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This was in response to a note on Latinteach.  A teacher was discussing what to do when group translating (grammar/translation class set-up) and a kid totally botches a sentence creating a real howler and such.  Most people were suggesting some form of parsing.  this is what I suggested.

This thread has interested me, in great measure because I don't think the heart of the problem has been identified. (Then again, I haven't had much sleep in weeks so who knows what I'm rambling on about.)

I've taught middle school (inner city) and at that time read a lot about teaching this age group.

I hope everyone here is familiar with Bloom's Taxonomy. Some of you may hate it because it's been shoved down your throat, but it really does help to understand where are students go wrong.

Memorizing declension and conjugation endings is just simple rote memory. It is a low-level skill. Just simple knowledge. Simple recall. However, when we are translating, we are using high level skills of synthesis and analysis. So we may have a student who can decline a noun just fine, or go from singular to plural, nominative to accusative, but can't make a thing out of an actual sentence of Latin. I have heard Latin teachers say to students that, gosh, if they know their endings they *should* be able to figure out the sentence. Just *apply* the endings.

But it's not that simple. The brain at that age does not function at those higher levels naturally. Physical and mental development varies from person to person at that age, and thus is a tricky age to teach. Anyone who has taught Latin 1 to seniors knows that they grasp details and how things go together far more quickly than freshmen.

Parsing, sure, can be done, but I find that it interferes with the flow of reading. I try to teach my students some different techniques to build reading skills.

My most used item in my bag of tricks is metaphrasing. A basic metaphrasing place-holding sentence is "someone verbed something to someone." Of course, sentences will vary and this doesn't cover genitives, for instance, or prepositional phrases, but it does provide a good place to start and allows one to analyze the sentence as it develops without resorting to "hunt the verb."

Since you teach from LFA, let me grab a copy and pull a random sentence from it to apply. Ok. How about this:

p 112. Graeci et Troiani ad Troiam pugnaverunt.

So, I would treat this sentence this way if we were metaphrasing the whole sentence.

Graeci: The Greeks verbed something.
Graeci et: The Greeks and someone (parallel construction) verbsed something.
Graeci et Troiani: The Greeks and Trojans verbed something.
Graeci et Troiani ad: The Greeks and Trojans verbed something to something (we expect an acc. with AD).
Graeci et Troiani ad Troiam: The Greeks and Trojans verbed something to Troy.
Graeci et Troiani ad Troiam pugnaverunt. The Greeks and Trojans fought AT Troy (making an adjustment to AD to complete the proper structure of the sentence).

Ok. Simple enough. Let's look at another sentence that doesn't start with a nominative.

Barbaris praemium novum donabimus.

Barbaris: Someone verbed something to/for the barbarians. (would probably need a preposition to be ablative, so we can rule that out)
Barbaris praemium: The reward verbed something to/for the barbarians OR Someone verbed the reward to/for the barbarians. (Discussion of which one is more likely, and the knowledge that we have to hold both possibilities, until we have something tell us for sure.)
Barbaris praemium novum: The new reward verbed something to/for the barbarians (seems more unlikely) OR Someone verbed a new reward to/for the barbarians.
Barbaris praemium novum donabimus. AH! WE WILL GIVE a new reward to/for the barbarians.

The joy of metaphrasing is you are providing students a framework to hold information on, one that works with English word order, without needing to treat the Latin like an impossible jigsaw puzzle.

I often use metaphrasing for warm-ups. I just throw up a list of words in different cases and they have to put the English meaning into the right slot in the metaphrasing sentence.

Of course, we discuss cases and such too. I don't want you to think we don't. But grammatical cases and names of functions often do not connect with MEANING. We need to help build skills that stretch between Bloom's knowledge skills to the higher analytical skills.

Here's another sentence where understanding metaphrasing and Latin phrasing will help. I like to teach the importance in seeing what ET connects.

Barbari equum et castra deserta Graecorum viderunt.

Barbari: The barbarians verbed something.
Barbari equum: The barbarians verbed the horse.
Barbari equum et : The barbarians verbed the horse and something (parallel construction therefore we EXPECT an accusative).
Barbari equum et castra: The barbarians verbed the horse and the camp
Barbari equum et castra deserta: The barbarians verbed the horse and the deserted camp
Barbari equum et castra deserta Graecorum: The barbarians verbed the horse and the deserted camp of the Greeks
Barbari equum et castra deserta Graecorum viderunt: The barbarians saw the horse and the deserted Greek camp.

Using a reading card (with a notch cut out of the left corner, thus the right side of the card covers up the rest of the sentence) keeps students from skipping around and hunting the verb or stringing together just the words they know.

Reading in word order cures a lot of ills with bad translations. I hope that helps.
There was a query on Latinteach the other day from a new/student teacher about reading/translating and some games and such that could be done. While my students will tell you that I'm a lot of fun, I won't do a game unless there's real merit in it and it doesn't take up time that could be spent better.

And I think you CAN do reading activities that seem fun but are not fluff. Anyway, I'm sure I've posted about all of these things here before, if not repeatedly, but I was feeling more my old self when I wrote this post so I thought I'd include it here:

There are a variety of ways to approach readings, especially if you are using a book like CLC with a lot of stories and good plots.

Using a reading card occasionally or metaphrasing helps students to see/focus on the morphology.

