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What Does a Latin Tutor Do?

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  • Written By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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A Latin tutor offers lessons to students on elements of Latin grammar, translation, or writing, often on a one-on-one basis. Tutoring is usually designed for students who want extra help outside of class, or who wish to learn elements of the Latin language apart from a more structured course setting. A tutor is likely to meet with students on a mutually arranged schedule and generally charges by the hour. Sessions can be temporary, such as for test preparation, or ongoing, as is often the case with students who want to develop a robust understanding of the Latin language over time.

The main task of any Latin tutor is usually individualized instruction. Most tutoring relationships involve just a single student. With a private tutor, a student can receive intensive, one-on-one teaching, as well as tailored study guidance. Some tutors will host small groups of students, usually no more than three. These sessions usually cost less per person, but still afford more individual instruction than could happen in a Latin classroom.

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There are several reasons why a student might seek out study guidance through Latin tutoring. One of the most common is help with an on-going course. A person who is struggling to keep up with a Latin class, or who is doing poorly, may seek outside help. This kind of tutoring is usually designed to follow along with a class curriculum. The tutor will work with the student to help improve test scores, go over lessons that may have been confusing, and provide extra drills and practice exercises.

Students may also desire the expertise of an academic tutor in the course of preparing for standardized Latin exams. High school students in many parts of the world are able to sit for placement exams in languages like Latin as a means of demonstrating their aptitude and potentially receiving university credit corresponding to their skill level. A Latin tutor hired to help a student succeed on a Latin placement exam will usually spend time teaching test strategies as well as working to improve reading, writing, and translating weaknesses.

Perhaps more than many other languages, Latin is often used in a translation context. Most major works of antiquity were initially composed in Latin or Greek, which makes understanding written Latin essential for many reading assignments in the Classics. A Latin tutor who focuses his or her services on translation usually prepares students to read and understand the works of antiquity in their original format. This usually involves a lot of grammar drills, as well as lessons in contextual reading and ancient cultural idioms and turns of phrase.

There is rarely ever any spoken aspect to Latin tutoring. Study help is in most cases limited to reading and writing, in large part because Latin is a dead language — no one speaks the language today as a primary means of communication. For this reason, an online tutor can often be just as effective as a live tutor.

Online Latin tutoring is usually geared more for advanced students, or at least students with some basic Latin exposure. A Latin tutor who works primarily over the Internet can chat with students in real time and can critique written assignments over email. He or she can also offer instruction via live video chat, which simulates being present in person. Online teaching guidance is often beneficial for Latin students in remote areas or outside of big cities, as it allows them to access highly sought-after tutors without the expense or inconvenience of travel.

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