I just wanted to highlight that BLC has just updated its vision statement. Check it out here. Let us know what you think. We'd love to get your feedback.
Just a quick note to inform our BLC friends that Peter Burton, Randall Buth's friend, colleague, and supporter of BLC, passed away peacefully on Thursday night (4 October 2012) of complications associated with ALS with which he had just recently been diagnosed. Peter's enthusiasm for the biblical languages and seeing them taught using Communicative Language [...]
The BLC/FPU workshops are providing the field of New Testament studies with a unique opportunities for professors of Koine Greek. The community and environment created at these workshops is literally the only place where the field can experience what spoken fluency in Koine Greek may offer to the field. As such, the testimonies of the professors present should not be dismissed off hand.
It's hard to believe that already a week has gone by since the end of BLC's second Koine Greek Fluency Workshop. For those of us involved in the planning and/or the instruction, it was obviously a very busy time for us. I won't recap all that took place, as a detailed summary has already been [...]
This past SBL conference, a short video clip was shown (a second time - it was first presented at the SBL conference in Atlanta the previous year) as to how it is possible to introduce the ו''ו ההיפוך (conversive waw, narrative waw, etc.) concept to a class using TPR. Since there have been requests for [...]
At the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) in San Francisco, CA, Brian Schultz presented a paper on "First Steps to get Started in Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)." In his paper, he presented three options as to how instructors of biblical languages can begin incorporating some aspects of CLT into their curriculum.
As a result of the BLC's Koine Greek immersion programs, and especially the Workshop for Instructors this past summer in Fresno, CA, there has been growing interest in a song written and composed by BLC's Sharon Alley. See for example this thread on the b-greek list. Here is an original recording of the song sung [...]
A couple quick anecdotes. Last year I interviewed a few of my students to get their thoughts about my biblical Hebrew course taught using Communicative Language Teaching. The one student had the following comment: Learning Hebrew has been easier, so far as to say that I don't translate it. Like when I was learning French, [...]
A while back I wrote my own report on what transpired at this past summer's Greek Workshop held in August 2011 in Fresno, CA. I don't know how I missed it until now, but a couple weeks ago Fresno Pacific University posted its own independent account of the workshop. Wayne Steffen (editor of FPU's [...]
Frank Smith, one of the foremost psycholingists of our day, has spent much of his time studying the psychology and mechanics of reading. For those of us involved in the instruction of biblical languages, where our stated goal is that our students be able to read the Bible fluently, his research is most relevant. I just finished reading a collection of his essays entitled "Unspeakable Acts, Unnatural Practices". Based on the research he shares in those essays, I suggest at least four ways instructors of biblical languages can adapt their teaching to help their students learn to read more efficiently.
In my last post, I posted a video clip of one of my class sessions for beginning biblical Hebrew. One of the accusations sometimes leveled at us who try to teach using Communicative Language Teaching is that we are not using/teaching biblical Hebrew but modern Hebrew. While it is true that "slip-ups" are possible, generally [...]
The video clip below is from the first year Hebrew class I am teaching at Fresno Pacific University. It is from the 8th class period of 50 mns each (if one counts the first class period in which all I did was hand out syllabi and explain the dynamics of the class). The point of [...]
Daniel Streett, whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time last year at SBL, has recently written a series of blog posts on the state of Greek studies in the academy. It is not pretty. To wet your appetite I will only mention a test he did with about 30 Greek profs [...]
From August 3-11, the Biblical Language Center (BLC), in association with Fresno Pacific University, led a fluency workshop for instructors of New Testament Greek in Fresno, California. The effort to renew the speaking of New Testament Greek was the first of its kind in North America. To ensure the highest quality possible, the workshop was led [...]
A common objection to the communicative approach to teaching biblical languages is: "All we are aiming at is being able to read, not speak, the language." However, Frank Smith in his book "Reading without Nonsense" suggests that in order to truly read fluently, one has to depend less on deciphering the printed matter, and more on a background of already acquired knowledge. Though he does not highlight fluency as part of that body of "already acquired knowledge," it is presupposed throughout (indeed, it is unlikely that a non-fluent English speaker would be reading his work in the first place). It would seem, therefore, that without fluency, it is impossible to read effectively for meaning.
I've recently (re)read an article sent to me this past summer entitled "Preparing Latin Teachers for Second Language Acquisition," pp. 184-191 in Teaching Classical Languages (Spring 2010) by Robert Patrick, PhD. This online peer-reviewed journal can be found here, and the article in question here. While the BLC does not at this point provide resources [...]
First Things, published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an inter-religious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society, just posted an article entitled "Why study biblical languages?" In the post, the author Nicholas Frankovich highlights the difference between savoir and [...]
Studies in psychology continue to demonstrate that the study and knowledge of multiple languages helps stave off Alzheimer and other cognitive disorders. And the more languages the better. So since BLC is all about learning languages, that would mean that our materials and courses can help you stay younger longer!
Biblical languages are usually taught using a Grammar-Translation approach, where one learns grammar rules and vocabulary in order to translate a text into one's mother tongue. The Biblical Language Center, however, purposely avoids GT in favor of the principles of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). Here are 10 reasons why.
Student motivation to learn and desire to invest even more time learning biblical Hebrew does not seem to be a problem for these students using the "Living Biblical Hebrew" curriculum. They planned a biblical Hebrew week-end retreat.
Wayne Steffen, editor-in-chief of Pacific Magazine, wrote an article for the March 2010 volume about my Biblical Hebrew course here at Fresno Pacific University. It has recently been put on FPU's website. He begins his article by describing language learning by immersion: "REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE A BABY? Probably not, so here’s what happened: [...]
On day two of BLC's "With Jesus in the Galilee" we went to the historical site of Cana. Most people think of an Arab village just outside Nazareth, Kfar Cana, as the location of where the miracle took place. However, Kfar Cana was "introduced" in the Byzantine period so as to allow pilgrims walking from [...]
At a guest house in the modern town of Migdal, overlooking ancient Migdal on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, about twenty individuals have come together for ten days of intensive Koine Greek. We are attempting to do something that has rarely, if ever, been done in modern times: speak only Koine Greek from [...]
Here at Fresno Pacific University, I have been working together with a team of student workers at developing an MP4 Companion to BLC's Living Biblical Hebrew - Introduction Part 1. It is almost finished, and we hope to have it available soon. In the meantime, I thought it would be nice to give you a [...]