This will be my second semester teaching Greek at Boyce College. I welcome any tips on teaching languages to college students. Here are some things I did last semester that I will keep and also some things that I’m changing or adding this semester.
Ideas I’m keeping from last semester:
- Using notecards with student names to randomly ask questions to each student every class. I stress in each class that it is okay to be wrong or not know the answer because that is how learning happens. Additionally, if a student doesn’t know the answer or answers incorrectly I don’t allow other students to go ahead and answer. I think this brings some unnecessary and unhelpful shame to the student who didn’t know the answer. Instead, I always address and explain the answer. This way there is no “one-upping” other students and fewer opportunities for comparison.
- Primer review questions to start the class and help students focus on Greek for the next 50 minutes.
- No electronics
- When reviewing homework in class to not allow students to answer based on their completed work but post a blank copy on the board and make them work through it again with fresh eyes.
- Take home quizzes instead of using class time. I require a proctor to sign the quiz and add their email so if I have any questions I can quickly contact them.
- Marking up slides, homework, quizzes, and exams via my iPad Pro instead of using the whiteboard.
Ideas I’m adding or changing:
- With the student notecards, I will also use this for attendance by writing the date on the back of the card during the class if a student misses.
- Dedicated vocabulary quizzes (take home, 10 words) each week. Mondays will be review words which could come from any of the chapters that have been covered thus far (including Greek 1) and Fridays will be the words for the chapter covered in class that week. I found that just having vocabulary on the weekly chapter quizzes wasn’t helping students stay up to date with vocabulary. Students will grade their own quizzes before uploading them to the LMS. I won’t give them a key so they will need to look up words they do not know.
- Grade quizzes in class to help with quicker feedback and review. I also hope that it’s a pedagogical opportunity and a more natural way for students to ask questions they had when taking the quiz.