An innovative approach to the teaching and learning of Hellenistic Greek as a classical language: planning and validation
“Teaching is the purposeful creation of situations from which motivated learners should not be able to escape without learning or developing.” (Cowan 2006:100) Four educational action research questions directed the study. The first two questions relate to the concerning issue I wanted to research and the reasons why I was interested in researching the issue. The definition of Cowan encouraged me to evaluate my own teaching values and the current teaching and learning context of Hellenistic Greek at the University of the Free State (UFS). As lecturer of Hellenistic Greek at this institution, I became aware of contradictions between my personal values and the expression of these values in practice. I realised that students who registered for the course were often unmotivated to study the language and experienced certain levels of anxiety towards the study of Greek, especially the first-year students. Reasons for students‟ lack of motivation were therefore investigated and my reflection on the findings led to the realisation that innovation in the teaching and learning context of Hellenistic Greek was necessary to alter students‟ perceptions and to enhance their performance. In order to address the third educational action research question – what kind of evidence can be gathered to show my interest in this issue – I performed an extensive literature review as well as an empirical investigation. The aim was to gather evidence relating to the following aspects: the importance and relevance of the teaching and learning of Hellenistic Greek for theology studies; and possible shortcomings in the teaching and learning context of Hellenistic Greek that necessitate innovation. Reflection on the collected evidence raised the question of what I can and/or will do (fourth educational action research question) to address the need for an innovative approach and the findings that emerged from the collected evidence. I set out to explore Fink‟s taxonomy for significant learning (Fink 2003a:30), other selected innovative approaches presented in literature and student suggestions to improve the teaching and learning context of Hellenistic Greek. The aim of this xvi exploration was to determine if elements/suggestions from these sources are applicable to the teaching and learning context of Hellenistic Greek. All the evidence that emerged during the study was used to compile directives that characterised an innovative approach to the teaching and learning of Hellenistic Greek. These directives contributed to recommendations for the actualisation of this approach. An action plan was also drafted to guide the process of implementing the directives and the innovative approach to the teaching and learning of Hellenistic Greek. The final step in the study was to have the proposed set of directives and action plan validated by role players and other experts in the field of Hellenistic Greek and New Testament studies.
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