Thursday, July 2, 2015

ACL 2015 Reflections

Last weekend was the 2015 American Classical League (ACL) Summer Institute, the national conference for Latin/Greek teachers, at the University of Connecticut. ACL (as it is called by attendees) has been a mainstay of my professional development over the years. As I was not able to attend last summer, I truly enjoyed ACL this year, because it gave me an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and to be in an environment with other Latin teachers. 

What I enjoyed the most though was the amount of presentations focusing on the use of CI in the Latin classroom. In the past, there has usually been one-two (at the most) CI presentations at a single ACL conference, but this year there were five! Over ten hours of CI presentations were given:
  • The Power of Reading (Pre, Post, Embedded) - a 6-hour PreInstitute workshop given by Bob Patrick and me.
  • Teaching AP Latin in a Comprehensible Input Classroom - a 1.5-hour presentation given by Bob Patrick.
  • Teach Latin IN LATIN from Day 1: The Marvels of Comprehensible Input - a 1.25 hour presentation which I gave.
  • Towards a More Comprehensible Classroom - a 1.5-hour presentation given by Kevin Ballestrini.
  • Thinking Outside the Textbook: Authentic Latin Texts for All Levels - a 1-hour presentation given by Rachel Ash.
There was a such a wide range of CI topics presented that it gave attendees an overview of how CI can be used for different levels and for different purposes. Interestingly enough, outside of Bob and me for our PreInstitute workshop, none of us really had consulted each other about what we were going to present. 

All of these sessions were well-attended. Based on all of this, here are some observations:
  1. Comprehensible Input is on the radar among Latin teachers. It may just be a trendy buzzword at the moment, but at least, people are interested.
  2. Many Latin teachers have become tired of the grammar-translation or pure reading methodology and are wanting a change.
  3. Many Latin teachers are wanting to incorporate spoken Latin in the classroom; Comprehensible Input is a perfect way to accomplish that.
  4. Many Latin teachers desperately want training in Comprehensible Input.
  5. The number of knowledgeable Latin teachers who can offer Comprehensuble Input presentations at conferences is growing.
What an exciting time it is for CI among Latin teachers! In fact, at NTPRS in a few weeks, there will be FIVE presentations on CI in the Latin classroom!

I have already started to think about possible CI presentation ideas for next summer's ACL., which will be held at the University of Texas, Austin - hope to see you there!

Post scriptum: The only downside of ACL for me was that I had to attend mostly technology sessions in order to accrue lab hours for my Instructional Technology degree program - not that I did not learn much from those session, but after awhile, one can only see Kahoot demonstrated so many times...

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