“Stick to it, my boy”, he said to him with much gravity, “there’s nothing like a good classical education! Nothing!”

/, iPad, Latin/“Stick to it, my boy”, he said to him with much gravity, “there’s nothing like a good classical education! Nothing!”

Part 1: Introduction

In May 2015, the Almeida Theatre launched its Greek season, which included productions of the Bacchae, Medea, and the Oresteia, as well as complete, public readings of both the Iliad and the Odyssey, delivered by world-leading thespians, such as Brian Cox, Ben Whishaw and Ian McKellen. The Almeida also hosted a number of academic discussions, alongside readings of Lysistrata, The Frogs, and The Wasps.[1] Boris Johnson and Mary Beard held a debate entitled ‘Greece v Rome’ in November; the initial 1,000 tickets sold out so fast that a new, larger venue had to be found and, when an additional 1,200 tickets sold out just as quickly, it was decided that the event would be streamed live on Curzon Home Cinema. Huge crowds were also drawn to the British Museum’s major exhibition, ‘Defining Beauty: the body in ancient Greek art’, which brought together some of the world’s greatest and most powerful classical sculptures. As one reviewer put it, the exhibition was like ‘entering a dream’.[2] In 2015, London was buzzing with classical fervour.

The dream world stops there, however. In March, Camden School for Girls, the last non-selective state school to offer A-level ancient Greek, announced that it was seriously considering axing the subject, due to a lack of funding. An appeal was launched, and charities and members of the public answered the school’s clarion call by donating substantial sums of money – charities pledged more than £40,000, while individuals contributed a total of £11,277 on the appeal’s JustGiving.com page.[3] By July, it was announced that the subject had been saved. The three students who had enrolled on the course could start in September, and the school has consequently created an ancient Greek ‘hub’, which aims, by means of out-of-hours classes, to extend the offer of ancient Greek at GCSE and A-level to external students, who attend other local schools. The programme has sufficient funding for just three years. For the time being, the future of ancient Greek in Camden is bright, but its long-term position on the school’s curriculum is far from certain.

Why is it that, even while classical exhibitions and plays are enormously popular, Camden School for Girls remains the last non-selective state school to offer A-level ancient Greek, and why have only three students chosen to study the subject, thus requiring it to be saved from extinction? This scenario suggests that very few people adhere to Colonel Rawdon’s belief that ‘there’s nothing like a good classical education’.[4] The world has changed significantly since Thackeray wrote those words. Does classics have a place in the modern school curriculum?

At the present time, every school in England, by means of subject lessons and extra-curricular activities, is expected to promote and facilitate the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of its pupils, and a school’s proficiency in doing so is carefully assessed as part of an Ofsted inspection. My purpose here is to examine how the subject of classics develops children in all the aforementioned spheres, with the addition of ‘intellectual’ development.[5] Having evaluated the importance of classics, the second half of the paper will explore the initiatives that have brought the subject into the twenty-first century at Windlesham House School.

‘Graeca doctrix omnium linguarum, Latina imperatrix omnium linguarum’[6]

The study of Latin and Greek is at the core of any ‘traditional’ classics course. For some, the learning of the classical languages is what gives classics its educational value; their structure, morphology and syntax, and wide range of styles, offer students a unique intellectual challenge.[7] Some classics courses retain this primarily linguistic focus (e.g. Common Entrance Latin and Greek), and allow little time for the teaching of Roman and Greek history and culture. Nevertheless, the intellectual rigour that these languages require is substantial, and it is not surprising that Latin and Greek are offered as part of Gifted and Talented programmes, and that these subjects are taken at A-level by the highest intellectual achievers.[8] Even so, the academic challenge presented by the classical languages was not enough to secure them a permanent place on school timetables throughout the twentieth-century. The pressure on classics in schools was felt as early as 1921, when a Liverpool academic wrote that ‘the criticism of classical studies has been very active of late’[9], and the decision of Oxbridge to drop Latin as an entry requirement in 1960, and of the Government not to include classics in the National Curriculum in 1988, did not help the situation.[10] The question is: what use is Latin?[11]

Latin’s appeal to the most able students is not in doubt. However, a considerable number of studies have shown that the learning of Latin enhances the linguistic capabilities of all children, including those who require learning support, in relation both to their native tongue and to their foreign language acquisition.[12] The conclusions presented by these studies indicate that Latin helps students to improve their English writing style. This includes a more elaborate sentence-structure, a more confident use of idioms, and fewer grammatical mistakes, as well as a vastly improved vocabulary.[13]

Children who have learnt Latin also display superior reading ability than those who have not, and they appear to have a stronger grasp of conceptual tasks (‘higher order thinking’), which require the application of logic.[14]

Even bite-sized Latin and Greek lessons, in which pupils learn the meaning of prefixes, stems and suffixes, can have a huge impact, as these allow children to work out what English words, which they have not seen before, may mean.

