IT was with some scepticism that many of us newcomers to the A.R.L.T. Summer School in Bristol sat down to our first demonstration lesson. Many of us had taught a modern language by the direct method but had rejected the idea in the case of Latin as being quite impracticable in the short time at our disposal and quite unnecessary.
Mr. N. E. Dunn of the Priory School, Shrewsbury, soon showed us that the system does work with a class of twelve boys from local grammar schools who, with one exception, knew no Latin.
In five periods of rather less than an hour each an extensive amount of grammar was covered, and time was even found to tell a story in Latin—which everybody understood and enjoyed. Obviously, as was pointed out, it would be impossible to teach and test a normal sized class thoroughly at this speed, but the way in which the boys responded and repeated the previous day's work at the beginning of each lesson made it clear that they understood.
Right from the start everybody was actively involved in the lesson. By the second day most of the boys showed the greatest keenness and enjoyment in coming out, speaking and acting their selves, or taking over the role of teacher and putting their friends through their paces.
The approach based on the verbs surgo, sedeo, ambulo and revenio, was at all times concrete and carefully devised to capitalize on the boys' lively sense of fun. Here the extensive use of mime and drawings on the blackboard (the more grotesque these were the more they were appreciated) made it perfectly clear what the teacher was getting at without his having to resort to translation. Everything was done with the absolute minimum of grammatical explanation, each new idea being introduced by the appropriate action and gesture. What explanation was necessary, was given, with help from the class after the point had been thoroughly drilled. Only then was a summary drawn up on the blackboard and copied by the boys into their note books. (In this connection, it was evident that a preliminary year at a modern language had been an asset. Occasionally, though, a word or two of explanation in English would have cleared up individual instances of confusion where repetition of phrase and action were not successful).
It was proved beyond doubt that the learning of Latin can be as enjoyable and exhilarating
as the learning of any modern language. But this is a method that demands the most
thorough preparation on the part of the teacher, and inexhaustible patience, good
humour and adaptability in getting the confidence of the pupil and in driving the
point home. It is not as easy as it looks, depending, as it does on the closest co-
This may not be everybody's method, but no-
Any one who has any doubts about the efficacy of this method should go along next year and prove it for himself.
In the first of three lectures Dr. Loehry declared his intention of taking us backstage and giving us practical hints. His two lectures and the third from Mr. Peckett were indeed full of the most helpful guidance on the use of the oral method, helpful not only to those who had had their first glimpse of the method in action in Mr. Dunn's demonstration classes, but also to those who were already using it in their lessons. Surely even the most expert practitioner of oral method could not fail to be refreshed by Dr. Loehry's boundless energy and enriched by his and Mr. Peckett's sound wisdom and common sense. Beginners on the other hand, or prospective beginners, doubtless wondering if the oral method were as easy as it looked when Mr. Dunn did it, were given a good general outline of the process up to G.C.E., shown how to introduce the tenses of the verb, the passive, the various constructions, and later the beginnings of prose composition and translation into English.
We were never allowed to forget the first principles of the method. Both lecturers repeatedly emphasised that the unknown must always be built upon the known, that the conclusion the pupil is expected to arrive at must be the logical conclusion, "he must get it, not guess it," that an unshakeable confidence must be founded between pupil and teacher, a sure knowledge that he will not be asked to do anything he does not know and anything which he cannot conclude from what he knows already. This confidence in the pupils, rather than cleverness, is the key to success in the oral method ; but where there is doubt of the pupils' ability to arrive at the logical conclusion unaided the teacher should always come in with the right thing himself rather than allow a mistake to be made at the beginning of something new. What an "A" stream will get a "B" stream must be given, or their confidence will be shaken and that is the thing that must not happen.
In dealing with rules of syntax constant repetition and drill bring familiarity before any rule is formulated. The pupil then has the chance of making the rule himself, and, feeling that it is to some, extent his own invention, he will remember it the more easily and treat it with all the more respect. The constant practice, repetition and drill are of paramount importance at every stage for, as we were, warned, the fact that the class produces the right reactions and the right words at the first attempt is no guarantee that the point has gone home with all its implications. We must not expect the child’s mind to work the same way as the adult mind. Instead our object should be to enter into the child's mind, think his way and view the subject from his angle. Only so can we put our point in a way which will appeal to the child and make a lasting impression on him. Mr. Peckett gloomily remarked at one point that no one could be expected to understand the female mind, not even a female. If that is the case those of us who teach in girls' grammar schools seem likely to be labouring under difficulties ! Certainly our girls will be, fortunate if they are understood as well as the boys (are by Dr. Loehry and Mr. Peckett.)
