Teachers who use this term mean well, but at the theoretical level it’s absurd.
The reason for a “Hybrid CI/Textbook” program is that teachers aren’t yet comfortable doing something radically different, or have external constraints that prevent them from having a “full/pure CI” program. In both cases, they are tethered to the textbook in some way.
On the theoretical level, however, this term suggests that there’s comprehensible input (CI) on one side, and then the textbook—presumably with little or no CI—on the other. The basic question, then, is “why on Earth would you provide anything BUT comprehensible input (CI) to students?” There’s really no good answer, and anyone citing “tradition” should read up on that. Furthermore, many teachers attempting to make a “Hybrid CI/Textbook” program work find out that it’s a lot like mixing water and oil, or like trying to play a CD on a record player (i.e. they’re different “data sets,” as Bill VanPatten said on the latest Tea with BVP).
Personally, I find teaching to a textbook syllabus unethical, but just like national politics, there happens to be someone else calling the shots right now. Since I’m expected to use a textbook, however, I’ve begun implementing a new system that allows me to a) indeed use it, while b) not compromising what I do on a daily basis. It’s important to note that my students had about two months of input before implementing this system, so I’m not sure how it would work from day 1. So, if you are tethered to the textbook in some way, here are some guidelines on how to use it without sapping classroom time away from compelling comprehensible input:
1) Textbook is used at home.
2) Textbook assignments are brief, but consistently assigned (2-4 per week).
3) Announce check points, but collect all work at end of week, ONLY.
4) Don’t give feedback, or assign a grade for any of it.
5) Every few weeks read Embedded Readings and Recylced Readings of the textbook narrative (yes, you will be reading at a MUCH slower pace than the work done by students at home, but that Latin will actually be READ, not decoded, etc.).
6) Don’t feel the need to assign everything in the textbook (e.g. I tend to avoid assignments requiring students to read/decode a story with waaaaay too much new vocab, or the obvious cheatable translation exercises).
Your highly-motivated students will do the work, and since they’re probably sponges anyway, will soak up the same amount of textbook stuff that students in other conventional classes do. The somewhat-motivated, and/or complacent students will do the work, and have about as much understanding of Latin that students in other conventional classes do (which is not much). The unmotivated students won’t do the work, which isn’t any different from students in other conventional classes, but the difference here is that the 0% grading category gives them a chance to thrive in YOUR class.
If YOUR class is a comprehension-based classroom, students will slowly create mental representation of Latin and be more prepared to fluently (speed + accuracy) read Latin than those students in other conventional classes.
Here’s a more detailed procedure:
- Create a 0% grading category in the gradebook (if you don’t already have one) to keep track of textbook assignments. We don’t want to GRADE these, but it’s useful data to show DAPS (department heads, admin, parents, students).
- Set a steady pace (e.g. 1 chapter of Ecce per wk)
- Assign short assignments every day or two (e.g. Exercise 1a, but answer in English, read the “culture” section, etc.)
- At end of the week, collect and report assignment completion in that 0% grading category, but don’t waste any time with error correction.
- Give any chapter/unit tests you’re expected to give, but just report the scores in that 0% grading category.