Tuesday, September 03, 2019

5 Reasons to Learn Latin with Lumina: Artes Latinae

What makes Lumina: Artes Latinae the best choice for learning (or reviewing) Latin on your own, at your own pace? Artes Latinae features a comprehensive scope and sequence that gives students all the tools they need to master Latin.

1. Artes Latinae is a time-tested, award-winning Latin program that uses a variety of strategies to empower students as they learn Latin.

Artes Latinae, the self-teaching Latin program designed by Dr. Waldo Sweet, has been helping students succeed in their Latin-learning endeavors for nearly sixty years. The innovative program employs a structural approach to language, incorporating research about the deep inner workings of Latin in order to help students more confidently tackle distinctive elements of Latin syntax. At the same time, Artes Latinae makes use of a wide variety of teaching techniques to facilitate internalizing the vocabulary and grammar of Latin. Many of these strategies remain remarkably relevant to today’s students and adhere to key principles of second language acquisition theories. Artes Latinae is now offered as an online interactive program via Lumina: Artes Latinae, giving students even more flexibility in learning Latin.

2. Artes Latinae employs innovative and effective Latin pedagogy.

Notably, Artes Latinae treats Latin as a language that was (and continues to be) spoken aloud, not just written and read. Students routinely listen to Latin recordings of individual words, traditional sayings and maxims, and questions; in turn, students respond to prompts orally and can check their answers against model audio. Furthermore, Artes Latinae offers the option of three pronunciation styles: American Scholastic (the default pronunciation), Restored Classical (an attempt to reconstruct how Latin would have been spoken c. 100 bce–100 ce), and Ecclesiastical.

With an emphasis on an “active Latin” learning process, Artes Latinae employs methods that require students to think in Latin without using English as an intermediary. When introducing new vocabulary, the program relies on images, Latin synonyms and antonyms, and eventually, more involved Latin definitions. Use of Latin questioning techniques (today, commonly referred to as “circling”) ensures that students receive repeated input of new vocabulary and target forms, while also gently leading students to a fuller understanding of ancient and medieval Latin sayings (and later, longer poems). 

3. Artes Latinae’s programmed learning design helps students learn how to learn.

In its use of active Latin methodologies, Artes Latinae always provides extensive scaffolding for students. On a micro level, this program repeatedly scaffolds new pieces of information. In each unit as students answer questions in Latin, they are first asked to echo questions and responses based on the model recordings. They then respond to similar questions with only one word in Latin, before finally giving longer responses based on the original models. Students at last transform models through substitution and transformation. Another such technique involves beginning with short “kernel” sentences and gradually adding modifiers to create a much more complex thought (what is sometimes called amplificatio, or expansion).

Similarly, the structure of the program as a whole is firmly rooted in principles of scaffolding. In early units of the program, English is frequently used to introduce words, concepts, and grammatical terms. But as students progress, Artes Latinae begins to slowly fade out English explanations, replacing them with Latin words and phrases. By the end of the first course, students have even begun to use Latin grammar terms to describe morphology and syntax!

Additionally, the program begins with explicit instruction on how to approach and study new material, asking students to think about techniques that they personally find helpful (i.e., helping build metacognition). Artes Latinae then gradually “vanishes” some of the help once provided. For example, when first introducing students to Latin sentences, Artes Latinae breaks down the structure of each sentence word-by-word, giving explanations about how to think about and interpret Latin sentences. This sort of explicit instruction fades away, although the program continues to remind students to think about previously learned principles and study methods.

4. Artes Latinae features rich and varied content from classical, medieval, and Renaissance Latin. 

The content of Artes Latinae offers students immense benefit. In particular, the program introduces authentic ancient and medieval Latin from the beginning, using such sentences as models for students to get a sense of Latin’s structure. While Artes Latinae draws from many of the “greats” (e.g., Cicero, Horace, Ovid), the course also makes clear the rich and varied history of Latin literature: using excerpts from the Latin Vulgate, for example, and comparing Renaissance-era epigrams with those of Martial.

Another emphasis of Artes Latinae is word building, both in Latin and in English. English derivatives are always introduced alongside Latin vocabulary. But perhaps more importantly, the course frequently breaks down Latin words into prefixes, roots, and suffixes and shows how new words can be made from these building blocks. As students encounter these key elements of Latin words, they also learn how they changed as they came into English. For instance, as students encounter the word avaritia in Latin, they learn that the –tia suffix is used to turn adjectives (in this case, avarus) into abstract nouns. Likewise, they learn that –tia became the suffix –ice in English (here, avarice).

5. The Lumina platform for Artes Latinae offers extensive student support.

In addition to providing students supportive scaffolding, Artes Latinae ensures that students receive immediate feedback as they go frame by frame. Moreover, Bolchazy-Carducci is proud to offer Artes users several options for obtaining additional Latin support as needed. On the Lumina site, users can access a general discussion forum to chat with others using Artes Latinae. A Q&A forum invites students to ask questions of a Bolchazy Latin instructor, who will regularly respond to queries. As B-C expands and builds on Lumina: Artes Latinae, we anticipate adding more options for students to receive individualized support.

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