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The Association for Latin Teaching


ARLT Summer School 1951

held at Radborn, Shrewsbury

Directed by Mr F.W. Lockwood

These are the reports

from the ARLT journal of the time, Latin Teaching. I add the editorial also, as it is about a proposal to drop the word 'reform' from the association's title. We eventually did that about 25 years later. But we kept the 'r' in the initials, because people thought we needed the continuity. I plead guilty to the anomaly, because I was chairing the meeting that made the decision. Its interesting that one suggestion was "The Classical Teachers' Association," not a million miles from our beloved JACT.


The Journal of the Association for the Reform of Latin Teaching

Viii XX VH, No. 9 OCTOBER 1951 PRICE 1/6


At a recent meeting, the Committee made an important decision. This was to submit to next year's Annual General Meeting a resolution that the name of the Association be changed to "The Association of Latin Teachers." It will at once be realized how serious this decision is. The word " Reform " and the idea attached to it cannot, and should not, be lightly discarded.

It can be argued, however, as indeed the Committee felt, that to include the word "Reform" in the title of this Association is presumptuous. It savours a little of quackery, and does perhaps prevent any teachers from joining us. Then too, what is to happen to the Association when the reform is completed? Is it to sign its own death warrant?

Against this it can be argued that in a truly live association the work of reform is never completed, and to drop the word "reform" might bring undesirable members and the wrong spirit into this Association. The word "reform" has not, apparently, prevented us doubling our membership in the last five years. Without it we should perhaps not arouse the interest abroad that we do with it. Is it wise to sacrifice the implications and sentiments of forty years? Or again, if the name is to be changed, why not show our interest in Greek? Why not go the whole hog and call ourselves "The Classical Teachers' Association," in line with "The Science Masters' Association," etc. ?

These are weighty problems, which we hope every member will seriously consider. The Annual General Meeting takes place, according to the Constitution, at the Summer School ; but since only a few members can be present there, we have included in this issue a form which will give all members the opportunity of stating their opinion on this serious matter. We hope that all members will fill in this form and send it to the Hon. Secretary. We can assure them that their opinions will carry great weight.


DURING this year's Summer School at Shrewsbury the emphasis was definitely on Demonstrations. This was obviously a good move, and was made possible by boys and staff from the Priory School being available to demonstrate any and every stage of their work. The Beginners' Demonstration Class, taken by Miss K. A. Dodd, contained both boys and girls, and sounded a new and welcome note. Dr. H. Loehry lectured on work with " C " forms, and demonstrated Second Year Work with a humility and enthusiasm that could not but be successful. Mr. N. J. Dunn gave a competent and lively demonstration of Third Year Work, and Mr. A. R. Munday showed with great ingenuity how, in the fourth year, and even earlier, the normal technique of conversation, question and answer, can be used to introduce and practice the composition of the Ciceronian Period. Mr. C. W. E. Peckett, by taking a Sixth Form in Latin Verse Composition, was able fo give a glimpse of the goal to which all this leads, and recall, if only dimly, the shade of Dr. Rouse.

Mr. T. W. Melluish's Latin Prose classes were new and popular, and Mr. Dale's lectures on Aristophanes and Horace were equally fresh and inspiring, although they have by now become an integral part of the Summer School. Mr. Dale also lectured on pronunciation in his humble, diffident, yet very clear manner, which always gets down to essentials.

Besides these main attractions, most of which are reported more fully below, there were the usual oral practice groups in Latin and Greek. The party made an excursion to Ludlow and its Castle, through a wide stretch of the beautiful Shropshire countryside. he Latin Debate, being concerned with Education, aroused perhaps less fire and oratory than usual, although the familiar figures present produced the usual amusement by their, by now, stock speeches. The School ended, as usual, with a set of Fabulae, which were uproariously funny, some on purpose, others perhaps not.

The general impressions gleaned from the talk of the members, in private and at the General Meeting, was that they were so stimulated as to want more. Especially did they want to learn more about the technique of the Oral Method after the first year. Further Directors might well take the hint. Meanwhile Mr. F. W. Lockwood, this year's Director, is to be congratulated on a first-rate school, and the constant ingenuity with which he altered the programme, and Miss A. Croft (retiring Hon. Secretary) is to be thanked for making it all run so smoothly.


Although Mr. Dunn had previously assured us that his lesson on oratio obliqua was to consist only of routine work, with no fireworks, and that we should therefore find it dull, such was far from being the case.

Those eight Priory boys at the end of their second year of Latin, had in the holidays (mirabile dictu) learnt all six forms of the infinitive, as was proved by the quick test with which Mr. Dunn began his lesson.

His dic aliquid was spontaneously greeted with the axiom Magister est rotundas, which Mr. Dunn politely but firmly put into reported speech—present, past and future. getting the boys to follow his example with the customary drill. The original statement was then emphatically denied, the boys happily replying Negas te rotundum esse, etc. This oral drill was repeated with two or three other statements, making use of all tenses of the infinitive. Some of the Exercitatio on Indirect Speech in Pseudolus Noster was then attempted, the blanks being, on the whole, correctly filled by the boys.

The story De Pseudolo et Vigilibus was read together, then again more slowly, with question and answer to make sure that the boys grasped the meaning. As always, Mr. Dunn sought to build the unknown upon the known—the new word pondus being explained with reference to magister rotundus. The fact that the time passed so quickly proved that this lesson had been far from dull either for the pupils of the Priory or for those of the Summer School.



The Beginners' Demonstration Class was conducted by Miss Dodd. It was only fair that the ladies, who as a rule represent the majority of the members of the School, should have been given an opportunity of showing their skill in the application of Oral Method. The great success of Miss Dodd's demonstrations will, it is hoped, induce the Directors of future Summer Schools to give the ladies a more active part when planning their time-table.

