow!", and some was weird. Wow things like ὁ ναύτης βολίζει - αὐτὸς χαλᾷ τὴν βολίδα εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ μετρεῖ τὸ βάθος αὐτῆς. Weird things like ἕνατος for πρῶτος and ἐννέατος for ἔνατος in the sequence of ordinals. Combining participles with verbs to make things more densely descriptive is a method of phrasal construction that some students pick up really quite quickly. The most obscure and irregular are often the easiest to master - κάθου and the pair ἀνάστηθι / στῆθι are much more fun, memorable and useful than λέγω ... λέγουσιν.

Taxonomy seemed to really help too. Words like this are quite easily taught by sounds and acting. Structuring probably helped a little.
Image

The actual paper preparation before putting those things up on the board was

Code: Select all

ζῷα
(τετράποδα)
ὁ χοῖρος
ὁ / ἡ βοῦς
ὁ ἵππος

θαλασσινά
ὁ ἰχθύς

ἕρπα
ὁ ὄφις

ἔντομα

ἄνθρωποι
ὁ στρατιώτης
ὁ ἀνήρ
ἡ γύνη

βρώματα
τὸ κρέας
ὁ ἄρτος

ἔπιπλα
ἡ τράπεζα
ἡ κάθεδρα
Things really go ballistic when it's live - both by adding to the things prepared, and forgetting

I also had figurines / models to help with learning those.
Image

The 13cm artist's wooden doll helped to demonstrate some verbs too. (Sorry about the messy desk).
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Besides actions in person, I also drew a few things up on the board.
Image

While the actual board-work was was dynamic and followed the flow of what we were talking about...
Image

The work-sheets (which from my point of view represented the preparation for the lesson, and that from the students' point of view followed the, were a little neater, and targeted just required learning and expected retention of the material.
Image

Learning was reinforced by the use (understand by playing with) of a 35cm tall - USD$8 model, which some of the students made up from a kit I had brought along, in their free time.
Image

Similarly, for depth-sounding:
Image

Worksheet, with the admonition to describe the picture
Image

Of course there were many other themes and topics covered interactively. I didn't get pictures of people lying / sitting on the floor in various postures, because we were all involved to some extent or another. I know the students were filming me at sometimes from their grins that emerged from behind their smart phones, but didn't get copies of that.

On the non-interactive side, I also taught some classes of "grammar" reciting tables, which brought complaints, poor attendance, etc. and a series of "Greek for exegetical purposes" based on a scripture passage - that was well received.

Copies of the audio that the students were expected to learn / recite for their weekly and final testing, which Louis kindly uploaded for me is at: Audiofiles (mp3). There is nothing striking about them, but at least having them, that students had another resource and another way to learn. Based on the English glosses as explained (in English) in a non-interactive (more traditional lesson), some of the students translated the basic words of the New Testament occuring 100 times or more into their own first languages. But for testing they had to translate into English. It seemed that it was not difficult for them to achieve greater than 70% retention (50 or more words out of 70 in 2 days).

Some of this was based on my own efforts to learn the vocabulary of Acts 27, after Ed Krentz's comment that the vocabulary there was not obscure, and I realised they were just unknown to me.

I also prepared a longer word-list for a large part of Luke's Gospel, with pictures for more than 20% of the words(or cognate groups if there was no point in adding extra pictures when only the part of speech had changed, not the lexical meaning). I haven't rechecked it for copyright yet, so I won't post it now.

So much for my self-reflection... :|

[If you are going ahead with speaking and interaction, and you want to use figurines and have no means to source them, PM me and we might be able to arrange something.]
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mhagedon
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Re: Reflection on teaching interactively.

Post by mhagedon » July 25th, 2015, 5:21 pm

Wow, Stephen, this is amazing! I have a feeling I'm going to be returning to your post repeatedly as I proceed on my journey. Even the snapshots of what you're doing are something to aspire to; I'm sure the actual class is even better.

This is also helpful for when I get to reading Acts 27 myself. :-)

Thank you so much for posting this!
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Mike Hagedon (Μιχαήλ)

mhagedon
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Re: Reflection on teaching interactively.