For example, pupils learn that ‘bio’ in Greek means ‘life’, which gives clues to the meaning of biography, biology and symbiotic. The stem ‘dict’ means ‘say’ in Latin, as in dictation, predict and contradict. ‘Anthrop’ is Greek for ‘human’, as in anthropomorphic and anthropology. And ‘chron’ in Greek is ‘time’, so chronic and synchronise.

This bite-sized technique has been championed by Sound Training, an organisation that aims to improve children’s reading skills in schools.[15] Research conducted by Northumbria University found that after just six hours of ‘Sound Training’, senior school pupils, ranging from Year 7-11, made an average reading-age gain of 27 months. One academically weak group, again with just six hours of using this technique, made an astonishing 63 months’ gain.[16] Even a relatively superficial knowledge of the classical languages allows children to use and understand English with far greater potency.

Perhaps some of the most exciting results from recent studies relate to concepts that are not so easily quantifiable – motivation and ‘intellectual curiosity’. Three studies found that inner-city minority students studying Latin were more interested in language learning following their acquaintance with Latin, and by the end of the study these students displayed ‘above-average motivation’.[17] This motivation for language learning, following the learning of Latin, is something that Llewelyn Morgan has also highlighted. A number of his students confidently embark upon the learning not only of European languages, but also Persian, Mandarin and Arabic.

Latin has provided Morgan’s students with the tools to tackle any language, and has generated students who are ‘enthusiastic and unfazed’ about learning a foreign tongue.[18]

Latin in the classroom

Cultural and social development through Latin can begin in the very first lesson, and does not require a student to learn a modern foreign language. The following table, along with a map of the Roman Empire, is shown to Year 6 pupils at the start of their first Latin lesson at Windlesham House School:

quattour quatre quattro cuatro
cantare chanter cantare cantar
vinum vin vino vino
pater père padre padre
bonus bon buono bueno


Every year, this table is met with total amazement. Pupils immediately recognise that Latin is not ‘dead’ at all, but that it is alive in various different forms across Europe, and they acknowledge that the modern cultures of Europe have much in common because of their shared past. From this point, children can begin to identify and discuss the value of our Roman inheritance – they soon realise that so much of our modern, western culture stems from the Romans.

Just as importantly, it is vital that children appreciate that Latin enjoyed a rich life after the Romans, and that it was used as Europe’s lingua franca until c.1750. Latin was the ‘soul of Europe’[19], and it was in Latin that great literature, laws, discoveries, revolutionary human thoughts and achievements, were written. One of the most exciting exercises for a class is to read passages from Peter Martyr’s De Orbe Novo, which recounts Columbus’ voyage to the New World in 1492-1493.[20] The children translate Martyr’s Caesar-like Latin prose, which alone fuels a discussion about the use of Latin in the fifteenth and sixteenth-centuries, but they also learn about the tremendous Spanish, and therefore Roman, influence on the New World.[21] Martyr interviewed Columbus and his shipmates upon their return to Spain; such a direct link to the past engages and immerses the children in the Age of Discovery in a way that they have never previously experienced.[22]

It is this direct access to our history and culture that makes the learning of Latin such an important part of a child’s education. Even with just a smattering of Latin, children can appreciate and understand the world around them a little more; they can translate the simple Latin inscription on their local town hall, but can also appreciate the last words on Wren’s famous tomb: LECTOR, SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS, CIRCUMSPICE.[23]

Latin words fascinate children. Pupils are amazed to hear that approximately 60% of English words are derived from Latin, and take pride in knowing what an English word really means: that ‘incredible’ literally means ‘unbelievable’, that ‘urban’ comes from ‘urbs’ (city), and that ‘to defenestrate’ someone is to throw them out of a window.

