We believe that the biggest challenge facing Latin and classics teachers is that of inclusiveness and relevance to a larger and more diverse group of students. As long as our programs continue to serve only the most privileged segments of our population, we are not doing our job as educators. The Classical tradition carries with it a dark side of exclusivity which has catered to the elites (and served the interests of teachers’ reputations), but which continues to make many students feel unwelcome in our community. We believe the most direct way for Latin and ancient language teachers to make their programs more accessible is by making use of classroom strategies which are based on contemporary secondary language acquisition principles, including Comprehensible Input. This is the “missing link” between educators’ good intentions, and the impact of daily classroom practices, which can undermine those intentions.
In addition to inclusive language teaching strategies, we are calling for secondary and pre-secondary teachers to expose students to the experiences of a larger segment of the ancient population, which by nature includes more women, children, workers, immigrants, refugees, slaves, and people in all walks of life, not just the wealthiest.
We realize that most currently available teaching materials, curricula, and standardized tests do not support this shift. For these reasons, we are dedicated to developing and sharing materials, and providing information for educators to advocate for change in their schools and organizations.
We also realize that one’s school community directly affects the urgency or perceived urgency of these changes, and that going against tradition is uncomfortable or even risky. Which and to what extent teachers implement change must be based on a knowledge of one’s community, in order for those changes to be successful and lasting.
We are also dedicated to providing personal mentoring and support.
Participating writers of this blog in alpha order:
Rachel Ash Miriam Patrick
Justin Slocum Bailey Robert Patrick
Kevin Ballestrini Lance Piantaggini
John Bracey John Piazza
David Maust Keith Toda