GSIC Workshop Proposal

Proposal for Pre-Conference Workshop on Latin TA Training

Disce ut Doceas: Preparing to be a TA in Latin

Graduate students in Classics departments frequently gain the first teaching experience by teaching Latin to undergraduates, and yet all too often they enter the classroom for the first without having any real pedagogical training. A very real need thus exists in this area. For the past two years, in an attempt to do something about this problem, the American Classical League has invited the Graduate Student Issues Committee (GSIC) of CAMWS to organize and run a special 6-hour pre-conference workshop specifically designed to help prepare someone to teach Latin for the first time at the college level. These workshops at the ACL meetings have proven very successful, and those attending have universally commented on the usefulness of the workshops and the greater confidence gained from them to face their own classrooms in the future. As the result of many conversations over the past couple years since the workshops began, we in GSIC want to take another step toward addressing this basic need for graduate student training in Latin pedagogy by proposing a shortened version (~4 hours) of the workshop to be held at the 2008 CAMWS meeting in Tucson. Holding a workshop like this at CAMWS makes a good deal of strategic sense: since so many graduate students already attend CAMWS meetings in comparison with the ACL, we will be much more able to reach our target audience who needs this service more effectively.

This proposed workshop will be held on Wednesday afternoon before the main conference begins, and prospective attendees will need to sign up for it in advance when they register for the conference. At present, we see no need to set a limit for participants. The three organizers (the same ones who presented this past year’s ACL workshop) will be responsible for the development and presentation of the workshop program.

The workshop will cover all the major topics that the first-time Latin teacher at the college level needs to know, including such topics as: surviving the first day, classroom management, lesson planning, teaching tips to win the class over, understanding different student learning styles, grammar and vocabulary drilling, writing quizzes, teaching the tough topics (case system, participles, etc.), using oral Latin, and classroom games, just to name a few. The highlight of the workshop will be the practice teaching sessions at the end of the workshop when those in attendance will have the opportunity to practice what they have learned by teaching the rest of the “class” a series of assigned topics or drills in a constructive, supportive setting. In sum, the potential benefits of a Latin TA training workshop in the CAMWS region are tremendous. Those who should consider attending are all those who expect to be teaching Latin for the first time in the next couple years (whether currently a graduate student or undergraduate) or those who have perhaps already taught once or twice but feel like they would benefit from some further training and practice.

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