Children also enjoy analysing the way in which specific Latin words are used. While discussing Horace’s first ode from Book 3, an ode that introduces stimulating and pertinent moral questions regarding fate and the idea of living in excess[24], pupils are quick to recognise the clever use of words to portray the slow turning of the urn of fate, which holds the name of every human – no-one can escape: ‘omne capax movet urna nomen’ (Hor.Carm.3.i.15).[25] The two vowels in each word signify the revolving urn, and children deduce this themselves, having read the line aloud. The class’s thoughts on language – English and Latin – are roused, and they insist that they will approach their English creative writing with more consideration. One line of Latin inspires a whole class to aim for excellence.

‘Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum’[26]

According to Cicero, if pupils are to become ‘educated citizens’, they must be acquainted with the past, for the thoughts, actions and achievements of those who have gone before us have created the society in which we live. The study of the ancient world informs students about the great feats conducted by the ancients in every realm of society: architecture, art, engineering, literature, music, mathematics, science, politics and philosophy.

While the great feats are enough to inspire children, the most important part of studying ancient history is the discussion that it stimulates. Pupils can discuss the pros and cons of the different methods of government, fuelled by the thoughts of Aristotle and Xenophon[27], and may even discuss philosophical questions, such as ‘What is a citizen?’, a question which is still relevant today. Similarly, as students study the Athenian and Roman empires, not only do they learn about the mechanisms of power and how such empires cohered, but they also consider the idea of ‘globalisation’, another concept that is often presented as a modern phenomenon.[28] Thus, pupils gain an understanding of the values and structure of our modern society, and view it with a critical mind.

Particularly at A-level and beyond, the skills that a student acquires through the study of the ancient world are both wide-ranging and of considerable value. A student must be able to analyse critically a vast array of different sources, that include many forms of literature and archaeological finds, as well as understand the key political, philosophical and economic concepts prevalent at that particular time. A student is taught to question everything, and often has to make complex connections between sources that are separate from one another in both space and time. Once the sources have been analysed, the student must aim to produce an articulate, convincing essay that answers the question that has been posed.

A student leaves the study of classics with an armoury of skills that he can take to any profession – a broad general knowledge of different societies and their values, an ability to analyse different sources in foreign tongues, and an aptitude for composing convincing arguments. These are all desirable skills in the modern world.[29] Perhaps most importantly, however, this range of skills produces ‘educated citizens’.

It is, however, ancient literature that excites younger children, and that poses so many relevant moral questions. The ancient myths heighten children’s interest in the subject, and the reading and hearing of the stories even encourages reluctant readers to read more.[30]

Pupils engage with a great range of moral questions. Just one text can introduce a plethora of themes for discussion – Euripides’ Medea is one such example. In the play, it is said that wives should be ‘obedient’ (l.15), that men ‘possess’ their wives (l.233), and that ‘if women didn’t exist, human life would be rid of all its miseries’ (l.574-575) – these powerful quotes animate a class into a vibrant discussion on the treatment of women in ancient and modern society.

Debate also rages about the role of the gods. Following the murder of her own children, Medea appears to be fully supported by the gods, for the cursed gifts which she gives to Glauce burst into flames, a sign of Medea’s grandfather, the god of the Sun, Helios. Medea suffers no punishment for this deed, but ends the play with a sense of victory, her revenge complete. The gods are complicated, and this allows pupils to consider a very different belief system from those that they usually study.[31]

Finally, Medea can serve as a springboard for a discussion on immigration and a multicultural society. Medea is a barbarian, whom Jason believes has been ‘civilized’ in Greece (l.536-537), but it is still considered unacceptable to have a foreign wife (l.591). As Affleck notes, ancient literature provides stimulating, often controversial topics for discussion, and the classics classroom is a place in which such discussions can take place without causing individual offence.[32]

‘Look beneath the surface: never let a thing’s intrinsic quality or worth escape you.’[33]

