The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

ARLT Summer School  1973

   held at St Mary’s College, Twickenam

   Directed by Mr J. Hazel

For a newcomer to the Association and to the Summer School, as I was, there was a feeling of apprehension on arrival. What had we all come for? What exactly lay behind the business-like phrases of the prospectus about classes, seminars, distinguished teachers and the like? And where did an active social life fit into all this? Was this only an attempt to render more palatable an otherwise insipid diet? Most important, perhaps, what would the other people be like anyway?

The last question was soon favourably answered by the demeanour of the Association officers and lecturers who in a relaxed and friendly way were quick to welcome and assist a late starter. After this even a Prose Class might be run by a human being! Mr. Cox of the Advanced Class, proved to be this, and deftly communicated the sheer fun to be derived from the exercise, choosing contemporary and lively material, not eschewing even computer sales literature, and steering the group through their several creative birth-pangs. From elsewhere one heard tantalising rumours of the skill and erudition displayed in Mr. Boyd's class, but reluctantly I had to leave these delights unsampled.

My apprehensions were soon dispersing themselves: I had survived a Prose Class and by now had had the chance to size up the other participants. None of them was what might have been feared from a gathering of classics teachers, and all of them seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The regular sessions, in addition to the Prose Classes were a Literature Appreciation Class, Reading Classes and Circuli. The Literature Appreciation Class was really too large for the fruitful participation of everybody there, but in the hands of Mrs. Dennis this was a minor flaw as she approached her difficult task with verve and succeeded in stimulating some sort of response from us all. What more could be asked?

In the Reading Classes we read, aloud, parts of the Aeneid. Mr. Craddock and the School Director Mr. Hazel both aimed at instilling an interest in and desire for correct pronunciation and sensitive delivery without overshadowing our enjoyment of the literature, in fact, for many of us thereby increasing our enjoyment of it.

The Circuli were more of a satura lanx: Cox on Classical Civilization, Dennis on Comprehension Exercises and Literature Appreciation and Hazel conducting comprehensions orally in Latin. The last provided some of the most hilarious moments of the School, with Craddock displaying a disingenuously witty view of the similarities between Latin and English conversational idiom. It was surprising, too, how quickly a degree of oral fluency in Latin could be arrived at.

Interspersed with all this was a variety of other classes and lectures. Mr. J.E. Hunt gave a most encouraging account of his campaign for the classical cause in his school and the quite admirable Greek course which he produced to assist him. This should have a bigger audience. Mrs. Susan Hunt successfully coaxed a large number of us to try to drop our inhibitions and participate in some drama work. Not all of us managed very ably, but we became well aware of the challenge this work presents and the rewards it can offer if one perseveres. Demonstration Lessons on the Cambridge Latin Course were smoothly handled by Mrs. Anstey — too smoothly perhaps for some — but should we expect a replica of a real teaching situation in such artificial surroundings? I certainly gained from seeing the Course from the back of the class, as it were. Mr. Wilkie amazed and enthused many of us with his virtuosity at rebuilding Rome from match-boxes. Like all good ideas it seemed so obvious when demonstrated that one could not imagine how one had failed to think of it for oneself! And it only made modest demands on time and materials too.

The two afternoons without classes were spent in useful and enjoyable excursions to Lullingstone and the Guildhall Museum Many of the evenings offered intellectual fodder too, with a succession of diverse and interesting speakers, Mr. N.C. Dexter, Miss Norma Miller, Mr. Nicholas Farrant and Mr. Hazel. None of them failed to instruct or stimulate.

Despite all this activity, social life did flourish, happily based on good relationships established in classes which just naturally extended themselves into more off-duty moments. The week ended after a stirring display of Latin oratory from the Director with an entertainment of music and drama to which everyone — apparently willingly — contributed something.

All of us who were there must wish to thank the Director, John Hazel, for the skill with which he arranged proceedings. His success in this was well demonstrated by the numbers I heard expressing a determination to be back next year. I too hope to be among them.

A. R. Cross

Summer School 1973