“Teaching Elementary Latin in Middle and High School”
Participants in this panel offer a variety of approaches to teaching elementary Latin to Middle and High School students. They examine the pros and cons of several different textbooks. Advocates of both traditional and reading methods are represented and offer practical tips for the classroom. Significant time will be allotted for discussion with the audience.
Moderator: Cathy Daugherty, CAMWS Vice-President
“The Best of Both Worlds: Using Marketing Principles to Teach Latin Grammar” Bettie Green of Covenant Day School
“Some Suggestions for Using the Grammar-Translation method”
The majority of us were taught Latin via the vertical/preceptive approach, learning to chant our declension endings or scribble down noun charts. Modern reading-based textbooks, such as the Cambridge Latin Course, use a horizontal/inductive approach, presenting one case at a time. There is much to praise in this approach, but teachers are often left at a loss with how to properly reinforce grammar without undermining the principles upon which such textbooks are based.
Students, especially younger students, need help organizing information which needs to be memorized and mastered. To teach complete declensions of nouns would provide students with more information than needed, and in an abstract form at that. Noun ending charts are merely an organizational convenience and are totally lacking in meaning without context. And yet, to provide students with nothing upon which to hang endings that must be learned is to leave them without the tools necessary to learn and master elementary Latin. In this presentation, I will demonstrate model sentences which I have developed for students who are learning Latin from the Cambridge Latin Course, Units 1 and 2. These sentences provide a means for organizing and memorizing noun endings within the context of a sentence. A variety of methods for memorizing and utilizing these sentences in drills and games will be discussed. In addition, other tips and tricks developed for teaching the Cambridge Latin Course to middle school students will be discussed.
Reentering the teaching profession after 20 years as a Marketing/Strategic Planning Consultant, I am motivated to provide the opportunity for middle school students to acquire the work and learning habits they need for success in business, along with the skills they need to be successful in Latin. Having been exposed to Jenny as a learner (1950’s) and as a teacher (1980’s), to Latin for Americans as a teacher (1999), to Cambridge as the mother of a high school student (1997), and now, to Ecce as a middle school teacher, I have chosen Ecce as the text that best “markets” Latin, and thus, results in easier and more enjoyable learning.
As a marketing professional, I have approached the teaching of Latin through the principles of Marketing and have developed a learning model that uses the most positive aspects of Ecce as the product and takes into consideration the psychographics of the buyer, i.e., younger students. This is a multi-faceted approach to the learning of grammar that uses several of the principles of marketing that are so very successful in “teaching” consumers what to buy. It integrates not only the traditional reading, writing and repeating, but also color, sound, and hands-on. The approach can be as simple as colored pencils and construction paper or as sophisticated as computer graphics which deliver a higher enjoyment level, but not a higher learning level. I will take participants through a brief sample lesson as well as offer examples of other marketing techniques that are effective in the Latin classroom
Using the 1984 edition of Jenney, I have built a five-year Latin program from scratch. The program is characterized by high scores on standardized tests (e.g., NLE, AP, SAT II), low rates of attrition, and a high number of graduates who continue their classical education in college. I believe the grammar-translation can work in some schools, although it is not for everyone.
To use Jenney successfully, I have had to overcome two weaknesses in my students' previous training: poor study skills, particularly in long-term memorization, and deficiencies in English grammar. I would like to present a technique for addressing each problem. To help students organize and study, I have developed a system using 3 x 5 notecards to record all material that needs to be committed to memory. To teach grammar, I have developed a shorthand for diagraming English and Latin sentences. I will describe the use of notecards, and we will practice diagraming English and Latin sentences using an overhead projector. The system of notecards and diagraming could be used in conjunction with other textbooks and approaches to teaching Latin.