As an example of the kind of thing which enlivens the lessons of these two masters, there comes to mind the dramatic story of the transition from Active to Passive. The king, whose name is Subject. rules the verb and lives in the highest case of all, the Nominative. One day the Object, a revolutionary who lives in the Accusative cries out in an agony of rebellion, "Why should something always happen to me ?" He climbs up into the Nominative and throws the tyrannical Subject down into the most horrible case of all, the Ablative, whereupon he cries, "A !"
This little tale, meant for the delight and edification of the "B" stream, entranced the members of the Summer School and helped us to appreciate the truth of the statement, "If they like it, they learn it well and if we like it we teach it well."
During the discussion of the work of the course Mr. Munday asked whether members felt that the lectures on "After the Beginning" should be dropped from next year's timetable. A very definite "No" showed the heartfelt appreciation of all who attended these lectures.
Mr. Boyd's Latin Prose Class was styled "less advanced." Its intent was strictly practical—to provide help in dealing with the problems arising when taking Latin prose composition with pupils who have passed their "0" level.
In order to achieve this, he firmly kept us from letting the period become one in which all the time was spent in making a "composite" version of the proses given. We did some of this, and enjoyed it, too, but most of the time was spent in dealing with the proses as would have to be done with a class. It is quite clear that none of Mr. Boyd's swans are likely to turn into geese : he knows the mistakes that boys can make, and do make.
The phrase lists he distributed were most useful. So also was the process of finding the "fortissimo pugnavit" sort of phrase, and from that proceeding to move elegant or forceful equivalents. We got through a surprising amount of work in the time available, learnt something of practical teaching use at every class, and enjoyed ourselves as well : for which we are grateful to Mr. Boyd.
The field of history should not merely be well tilled, but well peopled. None is delightful to me, or interesting, in which I find not as many illustrious names as have a right to enter , Shew me how great projects were executed, great advantages gelded, and great calamities averted. Shew me the generals and better still who stood foremost, that I may bend to them in reverence: tell me their names that I may repeat them to my children. Teach me when laws were introduced, upon what foundation laid, by what institution, in what inner keep preserved. Let the books of the treasury lie closed as religiously as the Sibyl's. Leave weight and measures in the market place, commerce in the harbour, the Arts in the light they love, Philosophy in the shade ; place history on her rightful throne, and at the sides of her Eloquence and Wisdom.
Namque Clio multos agros colendos habet, ea autem at-
In a lecture on verse composition at a week-
Some members of the class who had studied verse composition at school said that it
had seemed then to be a dreary mathematical exercise and that the result was a sort
of scrambled Ovid. No-
Under the able guidance of Mr. Richards we began to appreciate for the first time in some cases, the skill and sensitivity of the Roman poets. Those of us who had never attempted to write verses before, went away, took a theme and found to our surprise and pleasure that with a good working vocabulary and some ingenuity we could compose elegiacs. Even if there was only a faint echo of what is best in Ovid or Properties the sense of achievement was a thrill in itself.
Whatever our personal satisfaction we must always remember that our purpose is to help our pupils to read and appreciate Latin Literature, to write Latin with accuracy and to develop a sense of metre. Verse composition, even if only a little is done, has a contribution to make here. In time it may lead to a more real appreciation of the glories of Vergil and Horace and of the artistry of that much maligned poet Ovid.
To conclude on a lighter note—our progress was disconcertingly rapid and we were undoubtedly an A stream class.
The following couplet illustrates the above method.
Theme ... A clear night.
occasu Solis clarissima luna videtur quae terras spectat sideraque alta tacent
1. English : Scarce had he said this when the storm clouds broke And the black tempest
raged unmannerly ; The thunder shocked the earth from plain to peak, And down from
all the width of sky the storm Tumbled all turbulent and thick with wind and rain.
