Why there’s no communicative language approaches in classics in Australia

1. Like most places, Classics and Biblical studies are dominated by teachers who didn’t train in language teaching, know little about language acquisition, and never acquired an active ability in their chosen languages.

2. The population is comparatively small.

3. Modern language teaching in Australia does not have even the small dedicated movement of those interested in fully communicative approaches (TPR, TPRS, etc..), and so there is no possibility of spill-over into classical languages.

4. There’s thus no opportunity for teachers to attend workshops, seminars, etc., to be exposed or trained in these techniques.

5. Most online classes are run in what, for Australians, is the middle of the night, or the mid-morning of the workday, limiting the possibility of participation.

6. Summer intensives, say like those run in the States, Europe, or Israel, all occur in the Summer. Which is not summer in Australia, and so is not the summer break. Due to the extreme distance involved in travel, to participate in one of those intensives (any of them) would cost, I have calculated, anywhere between $3300 and $6800 dollars, and generally one would not get away with less than $4500.

7. The (small) population that are interested in classical languages generally don’t know about communicative approaches to these languages, don’t realise the benefits, don’t understand much about language acquisition, and are often monolingual to begin with, so there is little drive for such an approach.



Of course, there could be people doing things I haven’t heard about. If you’re in Australia doing communicative-type methods for classical languages, get in touch and tell me I’m wrong!

2 responses

    • > Although, I do still have a long way to go.

      We all do, but we will get there quicker if we go together. Language acquisition is more about communities of speakers than the accomplishment of individuals.