Some have described the way I teach languages as ideological or dogmatic—other contributors to this blog are no strangers to that criticism, either—and it’s certainly true that a lot of my teaching is directly informed by definitive research, but I no longer feel the need to espouse and cite research to arrive at the following, in classic chiastic (< chiasmus) form:
1) ALL humans can acquire a second language.
2) Few humans learn about languages.
3) Programs based on learning about Latin are exclusive.
4) Programs based on acquiring Latin are inclusive.
Reasons for #1 should be obvious in that all humans are “wired” to communicate. Reasons for #2 are unclear, though lack of interest is most likely the cause—an example of how important compellingness is—but the result of programs focused on learning about Latin has two crystal clear outcomes; at best, very few students remain in the program; at worst, enrollment is less-affected because the program is already exclusive to the few students who learn about languages anyway. In both scenarios, the few exceptional students serve as validation for a Latin program’s success—this in spite of most students who could have been included.
This is a social justice fail.
The question, then, for another post is “how do I base my program on acquiring Latin?”