Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer Latin Institute - Day 1 minus 5

So just to clarify, Day 1 minus 5 was Wednesday, June 6.

Had what I thought was my best presession yet. No notes to assist with my drilling of morphology and syntax questions, although I did use notes on small slips of paper tucked into my text book for the morphology I wanted to put on the board: I know from experience that what I can do with nearly 100% accuracy as a student, I often mess up as a teacher simply from performance anxiety. Better to refer to notes and get it right than to stubbornly cling to my imperfect memory and get it wrong, confusing students in the process. Of course you run the risk of having students think, huh, I have to memorize this, why is he allowed to look at notes? But if any student were to raise that issue, I would say what I just wrote: I'd rather work from notes and teach you the right forms than rely on my memory in classroom conditions and make a mistake that you might then study and learn as if it were correct.

My work at the blackboard is getting better, too. Board work, like oral drills, needs to be somewhat robotic and mechanical at the Institute, not only because time is so tight, but also because the learning experience is so concentrated, you need to make sure your graphic presentation is always clear, concise, and accurate. In a traditional classroom I often scribble on the board, draw lots of arrows, put things here and there and everywhere, the way you jot notes down on a napkin or the back of an envelope. And in a traditional classroom, where you have a more relaxed pace and can explain your scribblings at relatively greater length, that might be fine. But it doesn't work at the Institute.

Well, I think that's enough for now. Within a few days (cf. ablative of time when or within which), you will be reading about my actual classroom experiences with actual students, not mock-teaching of mock-students. I'm looking forward to that, not without a trace of residual anxiety, but still, I am looking forward to that. I hope you are, too.

More soon... 

Note: The opinions expressed in this blog entry are those of the blogger, and do not represent the opinions of the CUNY Latin/Greek Institute, its students, faculty, or administration.

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