The underlying force of this first section has been to show the all-encompassing nature of classics. It is the study of the foundation, and the growth of, western civilization in its entirety, and so every aspect of society has its place in the classics classroom. It is for this reason that classics naturally develops pupils in almost every possible way – the study of classics is the study of humanity. Classics has been called the ‘original cross-curricular subject’[34], and its value in education has been commented on by educational philosophers.[35] Prior to the nineteenth-century, to have an education was to have a classical education in some form, as the references to classical literature in Dante, Shakespeare, Milton and Wilde, just to name a handful, reveal. Knowledge of classics allows us to engage fully with these great writers, as well as fully understand a whole host of modern literature – Lyra Belacqua’s journey to the Underworld in Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass is constructed around the similar journeys of Orpheus, Odysseus and Aeneas, and Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife includes poems such as Thetis, Mrs Sisyphus, Medusa, Circe, Mrs Icarus, Eurydice, Penelope and Demeter, all of which require a basic knowledge of the myths to appreciate the poems. The enduring influence of the Greeks and Romans has a vital role to play in the spiritual, intellectual, moral, social and cultural development of our pupils, and therefore should be at the heart of every school curriculum.

Part 2: Classics at Windlesham 

The purpose of this section is to present and discuss a number of key initiatives that have been introduced to the Classics department at Windlesham in recent years, fuelled by careful pedagogical considerations and research. These new approaches concentrate on the delivery of the rigorous and challenging Common Entrance and Scholarship Classics syllabus, which focuses almost entirely on Latin vocabulary and grammar.[36] Perhaps unsurprisingly, even the most modern Latin textbooks lack illustrations and a variety of tasks. In short, the resources available to the modern classics teacher are inadequate for teaching young children in the twenty-first century. Therefore, the first initiative was to present the Latin syllabus in a new, state-of-the-art way, by creating a new course for Apple iBooks.

A new Latin course for Windlesham

The main aim of the course was to present the syllabus in an engaging way, by means of integrated maps, Keynote presentations, illustrations and a variety of tasks. When teaching, the specific page is projected via Apple TV, while the children possess a printed copy of the course. This allows children to revise or move ahead as they please, as well as to make notes on the pages. This approach, which combines a mixture of new and traditional methods, has proved to be extremely effective. Since the course’s introduction, classes have covered more material in a shorter time and, most importantly, have exhibited greater accuracy in their work. The children’s desire to learn more and to move on in the course has also increased. The use of visuals, cartoons, and amusing videos created on GoAnimate.com (see fig.1), enhance children’s engagement and interest in lessons, and particular pictures and phrases help them remember specific vocabulary.[37] The phrase ‘I send mittens in the post’[38], learnt together with the verb ‘mitto – I send’ and a picture of some cartoon mittens, has made this the most unforgettable Latin verb at Windlesham. As well as illustrations, the text is a consistent 14-point font size, with no more than twenty questions on a two-columned page, in order that children are not overwhelmed by the amount of text set before them.[39] The material is, therefore, presented clearly, and offers a sense of achievement once a full page is completed.


Fig.1 A screenshot from one of the integrated videos, used to explain and demonstrate Latin cases.

Alongside the creation of the new iBook, the entire Latin syllabus has been recorded. Every grammar explanation, passage and set of new vocabulary is now in mp3 format, totalling 206 tracks, and are all available on the school computer system. Year 8 pupils have used them most effectively, however, as every Year 8 pupil is issued with a pre-loaded mp3 player at the start of the year. Scores in vocabulary tests have soared, and the strength and speed of pupils’ retrieval of the meanings of words appears to have improved.

Studies in both education and neuroscience have advocated the importance of a multi-sensory approach to language learning, and this is why the new Latin course has taken its present form.[40] Children ‘hear, see, say and do’ in the target language, by reading, writing, speaking and acting in Latin.[41] The new course lays the foundation for a variety of classroom activities, some of which were inspired by the children themselves.

A couple of ideas

A simple but effective practical task is the completion of a ‘Tarsia’, a form of adaptable jigsaw, into which a teacher can input any type of information (fig.2). Groups match up the pieces with the correct Latin translations, forming a shape when it’s completed – either a triangle or a hexagon. The difficulty can be increased by adding a time limit, or by adapting the puzzle so that even the outside edges of the shape have a Latin word, meaning that the group is not able to find immediately the outside edges of the jigsaw. This task integrates a number of valuable pedagogical components, for it encourages teamwork, includes competition, which immediately gives lessons a sense of life and purpose, and encourages pupils to look carefully at each Latin word and to think about its precise translation.


Fig.2 An example of a Tarsia – this one made specifically for first declension nouns. Tarsia are printed on coloured card and cut out into their separate shapes.

