Kevin Clemens

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12 thoughts on “Kevin Clemens”

  1. Welcome, Kevin. Good to see you here. I love that you can acknowledge the tug of war between teaching with CI and the old way. Don’t let yourself get too concerned about what you perceive as students being weaker this year than last. One of the most important things we have to transition–after how we teach–is how we assess. If we are looking for the things that we used to (accuracy in case inflections, for example) we may be disappointed. But, as we learn to look for the things that CI does produce, rather powerfully, we see that we have to ask new questions. For example, what percentage of Latin are they understanding now on first glance in comparison with last year? Do they understand more–without having to translate? I know grown Latin teaching adults who don’t understand ANY Latin unless they can painstakingly translate it first. How we teach and how we assess much coincide, and it takes a while for those two to get in sync when we change to a CI approach. Hang in there and keep showing up. Showing up with CI IS the key.

    1. Bob – You have definitely identified my greatest struggle this year: assessment. When I kept the input very high and had small quizzes here and there, it felt like they weren’t able to do much with the Latin (i.e. output), which often felt like they weren’t learning. But when I let that drive me back to more typical testing styles, I lost a lot of guys and started talking about grammar every 2 minutes. I also have fluctuated greatly on the role of English in my assessment: Translation of any kind feels so much like the old ways.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I was one of those Latin teaching adults who had to translate to understand 3 years ago. CI or bust.

  2. Hi Kevin! I teach in Lake Forest. You’re the closest other PLC member to me, I think. I teach Chinese for grades 4-8. I’m ending my first year entirely aimed at teaching with CI too. Also a huge learning experience, but worthwhile. I love that I can have conversations with my 6th graders in Chinese that they ALL can understand. Totally impossible in the past.

    1. I would completely agree Diane. Being able to converse in Latin with students is one of the most rewarding parts of the job. Some of my favorite moments this year have been students making jokes off-the-cuff in Latin during class.

  3. Kevin,

    Welcome! I’m so happy when I see more people geographically close to me who are joining the ranks. Where you teach is equidistant to my school and where I live. I live in Northbrook, about 20 minutes from Niles and I pass Niles on my way to school everyday (Norwood park , Chicago).

    I also read that Diane teaches in Lake Forest. That’s great!

    Diane: I live 20 minutes away from Lake Forest and my kids have a couple of friends living in Lake Forest. I can totally appreciate your struggles Diana now that I know what kind of population and socioeconomic backgrounds your kids come from!

    Kevin and Diane, we should get together sometimes and see how we can collaborate more since we are so close to one another.

    1. Sabrina – Glad to hear you are also close by. The three of us should definitely try to meet up at some point.

      There are only two other language teachers at my school (both Spanish, one of whom is also the head of our high school). While both are very encouraging and fully supportive of what I do, they are two very grammar driven individuals. It would be fantastic to sit down and chat with others actually doing CI/TPRS.

      Let’s be in touch and perhaps sometime before the school year is out (or early summer) we could plan to meet.

      1. Agreed! That would be great. I’m finished around June 7. I live in Gurnee but can drive south.

        I am fortunate also to have supportive colleagues but who teach with grammar & output emphases. Then there are 2 Mandarin teachers at the SK and Grade 1 levels — they’re from Language Stars, immersion in style. So out of 7 of us, I am the only one with a CI basis for instruction. Most of them have read bits about TPRS but really don’t know about it too much.

          1. I think that would be great. I’ve had no response to my requests for professional development funds for the San Diego conference, and I think it’s because money isn’t there for it. So I would be really glad to meet with some other teachers to talk, practice, share ideas, etc. over the summer.

  4. Kevin, it’s great to see you here. We sound like we are in very similar situations: This is my third year teaching, which I began right after college, and first with CI. I am also the only Latin teacher at my school.

    On students knowing less this year than last year: Yes, in certain ways, but what Bob said is accurate. The knowledge that they do have goes much deeper than before. Like, they actually know vocabulary. When they read, they aren’t looking up every single word in the dictionary, writing the English in small letters above the Latin words, then up-chucking a translation, a translation which of course they forget as soon as they have done the same thing to the next sentence.

    The explicit grammar knowledge can come later, much later. Why ruin Latin 1 and 2 with it? Just let them acquire some high frequency vocabulary!

    1. James – Indeed, it does seem like we’re on the same boat. I’ve been reading your ideas about SBG coupled with CI/TPRS with much delight. I had read a lot on SBG last summer but hadn’t been able to develop a system for implementing it effectively alongside my desire to chuck the charts and do CI.

      I’m sure I’ll be bugging you here and via e-mail in the coming months. It would be great to collaborate this summer on fine-tuning a Latin CI/TPRS/SBG system. I have a few pet projects that I plan to post here in the near future that would be great to get feedback on.

      Here’s to a few decades of Comprehensible Latin.

      1. Using good pedagogy, that is, CI, is a lot more important than doing standards-based grading. I went at it originally in the wrong order. I started SBG before I knew what CI was. Whenever I talk to people now I always tell them to get their pedagogy on the right track before worrying about their grading.

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