Preparing Latin Teachers to Use Oral Latin and to Teach Reading Skills

Ginny Lindzey

Porter Middle School

Current practices in language teaching reinforce the idea that it is necessary to use all the senses in teaching any language, including "dead" languages. Latin teachers are in general fairly weak in oral Latin skills, are hesitant to use oral Latin in class, and do not understand the importance of teaching vocabulary accurately from the first day which can undermine a student's future encounter with Latin poetry.  Universities often overlook the critical importance of teaching accurate pronunciation and oral Latin skills, which perpetuate the "dead" quality of a language which was meant to be heard and not read silently. Conversational skills need to be developed at least to the extent to question in Latin and manipulate the language in ways that aid in language acquisition and mastery. This could easily be accomplished in a 1-hour lab devoted to understanding _Vox Latina_, developing oral reading skills and practicing the kind of oral Latin that teachers need in the secondary classroom.  Likewise, universities are also remiss in developing extensive reading skills in their undergraduates, which would greatly complement the reading based textbooks currently in use not to mention develop skills useful in continuing their own enrichment and enjoyment in reading Latin.

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