Help me teach this class

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Help me teach this class

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 1st, 2015, 4:14 pm

Paul-Nitz wrote:You’re getting expert advice from Palmer, but I’ll throw in a couple ideas.
You're certainly one of the experts, and I definitely appreciate your advice.
Paul-Nitz wrote:I wonder if you should split things along an in-class and out-of-class division. In-class, you would largely do what you have done. You talk through the Greek together and then discuss application. But a discrete segment (probably beginning) of your class would be to “play” with some of the Greek in the text and give the students ideas how they might, as autodidacts, internalize the Greek better.

The Greek you want them to learn and they want to learn out of this text is something you would have to determine. But if, let’s say, the target structure is internalizing the Nom & Acc functions and forms, you could take all the clearly transitive verbs here and do a 10 min exercise. I would act out a scenario using 3-4 verbs (hinder, answer, say, receive, etc.). The students would be actively doing the hindering, answering, saying… Then you simply ask questions about what happened. Who hindered whom? If any student hesitates, give them an “either/or” follow up question. I don’t think Palmer’s point about “success breeds success” can be overemphasized. So, for example, if I ask “τίς ἐκωλυε τοῦτον τὸν μαθητην;” and if there’s some hesitation, then I follow up immediately with “τίς ἐκωλύε τοῦτον τὸν μαθητήν; Μᾶρκος ἤ Ευοδία;”
A few questions and thoughts ...

I like having follow up questions that provide alternatives to choose from.

I'd like to keep the focus on the text, but these verbs will come up as we build phrases into sentences, that might be a good time to do something more along these lines. It might not need an entire cohesive skit, which would have its own story line and take up more class time than I might have in a 45 minute class, especially if this were in addition to learning the question forms. It's easy enough to mime preventing someone from taking an M&M from the jar at the time we hit that verb, then ask those questions. But I wonder if I couldn't use hand motions and miming to convey the meaning of each verb, then ask the τίς / τίνα / πρὸς τίνα questions for each transitive verb as we encounter them, taking answers from the text itself. The text already gives us the story that we want to focus on.

If I were to set up a skit, it would make sense to use one based closely on this text. I could have one guy trying to cast out demons from another guy, then have a third guy try to prevent him, and a fourth guy observe the whole thing ... but that gets kind of complicated. I'm not likely to try this for tomorrow, since I'm already trying some new things and I don't want to try too many new things in the same class, but I'd be interested in seeing if I can do something more along these lines for next week. And I'd like to explore doing it as part of working through the text versus doing it in a separate skit. I do want whatever I do to keep the focus on the text itself.

For this week, though, I might use all the transitive verbs the way that Micheal suggested.
Paul-Nitz wrote:I guess what makes me think in terms of splitting up your objectives is the text. If a certain number of verses is an immovable part of your lesson, I think that really limits what you can do in the way of communicative teaching of the Greek language. But it does seem feasible to use a few minutes of your lesson to spark some interest and give some idea of how the students might learn more communicatively on their own, outside of the class. Just a few thoughts.
I don't think a certain number of verses is immovable, but we do need to cover enough material in the Greek portion to have something to discuss at the end when we interpret and apply the text. I am trying to divide up my time roughly like this:
  • 5 minutes greetings and small talk
  • 5-10 minutes language instruction, directly applicable to the text. This week: asking and answering questions.
  • 20 minutes work through the text to the point of understanding it well
  • 10 minutes interpretation and application
It's tight, but this is the time I have.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Help me teach this class

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 3rd, 2015, 9:19 am

I used the techniques we discussed here yesterday, and class went very well.

I started out by teaching how to ask questions with τίς / τίνα. Following Micheal Palmer's suggestion, I had two pieces of paper with the following text written in very large (60 point) letters:
τίς εἶπεν;

1. ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν
2. ὁ Ἰωάννης εἶπεν
3. αὐτός εἶπεν
4. ἄνθρωπός τις εἶπεν
5. γυνὴ τις εἶπεν
πρὸς τίνα εἶπεν;

1. εἶπεν πρὸς Ἰωάννην
2. εἶπεν πρὸς Ἰησοῦν
3. εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν
4. εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτήν
I then spoke simple sentences and asked simple questions. For instance ...

ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς Ἰωάννην.
τίς εἶπεν;
πρὸς τίνα εἶπεν;

I chose to stick mostly with words that would be encountered in our text. Then I worked through the text phrase by phrase, as explained above.