For instance, take Marcus Sullae murum ostendit (state 11). If you read it one word at a time, covering up the rest of the sentence and only revealing one word at a time, you can metaphrase it:

MARCUS verbed something to someone.
Marcus verbed something TO SULLA.
Marcus verbed THE WALL to Sulla. (Then have them guess the verb!)
Marcus SHOWED the wall to Sulla.

Of course, to do this all the time is slow and tedious.

But what about when in stage 13 you meet in the model sentences: villam et servos curat?

Students start making the house do things, etc. Then I get them to stop and think and metaphrase:

Someone verbed THE HOUSE.
Someone verbed the house AND something.
Someone verbed the house AND the slaves. (What do you think Varica the overseer did?)
He takes care of the house and the slaves.

You can, of course, do this with very long sentences, helping students to see phrasing and even the logic of the Roman sentence.

ANOTHER FUN thing to do with readings, and I've done this with the beast hunt/venatio in stage 8, is to have students act out the reading. I handed out pictures from the internet (laminated) of wolves, fierce dogs, deer, lions, etc. Then I read the story and they needed to follow along and act things out. If they were not acting appropriately, I would ask them in Latin (currisne per portam? NOLI AMBULARE! etc)

ALSO GOOD is questioning in Latin. Focus on only one or two words at a time at first, or two words in contrast. If you have a story with a lot of prepositional phrases, you can use QUO, UBI, and UNDE to emphasize the different types of prepositional phrases. Once we got datives, I was varying between quis and cui. (They are still shaky on that, and we'll do it again next week.)

BTW, I almost always do questioning in a choral response to lower the stress level and raise participation for the group as a whole. After I ask a given question, and if only a few respond, I will ask the same question again so EVERYONE can respond.


What I do find--and it's difficult to address in a split level class--is that Latin 2 seems to get bogged down and "less" fun. Why that is, I'm not sure. Part is most definitely that the students who have been slacking all this time are beginning to suffer for it, but part of it--at least I think--is just being in a split level class and not being able to truly build upon things ever day. When we do have a day together, I feel like we are busy trying to answer all the questions and review what they weren't "getting" that I can't do the things I'd like to. For instance, if I had Latin 2 every day, I could read a story with them one day & translate, I could spend the next day with the new story or the old story just doing oral questioning. I feel like so many things have dropped this year; so many I had to compromise on.

I spent yesterday at our Area F JCL convention. Friday night I read certamen questions and just had so much fun. Yesterday I judged dramtic interp and the play competition. ALL I could think about was how much I ENJOYED it. My schedule--the split levels, the English classes, the zero hour class--has kept me from even feeling human this year.

And then these last couple of days, we've talked about things on Latinteach that I actually contributed to. I haven't contributed much these last couple of years and these recent topics reminded me that I do know what I'm doing OR at least know where I'd like to be. I'm not just showing videos in Latin and requiring vocabulary. We're actually READING Latin. I took four students to competition. Of the Latin 1 students, the two that took the reading comprehension test and sight recitation BOTH placed in BOTH events. In the grand scheme of things, *that's* what we are teaching. What a shame that so many students (and teachers?) shy away from these two events--the two events that require no studying, really, if you are taught Latin well in school. Maybe I am doing something right this year after all....
I come back to this theme from time to time, and so I visited it again this a.m. on the Ecce Romani list. Here's what I wrote:

I've been overwhelmed by school (and should be grading English benchmark
essays right now) and only just now noticed this note.

Reading Latin in word order INDEED can be taught and taught effectively by
using a reading card and metaphrasing.

I have written about this at my blog site. Although my examples are from
Cambridge, I use these same techniques with my Latin 2's and 3's who are
using Ecce 2 (in different places).

Here's an entry on Reading Cards:

I've probably written more about it on the blog over the last couple of
years, but that's the first one I saw.

The point is, Romans understood Latin in the order in which it was written
and so can we. We need to break the incessant need to puzzle it out in
English word order, which does ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD when trying to read more
advanced Latin.

For instance, I have this one kid that was reading AP Ovid/Catullus at his
previous school. He continued to read Ovid with me, but didn't like the
Amores and since I didn't think his grammar was good enough to do well on
the AP test, we've blown off the rest. Instead, I've just this week stuck
him on the story in Ecce 3 on the murder of Clodius. In looking ahead I
showed him how Asconius's version had shorter sentences, but that the first
page of the Cicero version was only one sentence. HOW do you deal with

But you also need to learn to read the whole sentence or passage through,
multiple times if necessary, in order to see the way words and phrases go
together, especially participles and all the stuff nested in between.

My Latin 2's are just now hitting participles in ch 33, while the 3's have
just finished ablative absolutes. I tell them how most kids hate
participles and the reason why is because they are strung out on how to
translate them into Englsh--something which VARIES according to context!
Then I tell them how much I like them, how cool and compact they are, and
how easy to read IF YOU READ THEM IN WORD ORDER.

Students want to thrust vocab meaning immediately into their translations
before they take in morphology. A reading card makes them stop and look at
just morphology. For instance, take this sentence form ch 33:

amIcO cuidam in popInA occurrI.

