Mediations on Greek Pedagogy

My wife had a vocabulary quiz this afternoon.

She hates them.

And its not because she doesn’t know the words. She’s the best in her class – it helps that she’s already done Classical Greek. No, she hates them because vocabulary quizzes rip words from their contexts. How often are you going to see συνέρχομαι all by itself in isolation with no words surrounding it.

The question, then, is this. How can we teach and test on vocabulary in a more natural manner?

Now, I’ve never taught Greek grammar before. I’ve only TA’ed NT exegesis, so I don’t know how feasible this is, but here is my idea. Its sort of a blend of avoiding vocab quizzes as well as translation exercises all at the same time.

What if instead of working through the vocabulary that appears 50 times or more, students were to work through the vocabulary of a narrative – say Mark (over the course of a year). Mark is relatively short and its Greek is not difficult. Use the words from a sentence or two at a time for the required vocabulary. But instead of simply requiring them to translate the sentences or have them spew out the words they know onto a piece of paper, simply have them read the text, and then answer questions about its content. As they go through the narrative, their vocabulary would grow and there be fewer new words in the following sentences, which means one could then deal with larger chunks of the story at one time.

What do you think?

Would this work?

Perhaps in conjunction with Buth’s materials?