I never finished the review of the last two days of Randall Buth's fluency workshop. So I want to let everyone know what went on the last 2.5 days.
Monday (day 9 - but really 41 hours in = 75% of the way through) was a reset after a long break. Remember that most of the attendees had already learned Greek to a substantial level, i.e., they could pick up a NT text and waddle through it, but most had little audio connection to the language. The FOG happened on Monday. What many of us thought we had 'attained,' we realized we had some more learning to do. The level of exhaustion was significant towards the end of the day. This comment is not just my own, but one made to me by several members of the group. It could have been the long recess (a whole day) and the natural speed of absorbtion/re-incombination or whatever you call 'getting back into it.' But the next day and a half, the FOG tended to lift.
As we progressed into more structures...the future tense, the perfect, some of those who had not had much Greek began to get lost. You could see that glossed over look in their eyes when they were asked a question. The moderators were great on dealing with the different learning levels of the various students. Again, this was a class intended for teachers of Greek, even though some present were still in the 1st year learning level. [Note: This was not a negative, as it was important for teachers to also see how the method works on 1st year students; for many, this was their first experience learning Koine Greek via the 'Communicative Method.']
We continued with the format that was used throughout the workshop. Morning meeting demonstrating TPR, then breakout sessions teaching some forms (many with review), followed up by a final group session where a personal story was told (in Greek) and a song was sung. Of the break-out sessions, one usually tended to be a back-and-forth TPR session; another one-or-two a story-telling session. Most of those sessions were asking the students to give a 5-7 word response - this was a change from some of the sessions earlier where a shorter response, even a one-word response was sought. Some break-out sessions were more ad hoc and and allowed for conversational Greek to be used between students, rather than trying just to get us to repeat the 'correct form' or give a simple answer in the correct form. I found (as one of the students who had a wider range of vocabulary and had used the audio/spoken method before in my teaching) that I was expected not to embellish and enhance a question, but needed to try to limit my response to what all would understand. That is a very hard thing to do - for an enthusiastic person who wants to get to the next level. But then again, the facilitators did a great job dealing with their 'frustrations' of those who wanted to push the envelope.
In one of the final sessions, led by Randall, we discussed a portion of the NT text. (I don't remember which, but it was about John). This was the first time we were given a Greek text from the NT to read while we talked. People were getting tired the end of Tuesday (day 9 of 10), but they were still enjoying the content and especially the parts that made them 'stretch' their skills and in which they did not need to 'recall' forms, but interact communicatively.
The end of the day 9 (of 10), we were given the option to teach our own story (do our own TPRS session) on the following day. About 12-14 students (half?) chose to try to do this. The final day, after a we broke into sessions and in 3-5 member groups, each of those who chose to tell a story were given the opportunity to do so.
The second to the last hour of the workshop was what all of us wanted to do. The facilitators discussed a passage of the Bible in Koine Greek. Hardly any English was spoken to the participants. I think most of us participants followed the discussion. [Note: Randall, get the video of this discussion posted ASAP.] One of Randall Buth's constant drum beats was how professors of German studies, French studies, English studies, etc. do not talk about the German, French, English in any other than the target language when teaching intermediate or advanced courses. And that the only way any intimacy and intricate understanding of a second language can happen, is by using the target language as the language of medium.
The last hour of the workshop was given to a question and and answer time. I was absent for some of this. Some of the talk centered on 'best practices' and how to implement this method with only a single teacher. A lot centered on where Buth's methodology and the methodology in general, and how academia in both Latin and Greek, and more specifically in Biblical Greek studies, have been changing their attitudes toward the "Living Language" approach of teaching Biblical Greek. The subject of the SBL and ETS and the applied linguistic seminar came up at the beginning and end of the QA session. (http://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com/AppliedLinguistics/
In summary, Brian Schultz, on a post about the workshop http://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com/2012-greek-fluency-workshop/
said that this was BLC's best workshop ever. At least one of the facilitators who has been with Randall for several years said that even several years ago, they were speaking 'child-level' Greek, and that what the participants heard this session was advanced even beyond last year's workshop by a good degree. A skill-set takes a long time to develop. Randall Buth, and his group have been at Greek Fluency for about 15 years now (1997-2012).
Reporting from Minnesota....Λεωνίδας ....[Louis Sorenson]