salvēte, sodālēs! In this rather brief post, we’ll look at ways that learners might demonstrate the Connections they’ve made between elements of a story (like the one we’ve been playing with for the last week) and elements of other academic disciplines. Last time, we made a pretty long list of possible Connections, such as
- Roman slavery with American slavery (or slavery in other societies);
- Roman gender attitudes with those of the United States today, or of some other period in American history, or some other culture with which the learner is familiar;
- Latin words used in the story with English derivatives or cognates, or with derivatives in the Romance languages (a number of community members are suspicious of excessively emphasizing derivatives and cognates as a language or vocabulary activity, but when the learner notices one, I think it’s obviously a Connection that might be explored);
- Latin syntactic or morphological elements with their English equivalents;
- Roman ideas about pets and pests with the ideas of other cultures;
- the “typical” Roman diet of different social classes, with the “typical” diet in other cultures, including perhaps the learner’s own culture; or
- “typical” Roman housing for various social classes with “typical” housing in other cultures.
Of course, a given learner might be interested in a Connection I never thought of: Roman tableware with its contemporary equivalents? Roman tableware manufacturing with its modern equivalents? The mining operations that produced the metal for the tableware with mining operations today? The possibilities are as endless as the interests of the learners.
But once a learner has become interested in a particular Connection, what then? How might he or she explore the Connection further, and how might he or she share the results of this exploration with the community? For starters, it would obviously be easy to adapt the kinds of presentations that teachers have always assigned to their students. For example, learners might:
- collect background links (or even conduct research in – gasp! – a physical library, if one is geographically accessible), perhaps tagging them with a site like Del.icio.us as our faithful reader Laura G suggested in a recent comment;
- condense the information (and the connections they made) into an illustrated presentation, perhaps using Google Docs or a slide-sharing site like () so that the presentation would “always” be available to future learners;
- create a story or non-fiction Latin piece exploring the connections;
- blog about the connections, and share a link to their blogs; or
- participate in a threaded discussion – perhaps hosted by a site like Yahoo! Groups, or perhaps actually hosted by us at the Tres Columnae site. I’ll have more to say about this notion on Saturday, when we examine the logistics of the Continuing Virtual Seminar.
In the end, though, Tres Columnae participants will pursue Connections (and Comparisons, and all other aspects of language learning) from a perspective of Ownership. If you’re interested in a particular Connection, you can explore it as much as you’d like; if you’re not interested in another, you need not pursue it. Such accommodation of individual learning preferences is very difficult for a factory-model school (after all, that production line is supposed to produce a standardized product, not an individualized one), but it’s natural – and, I think, unavoidable – in the Joyful Learning Community that we’re aiming to build with Tres Columnae.
quid respondētis, amīcī?
- How do you feel about the possible Connections themselves – and about the possible products?
- What about assessment? We’ll have more to say about that tomorrow, but what do you think now? How on earth could anyone assess so many different products – and who should do the assessing, anyway?
- How do these Connections relate to the more personal Comparisons that learners will also be encouraged to make?
Tune in next time for more about Connections, about assessment of Connections, and about Comparisons. Then we’ll look more closely at the Continuing Virtual Seminar, the natural home for Connections and Comparisons in the Tres Columnae system. What will these things look like, and how will they actually work? We’ll find out soon.
I don’t want to specify a timeline for the next few posts, as there’s a major winter storm headed towards my face-to-face world as I write this. No power, no Joyful Latin Learning Posts! 🙂 In the meantime, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus! And please keep those comments and emails coming. 🙂