The Association for Latin Teaching

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 ARLT Summer School 2002

  Held at Repton School

  Directed by Dr A Henshaw

The 2002 Summer School

The latest ARLT summer School was held in Repton School in Derbyshire between 29 July and 3 August 2002. Some fifty 'students' convened on the Monday afternoon, refreshed by a couple of weeks' holiday, but, speaking for myself at least, exhausted by journeying across England on what was, without doubt, the hottest day of the year.

The organisers clearly knew that we were made of stern stuff so after a quick cup of tea and a welcome from the course director we were given a map of the school campus and instructions to find the lecture theatre. Once we had all arrived we were treated to the first of several Group photo lectures given by expert speakers from all over Britain. In a lecture entitled The Early Christian Mosaics of Ravenna Claire Gruzellier delighted us with slide after slide of the exquisite mosaics the churches and baptistries of Ravenna and particularly of those in the mausoleum of Galla Placida. These beautiful images along with Claire's enlightening commentary gave a welcome insight into a period of Roman history outside the classical period as well as illustrating a transitional period in art history. They may also have an effect on some of our future holiday plans!

Our first day continued with a wine reception, at which the summer school regulars were able to catch up with each other and the newcomers were welcomed, followed by dinner and another excellent lecture on The Enduring Appeal of Pompeii in the Modern Imagination by Shelley Hales. After this we took our weary limbs to bed to get a good night's sleep in preparation for the week ahead.

For the next four and a half days our feet barely touched the ground as we enjoyed all that had been laid on for us by the organisers. The mornings were spent attending our  Option Group option groups. These were seminars led by one of our number and each attended by ten to fifteen 'students'. there was a fantastic array of alternatives available and my only regret was that I could not attend them all. They ranged from Tacitus to Teaching Beginners' Greek and from Classroom Drama to Catullus. These seminars provided an excellent environment in which teachers could exchange ideas and techniques and learn from each other's experience. In many cases the discussion was on a particular exam course, which we were to be teaching in the coming year. I am extremely grateful to those colleagues who took the time and effort to prepare for and lead these seminars.

The afternoons had a less rigid structure and one could find oneself involved in any number of activities. These included swimming, rehearsing for the end of week entertainment, browsing (and usually buying beyond one's budget) the books of the Hellenic Book Service which had been imported from Kentish Town and laid out enticingly in the dining room, enjoying the images in Julian Morgan's latest software package or wandering round the Roman fort at Wroxeter. Young teachers Most of the group partook of this last activity on the Wednesday. The outing was hampered slightly by the torrential rain, which had followed the excessive humidity, but enormously enhanced by the talk and expert guiding which we enjoyed on the site.

In the evenings, after an early dinner, and before we made with indecent haste to the bar, we were further edified by a series of lectures which were individually of the highest standard and chosen, it seems, to cover as broad a spectrum of interests as possible - from Nick Lowe's extremely engaging talk in which he explored the essence of Greek tragedy, putting forward some new ideas of his own and shooting a few academic albatrosses, to the visual enjoyment provided by Caroline Vout in the form of Images of Roman Emperors in Literature and Art.

Lest it be imagined that the week was all work and no play, I should also mention the quiz organised by John McNee ,  which was the scene of fierce competition and the ruin of many a professional reputation, and the entertainment on the Friday night at which the singers amongst us entertained the assembled company with songs in an assortment of ancient and modern languages.  

It only remains for me to thank Alison Henshaw very much for organising a week which was both fun, professionally helpful and broadly educational and to say that I am very much looking forward to next year's summer school which will take place at Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire.

Mr Rupert Smith - St Swithun's School