What we do centres around the active method, meaning that all our classes are taught in the target language, be it Latin or ancient Greek, and develop all the 4 skills which constitute a language – listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This has several major advantages over conventional methods:
- As modern neuroscience shows, listening and speaking are the most natural way for our brain to acquire any language, whether dead or living. In particular, speaking and listening require real-time language processing, which forces one to be much faster at thinking in the language and increases one’s fluency – not only of speech, but also of reading. Moreover, researchers agree that, to learn a language well, we need to be exposed to it as much and as often as possible. Using it as the main language in the classroom can make a huge difference in this regard. In addition, reading and explaining the text in the original is much faster than translating it, meaning that our students can read more text in the same amount of time, maximising their exposure and speeding up their language acquisition.
- The active method is much more fun and exciting for the students – we can do anything from talking about our personal experiences to playing dramas in Greek, organising mock trials in Latin etc. The variety opened up by the active use of the language helps keep our students motivated. By using the language in normal situations, our students are also able to get a natural feel for its meaning and correct usage.
In short, the active method is the most natural, fun and efficient approach, offering more exposure to the target language and keeping our students motivated.