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  6. I don’t want to be too harsh here, but isn’t

    1. Worrying about how to keep people who don’t want to communicate happy in a language class

    just like

    2. Worrying about how to keep people who don’t want to do equations happy in a maths class ?

    Communicating is the whole point of a language, like calculating is the whole point of maths. If you don’t want to do ANY of it, you shouldn’t be in the class. If you are forced to do a language, too bad, that’s just like we people who like to communicate (but don’t like to calculate) were forced to do years and years of maths. Call me mad, but I don’t think that making your language class a refuge for those who don’t like to communicate (like maybe some Latin classes are now?) is really going to keep your enrollment numbers up in the long run.

    Adrian Hundhausen

    • Well, I prefer to have opportunities for students to speak and write, but I don’t believe in forcing output, simply encouraging it. I wrote this post because I recognise that this is a concern/point that some people have in some teaching contexts, and I think it can be addressed to greater or lesser degrees. Some people do end up in Latin classes who don’t want to speak, and it’s worth considering how to appropriately accommodate them. I don’t think that’s the same as designing your Latin class from egg to apple to avoid all possibility of speaking – that is something that I think would miss the point.

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  8. Learning modern languages communicatively also entails the same risk of mistakes–and the same potential rewards! Yet almost all teachers of modern languages use these methods. Not all of them are native speakers either. But the good ones constantly work at improving, and help their students do the same. At least, those students who wish to improve. I think your points re ancient language learning this way are well taken.

    • But in modern languages you have the possibility of native speaker interaction and ongoing norming of speech patterns against contemporary speakers and literature. I think that gap ought to be acknowledged and not minimised.