Polis – The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities
The Polis Institute is an academic initiative of an international group of scholars and researchers specialized in linguistics and pedagogy, Classical and Near Eastern languages, history and ancient and medieval studies, who believe that languages act as doorkeepers for cultures. This observation is valid for modern and ancient languages alike. The Institute was founded to develop a groundbreaking methodology for teaching ancient Western languages and Near Eastern languages, both modern and ancient.
The history of the teaching of ancient languages in Europe almost amounts to a history of education in the Western world, which has focused for centuries on the knowledge of Greek and Latin language and literature, as well as on Rhetoric. The current loss of mastery of these languages makes it difficult for researchers to deeply and thoroughly understand the authors that have shaped Western culture for centuries, since most of the works of Antiquity and the Middle Ages have never been translated into any modern language.
The beginning of the 21st century has seen the birth of a movement of retour aux sources. Experiences of living Latin and ancient Greek have blossomed in North America, Europe and Jerusalem. The Polis Institute has developed its own method for teaching these and other ancient languages by full immersion, effectively bringing them and the sources of Western civilization back to life.
The Polis Method
We believe that the best way to understand an ancient or modern text or culture is to become immersed in the language, through listening, speaking, reading and writing. With the method being developed at Polis, which is applied in all our courses and academic programs, we manage to transform a burden into an engaging experience.
The Polis Method comprises pedagogical methodologies that mimic the ways in which children learn their mother tongue. From the very first day, the instructor speaks only in the language being taught and students are asked to do likewise. Students are constantly involved in the learning process and are completely immersed in the target language. This method includes proven pedagogical techniques such as TPR (Total Physical Response), in which students are given commands in the target language and respond physically before they can do so verbally; participative Storytelling; WAYK (Where Are Your Keys); informal conversation practice in and out of the classroom, and more.
Students quickly acquire functional spoken vocabulary and grammar through constant communicative exchanges with the instructors. Within two years, they can read and understand -not merely decode- simple ancient texts without reliance on a dictionary. They have learned to think in the ancient language and understand it on its own terms, without the intermediary of a modern language between the reader and the text.
This methodology is also used at Polis to teach modern Middle Eastern languages, and the possibility for students and teachers of the various programs and language tracks to interact is an added value that contributes to an enriching and creative atmosphere in our Institute.
For more on our academic and research programs, please visit our website.