The Latin language is taught in the Middle School as an active language which can and should be spoken and heard, as well as read and written. As it is well established that effective language acquisition depends on use of the ears and tongue, we hear and speak the language in order to learn it. Our ultimate goal is to cultivate in our Latin student sufficient fluency, after six years of study, that he be able to read original Latin texts without aid of dictionary or translation. To achieve this end, we use Comprehensible Input and an inductive textbook, which encourages and trains the student to create meaning for himself. Alongside the textbook, which guides our advancement, we create our own ongoing oral and written stories with the language we have gathered. Beside language acquisition, the study of Latin involves the study of the cultures shaped by the language, from its beginnings in distant antiquity to the present day, as regards history, religion, politics and law, architecture, literature and the arts.
Form I: Introduction to Latin
Form I Latin has two main objectives. The rest is to provide students with an introduction to the fundamentals of Latin vocabulary, syntax, grammar and morphology through untargeted comprehensible input, which is intelligible discussion in the target language of compelling topics selected by the students themselves. In this way vocabulary and grammar are more naturally introduced and practiced. Classes are conducted in Latin 75% of the time in a comprehensible manner. Use of English by the students is strongly discouraged. Lessons are supplemented by a Latin reader outside of class, which is supported by video, and illuminated through in-class translation and discussion. The second goal is to establish an appreciation for the cultural heritage of Latin, by telling the story of Rome from 32 the very start, progressing as far as the late republic by year’s end. Texts include Hans Ørberg’s Lingua Latina Pars I: Familia Romana.
Form II: Latin I
Latin I aims to bring the student’s reading comprehension to a high intermediate level (according to the ACTFL scale), by deepening the student’s internalization of Latin grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. 90% of class time is conducted in the target language by both teacher and student. Students continue to develop their faculty for speaking, hearing, writing, and especially reading the language, through comprehensible input, and extensive reading of level-appropriate, comprehensible texts. In addition, each week of class introduces another ancient or medieval fable of increasing length. Study of Rome’s history and cultural influences is continued by presenting the stories from the late republic to the modern day, as well as the history of development of Romance languages. Texts include Hans Ørberg’s Lingua Latina Pars I: Familia Romana, and Latin adaptations of popular children’s literature such as Where the Wild Things Are, Brandon Brown Gets A Dog, and others.