The class consisted of nine boys from the Priory School and—for the first time since the war—also eight girls from the Priory School for Girls. All pupils were in their second year at school and had learned French during the first year but no Latin. Miss Dodd was therefore not only faced with the difficulty that she was a stranger to her pupils, but also that the boys and girls, not used to co-education, eyed each other with curiosity and suspicion. Miss Dodd was able to break down all barriers, both between herself and the class, and between boys and girls, within the first lesson, and it was interesting to notice how very soon a good-natured and healthy competition between the sexes developed.

The programme of the Beginners' Class, the compressing of the material of the first month's teaching into one week, was the same as in former years. It included, as usual, the Present Tense of the four Conjugations, the verb sum, the Imperative, most cases of the first and second Declension and the numbers up to ten. Both newcomers to the Summer School as well as the " old guard " equally enjoyed seeing Miss Dodd using all the old tricks of the trade. It is always a pleasure to watch how the children enjoy the stories of the irate father and the fatal effect of the decem ova.

Miss Dodd proved to the audience that, whatever the disadvantages of co-education may be, it is a very valuable help for the teacher in introducing the different genders of nouns. Every point of grammar was first shown to the pupils in its practical application, drilled, and only when the pupils had become familiar with the new endings, written out on the blackboard and in notebooks. By speaking English during the latter process Miss Dodd proved that the rigid adherence to the maxim "speak Latin only" is not essential to the method.

Sceptical critics might have thought that the great amount of grammar and vocabulary taught in each lesson could not stick in the memory of the children. The ease, however, with which they produced each day the material learned in the former lessons proved that Miss Dodd did not overtax the capability of her pupils' brains in showing a month's work in a week.

The enjoyment shown by boys and girls, their eagerness and the amount of Latin learned during the short time showed not only the soundness of the method but also that Miss Dodd is an excellent teacher.



Dr. Loehry teaches Latin in a school which has an intake of ninety boys. They are graded into three streams at the beginning of the year, and subsequent adjustments are made. French will have been taught by the traditional method in the first year.

Why teach the C Form a second language? Dr. Loehry maintains that at the end of their first year C Form boys realise that they are at the bottom of the ladder. This is not always due to lack of ability. Some pupils may develop late, others who are "childish" may mature quickly in this year; others who have Come from village schools may need a year to catch up with their rivals from urban areas. Here, then, is a new subject with which to make a fresh start. Very soon a boy who can speak a few Latin sentences, perceiving that he can do well in Latin, becomes ambitious not only in this subject but in his other studies too. He aims at promotion to a higher form, and so may find himself at the beginning of the third year among the four or five boys elevated to an A or B Form. Without his renaissance through Latin he would have remained at the bottom of the ladder. The. choice of Latin to renew the impetus to learning is in the historical tradition of the Grammar School.

The rest of the C Form will have dropped Latin after one year. Then is the experiment worth while for the sake of four or five boys?, Dr. Loehry strongly asserts that it has been thoroughly justified, and maintains irrefutably that this missionary activity is the most important aspect of our vocation.

It is claimed that the Direct Method is especially suited to C Form boys. Dr. Loehry restated the principle: "We first make the pupil familiar with the practical application and then let him deduce the rule." He proceeded to show how in a method which uses copious illustrations and oral work all the pupils take an active part.

Finally master and boys part on good terms, and those boys who have been selected for promotion are well equipped to face the fiercer competition in a higher form.



Mr. Peckett's demonstration took the fora, a lesson in Latin verse composition to Sixth Form beginners. A "University Tailor's" advertisement was rendered into three elegiac couplets. With unfailing wit and resource the demonstrator took the class along into a good working version, undeterred by a glomeration of togas. The boys co-operated readily with the "Gradus" and their own suggestions, learning how tough-looking problems can be broken down when ingenuity keeps touch with simplicity.



A new and popular addition to this year's Summer School was a series of three Latin Prose Classes taken by Mr. Melluish. Those of us, who were already familiar with his skill in VIth Form teaching at various o f the Association's week-end courses were delighted; .to hear that the idea was to be carried out on a much grander scale at Shrewsbury. Indeed the lessons won such favour that each was repeated to give all a chance of attending.

Members were previously given three proses of varying style to prepare beforehand — narrative, oratorical and political criticism - and these were used as a basis for a communal version. Although the standard of those present was naturally very much higher than that of the VIth former, a real class-room atmosphere soon prevailed as feelings ran high on the selection of alternative constructions, or fine points of word order, or the respective merits of confestim and extemplo.

In this way invaluable help was given in the actual technique of dealing with the numerous problems that arise when teaching Latin Prose. Besides this Mr. Melluish made some noteworthy points underlying his method. The final version should not be of such superlative excellence that a boy would despair of his own on comparison. It should rather be a co-operative effort constructed tin the work already done, together with the master's help., Though faults of style may yet remain, the resulting copy, unlike many; will be within the comprehension of the class who will have the great advantage of seeing the master himself tackle problems as they arise, and come to work out their own method of approach on similar lines. They will also be schooled in the use of dictionaries and the compilation of phrase books.

The proses we attempted were also valuable guides for the teacher. The first showed that there was not much change structurally in a narrative passage as the sequence of events was logical. The second, a skilful translation from the Second Catiline Oration, was helpful in that the original could be finally consulted as a point of interest. One of the facts stressed in this was "People. doing things," although of course this principle is valid for them all. The third was taken from a leader in The Times, and the, question of proper names occurred as well as awkward words and phrases and the looseness of the English. What was the exact. meaning of limelight, and could the metaphor of the avalanche have been used in this way in Latin?

Thus, this whole series of lessons was very profitable indeed and,deserves to become a permanent feature of the Summer Schools.