Post by mhagedon » July 25th, 2015, 5:23 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:I also had figurines / models to help with learning those.
It looks like you have a set of figurines for each student?
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Reflection on teaching interactively.

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » July 26th, 2015, 1:56 am

mhagedon wrote:Wow, Stephen, this is amazing! I have a feeling I'm going to be returning to your post repeatedly as I proceed on my journey. Even the snapshots of what you're doing are something to aspire to; I'm sure the actual class is even better.

This is also helpful for when I get to reading Acts 27 myself. :-)

Thank you so much for posting this!
I also found this a most interesting report, and a very helpful 'reflection'. Thank you Stephen.

From your experience, what would you add, remove, adjust if you did it again?
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Reflection on teaching interactively.

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 26th, 2015, 6:51 am

mhagedon wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:I also had figurines / models to help with learning those.
It looks like you have a set of figurines for each student?
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:From your experience, what would you add, remove, adjust if you did it again?
Let me answer those together at first, and then continue with just Thomas.

One major self-criticism I have made is that when I was designing the learning activities, I concentrated too much on the process of the lesson and not enough on the student learning as it would continue after the classroom interaction. In fact I did not have one complete set of figurines for each student, but had a mixture of figurines according to the activities. Every student had a dozen or so props each, then there were others where only one was provided per group (of 2 or 3 students) and in other cases (such as the ship) only one for all was used. That was okay in the classroom, but not so great outside class. It would have been better for all to have everything. The smaller figurines are worth between about fifteen and fifty US cents each. It would have been just as effective to have used those size of figurines as it was to use 10cm high ones. (Link to an online seller in China)

It would have been useful to have decorative fruit for everyone, but I only imagined using those in group work, so only got two. The life-likeness of an actual sized object had great appeal, but I suppose having your apple and eating it would have had benefits too. Model apples are, however, about 1/4 the price of real apples, so I went with them. If I had to do it again, I would use smaller models and more numerous. Link to an online seller in China

I have taught English extensively using pictures (flash cards),but not so much in 3-D. The cost of black and white printing and laminating an A4 sized picture is about the same as 1 or 2 plastic figurines. So, besides tangibility, there are also considerations of cost and the economies of scale that visual teaching has over tangible teaching. In consideration of Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences, and my own scoring as a predominantly tactile learner, I decided to go beyond visual and auditory to tactile, but not so far as having a real animal to learn the word βοῦς for example. For κρέας I just settled for jerky, rather than blood-dripping freshness. Never-the-less, using taste for that was good. If I had to do it differently, I would have more eating going on in class. Diced Spam with toothpicks, would be great, as would any sort of either tinned fish or dried whitebait for ὀψάριον.

For recordings, I was surprised at how much the few I made were used, and actually that they were used. If I had have realised, I would have done better than recording in an empty classroom, with students playing Carrom in the background. Generally speaking I dislike blinkered approaches to anything, so I made cross-linguistic word lists of common words, but to say the truth, my pronunciation of Greek changes to something that is both more staccato and more flowing after about 20 minutes of reading. The accent and intonation is more mellow when I read between English and Greek alternatively. I think that if I had the opportunity to do something again, I would produce vocabulary learning in three steps. First, slowly read Greek words, to allow listeners the chance to get the sounds right without too much attention to reading. Second, Greek to L2 recordings as I did actually do. Third, Greek at "normal" to fast speed, for revision. The idea being that English is only an intermediary step.

It actually takes a while to get used to processing in Greek, without reference to English. I appreciate the comments that various forum member make to wanting material without English included. I'm not naturally fond of nattering, but being the only "speaker" in a group requires a lot of noise to carry things along. I was lucky enough to have some body in the room observing who had Bible School Greek training, and once he had picked up the pronunciation system - Buth's tainted by my shotcomings - we were able to lift the game a little. He was amazed at how easily his grammatical knowledge could be used productively to have a conversation. More extensive preparation of helpers would be something that I would try to do in future.

