Sunday, July 29, 2007

When In Rome, Remember Your Sandals!

That's the unofficial title for a new on-line Latin teaching methods course offering being developed for the University of Georgia's Department of Classics through the University of Georgia's office of Independent and Distance Learning. To find out why this will be the unofficial title, you'll need to read to the end of this blog entry.

Taught by the highly respected Franklin Professor of Classics Richard A. LaFleur, Latin 4770/6770 Methods and Materials for Latin Teaching will carry 3 hours of undergraduate or graduate level credit, depending on the student/teacher'as prior preparation and training. Qualified students may enroll at any time, work at their own pace, and complete the course in as little as two months time or up to nine months from course registration.

In the past, prospective teacher candidates across the country often had to take methodology courses that did not take into account the special preparation necessary to teach a classical language. While Latin teachers can benefit greatly from studying methodologies used by modern language teachers, many teachers in training found themselves in courses taught by professors who simply did not understand (or sometimes did not even care) how current methodological and pedagogical research could be applied to classical languages. Now, Latin teachers everywhere will have the opportunity to study methodology with a professor who really cares about Latin and the Classics and who has years of research and practice in the field!

Methods and Materials for Latin Teaching's website will be open to anyone -- not just students. Professor LaFleur's vision is that:

"it will be of some value, not just to my methods students, but to Latin teachers everywhere, especially to novice teachers and teachers-in-training–though there may be some RES BONAE here even for veterans!"
Without a doubt, this new site will be more than just "of some value." It will be invaluable, with representative materials, lesson plans, handouts, powerpoints, and links. It certainly sounds like it will be RES OPTIMAE!

Currently, Professor LaFleur is in the process of developing the site and is requesting Latin teachers to consider submitting their "exemplary and innovative" materials.

Now, what do SANDALS have to do with a methods course? For years, Professor LaFleur has been exhorting his Latin students to remember their SANDALS, which is a mnemonic for the six multisensory aspects of language learning: "Spectate, Audite, Nunc Dicite, Agite, Legite, Scribite!" ("Look, Listen, Now Say, Do, Read and Write!") To find out more and download a free mnemonic poster, visit the site.