A Change in Methodology

After seven weeks of teaching a live class and also recording for the web, I learned something. I had devised my method for the class based on a series of circumstances. The method I was using was not the best. I have a better plan going forward.

The way I have been teaching is as follows:

  1. I write up translation notes the day of class.
  2. I go over these notes with students in class.
  3. Students go home and translate using my notes.
  4. Next week we are on a new text (no discussion of the translations already done).
  5. Ugh!

The way this method came about:

  1. I planned to stand at a dry erase board and write out words and discuss features with students.
  2. People on the web (social media, my blogs) said they would like to access my class online.
  3. I made a plan to try and combine live class and web material into one great effort.
  4. Ugh!

New method:

  1. I post some translation helps a week in advance.
  2. Students use my notes all week long to help them prepare and translate.
  3. In class we discuss the translations that have been done (and perhaps this generates more notes, catching what was originally unclear).
  4. Now when we are in class, the students prepared in advance and the discussion is more about finer points and interpretation than mechanics.

It’s a little like chavruta study in Jewish tradition (pairs, or 2-4 people who come prepared to dialogue about a text). We prepare in advance. Then we discuss. This gets us beyond mechanics into the finer points and into interpretation.

I am not planning to post audio online from the study sessions, but perhaps will do more audio of me reading verses for people who want to learn to read better.


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