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The New Zealand Curriculum.

This site has been developed to support The New Zealand Curriculum

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Planning Latin programmes in schools

Teachers should work through a logical series of steps to create effective programmes for teaching and learning Latin.

It is suggested that teachers:

  • incorporate into their programmes the philosophy and aims for teaching and learning Latin as set out in learning languages in The New Zealand Curriculum and the Latin Guidelines
  • identify the needs, interests, and prior language-learning experiences of students and any special requirements or school policies that relate to language learning
  • look at their long-term programme and consider the school-wide language programme (for example, the sequencing of levels, the combining of classes at senior levels, and the timetabling of classes and preparation for national awards)
  • look at the short-term programme (for example, the term plan and the weekly plan) and consider the possible links with programmes in other learning institutions
  • identify the achievement objectives from the relevant strand or strands
  • establish short-term outcomes for each unit of work
  • decide on suitable themes
  • develop appropriate topics within the main themes to provide a balanced learning programme
  • select and gather suitable resources for each section of the programme, contacting resource organisations and colleagues in other institutions if appropriate
  • consider the sequence or progression of teaching the main structures, vocabulary, and possible literary and socio-cultural topics
  • select and develop suitable learning activities that will enable students to acquire specific content, such as structures, vocabulary, and cultural and literary knowledge
  • prepare communicative exercises to reinforce the linguistic content of unfamiliar Latin as well as the literary content of familiar Latin texts
  • consider the cyclical development of activities, structures, vocabulary, and literary and cultural topics, and provide opportunities for reinforcing, consolidating, and extending students’ language skills and understanding
  • select or create appropriate assessment activities
  • develop a homework plan to encourage learning of Latin outside the classroom
  • look for ways of connecting Latin learning with other curriculum areas or specific subjects, for example, classical studies, English, history, social studies, science, art history, or geography
  • evaluate the learning programme against its objectives.

Possible Progressions for Learners

The following diagrams indicate possible progressions for students starting in Latin programmes at two different points; variations will occur within each group.

Students who begin a Latin programme at year 7 may follow this pattern of progression:
<insert diagram>
However, students who begin a Latin programme at Year 9 may follow this pattern of progression:
<insert diagram>
For both scenarios, variations in levels may occur depending on the continuity, availability, and sequencing of programmes within schools.

Instructional Strategies and Techniques

Latin is a language without native speakers in the modern world, and is therefore accessible predominantly through written and visual texts. However, the written texts also contain forms of the language that were delivered orally in ancient times.

Some of the principles of language acquisition are the same for Latin as for modern languages. Teachers may use many non-verbal techniques to reinforce communication in Latin, particularly in the early stages. Such techniques include visual clues, mime, and gestures. Teachers may also repeat or rephrase what they have said or written, or give an example to clarify a point. Learners need to be offered examples and models of good usage. Teachers should use such techniques in contexts that are relevant to the learners’ interests, experiences, and stages of Latin development.

Students acquire new language in many ways. A variety of activities will enhance their learning environment and increase their interest, motivation, enjoyment, and achievement. They should be exposed to all the language modes: listening, speaking, viewing, presenting, and particularly reading and writing. Teachers will generally introduce simple structures first, but they may introduce more complex structures early if students are likely to encounter them often or if the structures allow students to access topics of interest.

Working together

When students work in pairs or small groups, they interact with one another, build confidence, and explore the language and its possibilities in a variety of contexts. In the learning partnership of student and teacher, the teacher’s role changes as the students take increasing responsibility for their own progress. The teacher is able to model good reading and communication skills and organise activities that allow students to feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes. Teachers need to:

  • set clear, achievable goals with students
  • build students’ self-confidence by consistently focusing on their successes as they receive and/or produce the language
  • understand how languages are learned
  • create an effective learning environment
  • recognise and allow for individual differences and learning requirements
  • use Latin where practicable in class routines
  • encourage students to interact both among themselves and with the teacher
  • learn more about students’ perspectives, preferences, and needs by continuously monitoring their progress
  • provide students with helpful feedback that challenges them to improve their performance
  • recognise that students acquire language in a continuous but uneven process, which involves the interaction of listening, speaking, reading, and writing
  • recognise that students progress at different rates
  • progressively nurture independent, self-motivated language learning.

Students need to:

  • interact with their peers and teacher
  • be positive, active, and willing learners of the language and culture
  • develop an understanding of how languages are learned
  • become aware of and progressively build on the language-learning skills they already have
  • understand what they are trying to achieve
  • develop questioning skills
  • discover and develop language-learning skills that are useful beyond the classroom
  • commit to cumulative and consistent language learning
  • develop the habit of searching for meaning and asking for clarification
  • learn from mistakes, understanding that mistakes are a natural part of the language learning process
  • learn to use appropriate reference materials
  • monitor their own progress towards their language-learning targets.

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