Brick House 8

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2 thoughts on “Brick House 8”

  1. “The fact is that the grammar teachers’ claim that their students can acquire a language by focusing on bricks is and has always been completely false.”
    To follow up on John Piazza’s post the other day and to respond to this, I’ll speak from a Latin teacher’s perspective. In the Latin teaching community, and particularly at the university level, the vast majority of instructors do not have language acquisition (as defined by Krashen) as a goal. They are not shooting for ease of expression. So they do not claim that grammar instruction leads to acquisition, because their goal is language learning and analysis. The goal is for students to be able to read, translate, and talk about Latin literature. We might disagree with them here and argue that reading is not the same thing as decoding. But to have a constructive conversation with our colleagues who aren’t on board with CI, acquisition, etc, we have to start with a conversation about what the goals of language instruction will be.
    “Nothing can come from studying a language in this way.”
    On the contrary, Latinists all over the world have studied language in this way and are reading literature, producing wonderful and vivid translations, and writing excellent scholarship on Latin literature of all eras. They may all be 4%ers, but how will we show that we value their experience while still advocating for acquisition-based instruction?
    In the Latin teaching community, a nation-wide pedagogical shift will require a change in the stated goals of Latin learning. As long as universities and standardized exams focus on translation and parsing, secondary teachers will feel compelled to teach toward these goals.

  2. …how will we show that we value their experience while still advocating for acquisition-based instruction…?
    That’s a pretty good question and sheds light on the unique position Latin occupies in this argument. Now that people are aware of the power of CI/Krashen’s work, things even in the world of Latin instruction now MUST change. I am personally not very interested in showing appreciation for those who live in the 4% world. their ivory tower careers got them a job and a valued place in academia where people admire their scholarship so they are appreciated enough. Why would they ever want to leave that world for some – in their minds – fantasy world? Everybody learning Latin? That somehow would take away their status, their place. Latin – common? Not if they can help it. I say let them be. Find those who buy into the idea that Latin can be spoken again – for whatever reasons (that would be an entirely different set of people with the exception of those in the middle who will kick off the change and roil around in it) and start the work.

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