Most of them totally missed it the previous day when they were working
independently, even though I did make mention about occurrO taking the
dative object. So the next day for a warm-up I made them metaphrase it.
Metaphrasing uses a place-holding sentence like this: someone verbed
something to someone.

amIcO: Dative > Someone verbed something to the friend.

amIcO cuidam: Dative > Someone verbed something to a certain friend.

amIcO cuidam in popInA: prep phrase > Someone verbed something to a certain
friend in a bar.

amIcO cuidam in popInA occurrI: verb taking dat object which changes things>
I met a certain friend in a bar.

Now, in practice if we had been reading this passage together in class (this
is in a 3-way split class), I would have read the sentence a couple of times
and told them what I was noting each time. For instance, the next day (or
could have been the same day) we looked at 33b together and did the odd
sentences. This is #5:

servI A GaiO iussI frusta pullI frAtrI eius dedErunt.

I was having them copy just the participial phrase down and then we were
translating together the whole sentence. So I read it outloud once and I
think the first thing I said is, "aha, dedErunt, they gave, so there's a
dative here, we expect that, don't we? Let's read it again." And so we did
a couple more times. At some point I stopped at A GaiO and we discussed how
an abl of agent tells us to anticipate that a passive verb is coming,
something we get almost immediately with iussI. Then we wrote the
participial phrase down and translated the rest of the sentence in word

We had, "The slaves, ordered by Gaius,..." so after that we *knew* frusta
had to be accusative. "The slaves, orderd by Gaius, verbed scraps." And if
we keep reading in word order there is virtually no question whatsoever as
to the case of pullI--genitive is such a natural meaning in word order.
And as for the rest, well, it was the dative and dedErunt which we had
already noted.

Reading in word order has to constantly and ACTIVELY be taught, I am
convinced, by both modeling reading and rereading sentences AS A WHOLE as
well as metaphrasing it word by word when the sentences seems trickier.

Reading and rereading are so important for vocabulary acquisition as well as
internalization of grammar. Lists of vocab words will never be enough, will
never work.

In an ideal world where split level classes did not exist, I would spend at
least 1 day a month reading something substantially easier than what
students are currently working on in order to develop that ability to read
in word order, reading paragraph after paragraph, page after page, NOT word
by word, line by line.


I think when teachers start debating textbooks, as they are doing right now on Latinteach, many of the diehard grammar types will talk about how colleagues at the university level will complain that students using reading based texts never seem to know their grammar.

Guess what? They are often right. Yes, they are because too many teachers using reading-based texts don't know how to reinforce grammar without resorting to drill and kill or tedious written transformation drills out of context.

WHEN you read in word order, and especially if you metaphrase from time to time and force students to consider carefully what they truly have in front of them, you do reinforce grammar. You also reinforce WORD ORDER, IDIOM, and the Roman mindset for listening, reading and writing. You aren't just doing morphology.

What you absolutely MUST avoid, ABSOLUTELY MUST AVOID, is letting students just guess the meaning from the pictures and what sounds good with the vocab.

YES, do prereading of the vocab beneath a story. With Cambridge, the word is glossed in the case it is being used--SO TAKE THAT INTO CONSIDERATION TOO! If I see versipellem, then I know it's probably "somebody verbed the werewolf" and not the other way around.

Morphology can't be separated from words, words can't be separated from phrases, phrases can't be separated from clauses, and clauses can't be separated from sentences. Communication doesn't come in fits and bits. We don't learn vocabulary in isolation in English, and we certainly don't study grammar seriously until we are actually using those phrases and clauses in our language already. We dissect language to understand it.

Must go grade English benchmark essays....
Just two quick things. First, for more on the history of metaphrasing, reading cards, and those sorts of things taught U Michigan, go to this link: I admit I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but noted it on Latinteach this a.m. FYI.

I posted this note this a.m. (I'm full of good brainstorming lately.)


>Let's throw in another issue. There is not a single piece of Latin
>literature in the classical period that was written with the
>expectation that it would be read silently. All of it was written with
>the expectation that it would be read aloud--even letters. I tell my
>students this every year--to encourage that all of their Latin be "out
>loud" until they can hear it when they do read it silently.

I so agree with this and I always read outloud. In fact, it pains me to know my one lonely AP student is doing everything silently which in great measure cannot be helped (though I may have him start recording readings for me or something).

But as I read the above, I was thinking it would be fun to have a reading outloud competition. Just a thought.... and I certainly have students who would absolutely HATE this, but too bad. Here's what I was thinking--why not have them pick a story from a previous chapter/stage and then have a day for reading outloud? Maybe a worthy prize would help. A trophy that can have names added to it? A monthly competition? Wreaths to wear for the day?

Weren't there competitions for recitations in the ancient world? Why is that ringing a bell?
I posted what's below to Latinteach this a.m.


>What I meant to point out was that as we read from right to left in Latin we
>have to suspend, as it were, many things that only become clear later on.
>But the point is that English does this less easily and often than Latin.
>To read Latin fluently we English speakers have to acquire this
>"suspension" is a separate skill. It reminds me of German but I am still
>waiting to acquire it in German sentences more than one line long. Here I
>agree with my favorite American author, Mark Twain ---
>Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are
>going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with
>his verb in his mouth.
> A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
>I try to remember this when I try to see the complexities of a Latin
>sentence through the eyes of a second year Latin student.

I love that quote, Ken.

