How Has 2016 Been So Far?

The year so far.

The year so far.

This is the last weekend of the first month of 2016. How is the year going so far? What has been most as you expected? What has been least as you expected? What has been most as you hoped? What has been least as you hoped?

For me, it’s been a tiring, but exciting month.

Since being published on January 4, “Teaching Latin to Humans” has been viewed well over 5000 times, which is a lot for a Latin-related article, and has generated lots of chatter. Several language departments have told me that they are using it to provide focus for their professional development. LIMEN, a Latin teaching portal, went live around the same time and has been accessed about 3500 times. Cool offers for other writing and teaching projects have been rolling in, and I’ve had to pick and choose more carefully than ever before, partly because of several projects already under way.

I got to visit two schools this month to guest teach, observe classes, and provide coaching and training. The reports of how these schools have acted on the coaching and training are invigorating!

I’ve heard updates from several former students and am proud of the things they are doing and of how they are approaching these things.

So, how is your year going? Do you have a “One Word” for 2016? However your January has been, I wish you a meaningful, refreshing February!

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  1. “Moderation” is my one word. In this new year, I’m moderating my approach by trying to blend Communicative with Grammar Translation. In I am at half-point of the time I have with this batch of students. After 1.5 years of strictly communicative lessons, I felt I needed to cover points more methodically. I’m doing that using as a template a certain Grammar-Translation book I spend a class or two on each lesson in the book doing communicative exercises with the content. Then I spend one class hour doing a straight-up Gram-Trans review of the content. So far, so good. I don’t think this blend of communicative and GT could be done successfully unless an extensive foundation is laid first using communicative methods.

    • Thanks for sharing, Paul! I’m glad you’re experiencing success. Looking forward to hearing what else you learn along the way. In what setting are you teaching?

  2. January has been bumpy for me, both professionally and personally. I am looking forward to February when hopefully all I’ll have to worry about is the weather (since I live in Iowa) and if there will be school because of it. My one word for the year so far: ‘Rough!’ I’m hoping for a smoother rest of the new semester (I received all new classes right when we came back). I am really enjoying my level 3 Spanish class though so far…they are so awesome and are like little sponges soaking up as much info as they can. I really enjoy hearing about their weekends and how much they tried to stay in the language when visiting with each other: texting, snap-chatting, in person etc. They are the highlight of my days.

    • Dear Pat, I’m sorry to hear about your rough January, and glad that your Spanish 3 class is providing some joy. Thanks for sharing what’s going on. I hope February is off to a good start for you!

  3. Isn’t mensis Febraurius the hardest? It has always seemed so to me, but this year it is different. What Justin has taught me about language acquisition and language teaching, either directly or by pointing me to research, has been very valuable to me and profitable to my students. The ideas of mental representation and skills keep driving my curricula. I have also been using many of the techniques and ideas that are listed in LIMEN with positive and fun results. My senior class, however, which used to provide me relief from managing my middle school classes, is devoted to decoding Vergil according to the AP syllabus, which has become such a drag for me. I try to liven it up and to remain excited about grammatical analysis, but the lack of real comprehension depresses all of their interest in the poem. Even so, overall, 2016 has to be my best year yet as teacher.

    • Salve, John. Are you the John Young from Hunter College? You may remember me, I’m Joe Carroll, I believe we had a Caesar and Lucretius class together. If not, sorry to bother you!

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