The ships were waterlogged ; their half-
Version : (Produced by the class under Mr. Peckett's guidance) Vix ea fatus erat ; defusis nubibus imbres decidere, immodiceque atrae saevire procellae. Et quatiunt tonitrus montes a sedibus altos, turbidus et ventis imber cadit aethere toto densus aquaque ruit. Ratibus semusta madescunt robora, completis. Omnis restinguitur ignis ; quattuor amissis omnis servata carina.
II. English : Domesticated gentlewoman, 40, Cheltenham College, with two sons 7 and
9, requires responsible post. Interests—cooking, dog-
Latin : Mr. Peckett's own version which he discussed with the class. We had previously tried to make a class version, but got stuck and there was no time to continue.
Femina adest clans quamquam de patribus orta
docta satis caute verrere posse domum.
Hanc aluit lasts iam quadragesimus annus,
et docuit Musas Atticus ipse sapor.
Gaudia ei matris binge dant grata puellae,
altera septem annos altera nata novem.
Officio summa fungi virtute valebit
quae varium studium voltque potestque sequi.
Namque coquit, venatur, agros colic, atque quadrigas
haec regit et pueros nutrit itemque canes.
Sed tantis studiis, tantis ornatibus apta
nunc habitare velit sola sonoque procul.
Nec non digna cupit tantae stipendia laudis ;
offer, honesta tamen ; serviet ecce tibi.
(You will notice that the two sons have for metrical reasons become daughters).
“WHEN the exciting moment has passed, they sing about it." —This was the point made by Mr. F. R. Dale on the function of the choric odes, in the first of four lectures on the "Alcestis" of Euripides. — And excitement there always is, he insisted, no matter how familiar the story is to the audience. Mr. Dale reminded us of the originality of structure in the choric odes, and their importance to the Greeks, who were often familiar with more than mere snatches of them. In rather the same way he succeeded in making his audience familiar with the sound and rhythm of, for example : ????
Sound and rhythm : Mr. Dale's whole approach to Greek poetry is that we should hear it, and this one found very refreshing. His translations of selected passages, carefully adapted to the spirit and metre of the original were followed each time by a reading of the Greek, in which he displayed a most convincing facility with the spoken language, as far as one can reasonably hope to recover it today.
One of Mr. Dale's aims was to make it easier for us to use A. M. Dale's edition of
the play, which contains considerable help for the reader on metres. Certainly his
lectures made us decide to re-
ON Monday evening, 1st September, Professor Jackson Knight, choosing for his subject the enigmatic title "Virgil by the Indirect", fascinated his audience with a talk that was ail the same time erudite, entertaining, and stimulating. Saying all his pupils loved what he called the 'misprints' in Virgil, he gave many instances where Virgil appeared to be nodding, and stated that the pundits had spent much ink trying to explain, or explain away, such passages. But where Virgil said things which seemed inconsistent, had we always to assume that an emendation was required or that Virgil just did not know ? Surely it would he reasonable to look for a deeper meaning.
In Eclogue VIII Virgil talked of Damon `incumbens tereti olivae'. Now everyone familiar
with an olive-
`semina vidi equidem multos medicare serentes,
et nitro prius et nigra perfundere amurca!
Certainly a strange idea, but Theophrastus says that some people add a little soda to their porridge.
In Aeneid he talked of 'animamque superbam, ultoris Bruti'. `Superbus' was a suitable epithet for Tarquin, but why did Virgil apply it to Brutus ? Some commentators said it went with 'Tarquinios reges', while others explained it as 'dignified'. But surely Virgil was saying that the Fascists were bad, but the Communists were not much better, for few lines further on he went on to say that he executed his own son. Tarquin ... ? Yes, but Brutus should have known better ! Was Virgil showing here a Christian sense of pity ?
At the beginning of the Aeneid Virgil referred to Aeneas as `primus in oris', but later went on to mention Antenor as having come to Italy before him. In the descent from the wooden horse Virgil said, 'primusque Machaon', although seven others had been mentioned before him. But 'primus' was a word that had a colour. Juno 'portas prima tenet'. The word here had lost the meaning of `first' and had come to mean ' in the forefront', 'foremost', 'most important'. A loose end of centuries of poetry was sometimes represented in a single line of Virgil.
