The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

ARLT Summer School  1971

  held at Bishop Otter College, Chichester

  Directed by Miss D. Charlesworth

          Bishop Otter College, Chichester was the scene of the 48th Summer School.  Despite difficulties due, mainly to the postal strike, the good attendance of both old faithfuls, and young initiates was a tribute to the influence of the A.R.L.T.’s work and the reputation of its conferences over the years.  The members are deeply indebted to the hard work of the imperturbable Miss Allott, the Gravetts (a splendid team!) and Miss Dorothy Charlesworth who directed with her never-failing grace and concern for the welfare of all.  Thanks are also due to those who arranged the permanent displays of text-books, archaeological aids, and models, and to Mr. Teague for some very necessary audio-visual equipment!

         To one whose first Summer School this was, the programme was a full one, in which the balance was rightly tilted towards activity.  Both the morning class of girls and their audience soon warmed to Nicholas Dunn’s genial personality and teaching on the Direct Method.  The prose classes were a major attraction, developing at times into a battle between Gods and Giants, in which, needless to say, the Gods (Boyd and Melluish) won - unfairly, of course!

          A tour of the “circuli” revealed groups working on Medieval texts (fascinating) and Junior Latin, and arguing with lively interest on new subjects such as C.S.E. And Comprehension.  A measure of the interest aroused by these discussion groups and the reading classes was the frequent complaint that we could not attend two at the one time.  The reading classes are part of the traditional “hard core” of the School, but, after some doubts on the matter, the writer is firmly convinced of their value.  The strictures of Mr. Dale and others have made him begin to read Latin with the accuracy and feeling which he had neglected hitherto.

          Sensitivity to the meaning of what we read was the keynote of both Mr. Richards’ Cicero classes and Mrs. Dennis’s sessions on “Aestimanda”.  We may have disagreed, but we could not fail to absorb the method.  Under their guidance literary criticism was both possible and exciting.  Dramatisation of texts with Junior Forms was the subject of Miss Schaeffer’s seminars - quite one of the most refreshing things at the conference.

          The rules of a lecture are somewhat different, but while there is less room for discussion lecturers can choose to stimulate by omission or satisfy by completeness.  In the event we were to sample both types.  Mr. Wilkie, in his talk on “Model-making”, was content to leave his audience with the desire to learn more of this absorbing classroom activity, whereas Mr. Griffin told us all we wanted to know in a progress report on the Cambridge Project, which is now beginning to face competition from north of the border.  Mrs. Parker spoke both as examiner and experienced teacher on the Metropolitan Board’s syllabus for Classical Studies.  In a most able lecture she dealt with the aims of the course and the presentation of the subject-matter; through preparation, the use of visual aids, and the approach from contemporary life.  Lectures in the nature of personal testimonies on their favourite authors were given by Professors Austin and Dudley.  Their eloquent wisdom and good humour made it agreeable to learn and difficult to disagree.

          It is futile to say that A.R.L.T. must welcome the discussion of topics such as non-linguistic Classics.  It has already done so and, if the feelings of the conference is anything to go by, will continue to do so in future.

          The lighter side of things, the social activities and the excursions, were equally enjoyable.  We remember the country dancing (organised by everyone who took part in it!), the shopping trips, the Latin Debate (the Common Market proving an unexpected source of humour), the entertainment, and the official excursions, which included some of the most exciting Roman sites in Britain.  The highlight was undoubtedly the visit to the palace at Fishbourne, so well displayed under the roof of its new tourist pavilion.  To mingle with the crowds there was to experience the feeling that Classics, as they say, had “arrived”.  Chichester 1971 had given us the last of its memorable experiences.


(Perhaps there was an even later one - the entertaining evening as guests of the pipers’ guild.  Ed.)

Dorothy Charlesworth