A parent’s encounter with his daughter taking Latin

A teacher whose child is in my second year Latin class took the opportunity today to tell me what his daughter told him about my class over Spring Break. He and I had talked often about my goals for the class and my teaching methods. He said that what she told him matched perfectly with what I had told him.

She said she was making connections and learning, but it was confusing b/c she didn’t know how she was learning. Last year she memorized things but did not know what for or what they meant. She realized she was learning but it seemed simple b/c she just knew it.

The dad recognized that that was what I had been telling him about learning a language, so he got a kick out of the way his daughter described the process and the results. She said we used all sorts of techniques, from coloring to maps to speaking and reading and so forth. She couldn’t see how that led to her knowing Latin but now she knows it, can understand what she hears and reads and can say things.

I’ll add more later and edit this to sound better. I just wanted to get it up to encourage others of you since we get so little feedback and have so many detractors.

This girl is a classic example of the kid you don’t want to ride too hard b/c they will decide it’s too hard and turn against the subject. They may do the homework and memorization but won’t try to make any sense out of it b/c they see the class as a hostile environment. After a few months of having fun with the language she has realized she can read for comprehension, follow oral instructions, and even joke in Latin with the other students.

It’s interesting that she mentioned coloring b/c we did that only one day out of the year thus far, yet that one stood out for her. We did the picture file thing initially but are only now getting back into it. She expressed to her dad how unusual the class was compared to other classes but how she was learning a lot. He said it was doubly impressive b/c his daughter is not academic and doesn’t get academics very well, so for her to be enjoying learning in Latin testifies to the effectiveness of this manner of instruction. And, again, it was how closely her description, offered haltingly and with some confusion, matched what I had told him about how I taught.


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