I realise that many others use and have used Greek successfully to teach Greek, but for a someone walking down a well-trodden path, it is new for them. Teaching without metalanguage or an L2 in some designated classes was definitely and asset to the teaching-learning process, and having more to play with than just pieces of paper was great too. The enthusiasm and dynamic in the classroom was quite different from classes I have taught previously by explaining tables and parts of speech.

I have notice both specific and systematic shortcoming in my knowledge of Greek as a result of the experience of teaching in Greek. Would I teach Greek interactively again? Yes, certainly - as one skill among many.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Reflection on teaching interactively.

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » July 27th, 2015, 2:22 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:but I suppose having your apple and eating it would have had benefits too
:lol:
Stephen Hughes wrote:but not so far as having a real animal to learn the word βοῦς for example
ἐπεὶ δοκῶ οἱ μαθηταί σου τὰ πολλὰ διδαχθήσονται περὶ τῶν κτηνῶν τῶν μικρῶν πολλῶν·
Stephen Hughes wrote:Diced Spam with toothpicks, would be great, as would any sort of either tinned fish or dried whitebait for ὀψάριον.
The more delicate might forget the Greek, but they’d never forget “diced spam with toothpicks”!
Stephen Hughes wrote:For recordings, I was surprised at how much the few I made were used, and actually that they were used. If I had have realised, I would have done better than recording in an empty classroom, with students playing Carrom in the background. Generally speaking I dislike blinkered approaches to anything, so I made cross-linguistic word lists of common words, but to say the truth, my pronunciation of Greek changes to something that is both more staccato and more flowing after about 20 minutes of reading. The accent and intonation is more mellow when I read between English and Greek alternatively. I think that if I had the opportunity to do something again, I would produce vocabulary learning in three steps. First, slowly read Greek words, to allow listeners the chance to get the sounds right without too much attention to reading. Second, Greek to L2 recordings as I did actually do. Third, Greek at "normal" to fast speed, for revision. The idea being that English is only an intermediary step.
This is an interesting observation, though not surprising. As Dr. Buth has pointed out, the audio sense has its own unique role to play in language learning, which uninhibited language learners recognize instinctively.
Stephen Hughes wrote:It actually takes a while to get used to processing in Greek, without reference to English. I appreciate the comments that various forum member make to wanting material without English included. I'm not naturally fond of nattering, but being the only "speaker" in a group requires a lot of noise to carry things along. I was lucky enough to have some body in the room observing who had Bible School Greek training, and once he had picked up the pronunciation system - Buth's tainted by my shotcomings - we were able to lift the game a little. He was amazed at how easily his grammatical knowledge could be used productively to have a conversation. More extensive preparation of helpers would be something that I would try to do in future.
Very useful observation, and one which I've experienced. It's a lot to carry when you are groping along in some trepidation (me, at least) and a room full of eager μαθηταὶ are observing you closely with scary (foolish?) confidence. I guess the challenge is to get them involved as early as possible, but you are still left with most of the "air time" in the early going

"It actually takes a while to get used to processing in Greek, without reference to English." Now here is a truly wonderful understatement!!
Stephen Hughes wrote:I realise that many others use and have used Greek successfully to teach Greek, but for a someone walking down a well-trodden path, it is new for them. Teaching without metalanguage or an L2 in some designated classes was definitely and asset to the teaching-learning process, and having more to play with than just pieces of paper was great too. The enthusiasm and dynamic in the classroom was quite different from classes I have taught previously by explaining tables and parts of speech.
There is something about operating in the target language only, once one gets past the shock of it, which is exhilarating for both student and teacher.
Stephen Hughes wrote:I have notice both specific and systematic shortcoming in my knowledge of Greek as a result of the experience of teaching in Greek. Would I teach Greek interactively again? Yes, certainly - as one skill among many.
This is a very helpful self reflection indeed, Stephen. Few people would have your vantage point to try it out. With your language training experience and comfort with Greek, you are able "to boldly go" where few others could or would. You have enough experience, confidence, and presence of mind to observe the process along the way.

