Continuity and Change, III

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! This is a fairly short post after another long day in my face-to-face teaching world. It wasn’t a terribly unusual day – just long, with a number of interruptions and last-minute crises that kept me at school longer than I’d hoped. I also had an unplanned trip to the local office-supply store this evening for recordable DVD’s, a supply item I thought I had on hand. On the upside, it was a beautiful evening without much traffic, and the drive was a nice way to unwind and reflect after a long, tiring day.

As I drove and reflected Tuesday evening, I realized that our themes of Continuity and Change are always intertwined in my life as a teacher … and in the rest of my life, too. Lots of things stay constant from week to week, month to month, year to year, and even decade to decade – indeed, sometimes old, half-forgotten things return to use.

For example, I’ve found that my current Latin I students love a choral-response vocabulary check activity that I haven’t used in five or ten years – mainly because those previous groups of students hated and resisted it so much. They also love writing answers on the board (it probably helps that it’s a SmartBoard), just as their counterparts 15 years ago loved writing answers on the chalkboard … but none of my classes have shown any interest in that for a decade or more. At the same time, we continue to use some strategies that every class has enjoyed: collaborative acting and illustration presentations based on stories we’ve read, for example, and a game called “Race for the Answer” where small groups compete to find the most details in a story and/or to read the story more quickly than their counterparts.

At the same time, though, Change itself is a constant. I find that my current students like and respond to a slightly more teacher-centered class than their counterparts did five years ago; they’re not as comfortable with a quick transition to small-group work, and they like more whole-group modeling than their counterparts for the past several years. At the same time, they seem to have established much better, more effective group dynamics than their counterparts who wanted more small-group activities – what’s up with that, I wonder? Perhaps it’s just that I’m more able (or more willing) to see what they actually need and to provide it for them; I think I was more rigid about plans and timing for the past few years than I’ve been this fall, and my greater flexibility has probably helped with the dynamics and the classroom environment. Of course my work with the Tres Columnae Project has helped a lot with flexibility in my face-to-face teaching, too – it’s hard to be rigidly committed to the “one right way” in one teaching environment when one is forcefully advocating for flexibility and responsiveness in another!

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • Have you noticed anything unusual (or old-but-new, for that matter) in your face-to-face classes this school year?
  • Do you find that you’re more flexible than usual – or less flexible, or about the same?
  • What are some of the factors that might be contributing to any changes you’ve noticed?

Tune in next time, when we’ll continue to explore these themes of Continuity and Change … and before too long (but probably early next week) we’ll finally see that other new Tres Columnae Project story about these themes. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

Published in: on September 22, 2010 at 10:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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