Why you Need to Attend Non-Latin Specific Language Teacher Workshops

My experience with being taught with comprehensible input was in Denver and the teacher was Katya Paukova. She taught Russian to an enormous room full of mostly Spanish teachers. I had studied Russian in high school, so I had some prior understanding of the language, but most of the language being used was unknown to me. After about an hour and half spread over two days, this room full of teachers was able to read a two page long story entirely in Russian. I had spent nearly a year prior trying to wrap my head around CI through reading blogs, watching videos, chatting with master teachers, but this was the first time I really understood how it happened. Since then I have attended sessions in Romanian, Mandarin, German, Spanish, French and Japanese. Here is why you, Latin teachers, should do the same:

1) You have to experience CI working for yourself. When we attend CI sessions in a language we already know, we have don’t get to really experience the acquisition process. We end up having a great time, we learn some cool techniques, but we don’t get to experience the process of going from zero comprehension to full comprehension as a student.

2) You have to internalize the reality that Latin is a language like any other. I cannot stress this enough. I didn’t fully accept this fact until I experienced CI in Russian. Russian is heavily inflected language just like Latin. There are nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental and prepositional cases in Russian. The majority of people in the room had never even heard of the concept of case, but were able to read and understand the different cases comfortably in context. This experience totally dissolved any lingering suspicions that Latin was somehow different.

3) You have to get out of Latin teacher world and visit language teacher world. For the longest time, Latin has separated itself from other languages. Those days need to be done. It’s easy for CI principles to get lost in the variety of Latin-speaking subcultures that exist in our community. Comprehension-based teaching gets jumbled up with Spoken Latin, Active Latin, Latinitas, Latin Immersion etc., which makes learning to teach with CI difficult to navigate exclusively amongst other Latin teachers. Experience CI in action in a non language specific context allows for the fundamentals to be learned absent from the very emotionally-charged factions that form within each language’s community.