Friday, November 17, 2006

It's All in the Teaching: Latin Like You've Never Seen It

Where Do Professors Come From?

There is an old chestnut in academics that speaks to the ridiculousness of standards that rewards faculty with tenure in the liberal arts: It's hard to agree on what constitutes good research, but everyone recognizes a great teacher. Usually, teaching isn't really taken into account.

Of course there are the exceptions -- both in the way faculty are rewarded and in the fact that some prodigious researchers devote themselves to their classes -- but by and large, the American system is run in a manner that does not benefit the students (whose parents are paying huge amounts of money for the privilage).

Why You Can Learn More in Secondary School: It Matters if You Can Teach

I have a good friend, Dr. Richard Gilder III, who is one of the best teachers in whose classroom I've had the privelage to sit. He teaches Latin, something with a language with which I have very little familiarity, but still I was inspired and learned a lot.

That's really saying something.

Great Teachers are Hard to Find

Richard enlisted me to raise awareness of a new approach to teaching Latin, and I thought I'd mention it here for those who might be interested.

The man's got a fancy name but a simple premise:

Most American students (and probably many elsewhere) are not familiar enough with the workings of their native language to do much other than memorize when they learn another. What if language structure and logic per se were taught as part of the Latin curriculum? In other words, wouldn't it be wonderfully efficient if students could learn Latin and English all at once? And leave prepared to learn other languages as well?

Not News but Worth Repeating: Great Books Can Help Make Great Thinkers

I'm not a fan of Allan Bloom, but with Gilder's strategy, I think teaching Latin could have as much or more of a direct application to better business practice than almost anything else.

No one speaks Latin, but what could be more useful in a global economy than learning to think in two language and laying the groundwork for others?

And there's nothing like introducing unlikely connections and crossing disciplines for >sustainable innovation.

What could be more unlikely?

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