Following advice from Paul Nitz and Randall Buth, I did some things that rhyme with TPR for some of the vocabulary:

Ἐπιστάτα, εἴδομέν τινα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ἐκβάλλοντα δαιμόνια
  • δαιμόνια (raising fingers like a devil's horns)
  • ἐκβάλλοντα (throwing out motion with hands)
  • ἐκβάλλοντα δαιμόνια (throwing out motion, horns motion)
  • εἴδομέν τινα (sign language for 'look')
  • εἴδομέν τινα ἐκβάλλοντα δαιμόνια (with gestures)
  • Ἐπιστάτα (with a salute)
I would call out a word or phrase, then point to them and they would repeat it. We usually repeated twice. I supplied explanations as needed.

Randall, Paul: Is that the kind of thing y'all had in mind?

I also asked questions for each transitive verb, writing out my questions in big letters on sheets of paper:
τίς ἐξέβαλλεν;

οἱ μαθηταὶ
ἢ ἄνθρωπος τις
ἢ τὰ δαιμόνια;
τίνα ἐξέβαλλεν;

τοὺς μαθητὰς
ἢ ἄνθρωπον τινα
ἢ τὰ δαιμόνια;
τίς εἶδεν;

οἱ μαθηταὶ
ἢ ἄνθρωπος τις
ἢ τὰ δαιμόνια;
τίνα εἶδον;

τοὺς μαθητὰς
ἢ ἄνθρωπον τινα
ἢ τὰ δαιμόνια;
τίς ἐκώλυε;

οἱ μαθηταὶ
ἢ ἄνθρωπος τις
ἢ τὰ δαιμόνια;
τίνα ἐκώλυε;

τοὺς μαθητὰς
ἢ ἄνθρωπον τινα
ἢ τὰ δαιμόνια;
For this particular verb, I asked Paul for a little help:

Παῦλος, ἔκβαλε τὸ βιβλίον

Then I grabbed his hand to stop him from throwing my Bible out, and said, κωλύω αὐτόν.

τίς ἐκώλυε;
ἐγώ ἢ Παῦλος;

So how did it go?

I spent a lot of time preparing for this lesson, much more than I typically do. I was expecting to need much more time to work through a passage than using the traditional approach of reading the text out loud, taking turns, but it took about the same amount of time, because we didn't have dead time with people trying to figure things out, and nobody was struggling to read. People were engaged, and we spent a solid 25 minutes speaking Greek most of the time. Beginners were able to keep up with more advanced people.

I was much more thoroughly prepared for the first paragraph than the second because I ran out of preparation time, and I was actually surprised that we got to the second paragraph. I thought it would take longer to teach because it took quite a while to prepare, but teaching it was quite efficient.

I need to get more efficient at preparing lessons this way, and I think that comes with time. This requires me to improve my oral Greek. After the lesson, I had Carl review my materials, and he found some mistakes - I need to plan earlier and have someone check my work so my mistakes don't affect the class. I also need to be more consistent with my use of hand signals. But students thought this went very well, especially the less advanced students, and I intend to try doing it mostly the same way next week.

I'll also be looking for new things to try, a little at a time. I'm moving from a reading circle to actually teaching a class systematically, and I have a lot to learn.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Paul-Nitz
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Re: Help me teach this class

Post by Paul-Nitz » August 3rd, 2015, 2:37 pm

Jonathan,
I enjoyed reading your description of the class. It sounds like it went great. And, what you've done here is one of the premier ways to improve teaching. Practice does not make better, it makes perfect (mistakes and all!). But a critical evaluation of what went well and what didn't does result in improvement. You are inspiring me to get back to more systematic self-criticism.

It does take much more time to prepare a class like this. But extra work is easy to put in when you enjoy results such as this. And, yes it does get much, much easier to prepare after awhile.
Jonathan Robie wrote:I would call out a word or phrase, then point to them and they would repeat it. We usually repeated twice. I supplied explanations as needed.
Randall, Paul: Is that the kind of thing y'all had in mind?
To tell the truth, I'd have to see a video of your lesson to give useful feedback. But the main thing (the way I see it) is to create a situation in which this artificial classroom activity is accepted as genuine communication by the learners. This will sound like wishy-washy emotionalism, but the truth is "if you FELT the communication happen, it was all good." Were the learners listening and physically (or otherwise) responding, as if this were truly communication? Then it worked. Were you looking in each other's eyes, as we do when we communicate in real life? Then it worked. Did you laugh at all? That's a good sign you were really communicating? Did the class often pause and break into a round of "learning frowns" and discussion in English? Then communication was seriously interrupted.