Here's the thing with gapping or postponement or whatever you want to call it: if you FAIL to train students to understand this from THE VERY BEGINNING OF LATIN, I firmly believe that this will cause the tremendous difficulties for students in intermediate (and higher) Latin.

As I tell my first year students when I make them metaphrase or use a reading card on a sentence that is a mere 4 words long, you HAVE to start small, start when it's easy and build up. I tell of Milo lifting the calf every day until it was full grown--thus he became extremely small by increments.

And just so with Latin. If we teach our students to read from left to right while it is still easy, perhaps by teaching them to metaphrase using a placeholding sentence (someone verbed something to someone), and if we teach them how to take clauses and participial phrases and such AS THEY COME, then they can handle a longer periodic sentence.

But imagine what it is like to the student who has dutifully memorized all morphology but who has never learned to read from left to right and is suddenly faced with 10-line long sentences? This is like going from lifting 2 pound dumbbells to 25 pound ones or more with nothing in between.

A prof at OU wrote to me last year to say how a student came to him for help, struggling greatly with reading Latin. The prof showed him a reading card (with info on metaphrasing on the card), and they worked through some sentences together. The student asked WHY no one had taught him this before--it helped that much.

It is so hard to UNteach bad habits in reading Latin. And sadly, it is this struggle with reading real Latin that causes so many students to run away screaming from Latin, never to get beyond amo, amas, amat. If we armed our students with as many techniques as possible to read from left to right and disambiguate forms, we would have larger upper division classes. And better than that, we would create LIFE-LONG LEARNERS.

I would think it the highest compliment in the world to have a student come back in 10 or 20 years and tell me that he/she was reading some Catullus or Cicero for leisure...
Today in the 7th grade classes we read almost the entire story of Sulla in Stage 11 using the reading card and metaphrasing SOMEONE VERBED SOMETHING TO/FOR SOMEONE.

This was really, really good for reinforcing dative vs accusative endings.

We started by going more or less one word at a time, and then I would give them two at a time, so they'd have something like MARCUS SULLAE... or MARCUS FRATRI... and they'd have to supply Marcus verbed something to Sulla or Marcus verbed something to his brother. Forced them to really, really look at endings.

OH, and there were PLENTY of omitted nominatives with sentences starting with ACCUSATIVES. For instance, I remember one started DUOS TITULOS and they started with "two slogans..." NO NO!!! Look at the endings and now metaphrase it correctly. Then I would get "Someone verbed two slogans." I would also point out that if a sentence is starting with an accusative, then the nominative must be understood, and if it is understood, that means it's whatever the nominative was in the last sentence (i.e. he/Sulla).

The warm-up before vocab drill and the reading consisted of four short sentences, two with regular verbs, one with credit, one with favet and asking them to pick the correct object (e.g. Holconio or Holconium) depending upon the verb. I'm going to do the same tomorrow, except with pronouns. We spent a bit of time talking about credit and favet again, so that when we were metaphrasing and we went from a "Marcus verbs something to Holconius" to "Marcus favors Holconius" (because favet takes a dative) no one had a problem.

It would NOT be worthwhile to use a reading card with every story, but you MUST slow the students down once a stage, I think, to make them really THINK about the ENDINGS. Otherwise, the stories are so well written that it is easy to anticipate what comes next. And is that bad? No, that's what good reading/writing is all about. Think about how FAST you read a good novel that's so well-written that you're just INTO THE STORY. And why shouldn't Latin be that way? It should. But we MUST slow our students down to insure that they also get what the morphology is all about.

more on NLTRW

Feb. 12th, 2006 06:24 pm
ginlindzey: At ACL (Default)
And the discussion continued.... (see previous entry):

> You have to convince the professors it is in their interest
> to care about how well they teach. It is not, really, now, so they
> will not care to waste valuable tenure-track time improving their
> pedagogy.
> After they get tenure, sadly, many professors don't care about either.

Actually, I don't think there's enough attention to pedagogy to begin with for professors to form a valid opinion of how well they teach. I think MOST
*do* want to teach well and assume that when students don't do well it is a lack of effort. Part of this is because of an inability to understand where for the average non-classics major the disconnects are happening. After all, those of us who ARE Latin/classics majors rarely had these "disconnect"

Many who care also feel there is a lack of time in order to address all the woes in any given class--whether it was inferior teaching in a 506 beginning Latin class or at a high school or wherever. It is a matter of covering the syllabus, in great measure and to say that the professors don't care about how well they teach is to simplify the problem.

But when the pressures of employment put a greater weight on publishing, yes, that takes priority and questions about how to improve one's pedagogy shift to the bottom of the stack. No question.

But let me add this. Earlier this year an OU prof contacted me and said that for the first time he had used a reading card and the concepts of metaphrasing with a student who had been having trouble putting it all together. The student was so amazed at how using the reading card helped his comprehension and ability to understand how morphology works that he couldn't help ask WHY the prof hadn't shown them how to use a reading card sooner? So to me, part of the problem is just getting the right tools in the hands of professors.

I swear, if all profs had as required reading Dexter Hoyos's _Latin: How to Read it Fluently_, I think they'd see a marked increase in translation/reading in their own classes. It should stand on the shelf right next to any Latin dictionary and grammar as books that must purchased for any serious (or even not so serious) student of the language.

