Latin often receives a bad reputation for being a difficult language to learn and an even harder one to master, but this needn’t be the case. In many ways Latin is far easier to learn than most modern languages and it needn’t be taught by the repetition of tedious grammar tables. Today, Latin pedagogy has undergone a lot of research and there are new and exciting ways of learning that are engaging for the learner.
To understand why I offer a range of teaching approaches you should know a little about my Latin teaching background.
For the most part my study of Latin pedagogy comes through primary education. I have been teaching Latin in primary schools for two years as part of the Iris Project's 'Literacy through Latin' scheme, which is designed to improve children’s English grammar and comprehension through the Latin language. As part of this project I have taken courses from Modern Foreign Language teachers who offer insights into teaching Latin from a very modern perspective. On top of that I have been lucky enough to be lectured by, and to have spoken with, Barbara Bell OBE, author of the Minimus books, in regards to her teaching methods and her success as a teacher and author.
I have also been involved with a project called ‘Ancient Languages in the Park’ which teaches a variety of languages, including Latin, in beautiful surroundings. Although this project takes a less original approach to the teaching of Latin, the outdoor location and the lack of typical resources that brings, has been a big inspiration to my online teaching methods.
While both these experiences have been vital in improving my ability to teach from different perspectives, and in non-typical environments, I learned most about Latin pedagogy as part of my Latin degree. A main module of that degree involved the teaching of Latin and tied closely into the 'Literacy through Latin' project. The module was taught by Dr. Evelien Bracke who is doing some of the most ground-breaking research currently being undertaken into different teaching methods for Latin. I am pleased and excited to still be part of that work.
I am please to be able to offer three very different approaches to learning Latin:
1. Direct Approach
The direct approach is a grammar-heavy approach which was commonly used until around 50 years ago when it fell out of fashion. This approach is making a comeback, especially since many native English speakers are no longer taught correct grammar.
In this approach, you will learn Latin through its grammar system whilst learning a great deal of English along the way. This method can be excellent for anyone who is engaged in any form of study as it is certain to improve essay writing, verbal communication, and reading speeds.
2. Reading Approach
This approach introduces students directly to a piece of text (primarily adapted) and allows them to begin translating right away. Grammar takes a back-seat, being learned only when it becomes necessary. Students of the reading method typically learn the language more slowly but are introduced to a wider array of literature and Classical culture.
Whilst I am happy to teach this approach in its strictest form, I would usually recommend taking aspects from the other approaches to strengthen a student's grasp on grammar.
3. An MFL Approach
The ‘Modern Foreign Language’ approach is very popular at the moment, especially when teaching children. It approaches Latin through puzzles, games, worksheets, texts, and even songs. This approach to Latin teaching is incredibly new and I am pleased to be involved with the research aspect of it for ‘Swansea University’ under the expert tutelage of Dr. Evelien Bracke.
This is a perfect approach for anyone, adult or child, who wants to Latin in a fun and intuitive way. You will not find this method being taught anywhere else online for adults. If you want to have fun whilst learning and don’t mind playing the occasional silly game, then this could definitely be the method for you.
Each student is given a free, thirty minute lesson in which we can look at examples from the three different approaches and decide on the correct one for that student.