A Complete Lectio, VI

salvēte, amīcissimī! As promised, today we’ll consider Continuing Virtual Seminar questions that might relate to Lectiō Secunda. In a face-to-face teaching environment, the Paideia model proposes that about 20% of instructional time should be devoted to these “collaborative, intellectual dialogues about a text” – which, in my face-to-face context, would translate into one full class period per week. As a friend of mine says, with a rueful smile, “I’m good, but I ain’t that good!” I certainly try to engage my students in collaborative intellectual dialogues every day – and frequently we do engage in formal seminars or the “mini-mini” ones I’ve described in a previous post. But the pressures of time and “coverage” keep me from using seminars as regularly as I’d like to.

Of course, in the Tres Columnae system, there’s no pressure for time or coverage. Learners can take as much time as they’d like, and they can progress at the proper rate for them rather than a standardized, factory-model “pacing” that’s too fast for some and too slow for others. In that context, the Continuing Virtual Seminar is an opportunity to stop and reflect, whenever you’d like, on what you’ve been learning. You might go back to a previous Lectiō with a new insight; you might look forward to a future Lectiō whose subject matter fascinates you; you might have a lot to say, or you might have very little to say. And, of course, no one will make you participate at all!

So I envision at least two Continuing Virtual Seminar opportunities in each Lectiō, maybe more. One will be primarily concerned with Language features, while the other is more concerned with Story or Culture. And, of course, participants can start their own new Continuing Virtual Seminar if they want; all they have to do is post an internal blog, or a comment on a story, and see what happens.

In the case of Lectiō Secunda, the Language seminar will focus on our big new concept: that Latin words have different forms to show their different functions in a sentence. We might start out with something like this:

As you reflect on your own native language – and other languages you know – what are some similarities to the Latin system of cāsūs? What are some differences?

Our Story and Culture seminar (or seminars) might focus on the characters:

From what you have seen and learned about Roman gender roles, to what extent do Ridiculus and Impigra seem to embody a “typical” Roman marriage relationship?

Or on their attitudes:

From what you know of Roman social class attitudes, how do you suppose a Roman might respond to Ridiculus’ insistence that it’s a cēnāculum, not a cavus?

Or on “material culture”:

Using your favorite search engine, look for images of houses in Herculaneum and, if you’d like, in Pompeii, Stabiae, and Oplontis. What are some of the thoughts and feelings you had when you looked at these?

“We” (that royal or Imperial we for the moment) will be reading participants’ responses … and responding to them, as needed, to help them connect and deepen their ideas. Sometimes “we” will ask additional questions, but sometimes other participants will do that for us. And, of course, there’s no formal Closure or Post-Seminar step with a Continuing Virtual Seminar since, by their nature, they continue! 🙂

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • Do these seem like reasonable topics for a Continuing Virtual Seminar for Lectiō Secunda?
  • What are some other good topics?
  • What responses might participants make … to any or all of them?
  • And how would you respond to these if you were “we”?

Tune in next time for a Big Question of a different sort … a Big Question about verbs. In some ways, Tres Columnae has chosen a very “traditional” order of introduction of grammatical concepts: we start with nominative and genitive case nouns so that you, the learner, can use a standard Latin dictionary. Of course, in other ways, we’re rather “untraditional”: you learn about all 5 declensions from the beginning, and you use your knowledge of nouns to create stories, not to fill out declension charts. But we’re contemplating something very untraditional when it comes to verbs, and I’d really like to know what you think!

Tune in next time for the question, and after that for some answers. And please keep those comments and emails coming!

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