February 10, 2008

Tauber's Graded Greek Reader Ideas

This just shows one example of why I've appreciated James' mind for some time now. He has put together a presentation on his thoughts regarding a new kind of Graded Reader that have interested me for some time--one created programmatically based upon the students current vocabulary/grammar progress.

I am no longer teaching Greek, but have long thought that whenever I'm at it again, I will start with inductive reading from the start, but still move through paradigms from the beginning as well. The major shift though, will be that the inductive work through a graded reader is primary, and the paradigm work is secondary. I might vary from James' proposition in that I would not encourage waiting until very long before a critical mass of forms are encountered before abstracting that paradigm, though they can be introduced strategically.

It is very hard for me to still not desire to combine this clause approach with a simplified pseudo-scripture corpus at the beginning--allowing for greater control of when students encounter certain forms/vocabulary.

Don't miss James Tauber's further explanation in the comments section. And if you are ever interested in teaching Greek and still haven't watched the video presentation, remedy that now.

1 comment:

jtauber said...

When teaching this way (although it's only the early stages) I've been filling out small parts of the paradigms right from the beginning. I don't wait until examples from all cells in the paradigm are shown.

Furthermore, I try to order the forms so that the same exponent comes up in multiple words in the same lesson. For example, by the second lesson, there have been three instances shown of an aorist 3rd sing ending in -ε(ν) so I point out right there the commonality.

By the second lesson the student has also seen ἀπεκρίθη, ἀπεκρίθησαν and ἀποκρίνεται although the only ending that has been seen elsewhere is -εται. I haven't even pointed out the augment yet.

Note this is just one ordering I'm working on. It's possible to tweak things. I've deliberately focused on the 3rd person and on aorist and present.

Interestingly, one of my students just emailed me and said "it's kind of fun to start to see recognizable patterns in word endings and to start formulating rules based on that. when studying Spanish years ago and little bits of other languages, I've always learned the rule first and then the example, and it's more fun this way."

On your last point, this becomes easier the more text is analyzed. At the moment I'm focusing on John's Gospel just to scope the underlying database but if extended to the entire NT plus Apostolic Fathers, say, I think the results would be even better. And, of course, you can just make up text and feed it in to the current system. In order to support a particular text, the main thing is the clause boundaries need to be marked in the Greek and, if you want the Greek embedded in English, marked in an English translation too.

I'm delighted you like the concept, though. And I welcome more feedback. There are a number of different ideas embodied in the current approach, not all of which need be used together.