Yesterday was DAY 1 of the CUNY Summer Latin Institute (and the CUNY Summer Greek Institute).
I had a great day. My morning lecture on Latin pronunciation, syllabification, and accentuation went very well. Our students learned about long and short vowels, diphthongs, problematic consonants ("b" before "s" is devoiced and sounds like "p," as in urbs, city), the law of the penult, and they took turns reading aloud beautifully the Latin of Catullus 101.
In the afternoon, our eager (if somewhat dumfounded) students learned the present active system of first and second conjugation verbs, as well as the first declension. That's system, not tense: they learned the present, imperfect, and future indicative active. All in two hours.
The rule of thumb around the Latin/Greek Institute is that students do about a week's worth of learning (by traditional classroom standards) every day. We faculty, in addition to meeting with our students individually after class if they need help, are on call 24/7 by telephone to answer questions. I spoke with several students last night and clarified issues they were having with principal parts, identifying stems, conjugation, declension, and how to navigate their way through a sentence.
It's a lot to ask, but students have done it with great success for 39 summers, and we expect they will do it for a 40th summer as well.
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.