One more question: Do you think your use of the figurines as learning aids would work as well here (North America) as there? With any age group?
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Reflection on teaching interactively.

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 28th, 2015, 1:31 am

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:One more question: Do you think your use of the figurines as learning aids would work as well here (North America) as there? With any age group?
If you hold a figurine and treat it as an inanimate mass of plastic or wood, then the figurine will be like a 3-D gloss for a word. If you see them as the animal or person themselves, then the element of "play" will allow you to make them come alive and interact with their surroundings and you, as children would.

How old is a person? Does anyone loose the ability to imagine?

It has been suggested that a person takes about 20 times to remember something. I think making take home versions of learning exercises would be helpful, but haven't done it yet.

I'm sorry, I have no idea of the situation across the Pacific, over there in your North America. Do children still imagine and dream there? If yes, then it may be worth a try.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Reflection on teaching interactively.

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » July 28th, 2015, 3:18 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:One more question: Do you think your use of the figurines as learning aids would work as well here (North America) as there? With any age group?
If you hold a figurine and treat it as an inanimate mass of plastic or wood, then the figurine will be like a 3-D gloss for a word. If you see them as the animal or person themselves, then the element of "play" will allow you to make them come alive and interact with their surroundings and you, as children would.

How old is a person? Does anyone loose the ability to imagine?

It has been suggested that a person takes about 20 times to remember something. I think making take home versions of learning exercises would be helpful, but haven't done it yet.

I'm sorry, I have no idea of the situation across the Pacific, over there in your North America. Do children still imagine and dream there? If yes, then it may be worth a try.
My culture is western Canada, and I could imagine that it would be really fun and effective to use figurines for teaching children in grades 1 - 3 (5 to 8 years old). For grades 4 - 6, it would take a bit more talent, but I think it could be done. For high school (grades 9 -12 - age 13 -17 years) I would rather have a root canal without anaesthetic than try to use figurines to teach a language class.

My students are mature adults, and typically quite sophisticated, so the question is: would they be willing to "suspend disbelief" for the purpose of learning? I think many would if it was presented well, and done well.

I have used real props - βιβλίον, λίθος ποτήριον, ἱμάτιον, κτλ - to good effect. I've done just a little bit of teaching with figurine type props, but I think that I really was, as you say, treating the props like lumps of plastic and so, of course, the class adopts the disbelief of the instructor. When I think about it, though, I can see the props as having real potential for entry level interactive exercises with adults. If your students will permit you to build a story around the props, there is much that you could teach with them.

The discussion does remind me of how powerful a learning aid children have in their willingness - nay, eagerness - to play! I guess the adult version is theatre, fiction, etc. but that spontaneous imagination of a child is a veritable conduit for learning.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Reflection on teaching interactively.

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 28th, 2015, 10:34 am

In every mixed-linguistic-ability social I've been in, the less able gravitate to the kids and play with them. When we can't cope with language, we go back to play and conversation based on our direct experience of our senses and emotions.

I tried to bring that to the toys, games and figurines.

The participants ranged on age from high school to retirement age. All were able to experience the immediacy of play and interaction.

Perhaps there are other ways. I bought Dr. Buth's Living Koine series two and a half years ago. Now that I have tried teaching interactively for myself, Imight open the box. :D My own impressions of it will be meaningful now.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Reflection on teaching interactively.

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 30th, 2015, 1:32 am

mhagedon wrote:This is also helpful for when I get to reading Acts 27 myself. :-)
There is an artificial difference in the way that we learn vocabulary for the New Testament.

Besides grammatical words, and syntactic markers, the words that occur frequently, can (for the most part) be seen in different contexts, and so we have a way to observe them used in different places and we can build up a "feel" for them in context. Words like what we find in Acts 27, which according to what others have said, are common in the broader context of Greek, but used only rarely, or only in Acts 27. Their scarcity means that it is very difficult to go beyond single word equivalences (glosses).

The things that I have included here that relate to those words, are my attempts to use another way to give a meaningful context to the lesser-used words that one encounters.

In fact for a beginner, all words are lesser used, and learning then can be benefited by using a number of planned strategies.
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