Naturally, a Bad Idea?

The Ozarks Latinist

Henry Wingate’s “The Natural Method of Teaching Latin: Its Origins, Rationale, and Prospects,” published in the Spring 2013 volume of Classical World, is an interesting, if somewhat polemical engagement with the nature method by a traditionally-minded pedagogue. It contains valuable history I have not heard elsewhere, and situates the nature method firmly in its context. Wingate is emphatic in saying the nature method is an innovation: yes, conversational Latin was a standard part of the curriculum in the old days, but pedagogy was still focused on translation and the use of English: “”Boys entering those schools were taught in their native language until they knew Latin grammar and syntax quite thoroughly and had spent a thousand hours or more reading, writing, memorizing and reciting Latin. The books they used, be they the Colloquies of Corderius or Lily’s Grammar, contained English. Not until the students had been instructed…

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