Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why I Blog

As I approach the two-year anniversary of my very first posting on this blog, I find it only fitting to reflect on the question, "Why do you blog?" Quite honestly, I find it very difficult to come up with an answer. I have always equated blogs with those people who write letters to the editor or call into radio newstalk shows - those folks who always have something to say and want to make sure that you know that they do.

So to answer the question "Why do you blog?", based on my views of blogs, my first response is "I do not know - it is not like I have a whole lot to say." (Apparently, I do, because I have written almost 100 posts).

Maybe a better question is "Why are people reading my CI/TPRS blog?" Again, my answer is "I do not know" for the following reasons:
  • "I'm not really an expert on Comprehensible Input, but I do play one on TV." There are certainly others out there who REALLY know and understand Comprehensible Input theory so much better than I do. I do understand Comprehensible Input and second language acquisition...but to a degree. I am not one who enjoys spending time reading scholarly articles on the topic. To be honest, I absolutely hate anything to do with research, whether it is reading it or conducting it myself (believe me, the Ed.S degree which I am currently pursuing is ALL about research. I have such high respect for statisticians now). I am not putting on false humility at all when I say this, but whenever I read postings on this blog, I am always impressed, thinking, "Wow, this guy really knows what he is talking about," and then I have to stop myself and say, "Whoa, I wrote this." Honestly, I am convinced that little elves come in after I write up a post, and they change it to make it sound like I know what I am saying. I know myself, and these posts do not sound like me at all.
  • There are other Latin teachers out there who are implementing CI/TPRS so much better than I am. There are other Latin teachers who are conducting their CI Latin classrooms in the Latin language - they are delivering understandable messages close to 90% of the time in the target language. I am lucky if I do 50% on a good day. They are the ones who should be blogging, not I; I should be the one learning from them.
But at the same time, I realize that I do have something to say and apparently, it connects with many people. 
  • Many teachers have grown weary of language methodology/textbooks and are wanting something different
  • Many Latin teachers have become jaded with traditional approaches and the mad rush to get students to translate classical literature.
  • Many teachers are wanting to try out CI/TPRS but do not know how
As a result of this, I will continue to blog the best way I know how.

This week, I passed the 60,000 mark for blog page views after just two years. I am truly humbed by that. When i first started this blog two years ago, I was expecting maybe 100-200 page views/month; I am now averaging over 2,000 page views/month, and a lot of those who read my blog are not Latin teachers! 

I will continue to hone my craft by reading blogs and attending CI/TPRS conferences. I have attended NTPRS for the past two summers, and in the summer of 2016, I plan to attend my first IFLT, since it will be in Chattanooga (only 2 hours from Atlanta).

So to you faithful followers of this blog, I will strive to chronicle my journey into CI. I hope that you will continue to sojourn with me.


  1. Keith,

    Gratias tibi ago! Your blog serves as a great resource to Latin teachers who are under-represented and underserved by the existing CI resources. I know that I use it as a reference when I can't remember exactly how to do an activity in Latin, or what alternative activities there are to get out of a rut. Congratulations on the milestone, and I look forward to seeing more many more posts in the future!

  2. Hi Keith,

    Echoing David, I can say that there are a number of reasons why I read your blog. I learned about TPRS from my Spanish and French colleagues 9 years ago, but until recently there was NOTHING out there for Latin people. After your presentations at ACL, even going back years, to Minnesota, I was eager to know more about what you had presented and what you were doing. I also liked that your thoughts were separate from whatever discussions were happening on the listservs. Secondly, you write really clearly. You always provide a rationale for why you are doing something, a brief but thorough description of the activity, and a reflection on how it went. All of that description and reflection is extremely helpful. Finally, you share your materials freely, and everything is very well organized. You are finding resources from other CI/TPRS teachers and sharing them with us Latin folks, so we're seeing activities and ideas we'd never seen or considered before. I now religiously read Martina Bex's website, and I'd never have found it otherwise. So thanks for sharing, thanks for taking the time to do it, and keep up the great work!

    --Michelle Ramahlo

  3. I am so grateful for your blog! It has taught me much, helped me to reflect on my own practice, and encouraged me!!!

  4. I agree that your blog is very CLEAR, and makes the process of implementing CI (in whatever degree we are comfortable with) seem possible. It's so easy to get bogged down in theory, the research, the desire to create the perfectly personalized lesson, and of course the critiques of CI. You have managed to cut through all this, and provide resources that any teacher can use in their class tomorrow, or next period. I am not alone in my appreciation and gratitude that you are sharing your thoughts and practices.

  5. I think your blog is helpful precisely because you don't think you are an expert at CI. You have been my best resource as I try to incorporate CI into my classroom and I also thank you! Your posts are clear and easy to understand. I have tried and succeeded at many activities I have picked up from you. I even wrote my own little story to introduce some tricky vocabulary words with the help of to the stories you've shared here. (Verdict: the kids LOVE starring in a story!)

  6. Keith,

    Your blog is a fantastic resource. Thank you for all that you share. I appreciate that you do not present activities from the view of an expert. It creates a more real world presentation which makes your ideas seem simpler to implement. As a lone Latin teacher in the middle of Iowa, your blog and ideas have become an inspiration for myself to grow as an educator. It's a vital piece for me since I don't have Latin colleagues nearby with whom to collaborate. Thank you!

  7. The person who truly helps others is the one who shares their new knowledge and their ongoing struggles. The person who has a passion to help those like them constantly trying to be better. We all need each other. Can't wait for IFLT! I'm in Rome, GA so it is so exciting to be able to attend such an awesome conference in our "neck of the woods."

  8. Your blog is just fantastic. Please, keep it up!