Paideia Institute’s Living Greek in Greece Program
Selianitika, Greece: Summer, 2017
For two weeks in August this year I attended the Paideia Institute's Living Greek in Greece Program in Selianitika, Greece. Paideia's goal through programs like this is to enrich the study of classical languages by having students engage in discussion in the target language as one would in a modern language course. This year the theme of the course was the works of Hesiod, so twice daily we met with our groups, guided by a resident Paideia instructor, to discuss (in ancient Greek) our assigned readings from Hesiod or other peripheral texts. Twice over the two weeks we were also asked to lead discussion ourselves. Having never spoken ancient Greek for any extended period before, I experienced some difficulties at first, but in time I found my speech becoming more and more fluid, and I believe that I have not only improved my abilities in ancient Greek but that I have also come to understand the benefits and challenges of teaching an ancient language in this fashion.
In addition to our daily readings and discussions, many nights also featured discussions (in English and ancient Greek) pertaining to the history of the Greek language, classical language teaching, and other topics. Our experience in Selianitika was also supplemented by brief archaeological trips as well. On the morning before we left for Selianitika, we were given a guided tour of the Acropolis and Agora of Athens, focusing especially on the various destructions that had taken place on the Acropolis itself. Halfway through the program we went to Delphi, where we visited the ancient site and its museum, the cave of Pan (where we sang the Hymn to Pan in ancient Greek), and the nearby Byzantine Monastery of Hosios Loukas.