Greek for Honors Students

Albert Watanabe

Louisiana State University

Because students in Honors Programs represent an attractive group from which to recruit students to Greek classes, this paper explores ways to nurture Honors students in elementary Greek courses.  Structurally, there are basically two ways that students may earn specifically Honors credit for Greek.  The first method is to have students do extra work as part of the regularly offered Greek class.  However, if one is able to recruit enough students, a separate class for Honors students could be offered.  Both methods will be discussed in this paper.  Furthermore, the paper considers different varieties of extra readings which might engage students.  Finally I conclude by pointing out the advantages of having Honors students in Greek programs.

Of the two basic approaches by which a student may earn Honors credit for the elementary Greek courses, the first is to give students extra work as part of the regularly offered class. Usually the student turns in extra exercises and/or reads additional texts. The major drawback is that there is very little interaction with the student.  Since the regular students are in the same course, class time cannot be spent on this extra work.  The extra work is treated as if the student were taking a correspondence course.  If one is able to attract enough students, a separate Honors course could be offered.  The major advantage here is that the instructor and students are able to go over material together in class.  This is rather important since the assignments for Honors students are more challenging.

The question then arises as to what type of extra work the Honors students should perform.  Clearly at the beginning this will take the form of extra exercises.  I quickly add in sentences and passages (by the end of the term) from authors which the students are reading.  The interaction between the Greek course and their Honors course is vital for the success of the Greek.  I have found the following textbooks most useful in compiling these sentences and passages for a Honors Greek course:  F. Williams, Elementary Classical Greek and A. Mollin and R. Williamson, An Introduction to Ancient Greek.  Handouts with examples will be given out during the presentation.

Recently I have also started to use C. Pharr's Homeric Greek in conjunction with our regular Greek textbook.  I introduce students to the Homeric forms a couple of weeks after they have learned the Attic forms.  I have found that there is a nice fit between our regular textbook and Pharr.  By the end of the first term the students are reading the beginning of the Iliad.  This continues into the second term.  While it is somewhat of a drawback to introduce another dialect into the course, on the whole the students make the necessary adjustments well.  Furthermore I have found that the Homeric texts are the ones which the students most wish to read.  Sample syllabi will be handed out during the presentation. 

As one would expect, there are many advantages to having Honors students in Greek courses.  In addition to their intelligence, Honors students are likely to major and minor in Greek.  Furthermore, if we are able to attract Honors students in their freshman or sophomore years, then we shall have students who will enroll in upper division Greek courses. 


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