> Another problem, especially on the pre-university level, is that most
> schools do not stick with a Latin teacher who has generated
> complaints, etc., his first year.

Depends what the complaints are; depends whether the Latin teacher himself has taken an honest look at what he is doing and decided whether there was anything he could have done to improve the situation.

There are teachers at my school that receive continual complaints, and, frankly, I think they are deserved. The man who is the head of our ISS (in school suspension) said to me earlier this year that he has never heard anything bad about me from the students, that they respect me.

Is it because I load them up with easy A's? I don't think so. But I do think it is because the students know I am fair, that I try to provide a variety of ways to learn a particular topic, and that I'm not so rigid in my teaching that it's either a "do it my way or fail" situation. Rigid teachers who do not try to understand that teaching is COMMUNICATION will get the complaints in general.

Especially if
> there is no real solid constituency for the Latin program in the first
> place.

And that is something that each of us must create, and you can't create that by saying Latin is good for you like cod liver oil.

> I have never been a traditional 'student teacher'. Is this a valuable
> experience for those who do it? My sense has often been that in
> fields like Latin, many teachers trained primarily as education
> students, who have often very little course background in their
> subject itself, are not necessarily the best people to train teachers
> in any case.

It depends where you are. At UTexas the methods courses are done in the classics department in conjunction with the education department. And, yes, I think it is a valuable experience, especially if you are lucky enough to get place with a good teacher. I had three observers last semester, one from the UTeach program who did in fact teach a half dozen classes. It was a good experience for her; I set her up for success most of the time but the last time I set her up with something I knew would be a problem so that she could see where she had a weakness. No, the class itself wasn't a disaster, but I knew that there is a trick to doing comprehension questions, especially in Latin, and making sure that THE WHOLE CLASS stays with you.
She was losing kids right and left, and once you do that, you lose control of the class.

That's not something you can learn in a book, and it is better to experience that and be able to discuss it with someone who KNOWS what happened, what went wrong and why than to just go home at the end of the day and feel like a failure because you don't know what happened and why.

Student teaching can be valuable if done right.

> Not sure you have made a convincing case that good fluid oral reading
> skills are more important than reading the literature as literature
> and with grammatically correct understanding.

I dare say that every time I listen to NPR's short story theatre (whatever it's called) that I am hearing literature being read outloud. I dare say that Cicero was meant to be heard outloud--that his phrasing and word choices were made particularly for the ear not the brain.

Yes, I can read Shakespeare to myself, but those speeches are meant to be heard. There is no life in them without the voice.

> Students have been being taught to read Latin for 2000 years.
> We know how to do so.


We have taught NOTHING BUT DECODING FOR DECADES IF NOT MORE. Nothing but futuens decoding and you know it. HOW MANY BOOKS written by reputable authors have instructed students to FIND THE SUBJECT THEN THE VERB? HERCLE!
Latin was not meant to be this way because you damn well cannot read more than 60-100 lines at a go if you are constantly finding every damn subject and every damn verb and disentangling sentences that should be left alone!

WOULD YOU TELL a social students class to find the subject and the verb in this sentence? Is it necessary? Doesn't it ruin the construction of this?:

We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.

Fine. Go ahead. Let's decode the damn thing. WHAT A WAY TO LEARN ENGLISH.

Have ANY OF YOU discussed at any time with your undergraduates how to read EXTENSIVELY in Latin? Or is it just intensive reading nonstop? Is it a wonder that so many people getting BA's in Latin look at their modern language colleagues and wonder why they can read whole novels at a go and we can't?

Not so during the age of Galileo or Copernicus; not so during the age of Columbus. They were fluent. We know nothing of that sort of fluency.

Do not say that we've been learning to read Latin for 2000 years. We've done nothing of the sort certainly during the last 100 or so years, or more people would have greater fluency.

> There is, as you say, not enough time allotted to do all these things,
> and even if the average school or college chose to give that time to
> us, the extra required work here would doubtless motivate many current
> students to say no thanks.

And I think that is bubulum stercus yet again. I think 1 extra hour a week for a reading/pronunciation lab would be invaluable in the years ahead of that student. I think they would look back and be eternally grateful.
Where are we going to run them off to? Spanish? French? Where the oral component is still considerably more? Oh please, that's just a lousy excuse for someone looking not to consider the cost efficiency of doing this, because in the long run you would have a higher quality of undergraduate and graduate student, not to mention future teachers who would then produce better students more interested in signing up for Latin. But perhaps the big picture is lost on you. It's lost on many people, I think, who feel that change is either bad or inconvenient or who don't think they'd have anyone in the department who would be qualified to teach such a lab because everyone's pronunciation is sloppy. Now how sad is that?

I say, make an effort, not an excuse.

> We have to get those students to enroll and then to stay.
> How do you suggest we do that, with today's millennial kids?

Be a good teacher. How do you think I manage the enrollment I have?

> You need to demonstrate that changing our Latin pedagogy in the way
> you suggest will result in sustained significant increases in student
> counts.

Fine. Come to my school. You know, before the district closes it because of our low population. I have a larger Latin program than the middle school across town which has almost double the population. That school has all the middle class/upper middle class kids, I have the lower class kids. The difference is the teaching style.

> Yes, I suppose it would do that. It would almost certainly not do
> anything to improve knowledge of grammar, especially in a poetry
> context.

