a lot of people the Biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek) form one of
the biggest obstacles to their study and understanding of the Bible. Few
find learning any language easy and Greek has the added drawback of
being a 'dead' language. Although techniques for teaching language,
using conversation, role play etc., have revolutionised modern language
learning, New Testament (Koine) Greek tends to be restricted to
reading and writing texts.
is currently involved in exciting work that is developing new ways to
teach New Testament Greek which will make it more accessible.
describes how she "instantly fell in love" with the ancient
Greek language following an early fascination with ancient Greek culture
and the opportunity to learn its language at High School. Her growing
participation within the Christian church led her to focus on the Koine
(type found in the New Testament) form of the language. A desire to
teach the language that she had come to love in the most effective
ways possible led her to undertake PhD research at the University of
Birmingham. She describes her research as, "investigating
the mechanics behind how human beings learn language; and I'm looking at
theories of educational practice and modern language teaching methods to
see whether theories from these fields can be applied to Koine
Greek teaching practices."
thesis explores the possibility of changing the current method of
teaching for Hellenistic Greek, which is the grammar-translation
method. First the
processes of first and second language acquisition (e.g. how we as
human beings learn to understand and produce language and the
reasons why) are explored in order to illustrate that the learning
of a language is distinct in many ways from the learning of other
types of information; and therefore requires a teaching method
specifically designed to instruct students in a language’s
phonology, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics.
From there, the work moves on to show how a growing
understanding of those processes has affected the evolution of
modern language teaching curriculum; and to show some ways in
which the various syllabi and new methods can be applied to
instruction in Koine. Finally, it reviews course materials already
available for Greek teachers, their strengths and weaknesses in
light of what language acquisition involves.
Meet the Researcher
was born and raised in
and then moved to
at 18 to do my university degree before coming to study in
at Birmingham University in 2003. Currently, I'm doing revisions on my
doctoral thesis, and teaching Greek at Westminster Theological Centre in London. In
I'm teaching people who are employed in full-time careers, but want to
learn the Biblical languages and/or take other courses in theology as
well. Because of their work schedule, Westminster Theological Centre
holds most of its courses on the weekend or during week day evenings.
Because I am dealing with learners from vastly different backgrounds, I
have found it really helpful to apply the things I've learned about
language acquisition and different learning styles while doing my
thesis. I try as much as I can to reflect what I've learnt in how I
teach, whether that's by using more pictures, songs, physical motion
hope to be able to continue teaching in London and to continue my
research into the most accessible ways for people to learn biblical
is very keen to discuss all aspects of her research. You can contact her
directly using her email address in the box (above left). Any other
correspondence can be passed onto her through SYNEIDON.