Alongside ‘Tarsia’, Latin charades has proved effective. In its simplest form, a pupil mimes a Latin word for the class to guess, but can be extended by requesting that a particular type of word is mimed (such as a verb, noun, adjective, adverb, or preposition), or by asking small groups to act out a Latin sentence of their choosing. This type of task enhances the confidence of those children, particularly boys, who excel in drama and/or sport, but who struggle academically. Practical tasks tend to increase children’s interest in Latin, and it also seems to have a positive effect on pupils’ vocabulary, as they often discover innovative ways of remembering words through actions or phrases.

Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning is certainly nothing new, but its power as part of the learning process is worth consideration, especially as a number of studies appear to have produced conflicting conclusions. One study, which analysed the effectiveness of teaching in primary schools, observed that children learnt the most during lessons in which they were directly taught and supervised by the teacher. These lessons included the presentation of information, teacher-led discussion, and the opportunity for the class to apply their newly-learnt skills.[42] Similarly, another study found that the most successful teaching included more ‘lecture-demonstration and class discussion, and less seatwork’ – the centrality of the teacher in the learning process is clear.[43] Furthermore, Muijs and Reynolds found that only 5% of class time was spent on cooperative group work.[44] Coupled with Bjork and Bjork’s idea that if someone tells you an answer, you ‘rob yourself of a powerful learning opportunity’[45], and with Evertson’s view that the most learning occurs in lessons which have less ‘seatwork’[46], this may appear to be good teaching practice. However, group work does have a place in the classroom, but its use depends entirely on the nature of the lesson.

When introducing a new concept, a teacher-led lesson, which includes explanation, discussion (including a range of questioning)[47], application practice, and review, is favourable. However, if the purpose of a lesson is to review and practise a concept that has previously been introduced, group work can offer an exciting learning opportunity.

Particularly for academically weak pupils, working in a group can reduce ‘performance anxiety’, as the responsibility for the work is shared across the group.[48] There is often an increase in motivation to complete a task well, as the pupils are ‘in it together’, and they aim to help and support one another. On a cognitive level, during a group discussion ‘cognitive conflicts will arise, inadequate reasoning will be exposed…and higher quality understandings will emerge’[49], which is beneficial to every pupil in the group. As Slavin argues, those students who provide the most explanations are the students who learn the most from cooperative learning, which means that the most able are not ‘held back’ by group work.[50]

Competition between groups also helps to produce intensely focused lessons, and the addition of team names and banners engenders excitement and interest. Tasks may be relatively simple, such as a group translation, or a vocab/grammar quiz.

The most powerful style of group task is Latin composition. Groups discuss at length the English sentence before them, and ask key questions about each word: Into which case should we place this noun? Is it singular or plural? To which declension does it belong? What tense is this verb? Is it active or passive? What case does this preposition take? The questions continue, until the group has formulated a Latin sentence. The children are, naturally, proud of their efforts. These sentences are often extremely complex but, as part of a team, young children are not daunted, and consequently produce work of outstanding accuracy.

Conclusion: ‘He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth.’[51]

The Classics department at Windlesham embraces modern and traditional pedagogical methods, and aims to encourage pupils to acknowledge why and how society has taken its present form. The department puts before its pupils the languages, stories, thoughts and ideas that form the bedrock of our civilization, so that pupils may engage with the history of humanity, the ‘conversation of mankind’, as fully as possible. It is this conversation, and an appreciation of the knowledge that has endured through the ages, that makes us human. To be a part of this, pupils simply require an open, inquiring mind; a faculty of wonder.

The fury of the wasps 

In the second century BC, the Greek poet, Lykophron, wrote these beautiful words in his epic poem Alexandra, describing Paris’ abduction of Helen and the reaction of the Greeks:

‘But Paris shall arrive on a homeward path,

drawing the fierce wasps from their crevices,

like a boy who disturbs their nest with smoke.’

Alexandra ll.180-182.[52]

Compare this to a longer passage in the Iliad, composed in the seventh or eighth century BC, which describes the frenzied charge of Achilles’ soldiers, the Myrmidons, led by Patroclus, against their Trojan enemy:

‘…they swarmed forth like wasps from a roadside nest

when boys have made it their sport to set them seething,

day after day tormenting them round their wayside hive –

idiot boys! They make a menace for every man in sight.