Bubulum stercus yet again.

If I am keenly aware of pronunciation then I am also keenly aware of my morphology. If I am keenly aware of my morphology and have spent a fair amount of time reciting Latin outloud, I become even more keenly aware of phrasing. The end result is a higher understanding of word order and phrasing in Latin without the need to pick the damned poem apart.

I don't need to pick apart the preamble to the constitution to understand it, but it certainly helps to say it and hear it aloud to absorb the more archaic phrasing. I feel the same way about Shakespeare.

> It is not at all as simple as buying into a theory such as Bloom's.

You don't have to "buy" the theory. It's not evolution. It's a simple progression of cognitive development and you could find similar descriptions I'm sure in any textbook on psychology. Or just have children of your own and note the difference in their cognitive abilities at certain ages. Become a doctor of pediatrics; medical school could tell you the same thing regarding the cognitive development of young people.

Or would you rather blame all failures in your classroom on the students?

> Anyone who is raised to speak it, and lives in a culture where it is
> spoken daily. Not necessarily
> *anyone* else, though.


> Surely you have seen students in Latin classes who lack, at least at
> the time they were taking it, the je ne sais quoi necessary for Latin
> success.

The only thing I really see in my students that cause them to do poorly is a lack of support at home and an enthusiasm for learning and education.
Nothing else is outside of their reach. But I dare say what happens in my classroom takes back stage to child protective services entering a home because the mom is a crack-cocaine addict (last year), or the boy whose sister died in a car accident this year. I guarantee you that I did not have his attention in class after Christmas, nor did I ride him hard for that. They are kids first, and my students second.

> I do not know how old you are,

FORTY. 41 in May (May 23rd for any of you who feel I have earned a present.
Feel free to pitch in together on an OLD...)

or what your educational
> background was before you first stepped into a Latin classroom as a
> teacher.

A student at a decent public high school. Private religious school for K-6.
UT--summa cum laude 3.94 GPA in 1987. Phi Beta Kappa. Nothing really special about my education except that I was your typical conforming female student. My parents had college education, but nothing special. No academicians in my family, no doctors, no lawyers. Not in the last generation at least.

Nor do I know how you did as a
> rookie teacher.

I taught high school in San Antonio at Roosevelt H.S. 1987-1988 and ran away screaming because I over did it and never got any sleep. Took off a dozen years and did a variety of things including desktop publishing and writing a novel that (gratias Deo) was never published and traveled/lived in England.
Became editor for the Texas Classical Association in 1992, I think, and was editor for 10 years of a semiannual journal and a semiannual newsletter, received awards for same.

I do know you were allowed to progress into
> veteran status,

No, I spent much of those dozen years, especially once I became editor, in trying to learn what I felt was wrong about my Latin education. It was in
1994 that I discovered an article written by Dexter Hoyos in Classical Outlook that changed the way I felt about reading Latin and the possibility of my really learning how to read Latin and not decode it. We corresponded for a while after that, then he sent me what became _Latin: How to Read it Fluently_ and I did my best to help him find a publisher. It is a shame that Bolchazy-Carducci didn't want it as is, but that means you can purchase it more cheaply from CANE. Anyway, I only reentered teaching in 2000. This is my 6th year at my middle school. So, only a total of 7 years altogether. But I also make a point of going to conferences and workshops, being open minded about my eduation, willing to go against the current if I think my ideas are valid, etc.

I have gotten to veteran status because of my determination to be a truly good teacher, not because I managed to float along until I arrived. No one served it up to me on a silver platter. I have constantly examined what I do in the classroom, constantly questioned it, and constantly sought for ways to improve upon what I do. Research of its own.

and not too frustrated by the parents, grade
> inflation, wretched student behavior, that also causes many good
> teachers to bug out today.

Who says I'm not frustrated by parents? Oh please, don't get me started there. But I don't let one or two parents ruin what I do.

As for grade inflation, I am guilty of this to a certain degree. I was discussing on another list recently what I do for extra credit--how you can get a boatload of extra points on any of my vocab quizzes which have the words in context by doing what I call rigorous reading: circling tense indicators, singulars, plurals, etc before writing out your answer. It's sort of like showing your work in math. The end result is that I have higher grades on the initial quiz portion before the extra credit gets added on. That is, I am teaching them a test taking skill or a good study technique. I am happy to reward it with extra credit because they think they are getting away with something, but in truth they are becoming more detail oriented as students. And I can teach this technique to any dullard in the room. Yes, I probably have some grade inflation, but not because I give curves or ludicrous extra credit reports and whatnot.

Student behavior? I manage my classroom well so that there is little downtime from the moment they walk in. I structure everything I do to limit downtime and the end result is little in the way of "wretched" behavior. Oh, yes, I have my disruptors but such is the nature of the beast.

Notice that by changing MY OWN behavior I am also able to change student behavior and student productivity.

> We have not even mentioned the remuneration.

No. Why bother? My pay isn't horrible but it isn't great. In general, though, it's a safer place to be than technology with all the layoffs there.
I have the same holiday schedule as my children and can go study in the summers if I so choose. Not too many jobs offer that. I don't have to pay for after school care or endless summer day camps because I can be with my kids, and that saves me a fair amount of money right there.