Keep it up! I hope you'll post something about your next class.
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

mwpalmer
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Re: Help me teach this class

Post by mwpalmer » August 3rd, 2015, 8:31 pm

Like Paul, I really enjoyed reading your description of how it went in class. I wholeheartedly agree with his advice for assessing the successfulness of your attempts to make the lesson communicative:
But the main thing (the way I see it) is to create a situation in which this artificial classroom activity is accepted as genuine communication by the learners. This will sound like wishy-washy emotionalism, but the truth is "if you FELT the communication happen, it was all good." Were the learners listening and physically (or otherwise) responding, as if this were truly communication? Then it worked. Were you looking in each other's eyes, as we do when we communicate in real life? Then it worked. Did you laugh at all? That's a good sign you were really communicating? Did the class often pause and break into a round of "learning frowns" and discussion in English? Then communication was seriously interrupted.
I don't see these suggestions as "wishy-washy emotionalism" but as very practical reading of your student's expressions and responses in order to assess their comprehension. Assessment is essential so that you can know when it's profitable to move on to other grammatical structures. If your assessment tells you that they are not having success, you should focus on the same issues (asking questions and the distinction between nominative and accusative) in the next lesson. If, however, they understood your questions well, and responded appropriately at least 80% of the time, you can continue to use these structures, but also add something new.
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Micheal W. Palmer

RandallButh
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Re: Help me teach this class

Post by RandallButh » August 4th, 2015, 2:03 am

Sounds like a nice class, Jonathan.
And yes, you're catching on: teacher sweats and triples her work behind the scenes while students grow into language and will wonder what the problem was. (Ideal world. :) )
Jonathan Robie wrote:...


Ἐπιστάτα, εἴδομέν τινα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ἐκβάλλοντα δαιμόνια
  • δαιμόνια (raising fingers like a devil's horns)
  • ἐκβάλλοντα (throwing out motion with hands)
  • ἐκβάλλοντα δαιμόνια (throwing out motion, horns motion)
  • εἴδομέν τινα (sign language for 'look')
  • εἴδομέν τινα ἐκβάλλοντα δαιμόνια (with gestures)
  • Ἐπιστάτα (with a salute)
I would call out a word or phrase, then point to them and they would repeat it. We usually repeated twice. I supplied explanations as needed.

Randall, Paul: Is that the kind of thing y'all had in mind?
I would play a little with a word like ἐκβαλεῖν. Have different objects taken out of a μοδἰου or toss things ἔξω τοῦ οἰκήματος. The degree of motion in ἐκβαλεῖν ranges from simple movement to throwing. Don't limit things to throwing. Putting works, too. Which leads one to ask about when to use ἐξενεγκεῖν. This illustrates how using a language forces everyone to spiral up in their learning.

Caveat: be careful with straight repetition. It does not perform desired effects in the long run. The litmus test: if a parrot can do it we have left the "real" world of human communication and little children will quickly lose interest or assume that the game is other than what we are intending. Of course, if motors skills in pronunciation are intended, then repetition is beneficial. Little children need this from time to time, between two and five.
I also asked questions for each transitive verb, writing out my questions in big letters on sheets of paper:
τίς ἐξέβαλλεν;

οἱ μαθηταὶ
ἢ ἄνθρωπός τις
ἢ τὰ δαιμόνια;
τίνα ἐξέβαλλεν;

τοὺς μαθητὰς
ἢ ἄνθρωπόν τινα
ἢ τὰ δαιμόνια;
τίς εἶδέν τι;

οἱ μαθηταὶ
ἢ ἄνθρωπός τις
ἢ τὰ δαιμόνια;
τίνα εἶδον;

τοὺς μαθητὰς
ἢ ἄνθρωπόν τινα
ἢ τὰ δαιμόνια;
τίς ἐκώλυε;

οἱ μαθηταὶ
ἢ ἄνθρωπός τις
ἢ τὰ δαιμόνια;
τίνα ἐκώλυε;

τοὺς μαθητὰς
ἢ ἄνθρωπόν τινα
ἢ τὰ δαιμόνια;
For this particular verb, I asked Paul for a little help:

Παῦλε, ἔκβαλε τὸ βιβλίον

Then I grabbed his hand to stop him from throwing my Bible out, and said, κωλύω αὐτόν.

τίς ἐκώλυε;
ἐγώ ἢ Παῦλος;
Yes, those questions are typically part of TPRS techniques. (Arm-grabbing is classic TPR, of course.) The questions are best done orally. You will notice that students are learning case endings while focusing on meaning.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Help me teach this class

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 5th, 2015, 1:55 pm

Randall, Paul, Micheal, I really appreciate both the encouragement and the expert advice. This is really helping me. And yes, I do think the engagement and smiles tell me this is working better than what I had been doing ... but I sure hope that this class is much better a year from now than it is now, and that my skills in interactive oral Greek are better.

