Shirley Rollinson wrote:If the teacher only knew the subject thoroughly, and enjoyed the subject, and also enjoyed teaching beginners (yes, that too) - then there would be no difficulty. ... these subjects are NOT difficult per se - only "made" difficult by incompetent teachers.
I think all
teachers are "incompetent" (not yet competent) at first. Competency comes from seeing the end of the learning process. The teacher's experience of teaching a course the first time is different from teaching it the second time, and after a few times there is a lot more comparision and reflection. It is similar to the so-called "grandparent" experience of raising children - having a new baby to care for after you have seen a baby reach teenager years and left childhood. That same way natural way of reacting to the experience of helping others through "stages" in their life.
Of course that is assuming that the teacher knows enough of the subject to teach it. A parent teaches life-skills that they themselves practice everyday and have done so for a long time.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:There is also the problem of schools for whom the original languages are taught for apologetical purposes, to reinforce the particular theological outlook of the school and reproduce it in the lives of the students ("if you knew what the Greek really said you'd certainly be a Slaboofian like me...").
Shirley Rollinson wrote:had some sort of gnostic complex.
The "secret" knowledge (γνῶσις) that only the initiate can seemingly draw from the Greek text is part of the power structure that Greek is used for. To the learner, it seems that Greek is supplying answers to uncertainties about the Faith that are not clear to in the English, but the more Greek that is learnt, the more that uncertainties multiply. The outcome of using Greek in this secret knowledge / definite answers to uncertainites way is a motivation to learn at the beginning, but as time goes on and further knowledge leads to alternatives further study can become a demotivationaliser.
It is a natural process in language learnering that things seem at the same time both more sure and more expressive than our own language at a the beginning of the study, but later - as the study process goes on - there is a point when everything is at a sea and the learner is unable to express anything with certainty. (It is that same point in the human reaction to newness of situation when you get lost and possibly cry - like when you are used to following the same route or using a map, but you take a few steps off the beaten track and the world starts revolving and you are disorientated). That is a normal part of the process of learning (anything) - where the learner changes from watching and copying the teacher to trying for themselves. If the typical characteristics of that earlier stage have been used as a reason to promote learning, the motivation for learning will evaporate too. IF that is used, then there needs to be a parallel introduction of the benefit of uncertainty and enquiry - at the beginning of the course one motivation that matches the students' experience and feelings moving to the ultimate motivation of more enquiry and less certainty as the motivation for continuing. The "slow down and look at the text more closely" reason is good till you reach a natural reading speed (let's say 5th grader - 10 year old / 110 words per minute in a graded text level) and then that motivation suddenly becomes irrelevent as the learner naturally moves on from it.
To draw a parallel with relationships and the human response to learning, it is like in the first stages of relationship when the other party is unknown enough that you can read all your dreams, hopes and ideas onto the other person without actually knowing them. There is little interpersonal interaction and a great deal of goodwill and hope. Most relationships have difficulty moving on to the realisation that the other person is really not what they first appeared to be (actually no longer fit the overlay that has been read onto them). That is like when certain doctrinal views are read onto the Greek, and at some point they no longer "fit". For some people that can put a stop to further learning of Greek (or from going on with the relationship) because Greek no longer serves the purpose that it has designed for. It seems to me that the various decrying of the "grammar translation" method of teaching is actually directed at the way that this natural transition to questioning is inhibited or effectively blocked (cf the axolotl - a salamader that remains at the newt stage of development). I think that grammar / translation is a valid way to learn a language in the early stages, but like the cocoon that is left behind when the insect leaves behind to begin the flight stage of its development needs to be given up at some point.
It is important the aims for learning are dynamic and evolving with the learners progress, and not tied to the experience of an early stage of learning.
I wish to preach... that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.(TR-1899)