Often in a word in Virgil there were so many associations. Dido says, 'Anna soror,
quae me suspensam insomnia terrent !' Like the Greek Fvv-
Virgil often got so much into a word that in a sense we could never fully understand him. Professor Knight reminded us that what James Joyce once said of himself could be said of Virgil. When asked how much time and trouble readers should spend on understanding his work, he replied that they needed all the waking hours of their lives.
No account of Professor Jackson Knight's talk could do justice to the charm and wit with which it was delivered. Interspersed with such gems as 'Genius is a capacity for picking brains', and 'Picasso has followed to perfection the only artistic canon laid down in the Bible' "Thou shalt not make to thyself the likeness of anything in Heaven above or in the earth beneath", it delighted all his hearers.
THE finest literatures of the world offer us a challenge, and devotion and effort are required to find their treasures. This statement, not particularly dramatic in cold print, suddenly acquired a new force when Mrs. Pym, in opening her address, made a personal challenge to each of her listeners. She asked them all to recollect what book—Latin or Greek—they had most recently taken down from their shelves in order to read again some of their favourite authors or perhaps even only a passage. It is in middle life, when experience has enriched the mind, that things imperfectly understood in youth begin to have their fullest meaning. Sir Richard Livingstone, said Mrs. Pym, thought that this did not happen until after 40 years of age ! He had described to her how, at this age, he walking through a countryside deeply mantled with snow when Virgil's almost untranslatable words "terra informis" came to his mind. It was then that he realised for the first time how skilfully the poet had chosen "informis" to match the blurred and shapeless outlines of the scene.
Mrs. Pym now gave a warning ; let those who achieve full uncles standing, be aware
of a sort of evangelistic enthusiasm that sect.-
Macaulay, continued Mrs. Pym, turned again to the Classics after nearly 20 years and found in Thucydides a new meaning and brilliance never experienced in his earlier reading. Keats encouraged so long and so patiently by his schoolmaster to read the Classics, became suddenly inspired by a new vision when he first "looked into Chapman's Homer". In his excitement he wrote his immortal ode. These and many other well chosen instances together with abundant and erudite quotations delighted an audience upon whom glowed like a brilliant light, the rich and vivid personality of the speaker. Words must fail to convey this experience—it was necessary to be in the room to feel its full force and excitement. And all who were there must have decided without the least hesitation to take another favourite book down from the shelves.
THE mere mention of the words "examination syllabus" never fails to arouse discussion among teachers ; it is therefore not surprising that a most animated discussion was inspired by the provocative views ably and wittily expressed on this subject by no less distinguished an educationist than Professor A. D. C. Peterson, Principal of the Department of Education of the University of Oxford.
The examination syllabus, he said, can in no way be divorced from what is taught in schools, since it determines both the content and the method of teaching. This being so, we should ask ourselves two questions—"Why do we teach Classics ?" and, having defined our aims, "Is the examination syllabus calculated to fulfil our purpose ?" The purpose of teaching Classics, in Professor Peterson's view, is threefold—to provide the preliminary education of future Classical scholars, to supply a basis for the study of Modern Languages and History and to give a training in logical thought.
In the light of this definition of purpose Professor Peterson set out to answer his second question ; he began by dealing with the public schools' scholarship examination—an examination which probably selects the Classical scholars of the future but which has no other merits, since it forces the teaching in preparatory schools into narrow channels, insists on too early specialisation and undoubtedly instils into all but the best a lifelong hatred of things Classical.
The Ordinary level of the General Certificate of Education was next reviewed and its importance stressed—for this examination marks the end of such Classical education as many pupils will receive. Yet—if we accept the view that the nature of the examination controls what is taught—there is no incentive for teachers to press the "cultural" side—Roman History, antiquities, etymology. Instead, the aim seems to be to instil into the examinee a rigid observation of rules and the ability to translate comparatively difficult Latin without a dictionary—the result again being that the subject is generally detested.
As for the Advanced and Scholarship levels, the Latin, Greek and Ancient History
papers are in no way co-
These examinations, then, in Professor Peterson's view, fail to fulfil the purpose
of teaching Classics. How then are they to be improved ? The public schools' scholarship
examination, he said, should not be based on Classics but should aim to select those
with more general ability and with promise in other fields. The Ordinary level of
the General Certificate of Education in its present form is ill-
Such then were the views and suggestions put forward by Professor Peterson. We may not agree with his statement that examinations control what we teach and how we teach it, with his criticisms of the present syllabuses with their emphasis on formal language work or with his proposed reforms, but we are most grateful to him for new ideas stimulatingly expressed, for arousing us from any complacency we may have had and for providing us with material for discussion which long outlasted his visit.