Any innocent traveller passing them on that road

can stir them accidentally – up in arms in a flash,

all in a swarm come pouring, each one raging down

to fight for home and children.’

Iliad 16.259-265

This description is so enchanting that it is no surprise that Lykophron, writing the Alexandra some five or six hundred years after the composition of the Iliad, remembered this moment and chose to include it in his poem.[53] This image has endured because we, as human beings, can relate to it. We can imagine those boys disturbing the wasps’ nest, and we can see and hear their vespid fury. We have connected with a thought that was conceived three thousand years ago, for it resonates with us just as much today as it did with Homer and Lykophron.

Those stirred-up wasps, like the Greek and Latin languages and their literature, have stood firm through the ages. They have been handed down to us, just as we who teach classics at Windlesham and beyond have the duty and pleasure of handing them down to future generations, in what amounts to a constant process of renewal.

The past is never just the past; it is the future, too. Indeed, it is not inconceivable, a thousand years from now, that human beings could be smiling to themselves as they read a poem written by a Windlesham pupil in the 26th century AD – in which a description of a horde of galactic warriors, emerging from a moon base, is brought to life with the striking image of a furious nest of wasps stirred up by a group of urchin boys.


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[1] Full recordings of many of the events are available at: http://www.almeida.co.uk/greeks

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/mar/23/defining-beauty-british-museum-review-greek-sculpture


[4] Thackery included approximately 200 Latin quotations in his writings, which reflects his interest in, and enthusiasm for, classics: Nitchie (1918: 394).

[5] I take ‘intellectual’ development to mean the academic challenge that classics offers pupils, and the way in which it supports academic development across the curriculum.

[6] ‘Greek teacher of all languages, Latin commander of all languages’: Honorius of Autun Gemma Animae.iii.95. Text located at www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu ; Ostler (2007: 83).

[7] Mark Mortimer, Head of Classics at Shrewsbury School in the 1960s, was a proponent of such a view. Others, such as John Sharwood Smith, championed the idea that classical texts should be taught with reference to their historical context: Lister (2007: 7-10).

[8] Gibbs (2003: 37); Affleck (2003: 162).

[9] Legge (1921: 7). The First World War stimulated discussion about whether the humanities or the sciences should be the primary focus of education: Stray (2003: 3).

[10] In 1968, 46,000 students sat O-level Latin, while in 2001 only 10,365 took the language at GCSE: Tristram (2003: 8; 17).

[11] Many of these points also apply to Greek.

[12] A study conducted in Ohio showed that, having studied Latin for a year via a multi-sensory approach, students with learning development needs made tremendous progress in their use of English and in their foreign language aptitude: Sparks et al. (1995). Hill (2006) also discusses the positive impact the learning of Latin has upon children with learning difficulties.

[13] Pelling (2010: 11-13) reviews a number of studies conducted in the United States. It is interesting that those children from poorer socio-economic backgrounds make the most marked improvements.

[14] Pelling (2010: 12).

[15] http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/education/article4650548.ece

[16] For a detailed analysis of Northumbria’s findings, see: https://www.soundtraining.co.uk/results/

[17] Pelling (2010: 12-13).

[18] Morgan (2010: 7).

[19] Ostler (2007: 3).

[20] Iacona and George (2005) is an excellent edition.

[21] For a summary of the Roman influence on the Spanish foundation of the New World, see Rose Williams’ Latin and Roman Ideals in the Hispanic New World, available for download at: http://roserwilliams.com/teaching-materials.html

[22] A similar exercise, this time for the medieval period, is to translate the Bayeux tapestry, which works particularly well with pupils who are relatively new to Latin.

[23] ‘Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you.’ Morgan (2010: 8).

[24] Classical literature raises a wealth of moral questions, which are discussed below.

[25] This line is also briefly discussed by Harry Eyres, who advocates the view that Horace’s poetry can teach a range of ‘life lessons’: Eyres (2013: 199). One is reminded of a line from Aristophanes’ Frogs in which he has Aeschylus say that ‘schoolboys have masters to teach them, adults have the poets’ (l.1060).

[26] ‘Not to know what happened before you were born is to be a child forever’ (Cic.Ad Brut.34.120).

