Guinea pigs

A place for teachers to create lessons and discuss pedagogical concerns specifically related to the lessons we are creating in this subforum. General discussions of pedagogy belong elsewhere.
RandallButh
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Re: Guinea pigs

Post by RandallButh » December 21st, 2015, 5:17 pm

Jonathan, I focus on NT texts, too. But I surround that with very short stories, Q&A, and outside exercises and texts (papyri, fables, Josephus, LXX, ktl,) that demand real communication and comprehension within Greek.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Guinea pigs

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 21st, 2015, 5:36 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:But we have to do so in a way that doesn't allow students to lazily rely on their knowledge of the same text in translation.
I am much more at home speaking a foreign language in a familiar situation. Taking a taxi, at the cashier of the supermarket, at a restaurant or checking into a hotel. Why? Because I know what to expect and there are well-defined limits to the language.

I think that in many ways, the reading of a familiar passage is like that. Sure, there is some guessing and somethings are expected, so the language is not so fully engaged with, but familiar situations are a normal part of language learning. (So to are unfamiliar ones, ;) ).
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(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

RandallButh
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Re: Guinea pigs

Post by RandallButh » December 22nd, 2015, 1:35 am

It's called 'comprehensible input'. Input must be comprehensible. Language learning builds from comprehensible input and known situations help to negotiate meaning. But for learning to mature it must also negotiate new information.
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: Guinea pigs

Post by Paul-Nitz » December 23rd, 2015, 5:21 am

If we are to get something going, we should just do it. But we do need a leader. Someone (I assume, Jonathon) should set a course that can be revised within x number of days. Then he should list assignments: write, review, test, etc.
This should be considered to be simply a test run. No worries if it turns out to be rubbish. Let's skip by the alphabet, and assume that our learners already know how to pronounce Greek. So, what's the next lesson? I think cases are very difficult for most learners. Let's pick an early narrative from John and start off writing a lesson that focuses on Nom & Acc.

Re the foregoing discussions:

I see Buth's point. If I am very familiar with the NT and I get in a habit of looking for cues in the Greek to jog my memory of the content, that's a bad thing.

I see Emma's point. Simply reading a familar text in a different language is not a bad thing, per se, It can actually be an advantage.

I would think the greater problem with using Biblical texts as instructional material is that it is too difficult. I don't actually see a way of getting up to original texts in early lessons. Easy level simplifications might work, though.

I do understand the desire to "read the Bible in Greek" and how that is a powerful motivator for learning. But the truth is, reading original texts is something that cannot be reasonably done in early stages. That pleasure will have to be deferred, if we want to avoid going outside a normal progression of language learning.

Since we will immediately be relying on written text, the alphabet must be learned. But only in the sense that symbols should be connected to sounds. The Greek names of the letters should be deferred until the time when we NEED to refer to letters in lessons.
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Guinea pigs

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 23rd, 2015, 12:51 pm

Paul-Nitz wrote:If we are to get something going, we should just do it. But we do need a leader. Someone (I assume, Jonathan) should set a course that can be revised within x number of days. Then he should list assignments: write, review, test, etc.
This should be considered to be simply a test run. No worries if it turns out to be rubbish. Let's skip by the alphabet, and assume that our learners already know how to pronounce Greek. So, what's the next lesson? I think cases are very difficult for most learners. Let's pick an early narrative from John and start off writing a lesson that focuses on Nom & Acc.
I agree, we should just do it. In this subforum, the best form of criticism is to volunteer to produce additional materials or alternative materials to supplement what is there. We're going to have to start somewhere, and wherever we start, it will not be perfect.
Paul-Nitz wrote:Re the foregoing discussions:

I see Buth's point. If I am very familiar with the NT and I get in a habit of looking for cues in the Greek to jog my memory of the content, that's a bad thing.

