Sabbatical Goals

I attended my first Rusticatio (SALVI‘s Latin immersion summer program) in 2009.  While there, I met a number of fascinating speakers and teachers of Latin.  Not everyone was a teacher; a member of one of my groups was a businessman who loved Latin and wanted to know it better.  My eyes were opened to a new world.  This experience encouraged me to rethink many aspects of my own learning and especially of my teaching.  Since then, I have attended an immersive trip to Rome (Iter Romanum) with members of SALVI, a number of pedagogical workshops run by SALVI, another Rusticatio, a Biduum (weekend-long immersion), many conferences (NTPRS, CAM, ACL, ACTFL), and events intended to combine Latin immersion with social and academic goals.  I also invited Justin Slocum Bailey (Indwelling Language) to talk to the World Languages Department at Dana Hall.  Additionally, I have spent countless hours thinking about how I can bring the techniques from which I myself have benefitted to my own classroom and just as many hours trying them out in the classroom.  I have debated the plusses and deltas (areas that would benefit from some change) with department members, interested colleagues and friends, and family.

I am one of those teachers who changes her curricula from year to year.  I do this because I have new ideas and I know that the definition of insanity is repeating something you know doesn’t work.  Perhaps I have entered a world of insanity, because I never feel completely successful at deposing techniques that don’t reach my goals and whole-heartedly adding on the ones I admire.  I read posts on listservs from other teachers who have similar struggles, and I always feel better.  What I have found most helpful, though, is observing teachers either doing it successfully or making errors and going through the same revision process  I do but with different outcomes.  With all of this in mind, I set out to achieve these goals:

  1. Observe Latin teachers using either CI (Comprehensible Input) theory, TPRS (Total Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling), active Latin, or similarly focused methodology.
  2. Write up results from my observations.
  3. Discuss the results with those teachers and anyone else interested.
  4. Read the existing outstanding blogs on these topics.
  5. Travel widely where Latin was once the spoken language.
  6. Lose my hold on techniques that no longer work but are just comfortable.
  7. Read and speak Latin.
  8. Appreciate the inspiration and energy that comes from doing something different.

I am and will be forever grateful to Dana Hall and the Congdon Sabbatical Committee for making this possible.  I am also indebted to the teachers who have agreed to have me observe.  Their names will appear as they approve my posting.