Active Latin vs. Acquisition of Latin

**See this more-recent post on “Active Latin”**

Justin Slocum Bailey has just written an excellent article about speaking Latin. Though related, my post is about the implications of using the term “Active Latin” as it pertains to classroom practices.

I’ve long felt weird about that term. After synthesizing my thoughts, I now believe that most teachers who use the term to describe their teaching (as informed by Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research) are actually using something closer to “Productive Latin,” which might not lead to language acquisition at all.

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NTPRS 2016: More Changes, More Thoughts

After attending iFLT, I spent another week in Reno at NTPRS. While iFLT offered more opportunities to observe teachers teaching students, NTPRS offered more opportunities to actually BE a student for those of us in the Experienced track. I appreciated the short demos that most presenters gave, even when the workshops were not titled “___ language demo.” There are some game changes here that warrant their own posts  (e.g. embedded readings straight from the source, Michele, Whaley), but I have much  else to report on. Like last week’s iFLT post, this one includes more of what I intend to think about and/or change for 2016-17. They’re organized by presenter:

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iFLT 2016: Immediate Instructional Changes, and Other Thoughts

I just went to my first iFLT conference. I got to chat (live) with Bill VanPatten and Stephen Krashen, saw master teachers teaching with CI, and went to some awesome presentations. I don’t take detailed notes during presentations, but as you can see there’s plenty to take away from a few ideas I emailed to myself over the week. This post includes what I intend to think about and/or change for 2016-17, and would recommend others considering as well. Some of the ideas were ones I’ve seen before but just haven’t gotten around to implementing them, while others were completely new. They’re organized by who inspired me:

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Alphabet (Don’t Teach It!) Alternative

Months ago, I witnessed a classically ineffective language learning lesson. The good news is that the person in charge wasn’t actually a language teacher, and didn’t have pedagogical training at all. The person was a local substitute who gave the kids something to do, which has its own merits. The truth, however, is that many language teachers spend the first few classes teaching the alphabet. Don’t.

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How I was WRONG about “practicing” a language.

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Despite holding a B.A. in Classics, it wasn’t too long ago that I failed to read Latin with any remote sense of fluency. I’m not being self-destructive either, that’s just an accurate statement. This is unsurprising since my experience was mostly translation-based (just like nearly every other Classical language learner), and we had very little time to read anything, much less for enjoyment. That all changed in 2010 when I stumbled upon Oerberg’s Lingua Latīna, the Latin textbook written entirely in Latin. I vividly remember exclaiming to Ken Kitchell about how I had just read more Latin in those 35 chapters over the course of a month than I did with him over the course of my entire undergraduate study! I hope he was not offended. Is Lingua Latīna high-level literature? No, but my translation speed of the classical canon wasn’t exactly anything to tout, either. So if Lingua Latīna wasn’t the best work of Golden Age Latin literature, what was it?

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