Thomas Dolhanty wrote:I have come to think about READING as a 'dialogue with a text'. If you think about the externals of reading, it is casting your eyes upon some squiggles on a page or on a screen, and scanning the lines of squiggles from side to side (usually). The 'rest is up to you' as they say (a la Frank Smith). The information, or meaning or insight or inspiration comes from recognizing the agreed upon message represented by the squiggles (the easy part), and relating that message to all that your brain will 'summon up' concerning that message.
Michael Pressley and Richard Allington's "Reading Instruction That Works" has done a fairly extensive review of the research literature on teaching elementary school reading, and they advocate something they call "Balanced Teaching". Frank Smith is right about a lot of things, and language immersion is extremely important, but spending 10 minutes a day on explicitly teaching phonics skills in addition to immersion makes a very significant difference in children's ability to read. Add 45 minutes a day of reading texts and opportunities to responding to texts orally and in writing, and you've got something going. Skills-based and whole-language instruction are both important. You want to spend much more time in whole-language instruction, tailor skills teaching to the level of individuals as they proceed, and teach skills in the context of content when possible.
Of course, this is all using an analogy with teaching elementary school reading in English to kids growing up speaking English. ESL may be a more accurate comparison. But we should be clear that in both cases, we are trying to reason from things we think are analogous to teaching Greek, and we don't have a lot of research on teaching Greek at the level we want to teach it.
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:In this paradigm, READING - or at what I will call 'RICH READING' - involves the ability to 'dialogue with the text'. That is, it requires you to query the content you are viewing - and to 'dialogue' with it - and that requires the ability to express yourself in the language of the text. Your 'reading' ability will take a great leap forward as you begin to acquire the ability to express yourself in the language. I understand this as the underlying meaning of 'thinking in Greek'. At least, it is an essential part of what that phrase means.
Those who are able to express themselves in Greek, who are able to carry on a dialogue in Greek or sit down and write out their thoughts in Greek, READ Greek in a far 'RICHER' manner than those who are not able to express themselves in Greek.
I agree with that, but (1) if reading biblical texts is what we are most interested in, we should measure this in the ability to dialogue about biblical texts, and (2) I don't know very many people alive today who can write about biblical texts in Greek the same way that Origen or Chrysostom did.
If we look at Bloom's taxonomy, we would ideally like to see people learn Greek sufficiently to speak and write all the way up to Level 6. How far up the chain do we get with today's Greek instruction, classic or communicative or whatever? I'd say not all that far.
Suppose we wanted to make the subject matter the biblical text, get really good at teaching Level 1, then Level 2, then Level 3 ... I imagine we would have to learn to teach at each level, one at a time, progressively. How would that change our instruction?