Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reflections on another week teaching Latin

January means a week teaching Latin, which has just finished up, and I thought I'd post some reflections.

This year I again taught a class of absolute beginners. I had quite a different co-teacher though, and that changed the shape of the class dramatically. He is a High School latin teacher, trained in the grammatical tradition, and teaching from the Cambridge course. All these shaped his teaching style definitively.

The week went quite well, we covered a lot of grammar! We also read most of Cambridge stage 1. And a few other things besides.

One of the things I learnt is that I am more naturally a lecturer in style - I find it easy to speak, engage, explain, and take questions. This has its good points, but it also has its downside - in a language class like this, I often neglect or am unprepared with exercises to reinforce and learn, rather than merely present, new material.

I think I could overcome this by a more communicative approach: if from day 1 we started with the language, in the language, then the level of reinforcement would be much higher, and we would hit acquisition, rather than learning.

I'd love to run a winter school, for a week or two, with Lingua Latina and a class and all in Latin. I think the outcome would surpise us all. But I don't have the books, and I don't have the advertising reach to generate enough students, and I probably don't really have quite enough motivation.

Anyway, next week is the return to full-time studies!


mark said...

Hey mate, happy new year!

If you ever did some Latin teaching in Winter - I'd be keen to learn! I'm a complete beginner, having done a few years of Caecilius and Brutus at school. But having read a fair bit of Richard Muller over the Summer break, I feel like I ought to get my head around some latin.

So, if you do organise anything - let me know!

Cheers brother,

John said...

Hello, Seumas,

I'm just writing to let you know that I sent you a PM concerning the use of an exact key for the Kendrick Greek text. In case for whatever reason you don't receive the email, I'll repost here, if you don't mind:

I'm interested in independently working through the Kendrick text, but I'm wary of the fact that there is no exact key to the exercises at the end of each lesson. As I'm sure you know, it would be futile to study the Greek without having the answer to every exercise. How closely related are the Greek-English exercises in each lesson throughout the text? For example, even the first lesson's exercises do not seem to be a mirror image of one another. Unless I am sure that I can determine the correct answers to the exercises, I won't attempt to study Kendrick. I have worked through Adler's Latin text (used by Evan Milner at Latinum) over the last two years and should finish the text this spring. His published Key was really great, and I wish Kendrick had made an exact key as well.

Seumas Macdonald said...


Thanks for your comment. I haven't seen your email, but depending on which account you sent it to, that is not surprising to me.

Re: Kendrick. Yes, Kendrick is a very good text, perhaps not quite as good as Adler is for Latin, but given the lack of competition, the best around for its purposes. It is a shame that there is no exact key for the text, and as you point out the exercises are not perfect mirrors.

As is probably obvious by now, it has been a long time since I did any Kendrick recordings. Leisure is not permitted to me for that undertaking.

I have been thinking lately about taking up the Kendrick again in my own practice, which would easily afford me the opportunity to write a key for it. My Greek is well up to that task. I will give that some more thought.

John said...

Salve, domine Seumas,

Ego tibi gratias dono schedulis meis [you-replying-es]. Electronicum mail-um ad missi. Non necesse est tibi ad me in electronico-mail-o [to-reply-ere]. [Online-us posting-us] satis est.

Si Key-us Kendrick-i liberi creatarem, tibi altissimum praise-es [you would garner-eres].

Hoc schedulam sine dictionary-o Latine scripsi. Duodenonagesium pensum in text-o Adler-o studeo. Ego per-anxious sum Kendrick-um text-um to-commence-ere. Re-study-am/bo autem iterum Adler-um text-um, et maybe iteration-es altera et even tertia, ut linguam Latinam to-master-ere possim. Domine Evanus Milnerus magnissimus est.

Vale, amicus meus novus, ex Floridam de United-ibus States-ibus et frater in Christo,
Johann-es M. Haskew-es

Mike W said...

hey seamus,
i have no latin at all, let us know if you do the winter course, i'd love to do it. Mike wells

Seumas Macdonald said...

To Mark & Mike,

I'm giving it serious consideration. I will draw up a proposal for myself, and thing through the logistics a bit. Probably we need 5 to make it happen. I'll keep you both informed.