> Obviously... but today, parents and administrators generally absolve
> students of all responsibility.

Not necessarily. But if you come off as an anally retentive authoritarian classroom tyrant, the administration may well side with the students. After all, teaching is all about communicating WITH students.

Perhaps I got carried away; perhaps I was a bit rude in this note. The other person in the discussion is probably a talented classicist, but certainly not one to note his own weaknesses or that any problem in the classroom could be his own fault. Even still, I probably should not have attacked him as I did at times, but ... oh, well, no buts about it. I want to say he deserves it, but do any of us really? We are all blind to our own faults.

Ok, some of us are all too aware of our own faults: I know I'm pretty full of myself sometimes.

But there is a real "people quality" needed in teaching. You need to remember that doceo takes two accusatives--the person you are teaching as well as the subject matter. You cannot teach Latin without students, and to decide that all students are miserable little wretches to me means that you have forgotten that they are people. And that has to come first.
The following was in answer to some questions posed on the CLC list...

> 3. This may be too vague a question, but what *should* my goals be?
> I have enjoyed the grammar/translation method, because it feels like
> solving a puzzle. I'm not sure if that makes sense, or not.

Yeah, it makes sense. It's why a lot of people got into teaching Latin too.
But you can't get very far on the solving-a-puzzle method. You will hit a glass wall on your speed and comfort level in reading real authors and feel like you just can't ever "do" more than X lines per night. And if our goal is to teach students to read Latin, then we haven't met that goal.

You'll have to tell US what your goals should be. I don't know why you're teaching Latin. Do you feel a need to broaden your students' vocabulary?
Then your goal isn't reading. And, honestly, I have to confess that I'm tired of Latin courses being glorified word power courses... If all a student can do at the end of 3-4 years of study is conjugate, decline, and write correct English grammar with numerous Latinate words over 3 syllables, then you haven't really been teaching Latin. You've been doing some sort of word study via Latin. But if instead, the student can read Caesar from left to right, enjoy phrasing as it unfolds and not in the abstract, if the student can delight in Vergil--I mean, get totally lit up by the way it sounds and the way the words fit together, THEN we've done our job.

Do your grammar skills have to be absolutely perfect? Do you need to be able to identify an i-stem noun and decline it at will? No. Not for pure reading. But if the student will be going on to a teacher who expects that, well, then you'll need to cover it.

Now, sloppiness with endings won't do you any good either, because you can't read well if you don't know your morphology. The only way reading with a reading card will work is if you know your endings and know them well.

However, I feel, at times, that this method
> only enables me to "scratch the surface" of so complex a language. I
> am about halfway through Henle I and probably could not read most of
> the Latin stories in CLC I.

> I also feel that Henle does not give me enough application of new
> concepts in context.

If not, then that's criminal. It's old school--fill up the brain with all the details of morphology and then once that's mastered throw a text in front of the student and say, "well, FIT IT ALL TOGETHER!" All you're doing there is teaching decoding skills. Consider the number of middle age (or
older) adults that can decline agricola but can't read Latin. Oh, their English is better for it, no doubt, and they sailed through SAT's and GRE's and LSAT's and all, at least on the verbals, but they haven't really gotten to *know* Catullus or *hung* with Martial.

With CLC it's repetition in context that they aim for. After all, that's the only way vocabulary let alone usage sticks--in context. Go observe a little one learning English and you'll see that context is critical for acquisition of language.

I am usually left feeling like I
> wasn't given enough practice in "fleshing out" the new ideas.
> I'm not sure if I am making any sense here, but I sure would
> appreciate feedback/comments on my particular situation.
> Like a few others, I am in bondage to the grammar/translation method.
> :O) Is there any help for me?

Only if you choose to stay in bondage. Some people find comfort in it and never choose to let go. Perhaps it's scary to learn Latin by trying to immerse oneself in the language by reading, but taking that risk is worth it. Rereading is also critical--and if you personally are serious about learning Latin, you'll remember to reread previous chapters while also moving on to new chapters. No, I never have time to do this with my own students. Frankly, I've been having fantasies about taking a day off and just forming a reading circle with the students and have them start rereading stories, in Latin only, beginning with stage 1 and not stopping until the bell. I wonder how far we'd get. But it would show them two
things: 1) how far they've come, 2) it will intensify their understanding of some things to see it again when it was met the first time--when all the examples were focused and clear.
I just sent this missive to the Cambridge List. Thought it wouldn't hurt to have it here too....

> What are reading cards? Can you be more specific about how you "force
> everyone in the room to consider carefully the endings," and how do
> you train kids to read from left to right?

Reading cards can be nothing more than an index card in which you've clipped out the top left hand corner in the shape of a rectangle that's, say, an inch and a half wide and half an inch down. When you place this on top of a text it prevents you from looking ahead in a sentence. You then reveal one word at a time, considering exactly what you have and therefore what you expect. In fact, on the front of my cards are these three questions:

quid video? What do I see? (morphological endings)
ergo quid habeo? Therefore what do I have? (syntactic function--subj, d.o.,
ergo quid expecto? Therefore what do I expect? (action verb, object of a preposition, etc).

(I got this from the U of Michigan folks; can't take credit for it.)