A few things I should work out between now and Sunday ...
RandallButh wrote:Caveat: be careful with straight repetition. It does not perform desired effects in the long run. The litmus test: if a parrot can do it we have left the "real" world of human communication and little children will quickly lose interest or assume that the game is other than what we are intending. Of course, if motors skills in pronunciation are intended, then repetition is beneficial. Little children need this from time to time, between two and five.
Good point, and the time that they were repeating after me was definitely the time that they were least engaged. I think I do need to break down sentences and make sure people understand each phrase and clause, would it be better to first work through the sentence piece by piece, then have someone else read the sentence as a whole?
RandallButh wrote:Yes, those questions are typically part of TPRS techniques. (Arm-grabbing is classic TPR, of course.) The questions are best done orally. You will notice that students are learning case endings while focusing on meaning.
Yes. And one way to introduce the cases is to say that the nominative answers the question τίς and the accusative answers the question τίνα. I think that introducing corresponding forms of questions along with grammatical forms is really helpful.
Paul-Nitz wrote:To tell the truth, I'd have to see a video of your lesson to give useful feedback.
As a computer professional in the States, I just don't have all the high tech you guys have in Malawi ;->
mwpalmer wrote:Assessment is essential so that you can know when it's profitable to move on to other grammatical structures. If your assessment tells you that they are not having success, you should focus on the same issues (asking questions and the distinction between nominative and accusative) in the next lesson. If, however, they understood your questions well, and responded appropriately at least 80% of the time, you can continue to use these structures, but also add something new.
I think I'll start out this next class by seeing if they can still answer the questions they could ask last week ... and send a reminder email about now with some sentences and questions ...
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Help me teach this class

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 6th, 2015, 2:32 am

What section of the text are / will you be up to in the coming session?
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(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Help me teach this class

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 6th, 2015, 7:53 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:What section of the text are / will you be up to in the coming session?
Yeah, I've got to be preparing this now ... here's the text:
57 Καὶ πορευομένων αὐτῶν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ εἶπέν τις πρὸς αὐτόν· Ἀκολουθήσω σοι ὅπου ἐὰν ἀπέρχῃ. 58 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις, ὁ δὲ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ.

59 εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς ἕτερον· Ἀκολούθει μοι. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Κύριε, ἐπίτρεψόν μοι ἀπελθόντι πρῶτον θάψαι τὸν πατέρα μου. 60 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ· Ἄφες τοὺς νεκροὺς θάψαι τοὺς ἑαυτῶν νεκρούς, σὺ δὲ ἀπελθὼν διάγγελλε τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ.

61 εἶπεν δὲ καὶ ἕτερος· Ἀκολουθήσω σοι, κύριε· πρῶτον δὲ ἐπίτρεψόν μοι ἀποτάξασθαι τοῖς εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου. 62 εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Οὐδεὶς ἐπιβαλὼν τὴν χεῖρα ἐπ’ ἄροτρον καὶ βλέπων εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω εὔθετός ἐστιν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ.
So how do I teach it? Ideas are welcome.

The text is going to be challenging for a lot of this group, so I want to break it down into three units and tackle them one at a time, as indicated by whitespace above. One approach might be to break this up into roles, where there is a narrator, Jesus, the disciples, and the individuals who speak to Jesus:
Narrator: Καὶ πορευομένων αὐτῶν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ
εἶπέν τις πρὸς αὐτόν·

ἄνθρωπός τις: Ἀκολουθήσω σοι ὅπου ἐὰν ἀπέρχῃ.

Narrator: καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς·

Ἰησοῦς
Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν
καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις,
ὁ δὲ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ.
Not sure what the best Greek equivalent is for 'narrator'.

I can ask who is wandering to draw attention to the plural πορευομένων αὐτῶν, and ask to whom the man is speaking to draw attention to the singular πρὸς αὐτόν. Having people actually wander around in a designated space called the road would be difficult in the small room we are in, and would break new ground in a way that I'm not sure I want to try just yet.

They don't yet know how to ask and answer questions like ποῦ πορευομένων αὐτῶν; But ποῦ is used in this passage, so this might be a good time to introduce it.

I'm not sure how well a color printer does with pictures, but phrases like Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν and καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις cry out for pictures.

Image
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Help me teach this class

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 6th, 2015, 9:57 am

For narrator, would ὁ ἐξειπών do?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

cwconrad
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Re: Help me teach this class

Post by cwconrad » August 6th, 2015, 10:56 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:For narrator, would ὁ ἐξειπών do?
How about ὁ ἐξηγούμενος?
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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