I see Emma's point. Simply reading a familar text in a different language is not a bad thing, per se, It can actually be an advantage.
Agreed on both points. But I think Randall's bigger point is that bringing in other material too is really helpful:
RandallButh wrote:Jonathan, I focus on NT texts, too. But I surround that with very short stories, Q&A, and outside exercises and texts (papyri, fables, Josephus, LXX, ktl,) that demand real communication and comprehension within Greek.
I agree with that. I think the real objective is to provide enough scaffolding to support understanding the NT texts well. Just exactly what you need for that will depend on the passage. From a Greek perspective, Randall has the longest experience with this of anyone, Paul and Louis have extensive experience with this, I'm a newbie. From an ESL/SSL perspective, Micheal Palmer has been doing this full time for a long time and teaches workshops. So I want to do this in a way that benefits from all the experience we have here.

But I'd like to get feedback in a way that is directly translatable into the current week's work, hitting the lowest hanging fruit first, starting with John 1:1-9.
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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: Guinea pigs

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 23rd, 2015, 12:54 pm

Paul-Nitz wrote:I would think the greater problem with using Biblical texts as instructional material is that it is too difficult. I don't actually see a way of getting up to original texts in early lessons. Easy level simplifications might work, though.

I do understand the desire to "read the Bible in Greek" and how that is a powerful motivator for learning. But the truth is, reading original texts is something that cannot be reasonably done in early stages. That pleasure will have to be deferred, if we want to avoid going outside a normal progression of language learning.
I agree that you need a whole lot of support to read biblical texts, and that it's best to start with easy texts like John. But I also think there's a big difference between what you can read using the kinds of scaffolding techniques used in SIOP and what you can read on your own. The things I've read on Goldilocks Texts distinguish several levels of difficulty.
When you are reading a book, use the Five Finger Test to help find a book that is “just right.”

The Five Finger Test

Sometimes it is difficult to know if a book is going to be too easy or too hard just by looking at it. The Five Finger test is one way to "test" a book before you spend too much time with it and get frustrated.

1. Choose a book you would like to read.
2. Open it to a page near the middle.
3. Begin to read the page. It is best to read the page aloud while doing the test so you can hear the places where you have difficulty.
4. Each time you come to a word you don't know right away, hold one finger up.
5. If you have all five fingers up before you get to the end of the page, this is a book that mom or dad might need to read to you. Right now it is too difficult for you to read it on your own. All five fingers up is called a Too Hard Book.
6. If you have no fingers up when you finish the page, then the book may be an easy read for you. No fingers up is called a Too Easy Book.
7. If you have less than five fingers but more than one or two fingers up when you finish reading the page, the book may be just what you need to grow as a reader. Some fingers up is called a Just Right Book.

Too Easy Books

As you read, ask yourself these questions. If you answer "yes" to most of the questions then the book is probably too easy for you. You can still have fun reading it, but next time try to choose a book that is a little more challenging.

1. Have you read this book many times before?
2. Do you understand the story very well without much effort?
3. Do you know and understand almost every word?
4. Can you read it smoothly without much practice or effort?

*This is the kind of book that can be read independently as it will build your child’s confidence.

Just Right Books

As you read, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to most of them, then the book you are reading is probably "just right" for you. These are the books that will help you make the most progress in your reading.

1. Is this book new to you?
2. Do you understand most of the book?
3. Are there a few words per page that you don't recognize or know the meaning to instantly? Try using the five finger test.
4. When you read, are some places smooth and some places choppy?
5. Can someone help you with the book if you hit a tough spot?

*This is the kind of book a child can read independently and can be used for guided instruction.

Too Hard Books

As you read, ask yourself these questions. If you answer yes to most of these questions, then the book is probably too hard for you. Don't forget about the book, try it again later. As you gain experience in choosing "just right" books, you may find when you pick the book up again that it is "just right."

1. Are there more than a few words on a page that you don't recognize or know the meaning? Try using the five finger test.
2. Are you confused about what is happening in most of the book?
3. When you read, are you struggling and does it sound choppy?
4. Is everyone busy and unable to help you if you hit a tough spot?

*This is a book that an adult can read to the child. Alone, the child will reach frustration.
On this scale, the Bible is a "too hard book" for a beginner. That means that "an adult" has to read it, it's a book that can only be read with a lot of help. I think the sheltered instruction people are very good at teaching us how to provide that help. I think my Sunday School class is really understanding the texts we are using, and learning the language.

But sheltered instruction should go together with the equivalent of basic ESL instruction. IMHO, we need both.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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