Department of Greek & Latin


Teaching Greek for Beginners

A special class in the Petrie Museum

Petrie Museum.jpeg

Antony Makrinos with the help of PhD students Danae Bafa and Tzu-I Liao presented a special class for Greek for Beginners in the Petrie Museum. This class was part of an idea to introduce innovative ways of teaching Greek to undergraduate students of the Greek and Latin Department, UCL for the course Greek for Beginners A, term 1 (GREK1001).

  • See a report on the project here (UCL Connected Curriculum case studies).

The aims of the class were to engage and motivate students in their learning of Greek and communicate the idea that students from the Beginners class are able to understand the general meaning of short passages or inscriptions in Greek. The purpose of the class was to explore the benefits of an educational experience in which students come into contact with material culture which challenges the perception of Greek as a "dead language".

The class included the presentation of 10 ancient objects by the tutor with the collaboration of a curator from the museum and a PhD student and a discussion with the students about the identification of the objects and the translation of Greek inscriptions on them with the help of the grammar and syntax learnt during the course.

A list of the objects presented can be found below:
1. 58267 ring IC XC ΑΓΕ
2. 59254 Dice Numbers
3. 59255 Dice Numbers
4. 59434 Mummy label ΩΡΟΣ ΕΤΩΝ Δ
5. 59498 stamp seal BACΙΛΕ
6. 32088 ostracon Letters exercise
7. 45647 mummy label Pangarsis son of Kolanthos who lived 60 years
8. 45639 mummy label Sisois son of old Sisois his mother…

9.a. P. Oxy. LXV 4460, Mythological Compendium
b. P. Mich. inv. 764 (Kelsey inv. 29970) 5th /6th c. A.D.
10. UC32071b - Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus with parts of the Iliad

Antony's and Danae's thoughts about the class will be presented in the UCL Teaching and Learning Conference 2104, "Inspiring students with research-based education" (London, 3 April 2014). A shared talk will be presented with the title: "When Dicaeopolis met Petrie: teaching Greek in UCL Museums". The talk will introduce innovative pedagogies and methodologies for the teaching of ancient languages used in the Department of Greek and Latin, UCL. The session will invite dialogue between the delegates about the creative teaching of languages through visits to museums, and it is hoped that this will stimulate interest in this method of teaching. Particular emphasis will be given to methodologies which enhance the teaching experience and help students digest aspects of the Greek language. Delegates will experience the feedback of the students through videos and will get to ask questions about the class.

Student Feedback
- "Museum visit was a good idea for putting language into context…"
- "Nice idea to have 'fun' Christmas lesson in the museum!"
- "…Resources provided have been very useful."
- "The trip to the Petrie Museum was a really fitting way to end the term: After the shock to the system that comes when first studying Greek, and a term of hard work, it was great to get to see and handle artefacts which we could actually decipher! A very effective - and appreciated - way to foster student interest."

Many thanks to:
- Tracie Golding (Visitor Services Officer in the Petrie Museum) for working so hard in order to book the rooms and provide the objects for us and for advising on how to handle and study them;
- the curators and the technicians of the Petrie Museum for demonstrating the new application Tour of the Nile and for encouraging the students to use it with their i-pads and with images of the 3D scanned objects.
- Danae Bafa for her enthusiasm, her expert advice for the class and her quick and efficient selection of papyri and other materials to show to the students.
- Tzu-I Liao for helping with the teaching of the class.