In the world of language pedagogy, there are many schools of thought, many methods and evangelists for those methods, and even more opinions about the single best approach. Our approach here at Davenant begins from one simple principle: gather together the best from the best. Thus, along with many of the best pedagogues, we want to break from certain 19th German grammar methods of approaching ancient languages and explore grammar the way the Greeks or Romans did. Instead of approaching a foreign language as something just to be read with our eyes, we want to incorporate the body into learning a language. In all the languages we teach, we want our students to read the language (aloud!); we want them to hear it with their ears; we want them to write it with their hands. This is how any child learns a language best and, as it happens, it works with adults, too. This wisdom vanished among classical and biblical studies programs; but go to France to learn French, and this is how you are taught; go to Israel to learn Biblical Hebrew, and this is the method. Moreover, this approach turns the drudgery of language decryption into the enjoyment of owning the full potential of a language from the very outset of a beginner's course.
Another practice which we have found both enjoyable and beneficial to students is the so-called "flipped classroom" approach to homework and class time. In our courses, the student at home studies a series of videos and articles explaining the essentials of the grammar, aided by a vocabulary builder; in class, the instructor fields questions, leads the students through writing exercises, and has the time to focus on the finer points of grammar, usage, and vocabulary. In essence, the students do ‘homework’ with the instructor, where they receive immediate correction and explanations in the live classroom, making time with the instructor more valuable to the students.
Behind all of our methods and decisions, the aim of Davenant Hall is to equip our students to experience and master a fully-fledged language, not merely a set of grammar rules and lexicon entries—and to have a blast doing it! We are excited to offer this not only to our growing number of students but also within our growing number of languages.