THE Annual General Meeting of the Association was held on Tuesday, September 2nd, 1958, at the College of St. Matthias, Fishponds, Bristol. In the chair was the President, Mr. A. R. Munday, who gave universal satisfaction by accepting Imperium prorogatum for a further year.
The President paid a warm tribute to Mrs. Newey, who retired from office after serving as Secretary for seven years, and presented her with a Gift Token to mark the Association's appreciation of her work. Mrs. Newey thanked the President and Association, assuring us that she looked forward to attending many more Summer Schools unworried by the cares of office.
The annual officers and four new members of the Committee were then elected in the usual way, and among them we welcomed the new Secretary, Miss M. G. Drury.
The Treasurer presented his Accounts for the year 1957. A credit balance of £92 10s. Included £32 10s. of realised capital from the sale of National Savings Certificates ; moreover the Association had still to meet a printing account of some £50 which had not yet been presented ; however, a small profit had been made on the year's working. In reply to questions the Treasurer cautiously added that the profit from the current Summer School should prove to be very satisfactory. Thanks were recorded to him for his wise stewardship and the Accounts were adopted. Mr. J. F. Gravett was thanked for auditing the Accounts and was formally elected Honorary Auditor to the Association. A brief discussion of the work of the Summer School followed in which various suggestions were made, including the provision of a First Year Greek Demonstration and of more Reading Classes and some prepared Recitations. The President undertook to consider the feasibility of these proposals when arranging next year's programme. In connection with Greek, considerable interest was aroused at the end of the meeting when Mr. Peckett announced that he proposed to hold a Greek Course for Beginners at Shrewsbury during the Easter holiday, 1959.
It was announced that the 1959 Summer School would be held at the University College
of North Staffordshire from August 26th to September 2nd, and that the 1959 Week-
The Editor of Latin Teaching reported (in absentia) that he had decentralised his administration ; an admirable result of this policy was the success of his Advertisement Manager in inducing a number of publishers to advertise in the journal.
The Secretary of the Archaeological Aids Committee regretted that all efforts to
trace the lost Greek coins had so far been unsuccessful. It was however hoped that
part of the loss would be covered by insurance. She reported that new containers
had been obtained at very small cost for some exhibits and that she was hoping to
prolong the life of certain much-
The President thanked the Assistant Secretary of the Association for her work in sending out A.R.L.T. pamphlets and also expressed our gratitude to the Classical Association for their help in this connection.
The meeting closed with votes of thanks to the Director and teaching staff of the Summer School, and to the authorities of St. Matthias College for their unfailing kindness and hospitality. On the proposal of Mr. Peckett a particular tribute was paid to the Secretary of the Association for her most efficient organisation of this year's Summer School.
THE advent of the comprehensive and the bilateral school entails considerable rethinking of our basic syllabus requirements for the first two years of Classics. This is especially the case when a common core curriculum is used for the first and second year in the school, and in such experiments as the Leicestershire Plan where a common school is envisaged for all secondary pupils for the first two years at least. The tendency in these cases is undoubtedly to neglect the Classics on the assumption that only a small proportion of pupils will finally be capable of reaching an examinable standard in e.g. Latin. Such an attitude not only results in a general cultural loss to all the junior school pupils, but the future Latin pupil is faced with a cram course of at most three years in order to complete a G.C.E. syllabus.
A second consideration bearing on the rethinking of our syllabus can be found in the courageous attempt in the I.A.A.M. Handbook The Teaching of Classics to formulate a scheme of Classical studies in the Secondary Modern School. The attempt gains weight from the present extension of the school leaving age to fifteen and its proposed further extension to sixteen. A longer school life means more teaching material and fresh teaching material.
Finally, in the Grammar school itself, when Latin is commenced in the first or second
year of the school, it is quite a common occurrence fora percentage of pupils to
drop the subject after two or three years leaving only a selected stream to proceed
to G.C.E. The question then arises as to the value and completeness of the first
years of the course for the pupils who go no further. Thus far the terms "Classics-