[27] Royalty/Tyranny, Aristocracy/Oligarchy, Constitutional Government/Democracy; Moore (1986) provides an introduction to the political discussions of Aristotle and Xenophon, but the key text is Aristotle’s Politics.

[28] Gay (2003a: 32).

[29] Gruber-Miller (2006: 3) and Affleck (2003: 169) both note the high employability of classics graduates because the subject teaches such a vast range of skills.

[30] Lister (2007:16).

[31] The appreciation of different belief systems is where classics can offer true ‘spiritual’ development, as children have to contemplate the existence and presence of gods. Conversely, they can also recognise that some Greeks did not always follow this view, such as Hippocrates, who considered those who tried to treat diseases by means of purifications and rites, designed to appease the gods, with the utmost derision: Instone (2009: 57-64).

[32] Affleck (2003: 162).

[33] Marcus Aurelius Meditations 6.3.

[34] Wilkinson (2003:109).

[35] Such as Michael Oakeshott: Williams (1987: 391-392).

[36] These developments may be adapted to suit any particular subject, and so this section may offer ideas to teachers of many subjects, as well as informing those with an interest in the practicalities of teaching.

[37] The positive effect of relevant illustrations on learning is a well-established principle. Najjar (1998: 313) reviewed a substantial number of studies relating to the presentation of learning material, and concluded that ‘supportive illustrations to textual or auditory verbal information improves learning performance’, and that ‘this dual-coded information improved learning’. Regarding children’s engagement, Najjar concluded that the mere presence of a picture encouraged greater interest in the material (317), and that multimedia presentations were helpful for learners (315). It is, therefore, not surprising that the videos and pictures in the new Windlesham course seem to have been beneficial to pupils.

[38] This phrase was, in fact, created by a Windlesham pupil.

[39] Hill (2006: 63) stresses the importance of well-organized material for learners with foreign language learning difficulties, as students ‘have trouble discriminating among words and sentences, which seem to compete for their attention’ – however, I suggest that well-formatted material is vital for all pupils, particularly of prep school age.

[40] Hill (2006: 54) stresses the importance of a multi-sensory approach in Latin, particularly with those who struggle academically, as does Sparks et al. (1995-1996) (see fn.13). Howard-Jones (2014: 818) dismisses the idea of specific ‘learning styles’ based on research in neuroscience, but does suggest that presenting material in multi-sensory modes can support learning. Najjar (1998) offers a considerable amount of evidence for the benefits of presenting information synchronously via verbal auditory, textual, and pictorial methods.

[41] Specific classroom activities, particularly those that may be classed as ‘kinaesthetic’, shall be discussed below.

[42] Muijs and Reynolds (2000: 274).

[43] Evertson et al. (1980: 54); Muijs and Reynolds (2000: 299). The Sutton Trust report, which outlined six components of ‘great teaching’, also found that teachers’ content knowledge had the most impact upon students’ learning: Coe et al. (2014: 2).

[44] Muijs and Reynolds (2000: 300).

[45] Bjork and Bjork (2011: 61).

[46] See fn.44.

[47] Cotton (1988: 5) suggests that a wait-time of three seconds is given when asking lower-level cognitive questions, and that more time should be given for higher-level questions.

[48] Hill (2006: 75).

[49] Slavin (1996: 49).

[50] Slavin (1996: 54).

[51] This famous quote, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, is almost always cited without a reference. It is, in fact, a paraphrase of the last quatrain of a poem from Goethe’s West-East Divan, from the ‘Book of Ill Humour’. The poem begins: ‘Und wer franzet oder britet…’.

[52] Lykophron’s Alexandra has been called a ‘minor poetic masterpiece’ by Hornblower, who recently produced a full English translation and commentary, complete with Greek text (Hornblower 2015: 1). The poem takes the form of a ‘prophecy’ by Priam’s royal Trojan daughter, Kassandra, who is called by her Spartan name, Alexandra, in the poem – hence the poem’s title (Hornblower 2015: 2). The poem ‘foresees’ the destruction of Troy by the Greeks, the fate of those Greeks who attempted to return home, and the eventual rise of Rome.

[53] Hornblower (2015: 164 n.181) for a brief discussion of this passage of the Alexandra.

By |2018-03-26T09:18:58+00:00August 30th, 2017|Classics, iPad, Latin|0 Comments

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