thaichicken (thaichicken) wrote in latin,

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"concept lesson" for teaching Latin?

I hope that this is within the community guidelines. You all are always so helpful, and I'm very stuck.

So, I’m in school studying to become a Latin teacher, and in my general methods of teaching class this semester we had to do microteachings of a “concept lesson” — something basically outside of content. So the math teachers taught the “concepts” of equality, proofs, and ratios without numbers. The history teachers talked about the “concepts” of liberty, industrialization, and source material without any specific events.

I… got very stuck. I couldn’t think of any overarching “concepts” related to Latin (or any language!) that can be taught separately from the language itself. I can’t point out “real-life uses of the dative case” the way a math teacher can point out real-life ratios.
My topic was case-marking, so I tried to explain how case-marking in Latin allows for freer word order which allows more freedom for emphasis and stuff. 2 problems: a) it came across as all content (partly because no one in my class knows anything about Latin, so I can’t rely on background knowledge the way everyone else can), and b) that’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t have talked about til 3rd year at least, when we get to Cicero and poetry and “real Latin”, so I have no idea how to teach it the way my prof wanted it, as in “intro” to the concept of case, period, in the first month of 1st year.

My professor thinks I should have talked more about how case-marking affected/was affected by/somehow is connected to Roman culture. She is dead sure that somewhere out there there is a connection between how the Romans lived and the fact that they had sort-of free word-order and case markings. She is stuck on Latin teachers being “too traditional” and that that’s why I haven’t figured this out yet, but at this point it basically seems to me like she doesn’t understand how language works?

She gave, as an example, that in French, “activities” are mostly masculine and “passive nouns” like table and chair are mostly feminine and that this plays into the patriarchal structure… to which I just blinked dumbly. I’m reasonably certain that’s not true for French, and I know it isn’t true for Latin. I mean, the word for manliness is virtus, which is feminine! Different kinds of chairs are different genders. In Greek, there are words for men and women that are neuter!

And yes, I know there are the studies of madori/ao colors in Japanese, or the people in Australia(?) who navigate only by cardinal directions, not left and right, or people who don’t have full (or any) tense systems and how that affects their perception. But those are few studies, and they are WAY over the heads of 7th graders, which is the age I’m aiming at. Not to mention, I feel hugely uncomfortable saying anything about how anything affected Roman culture because I don’t know that much about Roman culture, and this all just REEKS of bogus pop-psych stuff to me.

I mean wouldn’t you have to do a study of all languages that have case-marking vs all languages that don’t?

Ugh, anyway. tl;dr, what kind of “concept” lesson can I give about case-marking? or the accusative case? I’m so lost…

Thanks in advance! (x-posted to some education communities and linguaphiles)
Tags: education, grammar, help
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