Friday, January 23, 2009

Reflections on teaching at the Latin Summer School

This week I've been teaching beginner's Latin at the Sydney Latin Summer School. Teaching Latin, especially in a class-room type situation, was an entirely new experience for me. I was teamed up with a lecturer from the Uni of Newcastle, who was a great teaching partner, and we had about 19 students in our class, ranging from primary school to the more mature. Over the 5 days, we covered a fair amount of material, and the class was a great success.

For two afternoon sessions I experimented with TPRS-style instruction, using predominantly spoken Latin to interact with the students, and encouraging them to respond likewise. Together we composed two widely bizarre, fun, and hilarious tales, entirely in Latin. This was my first opportunity both to speak Latin in a truly 'live' environment, as well as put into practice pedagogical ideas I've been convinced of for some time.

End result: I'm more convinced than ever that Latin can be taught as a living language, through TPR, TPRS, and the like, and that I, personally, could do that. I still have a lot to learn as a teacher, but it was a tremendously encouraging experience. If I wasn't doing what I am doing, which I love greatly, I could happily teach Latin.

Furthermore, I'm encouraged to redouble efforts and attempts to teach Greek the same way, and will be trying to implement this with my single Greek student over the next two years.

(I am now back from my holiday period, and should resume regular posting shortly)

No comments: