Sisters

After straying from the familiar by visiting a number of large public schools, I returned to the single-sex, all-girls environment before I left Baltimore. I was only able to observe one class at Bryn Mawr School, but in this one Latin II class, I had the pleasure of accompanying Cathy Reed as she led her class on a walk in the style of Where Are Your Keys. They were working on gerunds and gerundives, and so there was high repetition of how they would walk down the halls and outside: volandō (by flying), quatiendīs natibus (by shaking their hips), ambulandō celeriter (by walking quickly), etc. As they walked, I noticed Cathy using the technique Same Conversation, where she would ask the students to repeat a phrase in a number of different voices and/or speaking styles. The girls seemed to really enjoy both this technique and the walk itself.

Back in the classroom, I also observed a technique seen in previous visits, where knowledge of vocabulary is tested by expecting students to find the correct Latin word on the board after hearing a Latin synonym or definition. Cathy doesn’t feel that her classes are as steeped in TPRS and CI as she would like, but I was impressed with her courage to try new techniques, her willingness to be open and transparent with her students about any difficulties she is having with the language, and her desire for feedback. All the teachers I have visited have asked for feedback, hungry to hear from someone who speaks the same language as they do. Being at a school for girls reminded my how the single-sex environment necessitates that girls be heard.

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