A Canadian at the ARLT Summer School
It would seem that a Canadian accent is not frequently heard at the Summer School of the Association for the Reform of Latin Teaching. In view of the distance involved this is understandable, and I am all the more grateful that the Ontario Department (i.e. Ministry) of Education made possible my attendance at the Association’s forty-
This point of view is at present strongly influenced by the keen interest shown by many of our teachers in new approaches to the teaching of Latin; and while the Direct Method with which the A.R.L.T. Is closely connected, can scarcely be described as new, it has, for a variety of reasons, received scant attention in Ontario, where Latin has been taught almost exclusively by the grammar-
These developments should help to explain my particular interest in the demonstration lessons in the Direct Method which began each day’s programme at the Summer School. However, I shall limit my comments to an appreciation of the quality of the teaching observed and to a few general observations regarding the method. For the gifted teachers (cartoonists, pantomimists, tragi-
I must confess that, much as I was impressed by the demonstration lessons, I retain some doubts as to whether an oral method is indeed the most direct, and therefore the most efficient method of developing the special skills essential to the comprehension of a language that is now almost invariably encountered in written form. Greater familiarity with the method may remove this doubt. In the meantime, my colleagues and I continue to study a number of novae viae, looking especially, though not exclusively for that method which may provide the straightest path to the comprehension and appreciation of Latin literature.
Not irrelevant at this point is the observation that most members of A.R.L.T. Concede the possibility of other roads to reformation. Evidence of this flexibility was given by the conclusion among the guest lecturers of Mr. D.J. Morton, Director of the Nuffield Research Project in Classics, whose explanation of the theory, aims, and techniques of the reading course being developed at Cambridge helped dispel some misconceptions as to its nature, if not to remove all reservations as to its probable efficacy as an alternative to Direct Method.
Indeed, I have not ceased to marvel at the richness and variety of the offerings of the Summer School. After the demonstration lessons came the circuli, constantly imposing upon the participant the necessity of choosing among six equally fascinating and equally well-
Another feature of the week’s programme which amply reflected the reforming zeal of the A.R.L.T. was the emphasis placed upon correct Latin pronunciation and upon the rhythmic reading of Latin poetry. This part of the course was given an especially firm base by the presence throughout the week of Mr. Dale who has long been recognized as an authority on Latin and Greek pronunciation and whose oral reading of Latin has motivated many others to do likewise.
At this point, I shall venture the suggestion that some teachers might find a circulus in the appreciation of Latin poetry especially helpful. Such teachers may well be eager to assist their students at the senior levels to share the aesthetic pleasure which they themselves experience in reading Latin, but with the exception of a very few books such as Balme and Warman’s Aestimanda and Hornsby’s Reading Latin Poetry they find few practical suggestions as to the effective handling of such lessons. Need I say that I am definitely not thinking of formal lectures on literary appreciation, but rather of the kind of lesson in which the student is enables to discover for himself, or through group discussion, the special beauty and appeal of Latin poetry.
Evenings at St Hild’s brought a series of stimulating lectures beginning with Mr. Andison’s witty and informative report of the teaching of Latin in Italy. Those who planned the series ought especially to be congratulated upon the thoughtful integration of the remaining lectures with the afternoon excusions. Mr.Garforth’s talk on Bede prepared a suitable background and mood for the following day’s visit to Bede’s church at Jarrow. Then an interesting juxtaposition of events brought us Mr. Bargrave-
I should not, however, be giving a true impression of the atmosphere of the Summer School if I failed to recall something of its social as well as academic aspect -
May I conclude on a personal note by expressing my gratitude to those numerous members of the course and the teaching staff who went out of their way to make me “feel at home” and, if I may be excused for selecting two names out of that number, may I particularly thank the Secretary of the Association, Miss S.L. Wood, and the Director of the Summer School, Mr. M.J. O’Malley, who found amid their many duties and responsibilities the time and opportunity for several thoughtful courtesies that did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
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