But because you take it one word at a time and don't immediately go huntin'
that verb, you make yourself retrain your brain. This is one reason why I teach metaphrasing from the very beginning when it is dirt easy. Hey, all I have in 7th grade so far are accusatives and nominatives, but when we are reading words glossed below the story and vIllam is the item, we say, "Someone verbed the house." There's meaning in that ending, even in isolation, and we shouldn't ignore it.

Ok, I've just opened Unit 3, which was here by my desk, at random. I'm on page 6, line 5. The sentence starts:

MULTI (and the rest would be covered up by the card so I can't cheat). So, I see something that is probably a nominative plural since it's the first word in the sentence, is an adjective so there's probably another nominative lurking about, though not necessarily, there's bound to be a plural verb to agree with it.
I might metaphrase this "many someones verbed something."

MULTI MEDICI - Ah, many doctors (so my expectation for a plural nominative was correct). "Many doctors verbed something."

MULTI MEDICI, - A COMMA - a clause is coming, I have to hold many doctors in my thoughts and see to the clause. "Many doctors, , verbed something."

MULTI MEDICI, AD - easy. "to" plus some accusative location. Considering we're at the palace, I might expect "to the palace" or "to the bedroom" or something like that. In fact, since this clause does NOT start with a conjunction or relative pronoun or typical clause header (whatever you want to call it), I can't help but wonder if a participle is coming. And I'll admit, since I haven't taught at this level I'm not sure exactly how I'd metaphrase it, but I'd at least have, "Many doctors, to the something..., verbed something."

MULTI MEDICI, AD AULAM.... Ah, good guess. But where else could we be with the king? "Many doctors, to the palace..., verbed something."

MULTI MEDICI, AD AULAM ARCESSITI, -- And there's my participle plus a comma, modifying multi medici, -- "Many doctors, after they had been called to the palace/having been called to the palace, verbed something."

MULTI MEDICI, AD AULAM ARCESSITI, REMEDIUM -- And there's my accusative/my direct object, so I definitely expect some sort of action verb. "Many doctors, having been summoned to the palace, verbed a remedy."

MULTI MEDICI, AD AULAM ARCESSITI, REMEDIUM MORBI -- genitive? Remedy of the illness? Well, we might say remedy FOR the illness, but genitive works here.
We know that adjectives and genitives--both things that give us more information about a particular noun, often follow nouns, so this makes sense. It would NOT make sense for it to be, say, a nom plural because we have a nominative. And, LOOKING BACK (never forward!) in the passage, we've already met "in morbum gravem" in the sentence before, so we know it's 2nd declension. MUST BE a genitive. "Many doctors, having been summoned to the palace, verbed a remedy of the illness."

MULTI MEDICI, AD AULAM ARCESSITI, REMEDIUM MORBI QUAESIVERUNT. Well, doesn't that make sense? They LOOKED FOR a remedy. I bet they did. "Many doctors, having been summoned to the palace, looked for a remedy the illness."

Or what about the last sentence on the page? You can definitely read it in WORD ORDER and anticipate the last verb:

MELIUS EST (expecting that dative yet?)
MELIUS EST TIBI (expecting an infinitive? Perhaps an object of some sort?) MELIUS EST TIBI TESTIMENTUM (there's the object... Now what verb would you anticipate next? Scribere? Facere?) MELIUS EST TIBI TESTIMENTUM FACERE.

Here's the thing: when the sentences do get longer and hairier with clauses and participles every which way, anyone who is hunting the verb and not taking it one word at a time and just taking in what you have (instead of panicking about what the rest is) will struggle. If you read in word order, you will find the sentences MUCH EASIER to figure out. Golly, it'll even be like reading a real, live language!

Here's another from page 175:

EGO, - we need a 1st person singular verb but first we have a clause or apositive or something as is signaled by that comma)

EGO, PATRIS - well, it could only be a genitive, and if it's coming at the head of its own phrase then I expect we've got to have a noun for it to govern somewhere

EGO, PATRIS EXEMPLI --two genitives, still awaiting that noun "I, something of my father's example,...."

EGO, PATRIS EXEMPLI MEMOR, -- odd word if the student hasn't met it before, but obviously something about this word takes the genitive (as we know); plus it looks like a nominative of some sort from 3rd declension, so it's an appositive to ego, and that makes sense; "I, mindful of my father's example,..."

EGO, PATRIS EXEMPLI MEMOR, EANDEM -- uhoh, one of those troublesome demonstrative pronoun types, but it's in the accusative, so I'm expecting an action verb and another accusative for it to modify; "I, mindful of my father's example, verb the same something."

EGO, PATRIS EXEMPLI MEMOR, EANDEM FORTITUDINEM -- There's my accusative. "I, mindful of my father's example, verb the same bravery..."

Well, if it's a complementary infinitive, perhaps we should expect possum or volo. "I, mindful of my father's example, verb to show the same bravery."

"I, mindful of my father's example, want to show the same bravery."

The reading card just keeps you from accidentally looking ahead, which you will do inadvertently until you train yourself not to. Your brain wants a verb after that subject and you have to train it to WAIT. And it can wait.
We've just seen how.

Try to read with a reading card sometime to see how it slows you down but makes you really think about how you can indeed read in word order IF YOU KNOW YOUR ENDINGS. And your brain gets used to it. It's kind of like developing a talent for Yoda-speak.


And I should head to bed.

'night all....