I'm about to start as a freshman at Swarthmore College, to pursue a double major in Classical Studies and Linguistics. I was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and now live in Riverdale. I spent this past year in Israel, studying spoken Ancient Greek and Biblical Hebrew, and performing in an amateur production of First Date: The Musical.
I have worked with a number of cutting edge classics educators: I spent the last summer volunteering with the Paideia Institute - the nation's leading non-profit for promoting the classical humanities - designing and teaching a compositional (using speech and writing instead of reading) Latin curriculum to middle schoolers in the Bronx and Brooklyn, and also helped contribute to the recently published Polis: Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language, Level One.
From my time spent as both a student and teacher of language, I am convinced of the necessity of flexibility in every lesson, and the immense power of laughter in learning.
One of the best ways to encourage learning, in my experience as a student as well as an actor, is improvisation: allowing a student to channel their existing interests into the material and have more control within the lesson. With the aid of speaking and listening, as well as reading and writing, the lesson can also stay on one subject and still move with the student's interests - talking about a student's hobby, while practicing a particular grammatical structure, for example, or making unusual and absurd sentences out of a vocabulary list.
This mixing of regular life and the classical world indeed often tends towards the laughable. Instead of detracting from learning, however, I find that laughter is most often a sign of involvement and motivation. From a neurological standpoint, laughter is a sign of new mental connections, and it has been shown that more variously connected an idea is to others, especially in strange or otherwise laughable ways, the easier it is to remember. Additionally, a willingness to play in the language helps to remove the fear of making mistakes which holds back students in learning any subject. Even as a tutor, I find the frequency of my own laughing, as well as the student's, a useful indicator of the success of a lesson.
In short, learning Latin can be - and should be - fun. I'd like to show you how.
Undergraduate Degree: Swarthmore College - Current Undergrad, Classical Studies
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1530
SAT Math: 720
SAT Verbal: 740
SAT Writing: 770
Genealogy, Music, Musical Theater, Trivia