Latin Full Speed Ahead

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18 thoughts on “Latin Full Speed Ahead”

  1. Even 5 years ago, no Latin job posting would have looked like this. It is nice to see how, in spite of our individual frustrations, or perhaps rising out of those struggles, the tide is turning. Have a great weekend everybody!

  2. And John if anyone is living the change – facing the arrows – it’s you. Congratulations my brother on making it through that first most difficult year at BHS and not folding under community pressure from what I sense from our conversations is one of the truly concretized schools perhaps in the world re: the petrified instruction of former days. This might be yet more proof that everything starts in CA and moves east.

  3. You are so right about Berkeley and the petrification and conservatism that has set in here over the past 3 decades. Members of this PLC have had to leave this area, or have decided to teach somewhere else. And in Mass., the bastion of academic Latin, they are clamoring for CI Latin teachers.
    Thanks to you, Ben, as well as Laurie, Bob and all the members of this amazing PLC for the support getting me through what was a terrible terrible year. It took me all summer just to get over it, and I was still shellshocked walking into classes this week, my body cringing with muscle memory from the anxiety of last year. But it’s a new year. Today was a home-run day with freshmen, all joking and laughing and goodwill, all in Latin. After 2 days of instruction (just the Name game, care, listening and respect and a tiny tiny bit of Latin tpr), I had a freshman asking if she can help recruit her friends at the middle school for next year. I have already doubled retention in years 3 and 4 in one year, and it looks like the incoming numbers may be helped now. Like Chris Stolz says, even a really bad attempt at tprs can work wonders. Gather your strength and love this weekend, everybody, and keep fighting for the humans in our classrooms. They need us, more than we can know.

    1. …keep fighting for the humans in our classrooms….
      You are one tough hombre John. I’ve been aware and in communication with your for more than a few years now and it has been a saga. So when I read the above about those younger kids – it’s always the younger ones who will bring the change with them, insisting on it even – I have to say that I felt a sense of relief for you. Like walking across a desert and getting a nice swim in a beautiful pool with palm trees. You certainly deserve it! Just navigate things until those 9th graders are seniors. By then your street cred will be high and you can look back at these years in a different way. And everybody thought Berkeley CA was where change came easy. Proud of you Johnny. Great work!

  4. I have read so many encouraging posts this week-end from the far-flung TPRS family – much of it very encouraging. Your retention numbers will go a long way to continue to build that street cred. You are doing a great job and aside from the PLC, you also have a genuinely brilliant, growing, and dedicated group of Latin teachers who have picked up the TPRS banner! Quite a support network, I think!

  5. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!! The big Massachusetts private schools have spent centuries resisting even the most modest advances in Latin pedagogy. This is a game changer. Dana Hall is very very very well-respected private school in one of the most affluent communities in Mass. I teach in the town right next to it, and we often lose students to such schools. My two Latin colleagues are both products of these ultra conservative Mass private schools. If they see that the even the elite private schools are embracing CI, this might go a long way.

  6. …even the elite private schools are embracing CI….
    The elite private schools have the money to stay up with the research. The research is not something that particularly interests the entirely overwhelmed administrative bodies of most schools, who tend to align their thinking with what the most loud department chair battle ax from the last century says.
    One thing about the research. Can someone point me to research that supports teaching from a book? Honestly, I can’t find any. This is one for the Herminator or someone who actually knows the answer.

    1. There is no research supporting a textbook curriculum that I know of. I started a little while back to collect quotes from researchers as I found them that were in some way against the content and sequence of a textbook. So far I have quotes from Krashen, VanPatten, Long, and Nation.
      VanPatten even discusses in “Perceptions . . . ” 1998 why it is so hard for researchers to write textbooks – teachers won’t buy it if it doesn’t look like the traditional curriculum they are familiar with!

      1. “I resigned as co-author of the Natural Approach textbook Dos Mundos because the publisher insisted that each chapter be grammatically targeted.” – Krashen, 2015
        Can you believe that?! Not even the textbook that is supposed to be a realization of Krashen’s theory, an approach co-created by Krashen himself, is free from market principles. This publisher more than likely made the text grammatically sequenced because that supplies the consumers what they demand.

        1. I remember him saying this in his Keynote at the Fluency Fast training in Denver back in 2009. He allowed them to use his name as a consultant, but not a co-author.

        2. I used this book at the college level in SC years ago. It didn’t work for me for two reasons – too much information was being asked for, and for the grammar slant reason given above. It was a great first start, and would have been a lot better if they hadn’t tried to target grammar. But even without the grammar slant, it shows that we can’t teach a language from a book, any book, and still use CI. Books are not natural. Human communication is. (Although Deux Mondes was better than any other book I had seen up to that point.) Nothing trumps human communication. Our challenge is to make it authentic or seem authentic using CI.

  7. Props to the Latin Kings for treading into brave Classics territory! I loved my grammar grind Latin courses, but I can’t say a thing, only think about it intellectually.

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