Class Content and Procedures
The ALL: Latin instructor will prepare class activities that provide students with a conceptual and theoretical framework for the mastery of the goal areas for classical language learning: communication, culture, connections, comparisons, and communities. The GATE Latin program curriculum is based on the communicative language teaching methodology. The underlying principle of this method is to encourage language learning through the use of active exposure and communication in the target language.
Starting from the first semester, students will be exposed to the target language and culture in the classroom and online. Such components as grammar and vocabulary will be introduced through
a variety of input activities which focus on students’ inductive reasoning abilities. For first-semester students, the input activities will be accompanied by visual support. As students progress with their language acquisition, the input activities will make more use of vocabulary and structures covered in class. Class time includes input presentations, reinforcement of the concepts, group work assignments and open-ended tasks with individual attention and student feedback. Group work assignments and open-ended tasks include reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities with frequent practice in the recognition of word roots.
Homework assignments fall under two main categories: immediate application of the concepts covered in class and application of concepts to carry out more open-ended and communicative tasks. The immediate-application homework assignments serve as practice to reinforce the Latin grammar, morphology, and vocabulary covered in class. Students are required to turn in these assignments regularly to receive feedback about their understanding of the material covered. Once students display a strong understanding of the material, they also work on the more open-ended homework assignments, which consist of practical and creative application of the concepts. Students complete homework both online and on paper.
Students’ writing skills are taught using a variety of tools depending on proficiency level. Students will write in Latin regularly, though the length and complexity of their writing will increase in correlation with their proficiency. This composition follows a process-oriented approach where students are guided in different writing stages like planning, drafting, and editing. As students are exposed to more literary readings in Latin, the writing assignments will incorporate some of the ideas covered in the reading and may request that students emulate the style of the reading. The synergy of these kinds of activities makes students more sensitive readers and more effective writers, both in Latin and in English. This also helps students understand the richness of meaning and expression in Latin literature and incorporate rhetorical and literary concepts in their own writing.
Our Latin classes are optimally sized for fostering discussion while permitting the kind of individual attention often necessary for working through issues of expression. Ideally, 10–20 students would fill a section of the course.
All GATE Latin program students require a computer capable of running word processing programs compatible with MS Word and PDF, a microphone, and a webcam. Students also need access to a high speed Internet connection so they can connect to their MSU account, the GATE Latin course management website (D2L), and any other online materials used. Students will complete homework exercises and access to study materials via D2L and Eli Review. The
computer enhanced portion of the course provides the following advantages to students:
Students can take the time they need to do the on-line portion of the course as long as they complete the assignments before the deadlines.
Learning a language successfully requires consistent work and effort (not last minute cramming before an exam). Having to complete assignments online on a regular basis helps students to keep up with the course material, come to class better prepared, and improve their chances of success in learning Latin.
Students can receive grades immediately on some homework exercises and can also be actively engaged in providing each other with feedback and language interaction.
Students can do their homework from any computer with Internet access.